The new Yankee Stadium is basically a modernized version of the previous Yankee Stadium
, at least on the inside. The exterior is indeed quite different and much more stately than before, but the interior is a roomier, high-tech replica of what was torn down across the street.
For those who haven't been yet, being inside the current Yankee Stadium is déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say. The field dimensions are the same as the old Stadium, the grandstand layout similar, and the outfield bleachers are actually metal bleachers, without backs to boot. Meanwhile, Monument Park is still in the outfield but not as large or visible as before, while the famous white frieze is much more prominent as it completely rings the top of the upper grandstand.
The stadium has four levels but the first three are filled with too many premium seats, and the field level "suite" seats are so expensive that they often go noticeably unused. This stadium in many ways prides itself on being restricted access. Nowhere is that more evident than the drink rails along the 1st and 2nd level concourses, which are ticketed as if they were seats and are monitored by ushers so unsuspecting fans don't stand there, even when nobody has paid to.
Fortunately, the "Great Hall" is not gentrified, and everyone can experience its grandeur. It spans much of the first base side of the stadium, occupying 31,000 square feet of space between the home plate and right field gates. Seven stories tall, the Hall is filled with large banners of Yankees greats and leads to the open year-round Hard Rock Cafe and Yankees Team Store. Also sizeable and meant for most to enjoy is the Godzillatron of a scoreboard above the batter's eye in center field. From what can be seen within the grandstand, the hi-def mega board is the most dominant difference between the old and new stadiums.
Near the eye-catching scoreboard and at the back of the right-center field bleachers is a tribute to The Boss. George M. Steinbrenner III made the Yankees into the megabrand they are today during his ownership and it was near the end of his life that his vision for a new Yankee Stadium was realized. What the Boss got built in the Bronx for well over a billion serves a lot different purpose than the "The House That Ruth Built" for 1/600th the cost back when it debuted. The original stadium was built for common fans who flocked to watch the Sultan of Swat while Steinbrenner's version caters to corporations with clients to woo first. Upscale restaurants, lounges and seats with wait service are prominent proof of that in the lower level. Upstairs or in the outfield is mostly where regular fans spend their money to spend their time in the Yankees' current home.
With amenities aplenty and big bucks to be made throughout the place, the house that is fronted by the Babe Ruth Plaza is certainly not the Babe's ballpark anymore. At least not functionally. But it does retain the appearance of what opened in 1923 and reopened after a two-year renovation in 1976. Following already used blueprints means the new Yankee Stadium is an homage to old Yankee Stadium, allowing fans of today to experience what came before. This, no doubt, is a better version, but it's a lot different than what you'll find at all of the modern, friendly-for-all-fans ballparks elsewhere and, by design, the people that are most sure to enjoy this stadium are those that are specifically Yankees fans. For everybody else, it's a place to visit once to say you were there but Yankee Stadium fails to live up to the "I can't wait to go back" standard that is the benchmark for a modern major league ballpark.
|The Great Hall and Monument Park are Yankee Stadium destinations that can be enjoyed by all fans.
The stadium's impressive exterior is made of a combination of granite and limestone, which gives it a majestic look. The granite came from the Crotch Island quarry near Stonington, Maine. Granite from there had previously been used in such New York City landmarks as the George Washington Bridge and Rockefeller Center. The limestone was quarried in Oolitic, Indiana, very near the spot where the limestone panels used to construct the Empire State Building came from. Noted for its numerous narrow arches, the facade is patterned after the original Yankee Stadium facade.
The Babe Ruth Plaza parallels the grand entryway that is known as the Great Hall. Mainly an open walkway, storyboards on nostalgic-looking light posts in the plaza briefly summarize the legendary career, exploits and life of Babe Ruth, with banners above the placards showing various pictures of him in his Yankees' uniform.
There are four even numbered entry gates. Gate 2 is in the left field corner; Gate 4 is behind home plate; Gate 6 is in the right field corner; Gate 8 is behind center field. All but Gate 8 look like they could be main gates, as gates 2, 4 & 6 are designed to be grand: each rise seven stories high and have YANKEE STADIUM carved into them near their top with 4-foot tall letters that are embossed in gold leaf, which enables them to gleam in the rising and setting sun that also reflects beautifully upon the limestone that the letters are carved into. Gate 4, which is actually the main entrance, also has an added touch: eagle medallions are on each side of the stadium's name. They are very similar in design to the decorative eagle carvings that adorned the original stadium's Gate 4 facade when it opened in 1923.
