Monday, April 6, 2009

Tales from the New Stadium

Wish I was there this weekend to help give the new Stadium a test drive, but luckily we have some FOTB's who were good enough report in.

One is from Ross from New Stadium Insider, who delivers a wonderful (and brutally honest) review of his thoughts from the game. Most disappointing for me:

Views from the entire Grandstand are terrible. Moving things back by 30 feet has made all of the difference in the world. The Grandstand evokes memories of Shea Stadium - don't count on a baseball, fair or foul, ever reaching there. This may be a positive for some who are scared of getting hit with a foul ball, but it also really removes you from the action. The seats in the outfield sections are far, far away. I would trade those $20 tickets for $12 tickets in the bleachers STRAIGHT UP - no questions asked. Any takers?
I noted this way back when as the profile of the stands has become more bowl-like (like Shea used to be) rather than closer to the field and more vertical. Said me:
I love how the upper deck in the current stadium is so close to the field. It's not a big bowl like Shea or some other stadiums. The fans are closer and louder. Now, as it seems, the new stadium will be a bigger bowl with the fans further away. Maybe the seats will be nicer or have a better "view", but I'd easily give up the perfect sightlines to be closer to the field, louder for the opposition.
Next, a first-hand report from reader Alex, who's views about the Grandstand differ from Ross' and my fears:
In case you didn't get a chance to make it to either of the exhibition games this weekend.

The new stadium is VERY nice. We sat in the Grandstand level on the infield. Even though we were in the highest deck it didn't feel like we were that far away from the action. I always felt like the old stadium was way too steep when you got to the higher levels, but this one just felt more sloped and not as dangerous.

As for the food, we just ate some Johnny Rockets burger and fries since that and a "snack" stand were closest to our seats (I'm not a big fan of carrying food all over the place). There was a stand near us that had all kinds of nicer beer though (Heineken, Blue Moon, Bass, etc.). On the field level is where all the good eats are. There is an area I would call a food court where the Sushi, BBQ, and noodle bowl places along with others are. They have small tables set up for you to eat at as well. My real gripe with (both) the stadiums food was the lack of packets (or even cups) of condiments. You have to glop a pile of ketchup or mustard into your food container, very messy.

The entrance at gate 6 (under the Yankee Stadium sign) was very cool. There are pictures of different former (and current?) Yankee players. When you walk through it you get the feeling you are walking into somewhere special.

Other than the the Cubs not hitting or pitching well, the experience was very good. They seemed to pull off having the feel of the old historic place but with all the new modern comforts.

We also made it to Citi on Friday, we didn't explore as much because the wife and I got there at different times (her after the game started) and the weather didn't make it that fun to get out from under the overhang we were under. My overall feeling of the place was that it didn't have much character. It didn't seem all the dissimilar to Great American Ballpark in Cincy. The one thing they just absolutely NAILED with Citi is the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. That area is totally awesome. When I walked into the place I was in awe of how nice it was. I actually thought it was the coolest place in either of the new places.
Thanks for the iReport, Alex!

Another from Scott Proctor's Arm: Back from the Stadium: Initial thoughts.

And one from Alex Belth: Scenes from a Mall


Ron Rollins said...

There's a big difference.

The first guy went to watch the game. What a novel concept.

The second guy went to experience the stadium and the atmosphere. Not the same thing at all.

So it worked. It's a cash cow for visitors, but the true fan (just like in every new park being built) is being shut out again.

The people who actually care about what it happening on the field get no consideration, because the people who don't care about the game are willing to spend their money to say they've been there.

Alex K said...

@ Ron Rollins:

Simply put, you're wrong. I went to watch the game. I just happen to disagree with the first guy. I didn't feel like I was too far away from the game, and it held my attention just fine. It's not really fair to assume that just because I actually liked the new place that I don't care about what happens on the field.

My review was skewed to the food because of an earlier post from Jason about the food.

Ron Rollins said...

Alex, with all due respect, the first guy talked about seeing the field, and what happened on it.

