"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Too Much F***ing Perspective

My in-laws got my wife and I some “Bomber Bucks” for Christmas, including with the gift their babysitting services so that Becky and I could get out to at least one game this year. It was a very thoughtful gift. Unfortunately, it turns out that Bomber Bucks can only be cashed in for tickets (not concessions or merchandise) and only at the ticket windows at Yankee Stadium. Adding insult to the difficulty of finding babysitting (thanks, Mom!), spending $25 on trains, and taking a three-hour round trip from suburban New Jersey to the Bronx simply to purchase tickets, the Yankee Stadium ticket windows didn’t open for business until five days after tickets went on sale to the general public via phone and internet.

When I finally got there on Friday, piggybacking the journey on a trip to mid-town for a “Bronx Banter Breakdown” taping (three segments coming Monday through Wednesday), I was informed that there were no bleacher seats left. Period. That the only seats to Red Sox games remaining were north of $300 a piece, and that of the six Sunday games my wife and I could both make, none had two available seats together in the grandstand. After playing what amounted to a game of battleship with the amicable young woman on the other side of the glass (“May 16″ “miss” “August 18″ “miss” “July 25″ “miss” . . .), I was finally able to use up the gift certificate on two pairs of nosebleed seats to weeknight games and a single ticket in the grandstand for a Monday night game in May against the Orioles. Remember, tickets had only been on sale to the general public for a week. Frustrated and disappointed, I stuck my tickets in my bag, wheeled around and was greeted by this:

It is a monument to corruption, greed, and the failures of our municipal and state governments to act in the best interests of the people they are supposed to represent, and a vile and disgusting insult to all but the wealthiest of Yankee fans.

. . . what they’ve really done is take affordable seats away from the common fan who can only afford to sit in the upper deck or bleachers of the current Stadium and relocated them to parts of the ballpark only the wealthy can afford. To make matters worse, the new Stadium will hold 4,561 fewer fans, and you can surely guess which seats are being slashed. With a smaller bleacher capacity, a smaller upper deck, and an increase in luxury and outdoor suite seating, the new Stadium will be spitting out fans of modest means to accommodate the organization’s target audience of free-spending fat cats.

That was what I wrote about the new Yankee Stadium back in September 2008, three days before the final game in the real Yankee Stadium, a game Becky and I would watch from the right-field bleacher seats that were ours every Sunday, Opening Day, and Old-Timers’ Day for the old park’s final six years. Yesterday, I felt the harsh reality of those words.

To be honest, my fanaticism has receded in recent years, in part due to professional necessity and in part due to the team’s stadium shenanigans, which have soured me significantly, but I still consider myself a Yankee fan. I inherited it from my grandfathers. I paid my dues as a kid growing up in the ’80s when the Mets were hip and Yankee hats were about as cool as bell bottoms and mutton chops. I indoctrinated my wife in the ’90s, and I’m not about to abandon her or that familial tradition now. I hope to introduce my daughter to the joys of baseball through her inherited Yankee fandom. I just wish the team my family and I root for wanted or even needed us just a little.

17 comments

1 FlyGirlFan   ~  Mar 27, 2010 12:10 pm

Cliff - My boyfriend and I share your pain and frustration. I'm a flight attendant for "The Official Airline of the NY Yankees" and we were offered 50% off the ticket price for select seats on M-Th games throughout the course of the season. We were finally able to get seats to an Orioles game on September 8th after also playing a lengthy game of "Battleship" online. We had hoped to attend more games this year, but our prospects look slim. We will spend 3 hours and $30 on the train/subway to get to the Stadium, and for 2 tickets we spent $97.20 - which included the "privilege" of being required to print my tickets at home for $2.50.

2 Jay Jaffe   ~  Mar 27, 2010 12:56 pm

"We Don't Take Itchy and Scratchy Money!" was the first thing I thought of when I read this. What a total f***ing drag, Cliff.

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 27, 2010 1:19 pm

Last year, I splurged for some relatively pricy seats in different parts of the park. I sat in the seats over Monument Park (oy), field seats behind LF outfield scoreboard (great), the bleachers (not half-bad), and other spots. I did this thinking I might want partial season tickets this season.

Given the way the economy is, I decided to forego that season ticket plan this year.

Through my City of New York employment, I was able to purchase tickets in section 233A (near LF foul pole). Tickets were normally $55, but I got them for $35 (plus shipping/handling). I got 5 pairs of those for various weeknights throughout the season.

p.s. Tino sounds like he's got a deviated septum ... sigh.

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 27, 2010 1:27 pm

Ummm .... the Yankee coaches, and the NY media who cover them ... "bonded" during a paintball excursion yesterday.

Does this strike anyone as odd ...

5 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 27, 2010 1:43 pm

I can understand your frustration with Bomber Bucks, but all of those restrictions are clearly presented on the website. This form of gift certificate has been around for quite some time, and were a useful way to give the gift of Yankee tickets before they became so hard to come by. I don't think you can blame the Yankees for being so popular.

