A snapshot from Saturday at the new Yankee Stadium, a locale I visited for the first time:
It was free Lunchbox day at the Stadium; the first 10,000 or so kids got a nice little back-to-school present for September.
After the game as my friend Victoria and I were walking out, we saw adults with signs saying “I will buy your lunchbox,” and others saying “Lunchboxes for sale.” (Why they didn’t just get together, I don’t know).
Anyway, we’re walking behind a dad and his kid, who’s maybe 8. The kid suddenly starts walking up to one of the grown-ups looking for lunchboxes and says, “I’ll sell you mine.” Minute or two later, the kid sells his lunchbox, and walks away proudly with the 10 bucks.
Aah, New Yorkers, always so entrepreneurial. I actually felt kind of sad that the kid valued money over a cool Yankees lunchbox.
I’ve written before that I think the new Yankee Stadium was a ridiculously unnecessary structure.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old House that Ruth Built. Just Yankees greed, led by the dearly departed George Steinbrenner and former mayor Rudy Giuliani, and the complete bowing down of the city of New York to whatever subsidies or tax breaks the Yankees wanted, built the new park on 161st Street in the Bronx.
I was pretty sure I was never going to go into the new Stadium. But I wilted when Victoria, a native Kansan and a dear friend with a heart the size of Texas, said she wanted to see a game at the new Park.
So Victoria and I met in NYC, and took the D train to the Bronx Saturday, to watch Royals-Yanks.
My thoughts? First, it’s enormous. The stadium is an ode to excess, gluttony and just, vastness. The concourses are so wide you could drive most of the Long Island Expressway rush-hour traffic through them. There’s a concession stand selling food or beer every 5-10 feet.
Still, it’s a pretty amazing place, I must admit. The scoreboard was unbelievably gorgeous, with picture quality better than any HDTV you could watch. The selection and choices of food and drink were also incredible; we didn’t go to any of the restaurants because we didn’t want to miss the game, but there were choices for everyone.
The personnel at the Stadium was also helpful and tremendous in number; everywhere you looked there was an employee ready to help with any question.
Our seats were pretty bad, way up in the upper deck on the first-base line, but you still had a great view of everything. Didn’t seem to be any obstructed seats in the house that seats over 50,000. There’s also a Yankees Museum in the Stadium which we didn’t get to because the line was so long; and cool features like the Babe Ruth Plaza outside, and banners of great ex-Yankees inside).
(One quibble as a Yankees fan: Used to be they played Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York” only after a win, and Liza Minelli’s rendition after a loss. Saturday they lost and still we heard Old Blue Eyes. Heresy, I say.)
I came away impressed, but still annoyed at the excess of the place. The prices are outrageous, for tickets and for everything else in the joint. It’s a facility that basically screams “Look at us and how great we are!”
To that end, mission accomplished. Even on a day when the team poops the bed and loses to lowly Kansas City, visiting the stadium is still a pretty memorable experience.