Saturday, February 09, 2008

Updated Thoughts on the New Stadium

Eve Roytshteyn/

The Yankees held a walk-through for the media in the new Yankee Stadium this week and no, I wasn't one of them. I did however read the thoughts of Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham, who did a kind of FAQ
about the new building and the surrounding area. The note that bothered me the most was this:
The old Stadium: It will be torn down in the spring of 2009 and converted into a public park. Plans calls for 12,000 trees to be planted in the shape of the stadium. There will be a baseball field, a softball field and a Little League field. But outside of the warning track, no footprint of the field will remain. The city of New York owns the old stadium and will be responsible for taking it down and selling off seats and other things.
This was the first time I had seen this for certain, and I now think that there are those who must pay for an asinine decision. I watched friends nearly weep over the loss of the Boston Garden, as well as Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, and on and on. Has NOBODY learned? Does nobody have at least enough of a clue to recognize that - at BARE MINIMUM - the site of home plate from the old Stadium should be maintained?

The thinking seemed to be so simple (which we don't seem to do well in New York) - leave the shell of the old Stadium to act as a ballpark to host high school games, championships, and other league games, as well as serving as a National Historic Landmark. But once again, in the name of the almighty dollar and the bitching, whining NIMBY/PC jerk, the most famous building in the HISTORY OF SPORTS must be reduced to rubble. A memory.

A park. Whoopie. The old Stadium could have - and should have - been integrated into that park.

The folks bitching about that stuff amazes me. They would rather live in a dilapidated tenement with crumbling infrastructure than have something, you know, nice in the neighborhood.

But WAIT! They'll make sure to bring the monuments to the new place.

Why oh why is it that Wrigley Field AND Fenway Freakin' Park (both built BEFORE the Stadium) can modernize but Yankee Stadium can't? All for luxury boxes?

I don't know who it is that I want to blame - the Steinbrenners? Bloomberg? Giuliani? Arrogance? Power? Greed? The fans? Clemens? Canada?

OK, that last one is a "South Park" reference. Never mind.

Joking and trying to be positive about the great experience in the new ballpark is the only way that I can hide how pissed I am about this. And Abraham says they've already discovered DESIGN FLAWS in the new place, including in the center field bar/restaurant area, where the view of the field isn't all that great. Tell me, what REAL design flaws were there in the old place? Fine, it was cramped and it could take a while to get a hot dog, but whatever. It NEVER bothered me - EVER! I didn't go to Yankee Stadium for the conveniences. I went for the GAME. Later on, I went for the game and to see my friends - and to show my son this majestic place that was so close to my heart. And apparently EIGHT MILLION of you thought that the old place with the bad roads and no Metro North station was OK, because that's how many of you went through the turnstiles over the past two seasons.

I was keeping a stiff upper lip on the demise of the only place that, outside of my own house, ever felt like home to me - largely because I thought the ass-hats in charge of this farce had the brains to keep enough of the footprint of Yankee Stadium (the REAL one) alive.

Please don't argue the "what's there isn't really Yankee Stadium" debate with me. You'll just sound stupid, and you'll make the ghosts really angry.

Now tell me this. Through the efforts of my cousin, I will be able to go into the old building in 2008, as he kept my season ticket package alive. So with that said, as a loyal ticket holder of 11 seasons, how am I going to get into the new building in '09 anyway? Since I heard that the new Stadium is $500 MILLION over budget, I can only imagine that one will need to take out a mortgage to buy tickets.

This quote slays me:
Moreover, the Yankees COO (Lonn Trost) said the construction cost will exceed the announced $830 million by a half billion. In the name of tradition, the successor to The House That Ruth Built and John Lindsay refurbished will cost $1.3 billion to build.

The cost is for the Yankees to calculate, meet and privately lament. "We'll make it up some way," said Trost.
Yeah, you'll make it up by charging $300 for bleacher seats, and $25 for hot dogs.

It's finally happened. My blood has started to boil about this whole thing. Nothing I can do about it, and probably nothing that I want to do about it. Perhaps the only thing I might do is change to a Minor League ticket plan in 2009. I'm sure the Hudson Valley Renegades or the (Independent) Bridgeport Bluefish - two teams I've broadcast for at one time or another - would happily let me buy a ticket plan.

Perhaps then Sean can have a good baseball experience with the chance to enjoy the innocence and pure passion that the game of baseball can give from a fan's perspective.

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