Yankee Stadium Flushed

Tim Kurkjian, one of the few left on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight actually worth listening to, runs down his five favorite ballparks. No. 1: Good ole Fenway. Not on the list: Yankee Stadium, lovingly referred to by some Sox fans as "The Toilet."

Fenway Park is magical. There’s no ballpark, stadium or arena quite like it. Squeezed into the Fenway section of Boston, it’s old, cramped and irritable, but there’s no better place, no more intimate setting, for a baseball game. It is packed every night with among the most frantic, most sophisticated fans in the game.

Hard to argue with that. Tim Kurkjian=Genius.

Update: In the same series, Alan Schwarz labels Daisuke Matsuzaka the Majors’ hottest rookie.

36 comments… add one

  • Yankee Stadium doesn’t make the list?! Seriously, I think AT&T park is nice but something about it makes it lifeless. Yankee Stadium has to make the top 5, and Wrigley Field should beat out Fenway.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2007, 11:42 am
  • On the subject of Kurkjian being worth listening to, he was on the rumored-defunct Quite Frankly program a couple weeks ago. He was making the case for McGwire making the Hall. He name-dropped twice in comparisons. Reggie Jackson (I’ll give him that one) and Andruw Jones. As we all know, Andruw Jones is not a one-dimensional player, until last season, advanced metrics and scouts agreed that he was a premier CF defensively, and the guy has(or had) at least some wheels. Also, Andruw Jones has not retired.
    Only possible defense: Stephen A. reduces the intelligence of his guests that much.

    QuoSF January 16, 2007, 12:03 pm
  • I don’t find Kurkjian worth listening to much. He has a nice quality on air, but I don’t find him particularly insightful. The good thing about him is that he’s not Jon Kruk.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2007, 12:07 pm
  • Perhaps it’s more of a case of looking good by comparison. When you’re talking immediately after John Kruk and Jeff Brantley, you’re gonna sound freakin’ brilliant.

    Paul SF January 16, 2007, 12:12 pm
  • he’s like so many of those sports talking/writing heads…i’m not sure what qualifies them to comment about anything [any more than us], but tk is ok i guess…among the the best of a bad batch…my perspective is too narrow on what the greatest ballparks are, since i’ve only been to fenway and yankee stadiums…but for what it’s worth, i like them both for the most part [neither is perfect], and i’m surprised that both parks wouldn’t be on everyone’s [baseball fan that is] list of favorite places to visit [forgetting the obnoxious fans for a minute]…i’d expect sf’s to defend fenway and yf’s to defend yankee stadium, just like we defend our teams…but, to be fair, you have to respect the history and charm of both parks…maybe tk just likes fenway franks better than yankee franks [do they still call ‘em that?]…

    dc January 16, 2007, 12:48 pm
  • Yeah, when Gammons was sick last season, the show basically lost all of its intelligence.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2007, 12:49 pm
  • I wonder if Matsuzaka (provided that he puts up decent number) will lose the ROY the same way Matsui did..

    Lar January 16, 2007, 1:20 pm
  • “most sophisticated fans in the game”
    I am not much on high society, but I doubt you can classify “Jeter Sw$llows” as “sophisticated.” I love being a Yankees fan and the target of everone’s venom and bias.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 16, 2007, 1:26 pm
  • No, he’ll win it, he’s not a Yankee.
    ’95 Nomo
    ’00 Kaz Sasaki
    ’01 Ichiro
    ’03 Angel Berroa…..Great choice over Hideki.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 16, 2007, 1:31 pm
  • maybe someone around here can help me out on a question i ‘ve had for years? i realize an “upper tank” homerun is a second decker, but is that exclusive yankee stadium? i always figured it to be part of the toilet reference.

    sf rod January 16, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • Please.
    Yankee Stadium
    Fenway Paahk
    Wrigley
    Have to make the list. It’s not just awesome dimensions, it’s history.
    I’ve never been to Camden Yards, but I hear it’s one of the nicest ballparks.
    Other than those, I don’t really have any knowledge of. But come on, I find it very disingenuous of Sox fans when they refer to Yankee stadium as a ‘toilet’. I prefer Yankee Stadium to Fenway, but I as a Yankees fan can even appreciate Fenway’s weird dimensions and ‘character’ as something special.

    Andrew January 16, 2007, 2:18 pm
  • but, to be fair, you have to respect the history and charm of both parks
    Yankee Stadium has plenty of history (though much of that history was eradicated when they pulled centerfield in), but charm?! Come on, dc! Most Yankee fans would be offended thinking of Yankee Stadium as “charming”.

