Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To August...with a Yankee Stadium Rant

It's a busy time.  Lots going on with "The Press Box", work (the ice cream biz at its busiest), getting ready for football season, yada yada yada.

It will just get nuttier in August with more of the same.  So much to do and still retain my sanity!

I saw where the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball voices took Yankee Stadium to task last week, and with good reason.  Despite what anyone tells you, the new Stadium does not retain the sound the way it used to.  Yes, the Yankees fan isn't what it once was, since the fans have been priced out of the area closest to the field, but don't kid yourself.  The Bombers are third in attendance (and have been near the top of the attendance heap for a decade now).

I love this idea that at one time New York was a definitive "Mets town."  To that I say a definitive "bulls*it."  Yes, the Mets won in 1986.  Yes, they went to the playoffs in 1988.  Yes, they drew three million.  Yes, they won, but it wasn't as if the team across town was terrible (at least during the 1984-1988 stretch).

Allow me, again, to give you the lesson of the 80's when the belief was that The Bronx was mega-dangerous.

The whole Stadium attendance argument is multi-layered.

I will take to my grave that Yankee Stadium was the safest place to be on game day with a large police presence.  But at the same time, the team, pandering for the new building that they now have, allowed the belief to carry on.  And (not for nothing, as the saying goes) it wasn't as if the Yankees had slugs on those teams.  It is without doubt that, for a period, they had the best player in the game in Donald Arthur Mattingly.  They also had Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson (Hall of Famers), along with Willie Randolph.  Across town, the Mets had a great team of Strawberry, Gooden, Carter, Hernandez, etc.  But it wasn't as if the Yankees weren't competing (at least through '87).  Things began to go down in '88 and were in the basement by '91-92.

Still, the building could rock.  I can tell you - with certainty - that 27,225 in attendance for Jim Abbott's no-hitter sounded like 57,000 in September, 1993.  Only a few years later, Vin Scully (who called the 1996 World Series on CBS Radio) called the Stadium among the loudest places he had ever been.

I was there for Tino Martinez's grand slam in 1998, Game 1 of the 2000 Subway World Series, and Scott Brosius' game-tying home run in 2001.  The place shook each time.  You couldn't hear yourself think.

I felt the passion in that place from my seat for each Friday night game right up until the end in 2008.

I felt some of that same passion in 2009 at the new place.  The problem was, the sound didn't carry like it used to.  That's where I think the ESPN voices are spot-on.

Again, it's a multifaceted argument.  But I'm looking at a packed Stadium right now on TV and the sound can hit you.  But in the building, it does not have the echo effect that the old place had.

It's the building.  Plain and simple.

I'm out on this note (keeps me from going out of my mind - consider it a reappearance of good old "Rule 55").  Mr. Springsteen and company performed in Sweden the other night, and for the first time on this tour, brought out "Jungleland."  Many had wondered if the song would never be played again, as it was the late Clarence Clemons' tour de force.  But with nephew Jake Clemons on sax, the song sounded amazing via this video shot from the crowd.  Very well done.

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