Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Decline and Fall
2008-09-23 10:05
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Over at Baseball Prospectus, Jay Jaffe has a scathing piece about how the Yankee Stadium experience has changed in recent years. Check it out.

2008-09-23 11:11:33
1.   tommyl
Should I perhaps share one of my worst Yankee Stadium memories in this space then?

Two years ago, I went to a game with my family's season tickets. This was back when we had a flexplan, so someone else had been sitting in our seats the day before. Unfortunately, whoever it was had spilled some combination of beer and soda. Then having done that, decided the best thing to do was dump a ton of used peanut shells, crackerjacks and unidentifiable food onto the seat. When I got there, about 30 minutes before first pitch my seat was covered in a thick, black, gelatinous substance, with shells sticking out of it. I'm a diehard fan, I've been to many a game and I'm not demanding the seat shine, but this was beyond reproach. There was no way I spending the next four hours sitting in that.

I decided to be as polite about it as possible, and went to one of the ushers at the walkway entrance and told her very calmly about the problem. She suggested I get some napkins and clean it up myself. When I explained that I'd have to spend roughly half an hour running back and forth trying to get enough wet paper towels and then disposing of them she just sighed. I finally tracked down someone with a walkie-talkie who similarly implied it was my own problem. This is about when I started getting mad, at $75 a seat I think I deserve at the least a bit of civility. Finally I convinced him to clean the seat, but it took another three innings (and my hassling the walkie-talkie guy another couple of times) for anyone to show up. This man was fortunately very nice, and we tipped him very well as a thank you. I had to wonder if I had not been a season ticket holder, but someone paying to go to their first game or so, would have have soured me on Yankee Stadium for life? Sometimes we have to remember that for all the love we give this stadium (and I've written comments to other posts about the many, many, many wonderful experiences I've had at the stadium) that nothing is perfect, and a lot of bad came with the good.

2008-09-23 11:40:36
2.   rbs10025
Jaffe's article is behind a paywall. Anyone care to summarize?
2008-09-23 12:02:53
3.   jkay
His main beefs are:

New security procedures put in after 9/11. You can no longer bring in breif cases, back packs or umbrellas.

Crowd control. Some exits are closed off from the upper deck resulting in long waits after the game.

New Stadium seating and pricing. He has a ticket plan and will pay more for lesser seats and fewer choice games.

Forcing fans to remain in their seat location for God Bless America.

2008-09-23 12:25:41
4.   JL25and3
2 , 3 I think it goes further than that. I think he's speaking to the increasing (or at least increasingly obvious) contempt with which they treat the fans.

I've had many such experiences. A couple of years ago I sat through a 3-1/2 hour rain delay in (I think) the bottom of the 8th. By the time it was over, obviously, there were only a few thousand people left in the Stadium. The Yankees did allow people to move down to field level - but not in front of the aisle, where the corporate boxes are. They kept a security guard posted at every damn aisle, making sure that the hoi polloi wouldn't desecrate the big-money seats. The back section had a fair number of people in it, but the front remained pristinely, arrogantly empty.

Small? Yeah, but it would have been an awfully small thing to reward a few absurdly dedicated fans for an inning and a half. Instead, preventing it was so obvious, and involved such a show of security, that the message was clear.

I've got a couple more, but I'll split them up.

2008-09-23 12:38:47
5.   Start Spreading the News
The bag policy at Yankee Stadium is beyond ridiculous. First, guys cannot come in with any sort of bag bigger than a camera bag. I have a small bag that holds a newspaper, book and some pens and it was denied. I had to pay $5 to have the bowling alley hold it for me. I go to about 10-15 games a year. But women can go in with large bags, no problem. So whenever I go with women, I have them put my bag inside theirs. No problems then.

Earlier this year, I got tickets to go to the Stadium Club where they have a separate entrance. There guys can come and go with bags. No problem

So the Stadium bag policy is sexist (against men) and does not apply to all attendees of the Stadium (Stadium Club members are not subject to the bag policy).

The BP article also talked about the ridiculous no umbrella and (until recently) no sunscreen policy.

I don't know who is in charge of the Stadium security but it is clearly someone who would not qualify to be an airport TSA security person...

2008-09-23 13:03:42
6.   JL25and3
I posted this on an earlier thread, but I'll repeat myself.

I was at Saturday's game along with my sister, who's even more sentimental than I am about the Yankees. She was pretty teary at the end, and just before we walked out of the Stadium, at the gate in the right-field corner, she wanted to take one last look at the field. We started into the field-level entryway, only to discover that it was blocked off and guarded.

So after many years and hundreds of games, instead of one final, sentimental look at the field we loved, we got barricade and a guard keeping us in our place. That was our last experience of Yankee Stadium, and it seems like a fitting one.

2008-09-23 13:16:36
7.   Todd Drew
I'm surprised to hear that there's been a no-umbrella policy at the Stadium because they always seem to go up right in front of me.
2008-09-23 13:48:22
8.   FreddySez
Haven't gone and paid to read Jaffe's piece, but I was able to Google some excerpts and it seems to correspond to my own feelings.

Bottom line: The team of athletes who take the field in pinstripes and the organization they work for are two completely different phenomena to me now. Love one, hate the other. It's gone way past the point where I can pretend otherwise.

Once you take out the people who are actually involved in the sporting event, the entire remainder of the Yankee organization is brutish, dimwitted and fueled by open contempt for the people who pay the freight.

They may as well print it on their letterhead: "We've already got your money, so sit down and shut up."

2008-09-23 15:36:24
9.   Start Spreading the News
7 You could buy an umbrella at the Stadium when their entry was banned. I have certainly seen piles of umbrellas at the Stadium entrance in the past. They have since changed their policies now and umbrellas are allowed.

When the no sunscreen policy was in effect, you could pay $5 for a small bottle of sunscreen. After the Post raised a ruckus about the sunscreen ban on a 96 degree day, the Yanks changed their policy to allow 3 oz bottles in.

2008-09-23 18:52:00
10.   rbs10025
I got tagged at the gate in June because I had a spray thing of sunscreen sticking out of my shorts pocket. The guard said smear-on sunscreen would have been fine, but spray was verboten.

That was the first Yanks game I'd gone to in about three years. (Randy Johnson started the previous one I went to.) Between the ticket prices and the crowds, it's hardly worth it anymore.

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

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