So as I wrote about in the first part of my Yankee Stadium blog about the old Stadium, which you can find here, I’m back now to tell ya all about New Yankee Stadium. Unlike the other building, this one was only opened in 2009, so I clearly won’t have all the back history to tell ya about this one.
New Yankee Stadium
After 85 years in the last building, it was decided that it was time to bid the old building farewell in favor of a newer building with all the amenities many of the newer ballparks and Stadiums enjoyed. Namely more luxury suites, more dining options, newer technology throughout the building and the like. So the decision was made to take a large section of the park land adjacent to Yankee Stadium and build a new Yankee Stadium there.
A lot of discussion went into the location of the next Yankee Stadium as apparently, then-Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner had negotiated with New Jersey to possibly bring the Yankees to the Meadowlands, but a lot has been said that he was really just using New Jersey as leverage against New York and that he never would have actually pulled the Yankees out of New York. But another location considered was the West Side Rail Yard which was also considered when the Jets were looking to leave Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands. In the end, it was decided to build a new building in Macombs Dam Park, demolish the old building and create “Heritage Field” on the site of the old Stadium.
In designing the new Stadium, it was decided that a lot of the features of the original building should be brought forward to pay tribute to the old building. In fact, in comparing styles, the new building much more resembles what the old building looked like prior to the renovations of the mid-’70s. Even the classic Yankee Stadium facade returned from the outfield wall to the roof of the upper deck section just as it did in the original building.
I don’t have nearly as many stories to tell about this new Stadium, so clearly it doesn’t hold the same spot in my heart as the old building does, but this is certainly a heck of a building to call home to any baseball club!
Outside the Stadium on the right field side sits Babe Ruth Plaza, which is what I suspect was the attempt at recreating what was located in the same area at the prior building. Just inside the building on that same side is the Great Hall, which pays tribute to many of the Yankees legends from years past, with large banners depicting said legends. Also on this side of the Stadium are the ticketing office, Team Store, a NYY Steakhouse and a Hard Rock Cafe.
There are premium lounges throughout the Stadium which I’m sure you need to be a season ticket holder at minimum to enter. And they also recently added a standing room only type of ticket that includes a beer in which I believe you are allowed to wander the Stadium freely to watch the game from multiple designated sections. Also, seating prices have skyrocketed in the new Stadium to the point that a lot of the premium seating behind home plate (which are constantly on TV) remain empty for FAR TOO MANY games. I just think it looks bad to someone watching the game at home.
Both times I’ve been to the new building, I’ve sat in the upper deck…once on the first base side and once on the third base side. Views are fine from those sections, but they really should consider reducing prices for the better seats so that they can fill those sections to make it look better on TV.
Both times I’ve been to the new Stadium turned out being winners as the Yankees have defeated the Chicago White Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays with CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova both pitching good games. CC’s game though was decided in extra innings with a walk-off 3-run home run from Robbie Cano in the bottom of the 10th inning. However, I also got to see both Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon go yard in the same game as well against the White Sox. For the Rays game, both Curtis Granderson & Eduardo Núñez each hit home runs. Also of note, I have actually seen Mariano Rivera pitch a scoreless inning in the new Stadium.
I also made sure to get myself a jersey the last time I was to the Stadium for my bachelor party. I knew exactly who I wanted on the back: Nick Swisher. Though he’s retired now, when he was a Yankee, he was one of my favorites. Just a great clubhouse guy who played well who while he wasn’t a superstar, he did his job well and was dependable. Plus, he had a great personality and was always fun in postgame interviews. He was traded to the Yankees following the ’08 season from the Chicago White Sox, won the World Series with the team in ’09, won the final roster spot on the 2010 American League All Star team with his #SendSwish campaign and also competed in that year’s Home Run Derby. Though he only hit 4 home runs and was eliminated from competition in the first round, I really appreciated his attitude of wanting to experience everything that All Star Weekend had to offer. He decided to test free agency following the 2012 season, and after stays in Cleveland & Atlanta, came back to play for the Yankees organization on their Triple-A minor league team in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania before announcing his retirement this past February.
Derek Jeter also reached a number of career milestones in the new building. While he gave the speech to close the old building in 2008, thanking all the fans…the new building was pretty sweet to him. In 2009, he won his 5th World Series with the team and his fourth Gold Glove. In 2011 he recorded his 3,000th career hit — also only the 2nd player in history to hit a home run in doing so & also broke Mickey Mantle’s team record for most games played with the Yankees later that year. In 2012, he passed Mantle again with his 11th All Star Game hit for most All Star Game hits as a Yankee. And following a terrible 2013 season which he spent most of on the disabled list, during his 2014 & final season, he became only the 4th player in history to record his 1,000th career multi-hit game, and became the oldest player to have two or more hits in the All Star Game that year at the age of 40. He also broke Omar Vizquel’s Major League record of games started at shortstop along with Lou Gehrig’s franchise doubles record. The Yankees retired his number earlier this year as he took his rightful place in Monument Park. It’s also just a matter of time now until he’s enshrined in Cooperstown. As I wrote in a previous blog that can be found here, he was a true inspiration in how he played the game and went about his business on a day to day basis. I truly miss watching him play the game.
While this building will probably never be to me what the old one was, I hope that sometime down the line that the next generation of Yankees fans can come to love this building and that this building sees the amount of amazing times that the old one did. From Championships to All Star Games to watching the careers of all-time greats play out in front of everyone, hopefully some of the ghosts from next door eventually make their way across 161st Street in the Bronx.