    SF January 16, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • …sf, i call the old ballparks “charming”, but as you point out, the renovations to yankee stadium years ago did a lot to alter it’s original appearance [and charm]…the historical significance of the stadium remains however…if you’ve never had the opportunity before, check out monument park next time you’re there…maybe those yf’s you refer to would prefer the word “ambience”…or not…

    dc January 16, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • It is hard to argue against the character and atmosphere of Fenway, surrounded by that trademark green while rabid fans inject the place with life and electricity.
    However, the idea that Sox fans would be the authority on whether or not Yankee Stadium belongs on any list is laughable at best. They’re more than a bit biased.
    Regardless, in 2009 it will be a moot point when the new Yankee Stadium opens up, and MLB thinks highly enough of the current Yankee Stadium to honor its legacy with the 2008 All-Star Game.
    Yankee fans love Yankee Stadium, Sox fans love Fenway, the argument should really end there, they both are gloriously historic stadiums and each have been important in Baseball Lore.

    Scott January 16, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • Hear hear, Scott.

    Paul SF January 16, 2007, 3:39 pm
  • I guess every dunderhead is entitled to his opinion.
    If you love the game of baseball, though, how can you not love Yankee Stadium – the place where so many of the games’ greatest players and teams played? Please. Call it a toilet if you want; (I’ve got some choice adjectives for “good old fenway” which, out of respect, i’ll keep to myself) but the aura of that place is so thick you can cut it. I never go there without feeling a true sense of awe; there’s something special about being in the spot where those heroes you’ve read about all your life played ball

    Anonymous January 16, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • I’m sure that’s true, anon. I certainly feel that way about Fenway. While academically I can agree that Yankee Stadium has all those old-park qualities (although I’ve never been there) that make it great, you’re going to have to understand that I — and a lot of Red Sox fans — hate the place, and always will, even after it’s gone. It has nothing to do with loving the game of baseball and everything to do with hating the team that plays there.

    Paul SF January 16, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • I think Yankee Stadium is a great “stadium” and Fenway is a great “park”. And there’s room for both stadia and parks in baseball. Both concepts are fundamentally different and evoke different responses. For instance, a stadium is likely to be levied with the charge that it’s inpersonal and toiletty and a Park is likely to be criticized for being too quant and cutesy.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • SF and YF, who know more about buildings and things of architectural character, might say otherwise. If so, listen to them.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2007, 3:50 pm
  • I love Fenway, though it has warts. I don’t love Yankee Stadium, though I appreciate the history of the place and the accomplishments of it’s resident evil. The reason I don’t like Yankee Stadium has little to do with the Yankees, though. I think that it lacks intimacy, the upper deck seats are, in many places, horrible, and the antespaces leading to the seats are equally bad, probably the single biggest contributor to why I think YS is something of a pit. At Fenway, you descend below street level into over-crowded warrens, and then re-ascend through large crowds upwards to field level; this is an amazing experience, frankly, the ascent through a mass of other fans (some find this inhospitable and claustrophobic; not me). You don’t get that at Yankee Stadium, to it’s detriment.
    I have been to about 15-20 ballparks around the Majors(and minors), some of which don’t exist anymore (old Comiskey, Country Stadium, Municipal). Fenway and Wrigley are the two best I have ever been to, and I’ve sat in both the cheap seats and the good ones. At moments I often think Wrigley takes the cake, but that might be because my memories of it are soaked in Old Style beer and suntans. The Old Comiskey was great fun, and one could see moments of history, but I visited it in its last year and ownership had let it go; the place was a total dump, sadly. We sat in the front row of the bleachers and heckled Dave Winfield about Ruth Roper, I think. The new Comiskey is truly awful; I saw James Baldwin take a no-hitter into the 7th inning there some years ago and the park, despite the amenities, was flavorless and undistinguished. But it wasn’t nearly as awful as Veterans Stadium in Philly, which I visited as an 8 year old and still have nightmares about.
    Yankee Stadium is up on the list only because of the history, but not much else; it is unaccomplished architecturally (to me) and the renovations, eliminating the cavernous centerfield, savaged that history and idiosyncracy in a great way. But I do agree with YF: I am not sure that they couldn’t have renovated the existing stadium back to (if not) architectural greatness, than at the very least an architectural goodness, hewn with incomparable history. The new place is probably going to be much nicer, but also a lesser place.

