New Yankee Stadium
August 20, 2019
Getting back to the digression from a few weeks back, when I took off on a week-long east coast non-Mariner road trip, a look at new Yankee Stadium. This is out of order, as we went to Philadelphia before New York (and after Washington), but I still don't have my Philly photos available, so I'm shuffling the deck a bit.
Old Yankee stadium above, with its large upper deck, compared to the new layout below.
First off, New York city is, of course, awesome and worth a visit whether you go to baseball games or not. And Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, may be a worthwhile addition to a ballpark tour, I don't know from experience (yet). However, unless you're a completionist or a Yankee fan, I can't recommend new Yankee Stadium. It's sad.
I'd been to old Yankee Stadium, back in 1999. It had charm. Identity. Crass New Yorkers. Bleacher fights. New Yankee Stadium . . . well, it does have a version of the old monument park, but I didn't get to see it. Access is restricted and you have to time your visit right. I saw it in '99 at the old yard, though. I'm told there is a museum of Yankee history in the Stadium, too, but I didn't find it.
One of the many serious detriments to new Yankee Stadium is that it is not at all fan-friendly unless said fans are rolling in money. Perhaps if you are a guest of one of the many "luxury suite" or "premium seating" areas of the park you can find navigational aids, but as a member of the lowly proletariat, you are flying blind. To start with, even the exterior entrances are not identified beyond a gate number. If you don't know already that Gate 4 is the home plate entrance, or you don't have a sense of direction telling you what the compass point of the gate near you is and you don't know baseball field layout convention, you've no clue where you're even going in. We entered at Gate 6, and even as you come in there aren't any indicators as to where you are in relation to the field or the rest of the facility. Turns out it's a right-field entry, and as I got some semblance of bearings I proceeded toward home plate and the first-base side, where my ridiculously expensive seats were located. There was minimal signage and no other navigational aid to speak of; even finding access to the upper levels was a challenge. The walkways and concourses are larger than their counterparts in old Yankee Stadium, but it almost doesn't matter since concession stands and roped-off areas (gotta keep those rich folk segregated) invite bottlenecking, which no doubt contributed to the problems of finding one's way.
Theoretically, the Yankee history museum was along my route, but again, nothing indicated its presence. Eventually I found a series of ramps to the upper decks near left field; there are elevators and at least one escalator, but they are all in deep right field or restricted to the one-percenters by home plate. I didn't find those until actually reaching the upper level. Meanwhile, the outfield area does have a sort of openish congregation area like Seattle's 'Pen area or Washington's outfield porches, but it's small and unappealing. This is where you would access monument park if you were there at an opportune time.
New Yankee Stadium appears to be taller than other ballparks, but I've not been able to confirm this with actual data. Regardless, upper deck seating is much more limited in the new park than the old. The steep and deep upper deck of old Yankee Stadium offered a majority of the seats in that facility, while the new one is maybe half as large? Just from eyeballing photos, I don't have raw numbers. But clearly the idea with the new ballpark was to maximize high-end ticket areas at the expense of those on a budget. In addition to the super-hoity-toity lower deck boxes known as the Legends and Champions Suites, which run the length of the infield and then some, there's the Audi Yankees Club, the Delta Sky Suite, the Jim Beam Lounge. A total of 56 private suites and 410 "party suites." The second level, generally the "club level" in many parks including Seattle's, is not the smallest one here, no no, here it's called the "main level" and its capacity rivals that of the other decks (21 rows in most second deck aisles, 23 in most upper deck aisles, and between 20 and 30 in the lower deck including Legends/Champion Suites; for comparison, Seattle's TMP has 12 rows of second deck seats, 25 upper deck, and 41 lower deck). We sat in row one of the 400 level, which is basically the tenth upper deck row, and the view was a bit loftier than a tenth row seat at TMP.
Basically, you have to drop a ton of cash for a good seat here. At our game, which was against the Red Sox and thus subject to the worst that "dynamic pricing" has to offer, the lowest price on an upper deck ticket from the box office was $65. We spent an additional $15 to get seats nearer the infield and lower than the very back row.
Best bits from New Yankee Stadium? Um... nothing? Easy subway access, I guess.
As for the game? Well, it was a Yankee-Red Sox game, so you know it was long. Nine innings only (eight-and-a-half, technically), but over four hours. Thirteen pitchers were used and the Yankees came back from being down 4-3 to win it 6-4.