Major League Baseball

A Billion Dollars, Higher Taxes, and I Still can’t See a Damn Thing

Unless you turned your television off in between April 1 and October 31 last year, all that any baseball fan heard about during the 2008 baseball season was the impending closure of Yankee Stadium. Never mind the horrible play of the team that inhabits the building. Never mind their third baseman’s inability to provide a clutch home run. Forget that their captain has had a steady decrease in his defensive statistics.

It was the end of an era. The House that Ruth Built, Baseball’s Cathedral, a home to a rather successful baseball team, and a building that housed some of the most memorable events in sports and social history. A building where thirty-nine World Series were played was hunkering down to pay a fond farewell to the fans that have come and gone for a good part of 85 years. It was nearly sickening to see all of the things sold by Major League Baseball that donned the logo of the stadium. Most people have seen it, the front gate of the stadium with the years 1923-2008 above it. Funny, considering the stadium hadn’t had the featured gate in over thirty years. I guess you need some way to fund what the team would be moving into, right?

Looming over this stadium, with the same address, sat a slightly larger building that looked more like the original House that Ruth Built, with all the modern day amenities that one would expect in a five star hotel. Inside of it, three restaurants, 25 fixed concession stands and 112 movable cart stands would contain all the *healthy* eating one could ask for. A more spacious seat for our ever increasing sized society provides near movie theatre comfort. Numerous stores that sell almost enough apparel of the interlocking NY, one will almost wish to move out of the same zone to get away from it all.

However, this is all in vein when it comes to actually viewing a game. Where you sit inside of a stadium or an arena usually makes up the entire decision on going to a game or not. Some people won’t go to a game if they aren’t sitting behind home plate. Some won’t go if they’re a little too far up. There are many factors in deciding your seat. There is still one deal-breaker wherever you may sit. Obstructed view seating. Those three words usually equal two things, a lower ticket price, and a less enjoyable viewing experience. One would think after spending a billion and a half dollars, those three words simply would not exist. Unfortunately for fans and residents of New York, they do. It’s almost painful to see what it looks like from those obstructed spots, especially since their locations are either quite pricey, or where some of the most diehard of fans congregate.

The first example is the bleacher section. Long have Yankee fans known, if you dare step into the bleacher sections of Yankee Stadium, be prepared for some of the most rowdy, foul-mouthed fans that you will ever meet. With no alcohol served, you would almost expect a family atmosphere. Except that most of them are sitting in the parking lot at 8 AM drinking for a 1 PM game. In between the left and right field bleachers, where the batter’s eye lies, one of the few restaurants was placed. No longer will you be able to look over the center field black seats to see a fantastic play in the opposite field. Now, you get the view of a concrete wall, and maybe someone peering down at those rowdy fans who love to scream upstairs that “box seats suck.” Well, at least they’ll be able to see the opposite field.

http://i43.tinypic.com/29lk0ow.jpg (View from Yankees.com seat selector)

Then you have what I consider to be one of the biggest failures in design that the stadium has. In the main bowl, all around the ring against the wall, there are beams that hang right in the view of play. It’s downright embarrassing that in 2009, after a billion and a half dollars, years of construction, and after touting how “modern” the stadium is, there are still obstructed view seats due to beams. Really? Beams? It might be one of the most aggravating things to see when it comes to this new stadium and its design.

http://i44.tinypic.com/aoxnic.jpg

(Big thank you to “Mastermind” from NYY Fans for snapping this)

The Yankees have stated that they will go ahead and place television monitors in areas that may seem problematic when it comes to viewing the field. That’s like going to a wedding and being seated in another room to watch it via closed circuit television. After all the money they charge the fans, the nerve of them to say they’ll put in televisions so they can see. They might as well poke you in the eye when you enter the stadium. Why not? You won’t be seeing much anyway. It was obviously a complete afterthought on the part of the designers and the Yankees. Too much time spent looking for amenities to drag in a casual fan, and not enough to keep the regulars coming for more (by more, I mean higher ticket prices, more overpaid talent, more A-Rod drama, and more nasty and rude “customer service” agents).

Well, we can all have some solace knowing that the entire lower ring of the stadium has cup holders. At least I can be assured that I won’t kick my drink over while moving my head around to see one of my overpaid players strike out with runners in scoring position. Here’s to the 2009 season. One that is sure to be filled with joy, sorrow, and only half of the outfield.

Click here for the New York Yankees: Essential Games Of Yankee Stadium DVD.

Click here for the New York Yankees Baseball Dynasty – History Of The New York Yankees DVD.

Erik Espenberg is a native New Yorker who is an avid fan of the Yankees, Rangers, and Jets. When not writing for Camel Clutch, he can be found killing his brain cells playing assorted video games. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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