Sunshine and high humidity led to sweating and baseball at Yankee Stadium today, and it was a great experience. I am truly glad I went.
Though I'm back in Minneapolis, I only have enough time to give some quick impressions. Many of you have probably been there and can back me up (or not).
The place is pretty impressive, but nowhere near as iconic up close as it is in photographs or on TV. It's a stadium, with all of the very familiar hoopla surrounding it, and it's just kind of worn out. The concourses are terribly cramped, the seats are faded and rusty, the amenities are squeezed into spaces much too small.
I think that if I were a Yankee fan (which I was for just this one day -- left a bad taste in my mouth, and not just because they stunk up the place), I would have preferred that they rebuild on the same site rather than moving up the road.
There was a time when the Red Sox had HOK design a Fenway clone which could be built just to the southwest of the original. But then they wised up. It would look a little like Fenway, but it wouldn't actually be Fenway. Better to gradually rebuild the original (which they have done beautifully) than to bulldoze it.
The new Yankee stadium bears some resemblance to the current, and a passing (though not exactly faithful) resemblance to the original, but it will never be "the house that Ruth built." (To be fair, old-timers say that the renovations in the 70s killed that park anyway.)
One thing that must move with the team to the new park, and probably will, is the rabidity of the fans. I sat in an upper box surrounded by people -- even kids -- who spent the whole game talking about baseball. Things like why A-Rod wasn't playing but Giambi was. Or where Joba would be next year: rotation or bullpen? And where did all these new guys come from? (The kid behind me, about 12 years old, could answer any question and talked like a 45-year-old fan. Probably his dad.)
I also heard it on the subway, and at the Sbarro stand out at the airport where the cashier, seeing my hat, asked me what had happened in the game. When he heard that Mussina got rocked, he just shook his head. Then he muttered some unkind words about Sidney Ponson, who was scheduled to start the second game.
I guess that The Team makes The Fan, and they, together with History, make The Stadium a special place.
It's the direct connection to History that you lose by moving up the road, but if the other elements hold strong, I suppose there will be plenty of new History created over time.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
At lower left are the seats I'm not going to use any time soon.
In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.
The canopy as viewed through the outfield stands. The lighting approach, despite what you may have heard, is actually very traditional.
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
World Series trophies on display at left
Bruce Lambrecht on the roof of the Minikahda building.
Looking back toward downtown from the end of the balcony
This looks like a Twins Pub, but is actually the scoreboard operations.
Looking for some detail
The media all turned out!
Those two empty seats in the front row are where we started the game.
A beautiful, glowing sunset after the rain.
Ready for action.
Click to see the full-size image.
Looking back toward First Avenue
An early concept for the pedestrial bridge. (Source: Ballpark Authority, RP)
Let's be honest and say that this promenade, which will face the HERC plant, won't be the most exciting part of the streetscape. It has to be provided for circulation reasons, but there won't be much to see unless vendors and other attractions take root here.
(Click to enlarge greatly)
Signature elements. (And they wonder why we think the real trees look so small...)
Section 101, Row 34
I think this promenade over the railroad tracks needs a name. How about the Halsey Hall Promenade? (Please do not throw cigar butts onto the tracks!)
iew of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.