Saturday, September 20, 2008

The End of an Era

This is the saddest time of the year-- for me anyhow. A time in which the baseball season is coming to an end. For the past 13 years or so, we have all been fortunate to continue to watch the Yankees play well beyond September, into the late-coming of October. Now, it's quite evident the season will be over in a mere 10 days or so (though I can't be technical since they are still mathematically "in it").

I for one am very sad that these are the last few games that will be played at 161st and River Ave. While I can't say I have been going there for the past 30+ years, I can say that this was a place I visited as a young child and a place i visited many many times. While I understand the need to "modernize" and upgrade the stadium, I do not understand the need to turn the game away from the average fan. For me personally, what ever happened to just going to a baseball game-- to you know-- watch a baseball game?

Do we really need a martini bar in center field? Do we really need a restaurant or a steakhouse? Do we need 100 luxury boxes? I understand baseball is a business, but there's an extent where the business starts taking over the game. I am a fan who doesn't live very close to the Bronx. I am also a fan that will stick with my team regardless of how they are doing. But I unfortunately am not a rich fan, and that has been what the Yankees have turned the experience of watching a game into. It is not about the true fans being there to support their team-its about the people who can afford to sit in the "golden seats".

I guess I can also "subject" myself to sitting in the bleachers for 20 dollars. And I used the term subject in the tense that those are the only options the Yankees have left a college student fan to sit at. While 20 bucks seems like a decent amount, those are not the only charges I have to pay. A drive to the stadium requires a drive of roughly 180 miles each way, then there are the thruway tolls, the tappen zee bridge tolls, and additional tolls that are in the city. The Yankees have so graciously raised the parking prices to between 25-35 dollars. I am very impressed with the fact they installed a new VIP garage that people can park in FOR FREE. Why do rich people NEED FREE PARKING. EXPLAIN THAT TO ME LONN TROST! (If you can't tell by now, I am not a huge fan of Mr. Trost).

In conclusion to my venting, I am a person who has gone to games and sat by myself. I am content with doing that, as long as I can visually see the game. In 2006 I found a ticket on for a seat TWO ROWS behind home plate. That ticket in 06 was 113 dollars, and was the only game i went to that year. While I complained about the price of that ticket, I decided that instead of going to 2 or 3 games that year, I would limit myself to the 1 game so I could sit in a seat that was somewhat decent. Those tickets now 2 years later are 400 dollars, and in the new stadium are 2,500 dollars. This is my exact reason of how they are driving people out of the seats. But its okay college student, because you can still sit in the bleachers!

My point is this. I paid 113 dollars for the ticket and I cant even say it was even worth that. Batting practice was cancelled due to rain, the security guy yelled at me because I stood up and walked over a section 2 hours before the game started. I paid 113 for these seats if I want to walk a few steps away, I should be able to. No other stadium has an issue with people doing any of these things during batting practice, regardless of their seats. I can't see being able to value 1 seat of one game at 2,500 dollars. What if the game gets called after 5? What if there's a rain delay and its a miserable game? Must be nice to just "throw" 2,500 out the window.

The only thing I can say is that I am glad I sat in those seats when I did for 100 dollars. Had I waited, it would have been something I would never have experienced. Hopefully the Yankees get the point when the seats are empty because their rich fans come in the 3rd and leave in the 7th.

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