Following my experience during the first game at Yankee Stadium II Friday night, I thought I’d post a few brief thoughts and a few photos.
In short, the new “Ballpark in the Bronx” is majestic.
The Great Hall is just that, great. Images of Thurman Munson, Paul O’Neil and a host of other iconic Yankees line the ridiculously high ceilings and the immense breadth of the corridor allows fans to effortlessly pass-by while others stand and inspect in awe, inspecting its heights.
The Mohegan Sun sports bar’s view has its patrons feeling as if they are literally in center field, waiting for Brett Gardner to push past as he tracks down a deep fly. The line to enter the grandiose watering hole was just five deep, a sight I do not expect to see when the regular season begins.
Food stands of every genre are everywhere and each individual item is accompanied by its nutritional facts – 1341 calories for Nathan’s cheese fries anyone? Neat sushi purveyors sit neighbor to Johnny Rockets and his greasy burgers while Asian noodle-bowls clash with Cuban pressed sandwiches nearby.
But, in getting past the stadium’s frills – like the chocolate-covered strawberries and cheesecake-on-a-stick served to Legends Suite members – the actual baseball experience is a memorable one.
Personally, the most overwhelming difference between the new and old stadiums was the sheer openness of the park.
The concourses are wide and easily accessible. (No longer must you uppercut a grandmother to make it to the Men’s room) Further, a trip to the concession stand does not mean missing 25 minutes of the game because the sight lines from the concourses – particularly at field level – are magnificent. And, aside from the inexcusably obstructed bleacher seats located in right-center and left-center fields, there truly is not a bad seat in the house.
Upon actually sitting in my seats, an eerie feeling of familiarity washed over me. Though the seats are a bit wider and the greater legroom was noticeable, the replicated dimensions of the field and the comforting sound as the 4 train rumbled past the nearby aperture in right-center field transported me through countless memories collected at the old park.
It was as if the old battered ballpark had been genetically engineered and sporadically injected into several nooks and crannies of the new one. Though it will take some time to overcome the strange sensation of packing up dusty recollections and slowly moving them into a new home, there is not a grander home address to begin storing them.
I’m sure most of you will soon agree.
Below I’ve attached a handful of photos I took at the stadium during Friday night’s exhibition game against the Cubbies. Upon first entering the stadium I was interviewed by a local TV station, hence the odd photograph. There are also shots illustrating the view from the field level concourse, the bleacher seats, the center field pavilion, the Great Hall, etc. Click to enlarge:
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