August 17, 2009 marked the 58th anniversary of baseball's best player of all time, Babe Ruth's, death. It also meant that the replacement of "The House the Ruth Built" for a more modernized, eye-popping stadium, began across the street.
Owner George Steinbrenner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the Governor of New York, George Pataki celebrated that historic day by sporting construction hats and shovels and looked as if they were the Turner Corp or Skanska USA Civil.
The old Yankee Stadium or "The House the Ruth Built" first opened it gates on April 18, 1923. It was closed on 1973 for renovations and reopened on 1976. The Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to give the Yankees the first victory in Yankee Stadium. The first home run hit by who else but Babe Ruth.
Ruth blasted a 3-run home run that secured the Yankees win. And on September 21, 2008, Jose Molina hit a home run in the 4th inning and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2. After that date, the old Yankee Stadium was forever to be abandoned by all who loved it and replaced by mere imitation of it.
The inaugural season of the new Yankees Stadium was on April 3, 2009. The Yankees hosted the Chicago Cubs in an exhibition game. If you were amongst the sell out crowd, you saw that there were plasma TVs everyone you turned, the Center field plasma measured 59 x 101 feet. Now you can see who is batting from New Jersey. Just kidding. The museum (which my brother occasionally refers it as "the cemetery of old Yankee Legends) was bigger and contained more Yankee memorabilia.
But where do these all extravagant renovations lead to? A big fat 1.5 billion dollar bill for the Yankees and not to mention the New York taxpayers. Harsh criticism from the the die-hard Yankee fans that mentioned the Stadium more than the commercials on YES narrated by Michael Kay.
The first eight rows called the "Legends Suite" are the highest priced tickets in professional sports. It would cost a fan $14-$1,250 dollars to watch the Bronx Bombers play a game. However, these tickets can be brought and sold for a higher price. That explains the Yankee's front office failure of filling up seats this year. Seeing those empty seats on television makes you believe that no one is at the stadium despite that the other seats are sold out.
The old Yankee Stadium was a Legend. The man who hit the first home run was the best player to ever play the game of baseball. Ruth is to baseball what Jesus is to religion. He saved the game of baseball and changed the game forever. Why would the Yankees want to change that? For better attraction? Why didn't they just renovate that old stadium? These are questions that all Yankee fans ask across the question.
The lasted Sports Illustrated edition(which has Kobe plastered on the front), had a SI Players MLB Poll. The question was weather or not that Yankees needed a new stadium. 45% voted yes, 53.6% voted no, and 1.4% claimed they didn't I don't know. Did the Yankees need a new stadium? That is a question that everyone has the right to voice their opinion.
Is it just me or the intimidation factor of Yankee Stadium has dwindled. When you walked in that stadium, you could feel the greatness that transpired in the last decades. Generations of baseball fans entered and left that stadium. Not only baseball's greats played on that field. Religious figures and bands made historic appearances.
Yankee stadium is a new haven for home runs especially for left-handed hitters. It reminds me of Fenway Park in some way. In the first 23 days, there were a 87 home runs blasted. Peter Gammons and Buster Olney have mocked the new Yankee Stadium, calling it "the biggest joke in baseball". Well that may be an over statement, but it seems that if you want to hit a home run, just hope you are in Yankee Stadium.
A study conducted AccuWeather in June 2009 has concluded that 20% of the home runs hit in Yankee Stadium would have not been in the old Yankee Stadium. The reason is the curve of the right field wall and its 10-foot height. How did they come up with this? I have no idea. The idea is that there are going to be a lot of balls flying out of Yankee Stadium. My advice is, if you are going to a game, your chances of getting a souvenir has just risen.
Reggie Jackson added his comments saying that the park is too small for Alex Rodriguez. He said that Alex should he able to hit 75 home runs this season. Maybe that would be true with Mark Teixeira.
Even though the game against the Cubs was an exhibition, it was still historic. The Stadium's first pitch was delivered by Reggie Jackson. The first hit was by Derek Jeter and the first home run was hit by Robinson Cano.
The first regular season game was a different story because the Yankees lost that game, 10-2. Their star pitcher CC couldn't hold down his former team, the Cleveland Indians. Jorge Posada hit the first home run for the Yankees. Sadly, this home run didn't help the Yankees win the game.
Baseball fans are still waiting for the big event that would help put a nickname for the new Yankee Stadium. Even the Red Sox fans are anticipating the spark that ignited the 1923 Yankees to occur (or not). Maybe Mr.October would help the Yankees make a historic run for the Fall Classic. And it would become "The House Jeter Built".