You talked about the food, the beer, the entrance, the pictures, etc, and never one mentioned the game or what you thought of being able to see it.

With all due respect to you, and I won't say your wrong, but I stand by my original statement, as far as most people (maybe not you) going to the stadium, vs going to the game.

The fact that you never once mentioned the field or what took place on it tells me all I need to know.

If you actually went to see the game, then my apologies. But that's not what you said.

Alex K said...

"Other than the the Cubs not hitting or pitching well"

"Even though we were in the highest deck it didn't feel like we were that far away from the action."

Both of those quotes are directly from my review. So while that wasn't the main foucs of my review I didn't completely ignore the action on the field. Once again, I skewed towards the food because of an earlier post by Jason about it (the food) where he asked for reviews. I also thought the entrance was a very nice part and decided to share.

I didn't mean to come off as an a-hole in my comment, but it really annoyed me that you put me in the "don't care about the game" crowd. I'll agree that there are a large amount of people that do just go for the atmosphere, I'm just not one of them.

As for my feelings about the actual game:

The ball seemed to carry really well to right center. Matsui hit a ball that looked like it was going to be a routine flyball to medium right center and it just kept going and going. Jeter's HR while hit well looked like more like a gapper, but all the sudden it was gone. Both of Teix's shots were gone no matter what, but the first made it over the bullpen because of the carry.

I didn't have any problem with how far away the grandstnd was from the field. I was, however, in the second row down the third base line so it's not like I had to go up to the back rows. I felt just as connected and close to the game as I did in the old satdium grandstand. The sound did go out for a couple innings and that made the experience even better in some ways. We weren't sunject to the little electronic claps and whatnot, just the game (the only bad thing was there were a lot of subs coming in and I wasn't always totally sure who was hitting for the Cubs).

Ron Rollins said...

Alex Belth on the new Yankee Stadium …

The overall impression I got was that this place is a mall featuring a baseball field. I spoke with some people who think it feels bigger than the old park, but it seemed smaller to me, because of the restaurant, but chiefly because of the mammoth HD TV that is the centerpiece of the scoreboard section high above center field. The TV is so captivating, so impossibly clear, that it virtually overshadows the field and serves to shorten the space between home plate and center field. I had a hard time turning away.

That's what Neyer quoted you as saying. Welcome to the big time.

1. I never in any inferred that you were an a-hole, or any other inuslt. I simply said you are one of the people who go to the stadium, versus going to the game.

That quote above, again, tells me I wasn't wrong.

2. You are there, so kudos to you for that. It's baseball, and it's great. Don't take offense where it wasn't given.

3. Good analysis of how the ball carries. That shoud have been the first paragraph. The food can wait.

4. If you're going to talk about the stadium, and not the game, it means you're more interested in the stadium and not the game.

5. The real baseball fans who are interested in the game itself, are being shunted to the side so people can go enjoy a building. That statement there should speak for itself.

That being said, I don't care if the games played in a cow pasture. It's about what happens on the field, not around the field.

Throw the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball.

Alex K said...

I can't lay claim to that quote. I'm a different Alex. I simply wrote an email to Jason last night with my feelings on the stadium, not the game because I assumed he watched.

I didn't know if I came across as an a-hole, just wanted to make sure to let you know that it wasn't my intention if I did.

I talked about the stadium and it's different features because it is brand new and a lot of people haven't gotten the chance to visit. I was passing along my experience. It doesn't mean I'm more interested in the stadium, just that I was sharing what I thought of the different amenities.

I'm with you on the play the game anywhere thing. If they're playing, I'll watch.

Ron Rollins said...


My apologies for giving you credit for the quote.

I think the teams have given up on the real fans who want to watch the game, and cater to people who go for the experience instead.

That's how it came across to me, but it's my fault, because I tried to get in your head and know what you were thinking. Always dangerous.

Anyhow, we have baseball. Life is good.

Alex K said...

We do have baseball. What else really matters today? Not much in my book. May your team have a good year and win their division, unless they play in the NL Central and aren't the Cubs!