The Banality of The Evil Empire

Suite_lounge_popup

The Yankees have posted some new digital renderings of their under-construction stadium. Above is the “Club Suite Lounge,” which looks like something from the Albert Speer School of Stadium Design, only a bit shlockier. For the most part, the spaces are comfortably banal in a corporate way; if not for the logos and the baseball imagery, you might be in a new airport. A ticket to one of these places will cost you about as much as an international flight, so it’s about appropriate.

36 comments… add one

  • “For the most part, the spaces are comfortably banal in a corporate way; if not for the logos and the baseball imagery, you might be in a new airport.”
    You’ve nailed it. Maybe an airport lounge with the mix of hardwoods and septic feel, though without the 20ft ceilings.

    A YF March 26, 2008, 6:14 pm
  • Peanuts, hot dogs, and a Bombay Sapphire martini with a splash of grapefruit juice.

    yankees76 March 26, 2008, 6:23 pm
  • That’s a $20 Bombay Sapphire martini.
    Once I did some math, it’s a bit absurd that they even need a new stadium. They’re pulling down at least $200 million/year before broadcast rights. Even as YES doesn’t pay what it would on the open market, it can’t be less than $100 million. That’s a lot of dough. Considering that the Yanks have mostly built this Disneyland themselves, their projections must be pushing $500 million/year to account for increased spending and paying off that debt. Wowser.

    A YF March 26, 2008, 6:42 pm
  • I heard rumor that the new gate ticket scanners will also accept pink slips, property titles, and birth certificates to first-born children.

    attackgerbil March 26, 2008, 6:50 pm
  • The math is probably not what you think it is anyhow. For example, they can write off, at least partially, on some luxury taxes…

    Lar March 26, 2008, 6:51 pm
  • Yeah, all I did was $50 x 4 million people. Seems simple enough, right? And something tells me that’s conservative. Even the bleacher bums that get in cheap probably tend to give more in food and drinks. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were pulling $75 per ticket on average. That’s $300 million gross and again without any broadcast rights.

    A YF March 26, 2008, 7:05 pm
  • I honestly don’t think these teams, Red Sox or Yankees, make much money. I think they grow in value and that’s about it. They are essentially toys for the very rich. Think of the overhead alone on one of these teams, AFTER player, coach and front office compensation.

    LocklandSF March 26, 2008, 8:01 pm
  • I have a very very serious question.
    How can anyone enjoy baseball in that kind of environment? I mean.. sure you can enjoy baseball anywhere if your a fan… but dear gods – that feels like the exact polar opposite of a baseball environment. I’ve never understood the fancy boxes with the glass at any ballpark; I would much rather sit in a regular seat and be subject to a sunburn and an uncomfortable chair in order to experience baseball properly. I had an oppertunity, via a family friend, to see the local team (the Barnstormers) play from a luxury box. I honestly spent maybe two innings up there before wandering down to the park proper and watching from an unpurchased seat.
    To me, going to a ballpark isn’t just about the game. It’s about being surronded by other fans, roaring with the crowd. It’s the ability to turn around high-five total strangers as Manny drops on into the opposing team’s bullpen. It’s about walking around a concourse before the game, talkign to totally random people and taking in the smells of the food. It’s about the sun on your face and the green expanse of the field. It’s about being sick for a week because you sat in the cold rain to watch Wily Mo hit a grand slam to beat the Os and Papelbon slam the door.
    To me, Baseball is ANYTHING but sterile… and thats how that picture seems to me. Sterile. It is the Anti-Baseball. Why spend $1000 or whatever on that kind of experience for one game when you can spend the same amount of money and see a dozen or so games from the REAL seats?

    Dionysus March 26, 2008, 8:31 pm
  • Jeez, YF. Godwin’s Law?!
    Where does Mengele sit, in a field box?

