Texas Rangers

Yankee Stadium: Is It Really So Great?

I was prepared to be in awe. To be mesmerized. To shrink in the midst of baseball's ghosts and glory.

But, I gotta tell ya, new Yankee Stadium is just a ballpark.

Can't believe this place cost more to build than Cowboys Stadium. And can't believe people actually pay for seats waaaay up where I sat for last night's Game 1.

Maybe it's because it wasn't the actual dirt and grass walked upon by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson, but standing around the cage during batting practice was underwhelming. There are plain metal bleachers in the outfield - the kind we used to sit upon in old Arlington Stadium - and tons of advertising along the walls. Somebody named W.B. Mason has a giant, prominent billboard in right field.

Monument Park in center field is impressive but - and I know this is blasphemy - at first blush the place has all the aura of a spring training game in a minor league park that's tucked away in a really bad neighborhood.

As for the fans? As harmless as the Game 3 Yankee bats.

As a guy who grew up going to Rangers games, it's shocking how Yankees games are adult entertainment. Not that there are strippers 'n ho's, but the stadium experience just isn't catered to kids, or to families for that matter.

There's no center-field Wiffle ball park or furry mascot like in Arlington, for example. It's more like a Catholic baseball church where you get to forgive your sinning and get on with the winning. Basically last night I was surrounded by 50,000 turtles. Not the amphibious creature, the Entourage character.

Yankees fans are male and cocky and chubby and entitled and, for the most part, inherently, constantly agitated. The guys who have the attitude but not the looks for Jersey Shore? Those are Yankees fans.

And for all their love of the 27 titles and the sanctimony of the pinstripes, their attire is very unstable. Saw tons of guys wearing No. 7 "Mantle" and No. 2 "Jeter" and even No. 3 "Ruth" replica jerseys. Problem is, of course, the Yankees traditionally don't have names on the backs of their jerseys. I thought part of the allure was No. 3 needed no further I.D., like a Cowboys' No. 8 jersey. You just kinda know, ya know?

And I don't wanna hear about how Yankees fans will their team to win. Because Rangers' pitcher Cliff Lee basically walked into New York last night and put the entire city on mute. As much as he baffled the Yankees with 13 strikeouts, he reduced their fans into a cussin', fussin' lot that headed for home - swear - after the bottom of the 8th.

At the time it was 2-0 Texas, but given Lee's dominance it felt like 20-0. After he struck out two Yankees in the 8th, I'd say 1/3rd of the crowd headed for the exits.

Maybe on the way home, they called Cowboys fans to commiserate.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt

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