Right across from the old stadium and not too far from the very average Howard Johnson Yankee Stadium has finally been completed after a $1.8 billion cost and 2 1/2 years of construction. The new Yankee Stadium is, of course, the best ball stadium in the league, eclipsing even the most lavish dreams of fans and players.
Everything in the world of the Yankees is bigger than life: their payroll, their record, their stars and the legend of their old stadium. It was called the “House that Ruth Built” back in 1923 when it was opened because the oversized icon routinely filled the seats with his legendary hitting. Fittingly, it was a Ruth home run that delivered the Yanks their opening game back then. The prospect of rebuilding Yankee stadium and perhaps of disconnecting the team from their past legends and their league-leading success probably delayed the new stadium a few years longer than it needed to. By the last season, even the memories could keep the present day stadium from showing its present age.
Across the street now stands the Yankee stadium for this century and it is loaded. Not one but three high-end steakhouses surround the field, including the Hard Rock version. Fifty six luxury sports boxes line the infield and behind home plate there is a Tommy Bahama Martini Bar and a farmer’s market. The mall, which features the pennants and banners from past years, has over 100,000 square feet for retailers. The 6,000 square-foot high definition scoreboard in the outfield is the largest such display in the world. The seating retains the same basic shape as before but the capacity was pumped up to 51,000 seats that are now all Yankee blue and are concentrated in the lower ring of the bowl. They are, of course, wider for today’s bigger fan.
For players, no luxury item was spared either: There are laptops installed in each locker so they can email easily, a pool and spa, private parking underneath and an indoor batting range for private practice. It’s so much that it is hard to believe that the players need to be paid more than any other team to be here.
Of course, the past was incorporated as well into the new Yankee stadium. First, there is a Yankee museum and three different stores that sell memorabilia, souvenirs, gear and even art. The field has been recreated with the same exact dimensions as the old field to bring the good batting fortune with them. The famous monument park also made the trip across the street, an area behind center field for fans to look at lifelike statues of the many famous Yankees from yesteryear, plaques and other items of their lore. Even the exterior of the new Yankee stadium, made with a mix of limestone and distressed concrete, was designed to resemble the facade of the old stadium.
So even though the Howard Johnson Yankee Stadium days are over, fans cans savor something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue across the street.
We look forward to seeing the baseball scoreboards light up at this new stadium. Play ball!