    SF January 16, 2007, 4:14 pm
  • I can’t say I’ve been in a park I’ve truly disliked — though the number is limited to three: Fenway (six or seven times), Camden Yards (twice) and The Ballpark at Arlington (three times). The Ballpark and Camden Yards are pretty similar, both being part of that late-1990s old-style movement. Camden does it better, but The Ballpark is inviting. Both are imitations of the real thing, Fenway, and as such can’t really stand up. And when iw as going to Fenway, it was arguably during the height of the push to tear it down, before all the recent renovation restored a lot of its charm (from what they tell me).

    Paul SF January 16, 2007, 4:27 pm
  • “When I was going to Fenway,” that should have been.

    Paul SF January 16, 2007, 4:32 pm
  • this is all very subjective, and will be colored by one’s loyalties, whether they admit it or not.
    that said, i love going to fenway, watching the “sophisticated fans” make spectacles of themselves and catching a ballgame. i take the tour at least once a year. (i am invariably the only person on the tour that stands up, admitting that they’re a yankee fan. c’mon… represent, people.)
    i also love yankee stadium. i get chills whenever i step inside.
    say what you will about the stadium, i’ve seen my share of eyesores at fenway, too. even as recently as this past season, after the renovations (which have made it a more comfortable place, but take a bit away from the history and the “small park” feel that people tout in its defense).
    but i realize that this is just my opinion and not anything that can be statistically measured.
    there was an article at SI.com that placed yankee stadium above fenway a few months back… did YFs here use that as an opportunity to call fenway a port-a-john?
    the “objective” sfs here must be upset about this:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2732682

    Yankee Fan In Boston January 16, 2007, 4:57 pm
  • Nah, YFiB. That’s probably the right place for the ASG, considering they are razing it. What would be cool is if the AL won that game…
    …giving the Red Sox home field advantage in the ’08 WS!

    SF January 16, 2007, 5:10 pm
  • I’m anon from above – my handheld keeps playing tricks on me.
    “The reason I don’t like Yankee Stadium has little to do with the Yankees, though. I think that it lacks intimacy”
    SF, Yankee Stadium wasn’t supposed to be intimate; it was designed to be awe inspiring, like the city that houses it.
    Tim McCarver said this about playing there:
    ” The experience of playing in the cavernous YS for the first time, after I had just turned 23, was truly overwhelming. I don’t think I had ever seen a baseball stadium that tall… we tried very hard to keep all that YS lore from intimidating us…”
    Your boy Ted Williams said this:
    ” There’s the bigness of it. There are those high stands and all the people smoking – and of course, the shadows. It takes at least one series to get accustomed to the stadium and even then you’re not sure”
    You can still see the original walls in center – they’re behind the bullpens. New ones were built to keep pace with a changing game. C’mon, what present day stadium has a 461 ft center field?
    To me, the descent, elbow to elbow with other fans, down those crowded, narrow, winding passageways with other fans after a game feels like coming back to earth from a sort of heaven.
    Greg Maddux said this after the ’96 series:
    “I’ll have great memories of the place. Obviously, it hurts losing, but the atmosphere here is matched nowhere. It’s exciting to be out there on that mound in front of people going freaky. It’s wild. Even though we lost, in a while we’re going to appreciate being in this place.

    Andrews January 16, 2007, 6:07 pm
  • I’ve been to a number of parks. Fenway is probably my favorite, but I haven’t been to Safeco in Seattle or Wrigley in Chicago. The best is, admittedly a subjective thing, as has been said here repeatedly, but the intimacy of Fenway, new seats or not, is something that I haven’t seen replicated anywhere.
    Camden Yards is a terrific place to see a game, and the new place here in Philly, ‘The Bank’ as we call it, is a nice park too. One of my favorite places is the park in San Diego, which they did a great job with, from the views to the materials, to the outdoor nature of the place. Just a great place to see a game from any vantage point, and they have vegetarian hot dogs!
    Dodger Stadium, while it isn’t really in a downtown, or accessible by public transit, is a good place to watch a game too.
    I rank my top five this way:
    1. Fenway Park
    2. Petco (San Diego)
    3. Camden Yards (Baltimore)
    4. Bankrupt.com (San Francisco)
    5. Yankee Stadium (Hell)

    mattymatty January 16, 2007, 6:17 pm
  • I am a Yankees fan and I really do enjoy Fenway. I have been there probably about 10-12 times. I can appreciate the history.
    That said I have been to Yankee Stadium probably close to 100 times and nothing compares, but that’s because it’s my team. From the ’99 World Series when I sat in the upper Deck in left field and I thought the stands were going to collapse when Chad Curtis hit that HR to win the game. Then again in 2003 when Aaron Boone hit his famous HR off of Wake, we stood in the bleachers dancing and singing to NY NY. To me there is no better place to watch a game. But like the gentleman above said, it’s all relative.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 16, 2007, 6:19 pm
  • As the home stadium of the most famous team in the history of professional sports, in the most famous city in the world, and with 26 World Championships on it’s resume, nothing can compare with Yankee Stadium.

