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Rays Manager Claims New Yankee Stadium Doesn't Have Same "Smell"

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer IJune 9, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 03:  A general view during the New York Yankees game against the Chicago Cubs at Yankee Stadium on April 3, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Today's exhibition game is the first game to played in the new Yankee Stadium.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Monday night in the Bronx to recapture first place in the American League East.

Andy Pettitte (6-2, 4.22 ERA) allowed two earned runs and struck out a season-high seven batters in six innings as the Bombers won two out of the three games played at the new Yankee Stadium against their division rivals.

The squads were scheduled to play a four-game set before inclement weather forced the series opener on Friday to be postponed.

After the rainout, Rays Manager Joe Maddon commented that there is a lack of mystique at George Steinbrenner’s new palace and he particularly voiced his opinion that the new stadium does not have the same intimidating aroma as the previous one did.

"I hated the smell of the old place—in a good way for them and a bad way for you. I don't know if that odor was the remnants of the ghost walking around," Maddon, 55, remarked to the New York Daily News. "They can develop it here, but they had an advantage based on the smell of the place."

The 2008 AL Manager of the Year, who dons eyeglasses suitable for a chartered Flight of the Conchords fan club member, continued to carp about the scent that is apparently now absent in the new stadium.

"You know what it was like downstairs," Maddon asked rhetorically of the smell that he recalled once emanated from the historic playing field that saw the Yankees win 26 championships over the course of 86 seasons. "You could have bottled the stuff and you would have had Yankee Stadium."

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Additionally, Maddon theorized why 63 out of the 105 home runs hit in 29 games at the new Yankee Stadium have been launched to right and right-center field.

“There's a conveyor-belt effect out there,'' Maddon claimed of the right- center field portion of the $1.5 billion bandbox that is the second-most expensive stadium in the world after Wembley Stadium. ''It's kind of like a jet stream.''

Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon said the abundance of dingers has benefited the Bombers and he pointed to their 18-11 record at home to validate his point.

''As long as we get the hits and they fly out of the ballpark, it's a good thing,” said Damon, 35, at the conclusion of last night’s victory that was the 10th game played at Yankee Stadium with five or more homers.

Despite New York’s successes at home, the new Yankee Stadium has also irked many loyal Bombers fans because ticket prices within the first eight rows of the field are astronomical.

The average ticket in the “Legend’s Suite” section is priced at $510 and the most expensive seat can cost in excess of $2,500.

Essentially, the cost of one night at a Yankee ballgame could be enough to purchase Ashley Dupree for an evening.

The startling ticket values have created a pathetic image on television because the seats behind home plate at games are largely vacant.

Nevertheless, the new stadium is reportedly gorgeous and every ending is indeed a new beginning.

Like Frank Sinatra once sang, the Yankees have made “a brand new start of it, in old New York.”

When the Bombers eventually win their first crown at the new Yankee Stadium, it is safe to presume that much of the initial criticisms surrounding the opening of the pristine field will cease.

Ultimately, Yankees fans only care about being “A-number-one, top of the list.”

So, if the Yankees want onlookers to focus on their play and not on the field they play on and its “smell,” they simply need to win.

“It’s up to you, New York, New York.”

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