The most prominent architectural feature inside the stadium is the white frieze that hangs from the roofline of the upper deck. It was patterned after the famous copper-made frieze that graced the original Yankee Stadium's upper deck facade for its first 50 years. While the distinctive look has been replicated, the 38 connected panels of frieze are now made of steel that's coated with zinc to prevent rust (the copper frieze was just as famous for its green patina). Each of the steel panels are 12 feet high and have two layers of white paint applied. The frieze completely spans the upper deck roofline, which encompasses 36 sections, and serves a dual purpose as it is part of the support system for the stadium lighting that also rings the upper deck. The lights are directly above the frieze and the two fixtures appear to be flush with each other from a distance, although the lights are set back just a bit on the roof.
Monument Park is nestled between the bullpens directly behind the blue outfield fence in straightaway center field. It's smaller than what existed at the old stadium, and if you want to see all the monuments, plaques and retired numbers that are on display on game day you have until when stadium gates open until 45 minutes before the game's scheduled start time. If large crowds are present, the cut-off time can be sooner than the 45-minute norm.
The giant scoreboard in center field is 101 feet wide and 59 feet tall. It's flanked on each side by boards that generally provide detailed player stats (left) and scores from all other games being played in the American and National leagues (right). The trio of boards are all video capable and display their imagery in high definition. Additionally, the facing of the second deck is completely covered by a continuous LED ribbon board that measures 1,279 feet in length.
The Legends Suites are the stadium's headline-making premium seats, noticeable to anybody watching the game on TV as the often empty seats at field level. Certainly not suites in the traditional sense, the Legends Suites are the padded blue stadium-style seats that ring the infield in sections that are carved out from the rest of the seating bowl. The separated sections have up to nine rows and during the stadium's inaugural year the 1,800 seats in them originally ranged in price from $500 to $2,625 per game, although prices were dropped following the Yankees' first-ever homestand due to their visible lack of demand. In year #1 of the stadium, there were 25 Legends Suite sections but now there are just 19, as beginning in 2010 the three sections of the seats beyond each dugout were reclassified to Champions Suite. Weather classified as Legends or Champions, both types of suite seats include wait staff service with free food, but their prices still ensure that many go unsold.
NYY Steak, an upscale restaurant where reservations are recommended and "appropriate attire is required," is located in the Gate 6 area of right field, where it's open during the duration of the baseball season but only for occasional events in the offseason. For those wanting to dine in the Yankees' version of a steakhouse when the original location is in its winter hibernation, in November 2013 the team and its equal partner in the NYY Steak franchise, Florida's Seminole Indian tribe, opened a branch in Midtown Manhattan that is open daily. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is also the owner of the Hard Rock Cafe brand so they have a dual presence inside of the New York stadium, as their "Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium" is adjacent to NYY Steak.
Yankee Stadium Facts, Figures & Footnotes
Construction cost: $1.5 billion
Financing: The Yankees paid for stadium construction while the city and state of New York paid for infrastructure, which included building parking garages.
Architect: HOK Sport
Construction manager: Turner Construction Company
Its official groundbreaking ceremony was held on August 16, 2006.
Built adjacent to where the previous Yankee Stadium stood in what had previously been public parkland, specifically Macombs Dam Park and John Mullaly Park.
Owned by the City of New York.
The playing field is 12 feet below street level.
Has 56 luxury suites. One of the suites is owned by New York City. The so-called "landlord suite," which the Yankees are in charge of renting out, has a capacity of 12 and the city receives most of the revenue for its usage.
Has hosted a college football bowl game since 2010. Called the Pinstripe Bowl, the inaugural one was played on December 30, 2010, when Syracuse defeated Kansas State 36-34 before a crowd of 38,274. The first ever football game at the new Yankee Stadium was played 40 days before the first Pinstripe Bowl, with Notre Dame and Army playing before a sellout crowd of 54,251 on November 20, 2010. The Fighting Irish won what was the 50th meeting between the two programs, 27-3.
Yankee Stadium Firsts
First game (exhibition): The New York Yankees beat the Chicago Cubs, 7-4, on April 3, 2009 before an announced crowd of 48,402. Grandstand seats were $1.10 and bleacher tickets just 25 cents for the game that christened the stadium; those prices were identical to what the Yankees charged when the original Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, 1923.
First game (regular season): The Cleveland Indians beat the New York Yankees, 10-2, on April 16, 2009 before an announced crowd of 48,271
Ceremonial first pitch honors went to Reggie Jackson, preceding the Cubs exhibition, and Yogi Berra, prior to the first official game.
Official stadium firsts (all of which occurred on 4/16/09, unless noted):
|Pitch ||Batter ||Hit (single) ||Home Run ||Winning Pitcher ||Losing Pitcher ||Save (4/17)
|CC Sabathia ||Grady Sizemore ||Johnny Damon ||Jorge Posada ||Cliff Lee ||Jose Veras ||Mariano Rivera