Monday, April 20, 2009

New Stadium has all sorts of surprises

While I am happy that Jorge Posada hit that homer (albeit a controversial one) to win yesterday's game, it shouldn't have come to that.

The fact that the Yanks nearly lost to Carl Bleeping Pavano yesterday was an unfortunate state of affairs, to say the least. I did call it, though. Yes, American Idle came through with the type of performance we never saw in the Bronx. But doesn't every ex-Yankee in recent years?

Speaking of which, I'm expecting at least one homer from Jason Giambi tonight (Squawker Jon and I are supposed to go the game, weather permitting.)

Why couldn't the Yankees just repeatedly bunt on Pavano yesterday, and hope that he would pull something? That would have been funny.

As for Posada's homer, it seems that the Yankees are asking for trouble with having the fans so close to the outfield wall in this new park. It worked out this time, but what happens when, say, a Red Sox fan interferes with a Yankee trying to catch a ball?

I'm still liking A.J. Burnett, even if he was a little wild yesterday. And Jonathan Albaladejo continues to impress.

On the other hand, I'm still not impressed by all those empty seats. To call that 43,000 attendance, as the Yankees claimed yesterday, is just laughable. And I'm expecting a a lot less tonight.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Anonymous said...

I was to the first three games ...the majority of the Stadium is filled's just the expensive seats ..the attendance is around what they are reason to doubt the figures.

Opening Day the crowd was QUIET but I went the other two days...both days were much louder. I don't think the sound carries as well in the new Stadium because the seats don't overhang like they use to in the old place plus the fact that there wasn't much to cheer about 2 of the 3 days I went. Things will pick up as the season wears on ...especially if the Yankees start doing there thing and win...

Hurry back Alex ...Cody is a nice guy but 50% of Alex is still better. Alex in the middle of the lineup will make everyone around him a better hitter.

Go Yankees 2009 !!!!

Anonymous said...

oops ...their thing*

Uncle Mike said...

Well, after working on Thursday and Friday, and being otherwise unavailable on Saturday, I finally got into the new Stadium yesterday. "All sorts of surprises," indeed.

I walked up to a ticket window I'd never seen before -- which is why I didn't order online, since I then had no idea where the Will Call window is at the new place -- and the closest they could get me was a $23 seat (hey, that price is fine by me), in Section 431a. "Section 431a"? I know Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia had a 700 Level, but since when do seating sections need to add an "a" or a "b"?

In the old Stadium, that would have been around Section 26, in the upper deck, almost right across from where I sat that for my first game, a 4-1 loss to expansion Toronto -- 31 years, 5 Presidents, 8 Pennants and 5 World Championships ago. As far as it was, the view was fantastic, and it didn't feel vertigo-inducing like the old Stadium's Tier Reserved section did.

Here are the improvements, in the order in which I discovered them:

* Wider concourses.

* Better escalators -- and even elevators.

* Sight lines. No longer do you have to go up a tunnel to see what's going on: You can see it from the concourses.

* More and bigger bathrooms. This was a huge reason George wanted a new Stadium.

* More and bigger gift shops.

* Legroom, glorious legroom. Neither the old Stadium nor Shea Stadium had sufficient legroom at the seats. I didn't realize just how much legroom the new Stadium had until I was already on the bus back home, and the bus had less.

* The video screen. Not that I especially cared, but it was an incredible high-definition picture.

* More concession stands, including specialty stands like pizza, Southern barbecue, Latin America foods, sushi, and, believe this, "nostalgia beers." Schaefer, Schlitz, and the old Yankee sponsor Ballantine.

Things I don't like about the new Stadium were few, but should be mentioned:

* Monument Park. As with the old Stadium, you've got to get there very early or it will be closed.

* The Yankees Museum. Same situation, except it remains open all game long. I saw the line for it and said, "Forget it, I can see it some other time." As with Monument Park, this could, once I see it, be moved from the "don't like" to the "like" category.

* Getting upstairs, and back downstairs. The ramps and escalators seemed hard to fine.

* The out-of-town scoreboard. Still not programmed to show all games in progress, so they rotated. At the old Stadium, this couldn't be helped; they had years to plan this.