    Whatever January 16, 2007, 7:40 pm
  • SF, Yankee Stadium wasn’t supposed to be intimate; it was designed to be awe inspiring, like the city that houses it.
    Well, I live in NYC, and the city is a hell of a lot more inspiring than the stadium, frankly.
    But the big thing for me is that the wonderful stadia that I have been to offer both magnificence and intimacy; these traits are not mutually exclusive. I have been told that walking into the stadium at Ann Arbor (seats 100K!) is like nothing else in football as an experience, incredibly charged and intimate, while at the same time intimidatingly huge — and this comment came from an Ohio State fan! I have been to many large baseball stadiums (Municipal in Cleveland, which was a crazy place though designed for football originally and adapted), some medium-sized ones (a minor league game in Portland, Oregon), and some tiny ones (in Florida). The sense of intimacy varies; some big stadiums (and arenas) feel small, some small ones feel huge. I don’t think the cavernous and dingy spaces that precede the experience of walking into the grandstand at Yankee Stadium were designed for anything but moving people; these spaces are certainly not architecture of allegory representing the greatness of the Metropolis, and to me they set up the entire experience, quite awfully.
    As for the moved-in fence, whenever I get to Yankee Stadium it strikes me as a mistake — like a stadium that has been adapted for the wrong sport. It looks very much like they have placed a temporary fence in front of the true surroundings, like a grandstand on the edge of a baseball field to make it suitable for football. I understand why it was done, I just think it hurts the stadium.
    And of course, this is all personal: everyone’s sense of the architecture is purely subjective, and one’s allegiances and personal histories certainly add layers of meaning to spaces that are almost immeasurable from an architectural standpoint. We’re all correct in our statements, I think.

    SF January 16, 2007, 7:45 pm
  • “We’re all correct in our statements, I think.”
    Well I know I am.

    Whatever January 16, 2007, 8:06 pm
  • Trisk, Lar, a couple points.
    Yes, Matsui was a good candidate for RoY in 2003. That doesn’t make Angel Berroa a bad candidate.
    Here’s the B-R award page for 2003: http://tinyurl.com/373owb
    Nearly identical BA, OPS, one more HR for Angel in less ABs, 19 more SB. Angel was poor then on D, though he did show above-average range. You can make the argument that Matsui was the stronger defender, and I’d have a hard time trying to tell you you were wrong. However, Matsui was playing the consensus next-to-least difficult defensive position, and Angel was playing the first or second most difficult. With his SBs, Angel was also the more complete threat offensively last season.
    Even if you want to make the argument that Berroa was helped by A) the KCRoyals surprising record that season or B) a bias “against” NYYankee candidates or Japanese players for RoY you’d be wrong. Those…could exist, but the fact is that Berroa was the superior player that season. He certainly is no longer the superior player, so take some comfort in that.
    All that being said…did I just defend Angel freakin’ Berroa?

    QuoSF January 17, 2007, 2:12 am
  • …my recollection was that the “knock” on matsui wasn’t anything to do with his skills relative to the others, it was his age and years of experience in japan…the scuttlebutt, unfair or not, was that he was simply not a rookie in the minds of many of the voters…

    dc January 17, 2007, 8:08 am
  • If the reason Matsui lost the ROY was numbers, I would be fine with that. But You and I both know that had zero to do with it. Afterwards all you heard was that he is not a true rookie, so on and so forth. Then why were non-Yankees considered rookies who were in the identical situation? Honestly could care less, I love Hideki and all his hustle award or no award.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 17, 2007, 10:37 am
  • Quo – Angel Berroa had a good season, and although it doesn’t show up in your link, (one of) the reason why Matsui lost was because he was left off two ballots. I don’t think it was Yankees bias, but they actually said that they didn’t consider Matsui a rookie. It would’ve been enough to swing it (even 3rd place votes).

    Lar January 17, 2007, 10:45 am
  • Those issues may be there, as far as the voting goes, but Berroa was still the better player THAT particular season either way. So I guess it comes down to this. Voting “errors” being taken out of the equation, Matsui would have won an award that he was not exactly the top candidate for. I actually asked the question of whether Japanese stars should be considered rookies on my own website, though it’d be poor form for me to pimp it.

    QuoSF January 17, 2007, 11:08 am
  • There is not a more beautiful image in sports than October baseball inside Yankee Stadium

    Anonymous October 20, 2007, 5:41 pm

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