Wednesday, June 3

New Yankee Stadium

I like the sunset from where we are sitting off the right field line. The sky's colour matches the diamond. Much of the new stadium incorporates design elements from the previous Yankee Stadium, paying homage to the Yankees' history including 'Babe Ruth Way' where we meet Katie and Jeremie.

Although construction here began in '06, the project has spanned years and faced all kinds of controversy, including the destruction of residential buildings and greenways. Financing for the stadium has also been divisive, with many criticizing a new sports venue instead of other pressing issues like, you know, schools, bridge works, water maintenance and so forth. But this is New York City, afterall, the home of baseball and what's a couple billion for a new ballpark? The cost to date $1.5 billion and the second most expensive stadium in the world after - you guessed it - ding ding - Wembley Stadium in London (we need a bunch of Chinese on spec and on time like their Olympics or the Beijing Airport). At least in NY the field sees at least half a baseball season while Wembley costs maybe £10 million an event (my estimate) based on depretiation and maintenance cost against a disturbingly low usage rate.

The Bronx BTW made some serious concessions to keep the Yankees as George Steinbrenner played hard-ball threatening to move the club from New York. As if. In return for giving up park space, the Bronx keeps the old Yankee's ball field while the existing infrastructure torn down. Everything else becomes parking, still under construction, and financed (of course) by the New York City taxpayer, God bless 'em (total parking construction cost >$70 million). Georgie got a pretty good deal and so did his sons, who now run the club. Moe tells me that Steinbrennner didn't trust his offspring to take over the team gifted management to his daughter's husband, he being George's son-in-law. Well, shithead divorced and now the boys in charge. They all must hate each other so let us hope they do a good job protecting the city jewel given the tax payer's investment. Regardless of the prattle, it is a magical place to see a baseball game with near-perfect visibility from every seat. There is an over-abundance of media screens offering live coverage and the Jumbotron (or whatever the hell it is called) enormous. Bathrooms, beer and services abundant and the only inconvenience finding your seat. Totally appropriate for America's biggest baseball market and the fans, well, forgetaboutit.

So here are the comps between old and new:

Characteristic Old Stadium [as of 2008] New Stadium
Opening Day April 18, 1923 April 16, 2009
Capacity 56,866 52,325 (includes standing room)
Seat width 18–22 inches
19–24 inches
Legroom 29.5 inches
33–39 inches
Concourse width
17 feet
32 feet
Cup holders None All seats in general seating bowl
Luxury suites 19 56
Team stores 6,800 square feet 11,560 square feet
Restroom fixture ratio 1 per 89 fans 1 per 60 fans
Public elevators
(passenger lifts)
(OTIS Traction)
(KONE traction)
Video scoreboard 25 feet by 33 feet
(Standard Definition LED)
59 feet by 101 feet
(High Definition LED)
Distance from Home Plate to:
72 feet 4 inches (22.05 m)
52 feet 4 inches
Left Field 318 feet 318 feet
Left Center 399 feet 399 feet
Center Field 408 feet 408 feet
Right Center 385 feet 385 feet
Right Field 314 feet 314 feet
Source: The New York Yankees

Today we have another most excellent New York afternoon seeing "West Side Story" at the Palace and then dinner at The Oyster Bar before our train. I have what I always have: New England clam chowder and seafood salad. Why mess around?

"When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way! from you first cigarette to your last dyin' days. "
-- Riff, singing