I know I’m a little late to the party, but I made my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium the other day (I realize it took me a while, but tickets are expensive and I have a blog to maintain, so back off). The Stadium’s received mostly praise so far (at least architecturally speaking), and despite the grandiose expectations I had, it did not disappoint.
Despite the criticism the old, renovated Yankee Stadium received, I will always have a place in my heart for the Stadium I grew up with. I admit, though, that the old Stadium lacked authentic identity: It was posturing as the “classic” Yankee Stadium, but had been renovated to change the layout, dimensions and general look. Nevertheless, for a fan of the 1996-2001 dynasty, it had plenty of history.
The new Stadium, however, is a more aesthetically pleasing blend of the old and new. In building the new stadium, the Yankees made a big deal about how they were going to honor tradition and the old designs in building the new stadium, and it worked out.
On the outside, this works to perfection. The new Stadium is a much more impressive structure than the old one. For one, it looks substantial, since it is mostly stone, and not glass and grating like the old Stadium. Also, the fact that you can see into the Stadium from the outside (and that you can see displays of former teams, unlike SOME recently built New York stadiums) means that it makes much more of an impression on you as you walk toward it—I remember walking to the old Yankee Stadium for the first time as a kid and thinking, Oh, we’re here?
The new Stadium also corrects the major design flaw of the old one: The concourse, which had previously been almost entirely indoors, is now open and airy. You can also hear and see most of the field from the concourse. Really, it’s a crime for a baseball stadium not to be primarily outdoors. I went to a day game, and when the score got out of hand—damn you, Ian Kinsler—it was great to be able to walk the concourse and not have to worry about missing key moments of the game.
From what I could gather while walking, the Stadium really doesn’t have bad seats (granted, I didn’t see the seats with obstructed views). I sat in the highest grandstand level—I couldn’t afford anywhere else because I don’t own Google— but my view was good for the whole field, and this appeared to be true throughout the stadium at that level. While I initially questioned the logic of building a smaller stadium, the new Yankee Stadium at least does have a more intimate feel.
The actual field looks more or less exactly the same. The dimensions look the same—though they certainly don’t play the same— and, aside from less space behind home plate, the foul room is more or less the same. Aside from a slight darker shade of blue for the walls, and a scoreboard in right field, I almost agree with Brian Tallet: “They spent a billion dollars to build the same ballpark.” A few slight, but key, differences, include moving the bullpens so it’s easier to see them and tell them apart, and putting Monument Park where it rightfully should be, behind center field.
This is not, however, the perfect stadium (for one, it cost $1.5 billion, and, no matter what anyone says, it was NOT privately paid for). First of all, no Dippin’ Dots. What the hell happened to the Ice Cream of the Future? Instead, I had to settle for its cheap, knock-off, Mollicoolz, which, despite going by the slogan “the coolest way to eat ice cream,” tastes as bad as the name sounds. Also, I realize this place was expensive, but did they really have to find sponsors for everything? Stolen bases are brought to you by Modell’s and every strikeout is greeted with the P.C. Richard and Son song. I got so sick of hearing those five notes—A.J. Burnett had 12 strikeouts— that I was almost rooting for Texas to hit home runs by the end of the game.
All in all, though, the new Stadium is as good as I could have hoped for, and it’s certainly an improvement on the old Stadium, as much as I loved that place. One day, after I’ve won the lottery six or seven times, I’ll be eager to sit in the good seats.