I had my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium last night and two things stuck out to me: 1- The stadium is absolutely a modern marvel with video monitors literally everywhere to the unlimited array of foods available to eat and 2- the level of frustration of fans is rising remarkably and you have to wonder whether that is because these “fans” haven’t won a championship since 2000 and maybe just maybe, its starting to take a visible toll.
First let me talk about the stadium. I got there about two hours ahead of the scheduled 7:05 PM start so I would have plenty of time to walk around and check things out. I went in through Gate 8 which has is located by the bleachers and behind food court out in center field. I don’t know how new the technology is around the league more importantly in new stadiums, but the self-check in with your ticket seemed very interesting (picture 2). I figured we had gotten there a little too early since it was still two hours before game time but as the game (and plenty of empty seats) would tell, there just weren’t going to be a lot of people at a cold, windy, slightly wet weeknight game in April at the current outrageous prices.
I was at the second game of the season two years ago which marked the return of Andy Pettitte to Yankee Pinstripes, a game at which it started to snow in the later innings, and the stadium was still packed. Maybe I’m looking too much into it this early in the season but the official attendance at that game in April 5, 2007 game was 52,096 (56,886 capacity) and compare that to yesterdays game which officially was 42,065 (52,325) but it definitely felt a lot less occupied. That by comparison is 91.6% in 2007 versus 80.4% attendance last night. When was the last time you could imagine trying to attend a Yankee Game and have less than 90% capacity?
Enough complaining about that so back to the stadium. I walked around a lot and saw every food wise from Pizza to Johnny Rockets to Kosher Hot Dogs but was disappointed I couldn’t find the Sushi Bar… oh well, maybe next time?
As for the seats and the view from them, I think the viewpoint from the bleachers is improved and even slightly closer from the old stadium. I even walked around the stadium and it’s probably difficult to say that there is a bad seat in the house — except for the obstructed seats. They have three small video monitors along the wall of those seat but you can still see the mound, the home plate but can’t see the opposite outfield down the line.
Now to the fans: For a majority of my games, I have viewed them from the bleachers… not only for the roll call but the atmosphere and interaction for the most part is a lot more friendlier there than anywhere else. Not so the case last night. Granted most of the anger and completely unnecessary profanities largely due to the amount of alcohol that is being consumed in the Bleachers (something that was not allowed in the old stadium).
New York Daily News sports columnist Filip Bondy summed up the new situation by saying, “At this new-fangled stadium, the golden liquid flows like soda and the walls are down that once protected the aristocracy from the bleacher proletariat. This is bound to create some class warfare down the road, some storming of the Legends suites.” You can clearly notice a difference now with people sitting in those bleachers starting random chants with very little backing from the section. Obviously they die off just as quickly but that doesn’t mean the random fan would get the hint to stop, they continued… for the entire game.
I wonder aloud but it is going to be interesting to see as the minor struggles of the team in the standings continue and if their playoffs struggles continue, how the fan base’s loyalty through attendance numbers and temper would react if they were to continue this slide away from roughly the decade and a half of winning baseball?
Only time will tell how these things will play out but as for the game yesterday, it was the first time that the Yankees had won — bringing my Yankee record to 1-6 now all time. It was also the first time I heard “Enter Sandman” at the Stadium and hence the first time I saw Mariano pitch. That streak is over so it seems like it’ll be time to start a new one (probably in the summer) but in the meantime, enjoy the pictures below.