As for the concerns about not being able to buy good seats to good games, well, that's really unfounded. The catch, however, is you need to use Stub Hub. Even though I have season ticket holders pre-sale access, I didn't even bother with the Yankees limited inventory. Instead, I have been supplementing my Friday plan with games from Stub Hub. So far, I have purchased 4 additional games in the bleachers (which are incredible seats) at prices just below or above face value. The discounts were even greater last year (and may still materialize this season as the games draw near). So, the reality is good seats have really never been more accessible to "average fans".

Now, the above clearly doesn't help someone with Bomber Bucks or hoping to take advantage of a team discount, but it does apply to most fans...many of whom have lamented an inability to find seats without exploring this option.

6 rbj   ~  Mar 27, 2010 1:55 pm

That's one (only?) of the benefits of living in Toledo. Every seat to a Mudhens game is $9. And 32 oz beers were $6.75 last year. (probably be $7 this year).

7 Mattpat11   ~  Mar 27, 2010 2:44 pm

As someone who relies on the cheap bleacher and upper deck seats, the only real issue I've had is the big ugly black room obstructing views from the bleachers. I've had no issues obtaining tickets I want.

8 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 27, 2010 3:22 pm

[5] have you gotten your season tickets in the mail yet? I'm still waiting on mine, I don't expect them until later this week at the earliest but I wasn't sure if anyone else had gotten their's.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Mar 27, 2010 3:25 pm

and FWIW the old stadium can't come down fast enough for my taste. I loved it as much as anyone but we don't want another Tiger Stadium on our hands. Plus the faster it comes down, the faster the neighborhood gets their parkland.

10 seamus   ~  Mar 27, 2010 5:04 pm

[6] one of the advantages of living in Pittsburgh too. Yes the Pirates suck. But the park is beautiful and the games are extremely fun and relaxing for me. WHich doesn't mean I wouldn't mind some intense nail biting Yankees games. I'd love that!

11 RIYank   ~  Mar 27, 2010 7:47 pm

West Virginia is 0 for 10 for two-point field goals and they have no free throws, but they're 7 for 12 from 3-point range! Amazing.

12 rufuswashere   ~  Mar 27, 2010 8:23 pm

My favorite web site for tickets:

http://www.fansnap.com

Aggregates tons of web vendors (including stubhub); shows location; shows what the tickets cost compared to others right near by; often even gives you a "view" from the spot.

Plus, it's market economics at its best -- when supply exceeds demand, the prices come down pretty fast on that site.

13 ccovey123   ~  Mar 27, 2010 9:44 pm

Agreed wtih the commenters about the secondary market. I have found tickets fairly easy to come by over the last year for a decent price, usually a few bucks over face but not much more than you would pay with Ticketmaster fees.

Cliff, as a long time reader and someone who rarely comments, it's sad to hear both in this post and the interview you guys did with one of the other blogs that you are losing your "fanaticism". I get that you are not happy with how things went down with the stadium but to me, that is more a sign of the times and less a wrong doing by the Yankees. This team and management gives its fans a lot to be proud of.

14 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 27, 2010 10:32 pm

[13]

StubHub, aside from their usurious fees, is a great place for finding tickets. I snagged a ticket in section 110 for what turned out to be Jeter's record-breaking hit game the day before the game for $75.

15 Hugh Mulcahy   ~  Mar 28, 2010 9:42 am

[10] Seamus - scalpers at PNC Park are great. Always a good seat available. Not nearly as easy as it was at 3 Rivers, though, to slip a fin to Mr. Deiuilius, the usher on the first base line, and get the best seat in the house after the 3d inning.

Still, comparing it to Toledo is a bit much. I spent one night in Toledo. Went to a very nice steak house / bar downtown and the nice lady who owned the place wouldn't let me walk home at night - insisted on driving me five blocks because she didn't want a 37 year old man from out of town walking the streets after dark. Got back to my $99 a night suite - 2 huge rooms with a hot tub. Sounds nice but, it was as ratty as the no-tel motel on rural Route 422 in PA. Had a nice vew from teh tenth floor. Went to crack the window to have a smoke and the window fell ten stories to the street. Nobody noticed. Nobody called after I checked out to ask what happened.

16 mrm1970   ~  Mar 28, 2010 8:21 pm

I used to go to lots of games in the late 1980s. The team was lousy, the Stadium was empty and tickets were cheap and easy to obtain. I'm not interested returning to a time when Yankee games mean an easy ticket, an empty stadium and a lousy team.

17 Laurence Smith   ~  Mar 29, 2010 5:31 pm

I would love to have a small piece of the ol Yankee Stadium. There must be a small chunck of concrete lying around the demolition site that someone who wants to make $$ can mail to me in Canada? About the size of a quarter with a photo of it on the ground would be all it takes to make $$$........can't anyone help? The Yankees office told me pretty well to F*** off and then said the site is secured from all humans and that I could buy some 'freeze dried' Yankee Stadium grass in a chrome frame for 99 dollars...or a seat for 399 dollars ....yeah....okay...let me know Yankee lovers....let me know!!
Laurence

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