As Grand as It Gets: My First Trip to the New Yankee Stadium

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As Grand as It Gets: My First Trip to the New Yankee Stadium
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I made my first trip to the New Yankee Stadium last Saturday, when the Yankees took on the Phillies as a part of interleague play.

Is the New Yankee Stadium as grand as we have heard? In a word, yes. If it has a $1.5 billion price tag, it should be.

The exterior of the new stadium is a replica of its original predecessor, with the original 1923 feel. 

After entering, the first place you may want to check out is the Great Hall, located between gates four and six. The Great Hall is quite grand, with plenty of elevators to take you to your desired level, and a full bar, located just to the left of the Hall. The most impressive part of the Great Hall, for me, are the posters of the Yankees adorning the pillars. On one side, you have a black and white photo of the player, and on the opposite side, the player is in color.

The big difference between the old Yankee Stadium and the new one is a simple one, to me. The Old Stadium was about baseball. You came to see the pinstripes of today and remember the bombers of yesteryear.

The New Stadium is about the experience. The Stadium has 56 luxury suites, nearly four times that of its predecessor. There are plenty of clubs, bars, and other seating areas in the stadium that are meant to be more than just a seat.

It boasts its own Hard Rock Café, which is accessible all year. There is a steakhouse open all year as well.

Any type of food is available for purchase too. I do recommend the garlic fries—just scratch plans of kissing anyone for a week afterwards.  

My seat was in the center field bleachers, where I did not have an actual seat, but sat on a long, aluminum bench. My ticket cost $11.00—parking cost $19.00.

The video scoreboard in center field is mammoth. It stands 59 feet by 101 feet (three times the size of the prior jumbotron), and all of it is in High Definition. If you wanted to, you could forget about the field and watch the game on this screen.

Many sections contain TVs that allow you to watch the game as it happens, since some of the new seats in the Stadium have obstructed views.

The concourses are double in width from the old place. Anyone who remembers the old Yankee Stadium concourses can truly appreciate walking around the Stadium, and not being crushed on the four train during rush hour.

An exquisite museum, complete with original Yankee artifacts and an autograph “Ball Wall”, with hundreds of baseballs signed by former and current Yankee players, adorns the Stadium as well.

So, after visiting both New York baseball facilities, which one do I like better?

It is kind of unfair to compare the two. Yankee Stadium cost twice as much. It is similar to a neighborhood with a $1 million home, and a home that costs $500,000. The million-dollar home is likely to have a nicer yard, big pool, and other amenities that may not be found in the one that is half the price. But, the $500,000 home may have a better “sense of home” feeling than its larger counterpart.

This was my write up on Citi Field that I wrote in April.  Citi Field has 10,000 fewer seats. Citi Field is a ballpark. Shea Stadium was a facility that needed to be replaced.

Yankee Stadium is a grand stadium. There is no intimate feeling.

I think both places got it right, for the most part—in terms of design. Citi Field wanted to be like Ebbets Field, with an intimate surrounding made of brick and glass. Yankee Stadium wanted to be the grandest facility for baseball, with its gold, marble, and granite. 

Both places contain their flaws also. Citi Field has a very awkward outfield configuration, which makes it a pitcher's park. The lack of Mets colors and history in the park makes you feel like you are watching a first-year expansion team, instead of a team with five decades of history.

Yankee Stadium a Little League ballpark, in terms home run potential. Monument Park is more difficult to be seen since it hangs under a sports bar, and behind the center field wall.

The price of the seats at Yankee Stadium have been notoriously questioned. The best seats, behind home plate, went for $2,600 per seat, per game. Few of these seats were sold and the stadium looked bizarre, with the best seats being empty, and all of the upper sections being full. The Yankees did cut the prices of these seats, but some still go for over $1,000.

Oh, and, yes, there was a baseball game that I saw as well. The Yankees won the game in the bottom of the 9th, 5-4.  The mystique and the aura of the old stadium may have carried over from the House that Ruth Built. 

There was a time in the 1970s when Shea Stadium actually was home to all four New York baseball and football teams.

The new Giants Stadium will be completed in the Meadowlands in time for the 2010 football stadium. The combined costs of Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, and Giants Stadium will be $4 billion. 

The best ticket to see all four teams play there would have been a combined $100.

Now, it is considerably more. If you want the grand experience, my advice to you is get your wallet ready.

 

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