    SF March 26, 2008, 11:41 pm
  • The Yankee logo always reminded me of a swastika for some reason. ;)

    SoxFan March 27, 2008, 4:38 am
  • The swastika was actually co-opted by the Nazis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika I was once at a Indian-Jewish wedding where there were sensitive backroom discussions on both sides to address why some guests where wearing one (mostly a sign of good luck).
    “How can anyone enjoy baseball in that kind of environment?”
    I don’t think people go to that environment to enjoy baseball.

    A YF March 27, 2008, 5:42 am
  • Yes, Godwin’s law, right. Obviously, the Yanks and Nazis are not comparable institutions. However, it seems to me reasonable to point out that the Yanks have (inadvertenly) adopted one of the tropes of Nazi design (enlarged logo hung between columns), and for some of the same reasons that truly evil empire exploited it in the first place, ie, it boldly presents the brand and connotes strength and tradition.
    http://www.emich.edu/abroad/staff/Benita/Hitler.jpg

    YF March 27, 2008, 8:47 am
  • I wasn’t trying to raise your ire, YF. It’s a reasonable design critique, stylistically at least, without a doubt. I am glad you brought it up and not me, though, just imagine what would have happened to this thread had a SF made Yankee-Nazi comparisons!

    SF March 27, 2008, 8:53 am
  • Ire not raised! And really, the sad part about the design is that it’s more lousy W Hotel than anything else.

    YF March 27, 2008, 9:17 am
  • Too sterile for my tastes. When did attending a baseball game become more about status and less about enjoyment? (Rhetorical question).

    Paul SF March 27, 2008, 9:36 am
  • Whoever gets the plasma screen contract is going to be psyched. If you look at the set of renderings, there must be like a 1:20 plasma/fan ratio throughout the park.

    SF March 27, 2008, 10:51 am
  • I agree with A YF… HOLY CRAP I AGREE WITH A YF!!!
    Most of these pictures depict parts of the stadium not intended at all for real baseball fans, they are intended to soak as much money as possible from the wealthy who enjoy the status of baseball in New York. It’s the same in Boston with the EMC club and the State Street Pavilion. I’m just waiting to see a foul ball go back and kill a person in the EMC club who isn’t paying attention because they’re eating their beef tenderloin and sipping on a glass of pinot. It’s not a matter of if it’s going to happen, just when. It was a lot better when it was the 600/.406 club and we had those people safely kept behind glass and quarantined away from the actual fans.
    I also agree with Dio, I can’t stand those places. Every year through my fiancĂ©e’s father’s connections I go to 2 or 3 games in one of the private suites and it BLOWS. I absolutely hate it.

    LocklandSF March 27, 2008, 10:52 am
  • For the Yankees? That’s a tough (rhetorical) question. There’s always been that element, but I think 1998, then A-Rod, pushed it to a new stratosphere. The attendance figures bear out that general impression.
    I did have a good experience last season of sneaking down behind the plate during batting practice. And I barely moved the whole game. Around the third inning, the section usher caught on, as I had moved a few seats/rows a few times. His response? “You’re all set now. Enjoy the game.”

    A YF March 27, 2008, 11:06 am
  • “Most of these pictures depict parts of the stadium not intended at all for real baseball fans, they are intended to soak as much money as possible from the wealthy who enjoy the status of baseball in New York.”
    Indeed. That’s why they have a suite on display in mid-town.
    I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed games up there. I don’t think the owners do either. That’s why many also have field box seats. The suite is for clients. The box seats are for baseball.

