(perhaps this is part of the problem. image culled from River Ave. Blues)
If the vibe at the new Yankee Stadium is somewhat akin to a night spent gawking at Las Vegas’ Forum Shops, it’s hardly hurt the Bombers’ performances on the field. As the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman points out, the Yankees have slugged 89 HR’s at the venue he kiddingly calls “The Library”, with no apologies to Arsenal’s old Highbury Stadium. However, along with suggesting criticism from ESPN’s Dan Shulman and Terry Francona might come to bear on future negotiations for Yankee radio rights (WCBS’ contract expires after this season), Raissman suggests disses of the Steinbrenner Family’s Glittering Monument To Avarice & Greed “might spark a debate over whether the Yankees actually have a home-field advantage”. Or at the very least, enough of a home field advantage. (h/t – Repoz, Baseball Think Factory)
“A big but somewhat quiet crowd at Yankee Stadium,” Shulman said. He was actually being kind.
Francona: “This ballpark is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But it just doesn’t seem like it has the atmosphere of the old one.”
Shulman said the ambience in the new Stadium was “different.” Orel Hershiser agreed with his partners. Francona called the old Stadium “electric” before getting more specific.
“As a visiting team, especially for the Red Sox, by the time the (national) anthem was over, you couldn’t wait to get back in the dugout,” Francona said. “Now (there is) a little different (kind) of fan sitting around down there by the dugout.”
Was Francona suggesting a fan fortunate enough to pay $2,000 per seat in front of the “moat” isn’t as passionate or loud as those who sat in “cheaper” box seats in the old joint? Do the $2,000 patrons have a collective case of lockjaw? Or are they too cool to root — loudly?
From the handful of games I’ve attended each season since the Nu Stadium’s 2009 opening, “big but somewhat quiet” is not an entirely inaccurate description, though it surely varies from game to game. Were the Red Sox actually within striking distance of first place this season, it’s reasonable to expect the paying customers would’ve been exercising their right to free expression with more gusto. Is the average fan who pays $2K for moat seats likely to keep a somewhat lower profile than Freddy Sez? Probably, but keep in mind, even when Terry Francona was cowering in the visitor’s dugout at the Old Stadium, the Bronx’s priciest box seats were hardly within the entertainment budget of the borough’s average resident. If you wanna call the Nu Stadium a playpen for the uber-wealthy and jaded, fair enough, but things were headed in that direction long before ground was broken on the new ballpark’s construction.
Of course, over in Queens, Mets fans need not worry about national broadcasters describing their crowds as “big yet quiet”. As they’re not really that big.