I am going off topic for my Tuesday post today, and will not be talking about the word pyramid, save to say that I had a lot of fun constructing it, and that DISCO LANE deserves a huge assist to my lovely wife. I did something last night that I wish to share/expound upon and I hope you forgive the indulgence. This won’t happen often.
Last night I was able to get a pair of free tickets through my job to the Yankees/Rays game at the new Yankee Stadium. This was the first time I had set foot in the new ballpark after having attended games on and off for 38 years at the old one, and boy did it feel odd. The new Yankee Stadium is much easier to navigate, has more amenities (restrooms, food stands and the like), and has roomier seats and decent sight lines (even if you were sitting 10 rows up in the right field upper deck) (two parenthesis in one sentence?) (Now four, OK, I’ll stop). Having said all this, the new Yankee Stadium just didn’t wow me. It made an impression on me, but did not impress.
Sure, the restaurants, and art stores, and higher scale food was great, but does Yankee Stadium really need that to make it great? Lets just put all of the greed and vanity elements of the Yanks and Steinbrenner aside. I know most of the reasons for a new Yankee Stadium are rooted in making some very rich people that much richer. I know the shady and unfulfilled promises make to the Bronx about developing the land that old Yankee Stadium sits on. I am just focusing on the visceral experience of watching a Yankee game at the stadium, and I found all of the new bells and whistles did not enhance, but distract from the game. There was more pre-recorded music and less organ music. More shouty announcements from the PA instead of the classic Bob Sheppard calls. And I’m going to stop now because I sound really old…
The friend who accompanied me to the game last night also went to the next to last game at the old Stadium with me and we were both left a little cold. I asked around my office today about impressions of the New Yankee Stadium and the words that came back were “sterile” and “corporate”. For me, if the old Yankee Stadium was a cathedral to baseball, the new one is a shrine. Cathedrals celebrate the past but stay vital through present use, while shrines are solely used to extol the past and usually through excess. I have a sneaky suspicion that the new Yankee Stadium will never be “my” Yankee Stadium, just like the old one was not my father’s anymore after it’s face-lift in the ’70’s.
That is the way of New York City. Old institutions reinvent themselves for the next set of youngsters, and while the New Yankee Stadium is not for me, I will gladly let others make it their own.