The New Yankee Stadium

I exchange e-mails and text messages with a few friends during and after almost every single Yankee game. We usually complain about the pitching (a whole lot of that this year), bad managerial calls (again, a lot) and how the team's doing overall. After spending $400 million plus in the off-season on three bodies, the first month-plus of the 09 campaign has obviously been a disappointment.

But there's one topic that we've barely touched on and that's the new Stadium. The two guys I chat with most both live not too far from the Bronx and it's unfathomable to me that neither has made it to the new ballpark. And neither seems to have any plans to do so in the near future. At first, I thought it was more a case of nostalgia. I mean, each of us had probably been to north of 100 games in the old Stadium. One friend and I witnessed Game 6 of the 1996 World Series from right around the left field foul pole. I'll never forget turning to him about a minute after Charlie Hayes hauled in the final out and seeing tears streaming down his face. We celebrated with the police officers. We went to Stan's after and guzzled a few more beers in celebration. We partied with hundreds of folks, most of whom must've had some sort of union affiliation.

Of course, there were more run-of-the-mill trips to the Stadium. We'd see them fall to Baltimore on a Tuesday night or battle out an extra-inning win over Minnesota on a Saturday afternoon. There were so many games. And we always felt a part of it all. We talked to the folks around us, we joked with the Stadium staff, even a trip to the men's room was met with passionate banter about the bullpen or the injuries or damn Boston.

As far as I can see, nothing about the new Yankee Stadium feels this way. I know, I haven't been there. But $2600/game seats that run down the baselines? I used to run up-and-down those same aisles in the old Stadium trying to grab an autograph from Rickey Henderson or Mike Pagliarulo. When the Stadium was full, we'd wait until the seventh or eight and sneak down to those seats. Now those seats seem millions of miles away. Yankee Stadium seems the epitome of everything that Bush represented and Obama does not. George must really be ill to let this be happening.

I'm sure I will be back in New York this summer. I will visit family and friends and the latter visits will likely be full of conversation about the pinstripes. But there's yet to even be a hint of an interest in going to the new park. If you add up the offseason acquisitions and the cost of the stadium, the total cost hovers right around $2 billion. That's a lot of money to turn away so many who called the old Yankee Stadium a second home, but see a new Stadium that seems to lack all the charms and basics that made the park across the street such a part of us.