Thursday, April 2, 2009

Here's one tradition I will miss at the new Stadium

Hooray! The Yankees are back in town. Some of them reportedly checked out the new Stadium last night, and they'll all be in the ballpark for the team's workout. I won't get to see the Yankees in person this weekend, but I am looking forward seeing the new Stadium later this month.

However, I was a little sad to read that there is no longer an outside players' parking lot at the Stadium. Instead, the team's lot is literally inside the new ballpark. One of the traditions I liked about the old Yankee Stadium was watching the players enter and leave the parking lot before and after games. It was cool to see what they were wearing, what they drove, and how they interacted in the fans.

For example, Paul O'Neill was in bad shape, health-wise, in the fall of 1996, but I didn't know just how bad he was hurting until I saw him limp into the Stadium before Game 1 of the World Series. Seeing him in person that way made me appreciate his great catch to end Game 5 even more.

On the other hand, I never felt quite the same about one of the late 70s' Yankee dynasty players (who shall remain nameless) after I saw him snap at some fans after a 1979 game.

I'm sure the new lot is better for the players, but I did enjoy seeing what they looked like before - and after - the game. The YES Network usually filmed the players entering the ballpark at the beginning of the pre-game. Wonder what they will show now.

I won't get to be at the new Yankee Stadium this weekend, but would love to hear from readers who are getting first dibs at checking out the new digs.

What do you think? Tell us about what you're looking forward to at the new Yankee Stadium!


Anonymous said...

I actually heard there is no player parking lot. They will be valet'ing their cars. The entire stadium has like 30 parking spaces, so some of the higher-ups dont even have spots!

She-Fan said...

A lot of people will miss that tradition of seeing the players come and go from their cars. I interviewed a woman for my book. One daughter was a huge Giambi fan and the other was crazy about A-Rod. During the 2007 season, they brought a dozen roses to each player and stood in the parking lot after the game to give them the flowers. Giambi loved his and posed for pix with the girl. A-Rod wouldn't touch his roses and drove off without a word. Different strokes.

Bronx Baseball Daily said...

I used to love watching the ball players walk into the stadium as a kid. But security has been so high around there lately that you can't even get anywhere close.

Uncle Mike said...

I had some big thrills watching players walk in. Old-Timers' Day, seeing Whitey Ford go in. My man, Reggie Jackson, waving as we chanted. Regular-season games, seeing Bobby Murcer stop to sign autographs on the way to his broadcasting gig. Seeing Michael Kay, who, though he seems bombastic on the air, is great with kids. Seeing Bob Sheppard -- who really does look old enough to have announced names at Hilltop Park -- and saying to him, "Good afternoon, gentleman." He smiled.

Then there was the interleague game when the Met bus pulled up, and we booed like crazy. Nobody threw things, though: We kept it rated PG. Mike Piazza, of course, got the loudest booing.

And then, a few minutes later, a van pulled up, and somebody said, "There's Superman!"

Huh? Superman? Superman's a fictional character. There ain't no Superman at Yankee Stadium. (Though the recent movie filmed a scene at Dodger Stadium, standing in for the fictional Metropolis ballpark.)

The van lowered a wheelchair to the street, and it was Christopher Reeve. I learned later than he was a big Yankee Fan. With his head shaved, he looked more like Lex Luthor than like Superman, but it was Christopher Reeve! There were few people I could remember admiring longer -- and, except for Reggie, none I'd admired longer and seen walk into The Stadium. (When I first got into it, Murcer was with the Cubs, and was in between his once-and-future spots on the Yankee roster.)

That was a huge thrill, especially a few years later after he died.

The biggest such thrill, though, came across town. I won tickets to the Jackie Robinson tribute at Shea Stadium in 1997. I took my grandmother, and though she went to a few minor-league games of the Lakewood BlueClaws near her home, this turned out to be the last big-league game she ever went to. At the end, we left Shea by Gate C, the team offices, and right after we walked out, right behind us were Rachel Robinson and the rest of the Robinson family. Grandma was tickled pink. It was a great night to be a baseball fan, especially in New York: New York 5, Los Angeles 0.

It seems as though the House of Steinbrenner (the family) is doing everything it can to make the team and the House of Steinbrenner (the stadium -- note the lower-case S) less accessible to the fans. Where do they think all that money comes from, anyway?

"Nutball Gazette" said...

It does not sound like much but on the 2nd to last day of the old Original stadium in 1973 we waited for the players to come out, Most walked past us, A few signed an autograph or 2, I got Bowie Kuhn, we waited for over an hour, Frank Messer talked with us for a minute and then when there was only about 5 of us there Gene Michael came out said "hi" and let us in the parking area and talked with us for about 30 minutes. I was actually sitting on his car, I think it was a Dodge Challenger.
It was one of the coolest things I went through as a kid.

Jennie said...

just got back from the game tonight - what can i say about the new stadium? AWEsome!!! wide concourses, gazillions of turnstiles, ELEVATORS!! the days of trying to fight my way down from the nosebleed seats at the end of the game are, hopefully, over ... in truth, by the last out tonight there were not that many people left, but it couldn't have been quicker to get out of there, and i'm guessing that even when the crowds are larger, life is going to be a lot easier. lots and lots of new food options, with calorie counts helpfully displayed (so i couldn't possibly kid myself that there were any healthy options! ended up eating buffalo chicken sliders without fries for a mere 440 calories, and they did taste good). huge huge video screen, greatly improved sound system - oh, and the yanks won the game - what is not to like?! our seats are in the grandstand, and i didn't have too much time to explore the other levels (we only got there at 6:45) but can't wait to do so on my next visit!

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