Exclusion

So the new Stadium is open, and it's a whole new era for the Yankees. It's undeniably exciting to see this luxurious new home. Many of the improvements are undeniable in nature—better site-lines, circulation, amenities, details. To the designers' credit, it seems like it has the feel of the old place. In time it will stop feeling like the simulacra that it is, and just feel like the place. But I don't know if I will ever consider it our place, as I did with the old park, and I think that gets to the very heart of my disappointment with the new building. The Yankees, and baseball fandom in general, have always represented inclusion to me. You want to root for a winner? The Yankees. You live in New York? The Yankees. You didn't make your Little League team? Your high school team? You've got a bum knee and can't play on the company softball squad? Whatever. Maybe you just love baseball. Throw on a Yankee cap or a jersey and you're a part of the greatest team in the world, from the greatest city in the world. And then you show up at the old ballpark. It's huge. There's always a ticket for you, any price point. You're in a sea of other fans like yourself but maybe from the barrio or Jersey or the Upper East Side. You're all together, jammed in tight, and if the surroundings aren't exactly luxurious (or even, frankly, nice) it doesn't matter, because what does matter is being there and watching what happens on the field. But this new park is something different to me, though I think it pretends otherwise. It is about exclusion. The astronomical ticket prices? Exclusion. The impenetrable retaining walls separating the expensive seats from the really, really expensive seats? Exclusion. This is a place for members of a hierarchical club. And it posits baseball not so much as a season-long grind, but as an entertainment event—like a Broadway show—and is priced accordingly. It's the kind of place you go once a year. Not a couple of times a week. Also, the tacked-on "frieze" looks pretty weak. A thin sheet of punched metal? Come on. I knew the real Yankee Stadium. I served time at the real Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium was a friend of mine….

8 comments… add one

  • This is disappointing to read, YF. Tack on another reason why this team makes it hard (and expensive) to root for them. (sigh)

    rz-yf April 4, 2009, 10:18 am
  • Were you at the game last night YF? From mlb.tv the frieze looked fine, though obviously that’s not the same as seeing it in person. Overall I think the stadium looks pretty nice.
    Okay, that’s the most objectiveness I can muster for one weekend. Baseball in two days!

    Atheose April 4, 2009, 11:17 am
  • Exactly why I remain 100% in the save Fenway Park camp, despite all logic pointing in the other direction.

    LocklandSF April 4, 2009, 11:54 am
  • I was under the impression that the frieze is copper and a replica of the original frieze in the pre-renovated stadium. The concrete frieze was not the original.

    AW April 4, 2009, 12:09 pm
  • I just got back from the stadium and Ill be posting my pictures later today. I personally thought the frieze was totally fine and done very well. I had an upclose view of it as i was sitting in the “grandstand” just below the frieze. Overall, the view was very good from up there albeit a bit further from the action compared with the old stadium owing to the overall gentler slope to the seats. While I enjoyed the vertigo that the old place induced in the upper level, I felt safer walking to my seats and moving around the rows. I saw a few too many people (drunk and sober) take some serious falls in the old place to not be concerned about this.
    Generally I really liked the new place and was blown away by its immense size. Its gonna take a while til it truely feels like home but I think thats the case anytime you move anywhere. For me the major drawback is that it appears that it will be very difficult to improve you seat location which I commonly did in the old ballpark. However, its kinda hard to fault the yankees for having people sit in the seats they actually paid for. I sat in very nice seats for many years that cost at least 3 times what i paid for my own. While this was great, it was a bit unfair to the other paying customers.
    Im gonna hold off on my judgement until ive attended a few games there and the team and fans have had a chance to settle in. For the first few weeks/months the majority of people will be walking around and checking the place out. After time though, it will become a place primarily to see a game and that will be the true test.

    sam-YF April 4, 2009, 4:24 pm
  • I think this is a really nice piece from YF. But I do have one thought, and I don’t mean it to be antagonistic – sports, particularly in the Northeast where costs are higher and teams are in demand, has not been that inclusive an entertainment event for a long while. Only football approaches inclusive affordabililty on a season-length level, due to its shortness. For a while now many people I know, with means, look at baseball/hockey/basketball games as a once or twice a year event in the medium-level to cheap seats. So this idea that exclusion rules the day freshly might be more palpable with these new stadia, but it has existed for quite some time. Exclusion is foreground now.

    SF April 4, 2009, 7:56 pm
  • “Only football approaches inclusive affordabililty on a season-length level”
    Surely you jest. Have you not seen the buyin that the Giants and Jets are requiring of season ticket holders. Makes the $325 Yankee seats look like a bargain.

    Yanksfandad April 5, 2009, 2:27 pm
  • YFD:
    You are absolutely correct as of this year. I was thinking of past years, and also of other teams that don’t deal in seat licenses.

    SF April 5, 2009, 4:31 pm

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