Oh man. I hate writing this one. I really want to like the New Yankee Stadium, but I felt like I spent the day apoligizing for it. I used words like "nice" and "ok" and "not bad."
The two things that kept popping into my head were Atari 2600 and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Both were really big disappointments.
That's how I feel about this new new Yankee Stadium. Phantom Menace is a Star Wars movie, so it should be cool, but it just doesn't work—and it was really hard to walk out of the theater and realize it had let you down.
There's nothing really wrong about the stadium, it's just...ok.
Every Yankee fan I spoke to felt the same way—it's OK, and they too think Citi Field is better. That's Yankees fans saying that, so it doesn't come lightly.
Red Sox and Cubs fans should come tour the place to get the strength to fight whoever needs to be fought if they ever try to replace Fenway or Wrigley.
So where to begin?
It looks like Yankee Stadium. It's big, it's new, it's open—it could be "Anytown, USA" as one Yankee fan said.
Where as the Mets moved out of a studio apartment to an eight bedroom shore house, the Yankees moved from their house where the kids grew up to one three doors down with a remodeled kitchen.
It's nice enough but...so what?
This comment came in to Mets Police:
"I was there today as well. I was not too impressed. It was nice don't get me wrong but there was a lot of exposed pipes, the concourses are not as wide, there were a lot of long lines/log jams at concessions, and the stadium itself looks almost exactly like to old one. What exactly did 1.6 billion dollars buy them?"
He's right about the pipes. The place looks like a 1970's era public school...or a Washington DC subway station. All gray cinderblocks and no character.
The Great Hall is nice. I think I like it better than the overrated Rotunda in Queens. I like the idea of the Yankees Museum.
I didn't wait on the line for new Monument Park but I can tell you that the cinderblock stairs are not the most enjoyable places to stand line for an hour.
If you have $9600 the lower deck is quite nice. We were cold and spent much of our day down there standing. Like Citi, you can see the field easily from the aisles, so it's a nice way to watch a game. I could see me blowing off my $22 seats and just standing behind first base. I bet I won't be the only one.
Like in Flushing, the staff has been told to be super-friendly...yet nobody knows where anything is. There's an usher everywhere, so the, um, seat upgrades I helped myself to the last twenty years are gone.
I was in section 405, the outermost section of the uppers, excuse me, grandstand—and the guy insisted on checking my tickets every time I came back to the seats. I finally asked him, "Do you really think I'm sneaking into THIS section?"
I can respect they don't want me scamming $9600 seats but don't be silly about the outermost regions.
If you do make it to 405 you'll find some of those pesky obstructed views that plague these new parks. Yankee doesn't have anywhere near the problems Citi does
and I don't think that picture on the left is any worse than something similar at the old place, but it's still annoying.
The upper deck just doesn't work. It has that same "open" feel that Citi does and the Phillies
park does—but it just doesn't work here. I kind of felt like I was at a Staten Island Yankees game, or that they forgot to finish building, or something.
I'm really at a loss of words for the stadium...it's just kind of, Atari Pac-Man, you know?
One fan told us there were "holograms on the MVP's" which we never found and no Yankees employee knows about. Maybe she meant the light-up baseball cards sold at one novelty shop.
Does a Peter Max painting store excite anyone? There's a fancy restaurant behind home that I told Osh41 we'd attend once for his 50th birthday and never again (and that's a long way off).
Much like Citi, the cool spot seems to be center field. I dug the bleachers. I liked the view from out there, unless you are too tight to the centerfield restaurant in which case you can't see half the game. The view is obstructed, but at least they've admitted it unlike certain blue and orange teams.
The stadium is nice. It's fine. It doesn't feel special. The White Sox
could call it home. I don't feel the ghosts and I don't feel the history, no matter how many videos you play.
I think the ghosts came by in the sixth inning—the PA system went out for the rest of the game. I actually enjoyed musicless, PA-less Yankee Stadium—and I think the perfect replacement for Bob Sheppard might actually be nobody.
I can't confirm it but one fan told me the ghosts were messing with the scoreboards on Friday night. The new boards list the names of the players in the lineup, but late in the game the Yankees had 5 players with the last name "UNKNOWN" playing.
I was also told they eventually turned the scoreboards off. Maybe the new place has ghosts but this time it is haunted?
Some atmospheric issues—who picks the music? I understand that the players pick their songs, but the music played before the game doesn't seem at all reflective of the fanbase to me. It's just loud and annoying. Play some Eddie Layton CDs.
Paul Olden is fine and generic as the PA announcer...so he fits the fine and generic stadium. No Sheppard (or even Jim Hall) is another lost touch. The Yankees should get Hall back in there. Olden needs to stop the repeating of the numbers ("No. 25 Mark Texiera, number 25"). It sounds forced when he does it.
Before the game and between innings you'll get to meet Tara Somebody who hosts the fan interaction crap. She brings new depth to the word terrible.
She has to be someone's daughter or girlfriend because she's terrible—can't read and has a thick Bronx accent that's even too thick for the Bronx. I'll try to find audio or video of her—I got some texts during the game from other fans who had the same reaction.
I'll have more to say later in the day, but Yankee fans—it's not quite a lemon, but you now have the lesser of the two NYC ballparks, and it's going to be a long 50 years.
Welcome to Anytown USA, where Paul Olden is the announcer and the ghosts live across the street.
I want to like it but....