I really, truly wanted to hate this building. Anyone who knows me knows just how loyal I am to the original Yankee Stadium (or the post-1976 version, anyway), and to my old seats in box 611. But after spending several hours in the new ballpark during yesterday’s workout day, which was open to full-season-ticket holders, I was, simply, blown away.
Everything about this ballpark is nicer, down to the smallest details.
The open-air feeling is so different from the old Stadium, although I recommend dressing like you would for a football game for games in April, September and, hopefully, October, because there’s nothing to block the wind anymore. But being able to see the field from the concourses is a very, very welcome change. They’re also so much wider, which should help navigation to concession stands, bathrooms and out of the ballpark.
The seats themselves are much more comfortable, with far more leg room between rows than the old ballpark and, in an effort to preserve those expensive beers, cup-holders for every seat except the bleachers.
With the exception of a few private suite areas, every part of the ballpark is accessible, which is also a welcome change.
I love the return of the façade all around the Stadium instead of only in the outfield. I really think the architects did a great job combining old and new. The ballpark has such a great feel to it.
The food options are infinitely better. The food in the old Stadium was God-awful, but there are so many more choices, and they’re not all that unreasonable in price, considering the fact that you’re in a ballpark. My lunch yesterday was three beef sliders (needed a little something for flavor, but far from horrible) and really good wafer fries for $10. And there’s beer everywhere you turn, which warms my heart. I may weigh 700 pounds by Labor Day (shut up!), because the two closest stands to my seats are Beers of the World and Carl’s Steaks (Philly cheesesteaks).
There’s an area called the Great Hall, which is kind of an outer ring around the Stadium (it’s inside the ballpark, but you can’t see the field from it). It, like the rest of the ballpark, is airy, wide and, with huge banners featuring past Yankees, a great area to walk through.
Hell, even the men’s room was a gigantic improvement, although going to the john in the old Stadium was pretty much like using a bus bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned after a cross-country trip.
Despite some well-documented problems with obstructed seats, there are very few bad locations in this ballpark. I actually took a picture from the last seat in the top row of the right-field grandstand and, while I’m not saying I’d jump at the chance to buy season tickets there, it really wasn’t that bad of a view.
I’m very excited for the exhibition game against the Cubs tonight (if Mother Nature cooperates), Opening Day April 16 and a great season. While my heart will always belong to the old Stadium, I can truly see myself falling for this building, as well. Let’s go Yankees!