Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Inside the New Stadium

CBS Sportsline writer Larry Dobrow recently took a tour of the new Yankee Stadium. Here's some of what he had to say, oh, and yes he's a Yankees fan.
We proceeded into the so-called Great Hall, I started mentally filling out a Bank of America job application. Holy temple of awesome. Big (around 1.6 times the square footage of its predecessor, even with a few thousand fewer seats).

Shiny (lotsa glass and chrome). Bright (the old Yankee Stadium, mystique-y and aura-tastic as it may have been, was perpetually caked in grime). If this is the future of the stadium experience, I humbly request to be teleported to next April. You can have your quaint ivy walls and forbidding monsters of green; me, I'll take the laser beam turbo rocket ship.

First up was the super-super-lounge, an enormous two-floor chamber soon to feature bars, multiple serving stations and -- get this -- tablecloths. Later we'd visit the higher-deck super-lounge, which, while not quite as appropriate for christenings or jazz recitals, nonetheless affords superior field views. Both areas will eventually be wallpapered with flat-screen TVs. Neither screams "ball yard" so much as "Marriott in downtown Indianapolis," but they're nice if you're into that sort of thing.

The tour continued with a descent into the stadium's nether regions and shortcut through the oval-shaped Yankee clubhouse (nearly as big as a regulation basketball court) and the adjacent bathroom (nearly as big as the old Yankee clubhouse).

...And then we walked through the tunnel into the cruise ship of a dugout, and exploded out onto the field.

This, not the steakhouses or the Hard Rock Cafes or the post offices or the arboretums, is why the new Yankee Stadium will make hard-core, old-time, middle-tax-bracket fans very, very happy. Yes, there are modern flourishes, like the monstrous video screen and the obligatory center-field outdoor café dealie. But mostly the new field is the old field.

The dimensions remain the same, save for the elimination of chunks of foul territory around home plate and the first- and third-base lines (this won't thrill the pitchers, I imagine). Most important, the upper decks still hang tightly and imposingly over the field. If I felt somewhat claustrophobic beneath their shadows on a quiet November morning, I can only imagine how intimidated opposing players might feel on a boisterous October night.

He certainly makes the place sound great, even better than I expect it to be. Even the things he said about the upper deck - which I thought had been pushed back way too far to regain the same feel of the old stadium - sounded great.

I'm looking forward to seeing the place for myself (by the way anyone involved with the new stadium I'd be happy to take a tour) and judging the place for myself. I'm just happy that everyone who has been there has had nothing but great things to say about it.

6 Comments:

Mike B. said...

Great indeed! It all sounds just great!

We need to arrange a "Sliding Into Home" day or night at the new stadium!!

Oh boy! I can't wait to see the new place!

Mike

Greg Cohen said...

I'm down for something like that. It's just going to be hard cause every game will be sold out.

But back to the article, yes everything was pleasantly surprising. We may have a gem on our hands. Hopefully we do.

Anonymous said...

NICE!

This article put to bed many of my fears. The place sounds like a palace.

pinstripes said...

I told you guys about the upper deck! hahaha

Seriously, though, I think the key is that even though the upper deck is somewhat back further, the fact that there's less overall rows in upper deck places the roof, the lights, the frieze, etc closer to the field. Plus, the sheer size of the frieze, which is difficult to assess from photos, makes the roof seem much closer than it is. There's something of a cavernous feel that comes across in photos taken that look up at the frieze. It's a feeling I just don't think can quite be expressed without either being there or looking at just the right photos.

Plus, like I said, the fact that there's less foul territory behind home plate makes that whole section back there much, much closer to the field. I'm sure that's a key contributor to that claustrophobic sense you might get, especially on the field.

I actually think that the new stadium will bring back some of that feeling that was lost when the old stadium was refurbished. This could bring back that sense of the roof and frieze sort of looming over top of the field.

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