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26 June 2008

Yankee Stadium

It's hard to accept change. Especially if you're a Yankee fan. I attended Saturday's Reds-Yanks tilt with a die-hard Yankee fan, and he's not alone in his reticence about the stadium situation. This is the last year of the House that Ruth Built, and while the current incarnation bears little resemblance to previous versions, there's still something magical about this place. It may sound irrational, but fans are right in wondering whether the Yanks' unprecedented success here will move to a new place - even if it is within spitting distance of the old one.

The Yankees have been selling out nearly every game and it shows in the price of scalped tickets. We had bleacher tickets, but we heard a storm was coming so we looked to upgrade to something under a roof. We ended up paying $70 per seat extra ($20 premium), but it was worth every penny.

We don't deal with rain delays much in California, which made this particular one quite entertaining. Gale force winds and sideways rain made tarping the infield a bit of an adventure. Worst of all, we were told by people we met after the game that were sitting in the bleachers that during the rain delay, security staff prevented people from getting onto the concourse for safety reasons. Oh yeah, and they don't allow alcohol in the bleachers, so we were able to get our overpriced drink on in the main reserve area as well.

My buddy's house is somewhat upstate and west of the Hudson River. Because of the alcohol factor, we decided to take the train in. Trains west of the Hudson run parallel with Manhattan and terminate at Penn Station (Madison Square Garden). From there we took the B uptown, which dropped us off at the Stadium. No sweat, and by far the best transit situation in baseball (yes, better than the Giants due to frequency of service).

There's nothing wrong with the seating bowl, save for the lack of suites and club areas. The seats are wide and spacious. The place holds 57,000 but actually has some intimacy because the decks are stacked on top of each other with good overhangs. It's once you get out of the seating bowl that the deficiencies show. Concourses and ramps are terribly cramped. Available space limits the number and types of concession stands.

That won't be the case at the New Yankee Stadium, which will be replete with a true fa├žade. Upper deck seats will be further away, and prices will be completely ridiculous. One nice thing that will come out of it: MTA is building a new Metro North train station for fans coming from the Hudson River Valley and Connecticut.