Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Legislating the fun out of the experience

There are some great things about seeing a game in person: the fans, the noise, the greeness of the field, the eternal hope of catching a foul ball or home run ball, trying to move to a better seat, the hang time with your friends (or family), etc. The list is a long one.

Except the Yanks are trying to legislate the fun right out of the in-person experience. And frankly, all of this is really draining the excitement out of this new Stadium for me. The prices have been rightfully ripped. The seat selection process was butchered. All of this has sapped my enthusiasm. So when I read this, I am officially at my wits end with what the Yanks are doing to us, the fans (emphasis mine):

Field Level Food Court

The food court located near Section 126 on the Field Level offers guests a taste of New York with a variety of concessions, including Boar's Head deli sandwiches, Famous Famiglia pizza and Asian cuisine. Please note that only Field Level and Legends ticket holders have access to the Field Level.

We have mentioned before that one of the most enjoyable aspects of going to baseball games is roaming around the stadium and checking out all of the nooks and crannies of the ballpark. Never before have we been to a ballpark that does not let fans explore the concessions on an entire level of the Stadium. We have been to Camden Yards in Baltimore, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Safeco Field in Seattle in the past few years and NONE of those stadiums have this policy.

To prevent us from using the facilities or making purchases on an entire level is really creating social stratification in the new Yankee Stadium that we are not comfortable with. This also means that the middle-class family coming to Yankee Stadium to see their heroes suit up in the pinstripes
will not be able to watch batting practice from the Field Level or try to procure autographs from their favorite players.

Batting Practice

Guests are welcome to watch batting practice from their seat location. Yankee Stadium gates will open at 10 a.m. for regular-season day games and 4 p.m. for regular-season night games. For Saturday Fox games during the regular season, gates will open at 1 p.m.

All of this is completely out of line with most other sporting venues where fans are encouraged to congregate close to the action during the pregame. We can only hope that the Yankees enforce the new A-Z guide as well as they did the old one, meaning hardly at all.
So if I bring my kids to the see batting practice, we have to stay in our seats, which will not be on the lower level, they can't move forward to try to land a ball or autograph? Thanks, Yanks, for very little positive fan experience.

Naturally, I blame Randy Levine.

Thanks to Jay at Fack Youk for first pointing this out. I wasn't going to riff on it but it was chafing the creases of my brain during lunch.


e-5 said...

HIM, being in San Diego and going to watch their attempt at Major League Baseball was supprised to see a 1/3 empty stadium in the playoffs with exactly the stadium restrictions you are relating to. Is NOT good!

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Yeah, that's a big concern

Angry Asshole said...

This is so frustrating. I live in NC and stuff like this makes it less and less desirable to make the trip. Just because they are one of the most popular franchises on Earth does not mean they can continue to treat their customers like crap and have people continue to show up. With all those expensive, long term contracts on the books, maybe it would be a good idea to treat the fans well?

lar said...

When I visited Yankee Stadium last year, I pretty much assumed that the Field Level would be off-limits to those without tickets. I had been burned by this same policy at US Cellular Field (which took *a lot* of the fun out of the game for me), and so I just assumed that, at a big money-factory like Yankee Stadium, it'd be the same. I was really pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. I figured that, as much as the Yankees are a money-hungry organization, they still knew how to treat their fans right at the ballpark.

I guess with the new park, those fan-friendly policies just can't survive. That's a bummer.

Anonymous said...

Fenway Park still allows you to roam around, with one exception: the Green Monster seats. A bummer. But it makes sense when you think about the potential human log jam that could occur in that relatively small section. Worst Case Scenario: someone gets pushed by a crunch of fans and falls off the Monster to the left field warning track, 37 feet below.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Anon, I've sat on those seats atop the Monster and they are flat out incredible and as unique a vantage point as there is in the game.

I am sure there are some classic "experience" seating sections (bleachers in Wrigley, for example), but none are any more unique than the Monster seats.

Anonymous said...

And when did the Yankees adopt the Major US Airlines customer satisfaction policy? Actually, it does make perfect sense. The team keeps on trying to buy pennants, offers ridiculous player compensation (admittedly, NOT a Yankee exclusive), and then has to find a way to suck every possible dime out of a fan who wants to be relatively close to the action.