When old Yankee Stadium was unveiled in the Bronx in 1923, it was heralded as "The House that Ruth Built," referring to the Babe, of course. He was the legend and "The Sultan of Swat" who, at that time, hit more home runs than anyone without even a glimmer of steroids. Instead of using an illegal substance to enhance his thundering bat, Ruth's sinful ways included devouring many hot dogs, drinking beer and partying into the wee hours.
This past April, another Yankee Stadium was unveiled close to the old one in the Bronx with a $1.5 billion price tag and boasts of having single game tickets for the astounding price of $2,500. With our present besieged economy, I christen this new ball park "The House That Greed Built."
The new stadium does, in fact, have many niceties including cup holders installed in your seat, so you don't spill your favorite beverage during a Derek Jeter home run, but all stadiums have them nowadays. With beer prices at $11 you cannot dare spill an ounce. There are $5 seats, by the way, but you can't see the field or the action because a bar was built close by. But scalpers had no mercy, selling those seats for $240. That is greed, my friends.
The menu has changed substantially in this new ball yard, as peanuts, cracker jacks and hot dogs are available, but seem to have been replaced by eggplant parm sandwiches for $10.75, or perhaps a noodle and sushi bar. The hot dog is still around at $6.75. What would the Babe think about that? There are many, many places to simply eat at this new-fangled ball yard with carving stations for your favorite meat sandwiches for $15. Perhaps an order of garlic fries for $8, burritos for $9 and Cuban sandwiches for $9.75. Wine is also available. This is to mention just a few of the delicacies at this new stadium.
The dimensions in the field are exactly the same as the old stadium. There are now 56 luxury suites compared to 19 at the old field, plus 410 party suites. Seating capacity is some what less than the old stadium at some 52,000. There are rest rooms - one for every 60 fans compared to one for every 89 fans at the old field. There are also 12 dining and lounge options.
I sometimes wonder whether all this glitz is necessary just to see a ball game. I thought that seeing the game was a priority, but gouging yourself at such a high price seems to be the real reason to attend the game. Are stadiums like this really what the real fan wants? The Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field and the Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park have been around for close to a century and still going strong with sell-outs at most every game. With these troubled times and people flocking to see and pay for all the glitter at this new park, it makes me wonder if we are really in troubled times. Most parks, though, have gone to extremes with concession prices also. It is so hard to believe that a mere hot dog can go for $5 and up and a beer is closing in on $10.
The salaries of ball players are also out in space somewhere. It is so hard to believe that an average bench player is into the millions in salary. They also get many benefits when they play on the road such as travel, hotels and meal money. Sometimes they even charge for autographs. Why? These players do have talent, so they say, for a kid's game, and they always proclaim that they want security for their families, which we all do.
I enjoy a good baseball game at the ball park, but would like to see them relax a bit on the ticket and concessions pricing and more of "Take me out to the ball game" instead of "Taken at the ball game."