    Anonymous March 27, 2008, 11:09 am
  • What baseball stadium needs a “martini bar”?
    The most energized and, I suppose, best/worst “public” spaces in Fenway Park (depending on how claustrophobic you are) are the cramped ramps and catacombs just before you get into the field boxes. They are logjammed, overly crowded, uncomfortable, but, during a big game, energizing. The release you get when you finally reach the seats, have a view of the field, is wonderful, and probably not really “designed”. The new standards of stadium design that mandate a certain luxury of space in these anterooms makes for much more generic “comfort”, a much more reduced sense of personal space invasion, and also, most importantly, safety. There’s no getting around some of this (life safety is more important than nostalgia, for sure), but that doesn’t change the fact, at least for me, that there is value in the accidental though somewhat forced collisions that occur in old stadia, however obsolete the standards are which led to those collisions. The renderings of the new stadium (and it’s not just Yankee Stadium, this isn’t an attack on that specifically) seem to show an intention to discourage those collisions in any way, shape or form. Dispersed amenities, a classist segregation of entertainment spaces, it’s all about a kind of avoidance, it seems. Until you get to the seats, that is. And if that vantage point offers both a satisfying individual/collective experience then much will be forgiven.

    SF March 27, 2008, 11:12 am
  • It seems we were mostly in agreement about why these things exist (business not baseball). But there is no distinction between Fenway and other stadia. After all, with the remodeling, didn’t most of the cash put the blue bloods behind glass? Meanwhile normal fans sit in a cramped chairs on the first base line that face centerfield or sit on the roof.
    I do agree on the mingling element – but I can’t see that ever really going away. There may be easier paths, like the express line at the airport, but we all get stuck in traffic and have to wait in line.

    A YF March 27, 2008, 11:30 am
  • On the contrary A YF, they removed the glass that used to house the 600/.406 club. In place of it, both the EMC club and the State Street Pavilion are now open and look to be some of the best seats in baseball, too bad no baseball fans get to sit in them.
    The right field grandstand seats are the ones with the awkward facing seats, forcing most people in those seats to turn their heads to the left to watch the game.

    LocklandSF March 27, 2008, 11:35 am
  • Now, this isn’t to knock the wealthy, there are plenty of wealthy people that are real baseball fans, but like most parks, they sit in the field boxes. If I had a serious chunk of change I would be right behind the home on deck circle, first row, for all 81.

    LocklandSF March 27, 2008, 11:41 am
  • After all, with the remodeling, didn’t most of the cash put the blue bloods behind glass?
    Actually, no. There were a slew of luxury boxes added a couple of decades ago, and then the 600 club was added, increasing capacity by several hundred seats, a very small percentage of the overall capacity. The 600 Club was originally encased in glass (a terrible, terrible decision with regards to experiencing baseball) but that was undone in the last couple of years, smartly. The seats in there are still for the privileged few, but at least they are open-air.
    The most recent additions, the Monster Seats and the extra seats on top of the grandstands are open air and not luxury “suites” by any means, though they are also not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. But the bulk of new seats added were open air, single ticket seats, not suites.

    SF March 27, 2008, 11:45 am
  • I didn’t realize they had removed the glass. But that isn’t really “contrary” – it was there initially and cost a pretty penny to install. My point was only that Fenway also knows the segregation game and it’s played with $$$.

    A YF March 27, 2008, 11:47 am
  • I do agree on the mingling element – but I can’t see that ever really going away. There may be easier paths, like the express line at the airport, but we all get stuck in traffic and have to wait in line.
    Being able to create intimate spaces even in buildings whose scale does not engender those types of spaces is a talent that few have. It’s not easy. But most modern stadia don’t really engage this possibility even from the start – the impulse is to spread things out, to create vast open places for as many amenities as possible, even if those visiting a baseball game may not be going for the amenities but for the sense of collective energy. There is a paradox here, between the business/fiscal requirements of these new spaces and the civic/public qualities that may be hampered by a need for additional revenue. In the renderings of Yankee Stadium this intimacy is going to have to come from places like the Hall of Fame, Monument Park, or from the seats themselves, the most appropriate place for this experience to occur. It will be interesting to see how cozy this new stadium feels. The amenity/public spaces look anti-septic, commercialized, quite dull, but the heart of this new building will be the field and the seats surrounding it, and until those are experienced we can’t really know how great (or bad) a new stadium this might be.
    And I don’t mean to underplay or ignore the urban planning aspects of the Stadium and the land around it. That’s another major topic perhaps for another thread.

