Welcome to the third installment of Ninety Feet From Home, where I review each MLB ballpark.
Six categories will be evaluated with a low score of 1 to a high score of 10 based on my experience, relative to overall quality and not any other ballpark. They will then be weighted accordingly to produce a score with respect to 100.
Why the weighting? Because something like food is not as important as architecture or fan relations in my opinion.
For the mathematically inclined, my equation:
where L is location, P is Parking, Ar is architecture, Am is amenities, F is food, and FR is fan relations.
New Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium. The name just oozes championships. Opened in 2009, it housed a World Series winner that year (their 27th!) Is this new cathedral worthy of the winning pedigree of its inhabitants? Is it an improvement on the House that Ruth Built?
Location – 4
Located in the Bronx right off the B, D, and 4 trains, there’s very little to do here before or after the game. Outside of the few sports bars scattered along River Ave, there’s not much else. Plus, it’s in the Bronx. Go back to Manhattan for after-game entertainment.
Parking – 1/5
Whoa! Two ratings? The first is if you decide to drive and park at the game. I’ll assume it isn’t bad if you can get there 2-3 hours before the first pitch, but good luck getting out after the game. The (only slightly) more sane option is to take the train, but that’s crammed with everyone else going to the game. While cheaper, it’s only slightly less aggravating. But you knew that already, as it’s New York.
Architecture – 6
The colonnades upon entering Yankee Stadium off 161st street are one of the most awe-inspiring experiences you can have at a baseball stadium. Evoking the Temple of Castor and Pollux or the Curia Hostilia of Ancient Rome, you get the feeling you are in the presence of greatness (and occasionally you think you are, as past Yankee greats have banners hanging).
The ceiling is high and allows for the grandeur to express itself. Hopes are sky high when you get to the seats.
Unfortunately, one of the few good things about old Yankee Stadium – the closeness – was not retained. In its place is a sterile amphitheater made to cram in as many people as possible. It has four levels, with the fourth being high up in the troposphere (which isn’t helped by their equally high ticket prices).
The frieze along the top of the stadium has been retained to nice effect but is lost if you’re sitting that high up. If you like undistinguished buildings, then you’ll appreciate the view. If not, it’s New York.
Amenities – 10
Highly recommended to get there two hours before game time. This is how amenities are done. There’s no kids crap, just Yankee history done well and right.
Behind center field is the famed monument park, featuring all the retired Yankee numbers and plaques, including one to the NYPD and FDNY honoring 9/11. This fills up quick, so go there first – just walk around on the ground level to the outfield concourse. It looks like only employees can go there as there are no seats, but it’s there.
Next up is the Yankee Hall of Fame, located on the ramp on the first base side. While you can get in and out of monument park in about 20 minutes, this is where you’ll spend most of your time.
Highlighted by most (some are off being polished) of the 27 championship rings and Thurmon Munson’s untouched locker, this is how any team should do a Hall of Fame. It’s only missing a video on Yankee history, but that would run two hours so I understand why it’s not there.
While generally underscored, the Hall of Fame also has some New York Giants (Christy Mathewson’s 1908 trophy for the pitching Triple Crown and John McGraw’s sweater amongst others), Brooklyn Dodgers (Jackie Robinson’s jersey), as well as the obligatory Ruth/Gehrig/DiMaggio/Mantle items.
Funny, I scarcely saw any New York Highlander items… This is how you do baseball amenities.
Food – 3
And how you don’t do ballpark food. I think all the really great food must be relegated to the club levels, as the main levels had the standard ballpark fare. I was advised to stay away from Familglia Pizzeria and, after seeing it, am passing on the warning.
Hot dogs are Nathan’s, which are better than the norm but not that great of a leap. Garlic fries were OK and nothing to rave about. Beer was Bud/Miller/Coors at high prices. I recommend eating before or after the game.
Fan Relations – 5
I went in expecting not much leeway. It’s New York, the team was good, and seat prices are VERY expensive, which all equates to little seat movement.
It’s highly recommended to buy an upper deck seat (about $45!), get there early and stand on the concourse behind the sections. There are railings there for your food and drink and offer a good view of the game. One again, it’s New York.
Overall – 54/100 driving, 58/100 train
While featuring the Great Hall and the best amenities in baseball, this stadium naturally falls short in the getting to the game (it’s New York) and location (it’s the Bronx), but somehow totally slips up on food offerings as Citi Field (not yet reviewed!) blows it out of the water. Some better food offering can put this stadium in the 70 range, but the rest are a factor of the city it’s located in, for better or worse.
As always, comments and feedback are welcome.