Both of us had been to Yankee Stadium in the past, but to make it "official", we had to
attend a game as a Part of the Ultimate Sports Road Trip. So on a weekend visit to New York
City, we invited Pete's cousin Sandy, a die hard Derek Jeter fan, and also Aunt Linda, who
drove us to the stadium on a beautiful sun drenched day.
Yankee Stadium opened in 1923, and underwent a massive renovation in the mid 70s, to
bring it to its current form. This is one of the most recognizable venues in all of sports - the
white gables high above the outfield walls are the building's signature. The great moments,
the great players are almost endless, from Ruth and Gehrig to Mantle to Dimaggio to Guidry
to Jackson to Mattingly to O'Neill to Jeter. "The Stadium" and the team that plays here are a
part of baseball's soul more than anywhere else.
Getting to the venue
The stadium is located off the Deegan expressway in the Bronx, and public parking is easily
accessed by easy to follow signs off the highway. The city sets parking at $10, although
some private lots close to the venue runs as high as $25. Public transportation is
recommended, and a subway stop and elevated rail line deposits fans on River Street is
just beyond the right field bleachers. Departing after the game is a chore - be prepared for
massive delays and traffic jams,
Outside the venue
This building is truly large and imposing, yet it is still a neighborhood ballpark, with tight
city streets, lots of congestion, and public plazas around the park offering a great chance
to hang out and people watch. Outside the stadium along the first baseline is a pleasant
public area, and there one can find hot dog vendors, program sellers, and souvenir stands.
Along the third base side is Ruppert Place, and this area is closed off to everyone except
those holding premium or suite tickets.
River Street is the cool hopping neighborhood street with lots of bars, fast food stands and
souvenir shops, great pre and post game action just outside the stadium.
The first thing you think when you approach Yankee Stadium is that it is Yankee Stadium -
you see the marquee and the gables and you have to be in awe of the history and tradition
of that great building.
That being said, there isn't too much that is spectacular about the stadium itself. The
hallways and concourses are spartan and non-descript, and other than the words "men",
"women" and "concessions", there is no other signage. One would think a team like that
with all of its tradition and history and icons of baseball would have the walls and ceilings
covered with photos, banners and memorabilia, but there is none of that. The decor in the
corridors is stuck in some 70s time warp, and basically this is a functioning stadium with
few amenities and that is it.
The seating bowl
All seats are colored blue, and there are three levels here, with the upper deck a very
steep pitch. The outfield bleacher seats are configured well beyond the center field walls
and thus are miles away from the action. Plus, if you have bleacher seats, you don't have
access to the rest of the stadium, so trading up is not possible. Large dot matrix boards
and a video board look imposing underneath the famed gables.
One more touch - there is a Yankee World Championship team photo above each of the
alcoves in the lower bowl...very nice.
Pretty much the standard fare, but they sell the mother of all popcorn buckets, this massive
pail with a Yankee logo, for $10. The team store is located at the ground level entrance
behind home plate, sandwiched in between the escalator towers.
No formal club level here, but there are premium ticket holder amenities here at Yankee
Stadium, including a Stadium Club restaurant along the third base side for members only.
Another club called the Pinstripe Pub is on the first base side and a nice outdoor patio is
part of this set up.
Of course this franchise has many many icons and they could fill a book with Yankee greats.
There is a display, called "Monument Park", behind the center field wall which has retired
numbers and plaques of Yankee legends. We're told that this area is open on game days
well before the game but closes down during the game. That is unfortunate, because we
would have like to tour this area, and it has to be regarded as one of the most solemn and
revered grounds for saluting the heroes of the sport. In other words, this is not a theme
park, nor should it be! Of course, to even suggest making a functional museum and display
for all the fans to see and enjoy, i.e., moving Monument Park, would have the purists
howling and shrieking in protest. In other words - "ain't gonna happen" unless the Yankees
get themselves a totally new ballpark. This has been in discussion for a while now. Stay
Home runs, hits, errors...
Home Run-The most memorable thing about Yankee Stadium is serenading the crowd with
a rendition of Frank Sinatra's "New York New York" as patrons leave the building. Many of
the fans stick around to sing, and if you are walking out the building, you can't help but sing
along as you make your exit. Terrific signature song!
Hit- Our return visit was the finale of a five park weekend, and the Yankees 7-0 win made
the home clubs undefeated for the weekend....damn we're good!!
Hit - One of the most recognizable public address announcers is that of Bob Sheppard, as
much a part of the Yankee Stadium tradition as the bricks and mortar.
Error - to the vendors right outside the ballpark who sell bottled water and 20 oz sodas for
$4 and a loaded sausage for $6. Ballpark prices OUTSIDE! If you're walking around outside
and looking for refreshments, do some comparison shopping before buying.
The neighborhood around Yankee Stadium really isn't all bad... We were expecting Beirut..
This is Yankee Stadium, these are hallowed grounds, arguably the greatest hallowed
grounds in all of baseball. If this were any other city, this stadium would have been long
gone and given way to the age of suites, club suites and Diamond Clubs. But talk about a
new Yankee Stadium is just that for now... talk. And even for road trippers like us who have
seen all the bells and whistles with the new places, seeing a storied venue like this go
would be a bit hard to take.
Our advice... if there is any one place you need to see in baseball, make the excursion here
to Yankee Stadium at least once in your lifetime.
Food and team store 4
Scoreboard and electronics 5
Fan support 9
Location and neighborhood 5
Banners and history 10
In game entertainment 4
Concourses/fan comfort 5
Bonus: PA guy Bob Sheppard 2; Monument Park 2; Frank Sinatra's "New York New York" 1