    SF March 27, 2008, 11:52 am
  • “Being able to create intimate spaces even in buildings whose scale does not engender those types of spaces is a talent that few have. It’s not easy.”
    I’m curious – What are some of the tricks? Lower ceilings? Common entrances? Fabric to absorb sound?
    Honestly, I think the continuous design of the stands may help. Whereas the current park basically has two decks completely cut-off from one another (with the upper overhanging the lower), in the sketches of the new place, each level seems to blend, almost seamlessly, into the next. I love Yankee Stadium but this current version is far from intimate. The closest you get is the first view of the stadium when you emerge from the tunnel, and that rapidly dissipates.
    “It will be interesting to see how cozy this new stadium feels. ”
    I couldn’t agree more.
    They also have this Hall of Legends (or some other ridiculous name). That will be another addition that could help.

    A YF March 27, 2008, 12:01 pm
  • I am guessing the original “600 club” wasn’t nearly as expensive, proportionally, in 2008 dollars as much of the new work is costing the team. At the time, it added fewer than 2% of new seats to the overall stadium capacity.
    I am not trying to defend the Sox here – they are driven by revenue as much as any other team, but simply to give more perspective to the changes that the 600 Club affected on the stadium.

    SF March 27, 2008, 12:01 pm
  • The absolute best deal as far as dollar value/view of the game in the new Fenway renovations is the 1st and 3rd baseline pavilion standing room tickets, they have a nice counter you can lean on so you’re not really standing, it draws good fans to mingle with, high five, etc., and you’re literally on top of the infield looking down, but you have the benefit of separated concessions and bathrooms so there are no lines. In my opinion, it’s a good blend of the old and the new.

    LocklandSF March 27, 2008, 12:09 pm
  • “I love Yankee Stadium but this current version is far from intimate.”
    I think that’s wrong, A YF, especially in comparison to the new stadiums. The seat dimensions at YS are tight, especially in the upper deck, which is one of the more democratic spaces in the game. It’s true that the new park will be more horizontally divided, but that’s not really a bonus if you’re on a budget. In the old stadium, upper deck seats are quite proximate to the field, and there are lots of them. In the new park, there will be fewer cheap seats, and they’ll be farther away, though they’ll be more “comfortable” and the service areas will be more generous.

    YF March 27, 2008, 12:22 pm
  • “In the old stadium, upper deck seats are quite proximate to the field, and there are lots of them.”
    I agree completely. And I love sitting up there. But I think we’re conflating intimacy with access. In the old place the upper deckers have a very good view, for the price, but the place isn’t exactly intimate. I’m suggesting the new place might be more intimate, even as access gets much pricier. Right now, in the upper deck, you’re like a voyeur on the going ons below. The new place looks like you’ll become more unified with the rest of the crowd, even as we may feel less like participants. It’s an interesting contrast to be sure.
    Still, I’ve been in a few of the newer parks – they’re cheap AND intimate.

    A YF March 27, 2008, 12:51 pm
  • It’s really semantics, but I’ve never considered the 600 Club a “recent” addition. It’s been there as long as I can remember, and the removal of the glass if anything reduces the class segregation — but probably not as much as the overall increase in ticket prices (and ticket demand) does, by pricing out many of those who simply can no longer afford a trip to Fenway (either legally or through the scalpers).

    Paul SF March 27, 2008, 3:22 pm
  • The 600 Club was built 20 years ago.

    SF March 27, 2008, 3:32 pm
  • That’s what I thought. I was in kindergarten back then…

    Paul SF March 27, 2008, 4:50 pm
  • A YF March 28, 2008, 3:46 pm
  • Sorry here’s the shortened link for the Journal News:
    http://tinyurl.com/3dp7kr

    A YF March 28, 2008, 3:47 pm

Leave a Comment