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.
Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!
Brick work just inside the opening matches the color of the limestone - per Jerry Bell's requirements.
Also from the same lobby, other window, a view which will clearly disappear before too long...
Click to enlarge.
Also warming things up are these planters.
Steel meets concrete, with the last rays of sun visible through the suite and concourse openings at left.
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.
Looking northeast from the ballpark site (Source: LP)
Looking back toward downtown from the end of the balcony
Name that ballpark
Roped off for the LRT crowd
Greatest spot in the city for cooking up some hot dogs. And would you kill for that grill?
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
Usher Anna hands out Homer Hankies
The blue line now indicates where the back of the accessible seating ends and standing room begins.
Mussina's first pitch. (Playing 3rd: Not A-Rod)
Gate 3 ticket window
Griffith Stadium (notch visible in lower photo at far left)
Someone please get those poor people a drink of water. (Gate 34, after the game had started)
A great view from the balcony outside the Metropolitan Club
Mauer steps in for the first time.
Seventh Street windows
This is NOT Twins Territory anymore
B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.
The Northstar stop has a name.
Of the players up there, only Bert does not have a gate with his number (28) on it at Target Field. You know, there is that door underneath the skywalk on Seventh Street between gates 14 and 29...
Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)
Stepping inside the circulation building
This is the last hope for so-called knot-hole views. I'm skeptical.
Fenway has posts. Target Field does not. But...
In the foreground you can see the supports for the plaza as it will meet the corner of North Seventh Street and Third Avenue North.