"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 4/4/09

Let’s get to it . . .

  • The Times provides an interactive guide to the new cathedral.
  • Joel Sherman has mixed feelings about the new Stadium:

The new Yankee Stadium has just about everything you would want in a modern sports facility, except charm and a sense of proportion. . . .

(Yet) the place brought nausea, not nostalgia. It just feels like the wrong time in the history of this country and this city to be opening up the George Mahal. When the project was initiated 2 ½ years ago, the Yankees could not have known what the state of the economy was going to be now.

But this is about more than wrong place, wrong time. The Yankees’ sense of entitlement and unrestrained excess is timeless. They will tell you they built this stadium for the everyman, stressing what they consider still affordable pricing and amenities. But this stadium, in actuality, was built for a moneyed class that in many respects does not even exist in this city any longer.

  • Mr. Sherman provides a listing of the 2009 payroll, and comes up with $207.4 million.
  • Harvey Araton seems to feel the same way as Mr. Sherman:

The new Yankee Stadium is not about improved atmosphere; it is about amenities — and there are many. But in the context of New York’s fiscal reality, are they worth what was taken from the neighborhood folk, the taxpayer subsidies and the unholy prices of the premium seats, a fair number of which remain available? . . .

The unsold seats that stand to create pockets of blue reminders of overreaching are the Yankees’ problem. But the Steinbrenners have what they long wanted, while the players have computer screens at their dressing stalls inside a mall of a clubhouse that has a kitchen with two chefs, among places where reporters won’t roam. . . .

Of course, the demolition of the old Stadium is overdue. The neighborhood deserves at least some of its precious parkland back now that the house George M. Steinbrenner built with the help of the willing and the unwilling is officially open for business.

  • PeteAbe gives his first impressions of the Stadium on a game day:

The biggest difference? Those fancy Legends seats that stretch from first base to third base are set apart by a high concrete wall. It’s like they wanted to protect the wealthy from the rest of society.

The building is just immense. The Great Hall looks like you could run a train through it. There are two small scoreboards in right and left field that show the linescore, the count, etc. There are also a lot more bleacher seats. A whole lot more.

  • Some fans offered their thoughts on the new park:

As a longtime Yankees fan who saw more than 200 games at the old House that Ruth Built, Mike Generose acknowledged feeling a bit sentimental about the Yankees’ old park, still standing alongside the new venue.

“A little bit of your heart stays across the street,” he said. “But I guess if you have to move, this is a good place to move into.”

The Bronx stadium felt and sounded every bit like its urban setting, with elevated subway trains rumbling by within sight behind the outfield.

John Panzico lauded the ballpark’s openness as he squeezed the new, cushioned seats.

“I grew up in the old stadium. I brought my children there,” said the 62-year-old Panzico, who was raised on Staten Island and now lives in upstate Monroe. “I hope I’ll be starting a new tradition at this stadium with my grandchildren.”

Under the rules of Delta’s Jeter/Wright Batting Challenge, the player who ends the season with the highest batting average (based on a minimum 400 at bats) wins the big bonus for his charity.

In this competition, the loser is still a winner – his charity gets $50,000.

If for some reason one of the players gets hurt and doesn’t make the minimum number of at bats, Delta will call off the competition and give $75,000 to each of the players’ charities.

  • The Boston Globe starts the year with 100 things to know about the Rays, Sox and Yankees.
  • On this date in 1989, on the opening day of the new season, New York Yankees pitcher Tommy John ties a major league record by playing in his 26th season. John beats the Minnesota Twins, 4 – 2, for his 287th win.
  • On this date in 1994, a total of 56,706 fans attend Opening Day, making it the largest crowd ever at the (then new) Yankee Stadium.
  • We’ve arrived at the NCAA Final Four, which means we should take a look at the 2009 “Bronx Madness” standings.  “Heel Yeah”, despite having two fewer correct picks than “Karim Abdul Garcia”, leads by 38 points.  “Heel Yeah” has three of the four teams, including their title pick of North Carolina, still alive.  “Garcia” only has two teams alive, and their title pick of Louisville went down in the Elite Eight.  The only way “Heel Yeah” doesn’t take the honors is if Michigan State and Villanova win their respective semifinal matchups.  Then “Spanking the Wooden Floor” (ahem) will steal the top prize.

See you Monday . . .

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 4, 2009 10:46 am

Pete's wrong about the bleacher capacity. He should check the facts on that one. There are actually significantly fewer bleacher seats.

2 monkeypants   ~  Apr 4, 2009 11:45 am

[1] Cliff, is that true? I thought the Yankee propaganda claimed the bleacher capacity was the same. Hmmm...how many bleachers in the old stadium? There are about 5000 in the new stadium, right?

3 PJ   ~  Apr 4, 2009 11:58 am

Lon Trost said this morning to Francesa that the bleachers have the same capacity.

4 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 4, 2009 12:48 pm

Okay, so Pete and I were both wrong. My bad. I could swear I read that there were fewer seats. The reconfiguration is such it's impossible to tell while you're out there, but the benches are bigger and there's more legroom and that seemed to confirm to me that the capacity had been reduced to allow for those changes.

5 PJ   ~  Apr 4, 2009 4:30 pm

As Kim Jones pointed out, "Our butts are bigger!" You just can't beat brutally honest reporting like that!

For me, the best story other than how the team played at their new home for both games was yesterday when Paul O'Neill was denied access to the Clubhouse TWICE because he did not have the proper credentials for entrance. He only had a Press Badge. Now, that's hilarious! That's all they gave David Wells too, and when they miked up Girardi during today's game, they both gave him DTR for that from the booth as though it was all his doing...

You can't make that stuff up!


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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