* The food prices. That could have been predicted, since ballpark food, like movie theater food, is much more expensive than in the real world, and the two New York parks of my youth were the worst of all. Still... Remember Jackrabbit Slim's, the nostalgia diner in Pulp Fiction? Uma Thurman orders a milkshake that costs five dollars. John Travolta asks for a taste, and says, "I just wanna see what a five-dollar milkshake tastes like." He tries it, and says, "I don't know if it's worth five bucks, but that's a great f---in' milkshake!" At Yankee Stadium II... seven dollars. Needless to say, I didn't plunk down the spondolas for it. And those nostalgia beers I mentioned? In cans (yuck, aluminum rubbing off into the drink) and ten bucks. Ten freakin' dollars for a can of old-time beer?

In the end, what matters is, did I enjoy the experience? Yes. Absolutely. I will miss my old friend, but I made a new friend today.

This was three days after the 10-2 disaster in the first game, and less than 21 hours after that 22-4 "oy gevalt" game.

Within two minutes of coming out of the Subway station, I saw perhaps the most famous Yankee Fan of them all -- or, at least, the best-known Yankee Fan who isn't already known for something else: Freddy Shuman, a.k.a. "Freddy Sez." Definitely somebody who had to make it across the street. I heard somebody tell him, "Freddy, you can't retire!" And I said, "Retire? Retire? At this rate, we may need Freddy to pitch!" Based on the 15-5 disaster in Tampa earlier in the week, we've already seen Nick Swisher pitch a scoreless inning, and in both the 10-2 and the 22-4 losses to Cleveland, fans chanted, "We want Swisher!" I don't blame them.

Carl Pavano took a perfect game into the 4th, and the Indians led, 3-0. Cue Vince Lombardi: "What the hell's goin' ON out here?" And later, Kerry Wood came out. What happened, was Pedro “How do you say Disabled List in Spanish?” Martinez holding out for more money? At one point, there was a mound conference, and I yelled out, "Whatsa matter, Pavano, did ya break a nail?" (Actually, that's not that funny: A broken fingernail is a problem for a pitcher. But it got a laugh from the fans around me.)

A.J. Burnett didn't really have it. While he kept the Indians from another blow-us-out-of-the-yard game, he also walked 7 batters. But in the bottom of the 7th, Jorge Posada hit that home run –- and it was a real home run. The ball didn’t hit the fan who reached out, it hit the fan next to him, bouncing off his chest and back down onto the field. That fan barely moved, and did not reach out over the fence with any part of his body.

And, after all those hits and all those runs in the first and third games of the series, the Indians walk away from this series with... a split. Congratulations, Tribe.

Another great memory for me at Yankee Stadium. Even if it wasn't at the only Yankee Stadium I'd ever known until now.

The new Yankee Stadium gets my approval. Even if the way we got to it does not. To paraphrase Yankee Fan Humphrey Bogart, "New Yankee Stadium, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Anonymous said...

My first game was Sunday. My critique fo the stadium:
Bathrooms! Heaters in bathrooms but water still cold (although feels good in August)
Wider concourse/open sight lines
Fruit stand 1st floor
More room in seats (even in the last row where my friends and I have been banished)
Improved sound system
Jumbotron/HD screen (plus and minus)
Employees need a lesson in where anything/everything is. Asked a poor girl with a sign that said "ask me" where either the elevator or escalator was (I'm in section 424)and no clue.
What escalators? Never found them.
Signage needs improvement. It will take all season to figure out best exit strategy.
Scoreboard! WAY TOO MUCH! Overdone with huge billboards, hard to focus, way too much visual stimulus. Hard to find pitch count and balls/strikes.

All said and done, like Uncle Mike, will miss the folks I sat with the last 10 years but will make new friends (Like changing schools!)
Beautiful stadium but missing the ghosts. A bit too anteseptic until a couple seasons of beer gets poured on it and maybe a postseason win.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and the empty seats! Stunning. Complete sections behind home plate and down the first base line were completely empty or less than 10% full on Sunday. I've never seen anything like it on a sunny Sunday afternoon.


She-Fan said...

That was quite a review, Uncle Mike. You made me want to go there even more than I already do. I hope the weather is OK, Lisa, and you get to the game with Jon tonight. As for yesterday's game, the hero for me was Choo. Loved that.

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