The House That the Boss Built
September 4, 2008
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NEW YORK–After the 2008 season, Yankee Stadium will close its doors forever to move across the street to a new stadium. Yes it will still be called Yankee Stadium but it will not be the real Yankee Stadium.
Since 1923 Yankee Stadium has sat on 161st Street and River Ave. and had been a true baseball cathedral. With the likes of Babe Ruth (who was the sole reason the Yankees got a new stadium) Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lue Gehrig, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson as well as the stars of today like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter have all made Yankee Stadium a legendary ballpark. So why tear down this legendary ballpark?
In my opinion, there are a handful of ballparks in worse condition then Yankee Stadium. Look at Fenway Park-a ballpark that is older and in my opinion in worse condition then Yankee Stadium. Yet the Red Sox franchise has enough respect for a historic ballpark like Fenway to keep it standing and keep its franchise playing in such a historic ballpark.
Another ballpark older then the big ballpark in the Bronx is Wrigley Field in Chicago. Again this is a ballpark that will probably never be replaced at least for a long time because of the tradition there and the organization knows that and respects that.
So why is a new Yankee Stadium being built? It’s simple: Money. The Yankees have convinced me that they are all about the money. Yes, George and the Steinbrenner family still wants to have the best team on the field possible, but I feel their main objective is to get as much money as he can get into their pockets. All you have to do is look at the concession prices at the ball park.
Now with this new stadium the Steinbrenner family is going to be earning even more money. There are going to be more luxury box seats in the new ballpark which means more money. Fewer seats in the new ballpark make the view of the action closer, but with that comes a higher ticket price. All you have to do is look at the pricing of seats behind home plate for the new ballpark. The first five to eight rows are going to cost anywhere from $500 to $2,500 a seat! Upper deck seats for next year are supposed to have a 75%-100% increase in price. It has gotten to the point where families can no longer enjoy a day at the ballpark for a reasonable price.
George also has an ego. That can not be debated. George has wanted a new stadium for years. When the Yankees were having losing seasons, the boss would constantly say that people are not coming not because the team is bad, but because the stadium is in bad condition. But when things began to turn around in the mid 90s the fans starting showing up to the stadium. Since 2000 the Yankees have been putting up record attendance numbers for home games. After this year the Yankees again are going to draw record numbers at the stadium. So it can’t be the ballpark that was keeping people away. If the stadium was that bad people would be complaining about the appearance of it. I have not heard that many complaints about the condition of the stadium, and the ones I have heard are people that are nit picking and looking for things to complain about.
If the Stadium is really in that bad of shape there is a simple solution to this problem: refurbish the stadium while the Yankees play in the new Mets ballpark that is also opening next year. When Yankee Stadium had renovations in the mid 1970s the Yankees played in Shea while the stadium was going through some changes. There were no schedule problems because the Yankees would play when the Mets were out of town.
Another factor that will be brought down when Yankee Stadium is left behind for a new stadium is the Yankee Stadium mystique. Opposing players that come into the stadium have often said there is something different than any other park when you walk into Yankee Stadium. Many have said the nerves are often turned up when you play at the stadium because of the legends that have played in that park. When the Yankees move into their new park next year, no longer will there be any need for opposing players to feel a different sense of nerves when playing.
The home field advantage that used to make Yankee Stadium so unique will now be gone. No longer will they be entering the House that Ruth Built, but instead they will be entering the House the Boss Built.