Earlier today, WFAN’s Mike Francesca declared the picture quality of the jumbotron at the new Yankee Stadium to be “beyond lifelike”. While I suspect the “Mike’d Up” host considered this a high compliment, Bronx Banter’s Alex Belth was on hand for Friday’s Yanks/Cubs exhibition and has a more thoughtful take on the glitzy venue, calling it “Times Square redux”a Disney production, but not imperial in the manner of the Time Warner buildings.”
There is a lot more space between the entrance and the field. It is open and appealing. There are a lot of stores and a lot of places to buy food”and a good variety of food as well. Banners and photographs of the great Yankee players are littered throughout, vivid and brilliant. I especially liked the shots above the food court”a photo of Babe Ruth with a string of fish, Joe DiMaggio sipping a cup of tea, Reggie Jackson eating a Reggie bar in front of a poster of the Reggie Bar.
Immediately, I was distracted. I stopped thinking about the field, about that magic first glimpse. And when I did see it, I had to tear my eyes away from the stores and food stands to notice. I walked around the entire park, though I did not make it upstairs to the reconfigured upper deck. It is built for comfort and commerce. Only the concrete bleacher section feels less than accommodating. The restaurant in the middle of field juts out like a Thurston Howell III blue blood sticking out his chin.
The overall impression I got was that this place is a mall featuring a baseball field. I spoke with some people who think it feels bigger than the old park, but it seemed smaller to me, because of the restaurant, but chiefly because of the mammoth HD TV that is the centerpiece of the scoreboard section high above center field. The TV is so captivating, so impossibly clear, that it virtually overshadows the field and serves to shorten the space between home plate and center field. I had a hard time turning away.
But it is not only the TV, which cuts to live action as a Yankee player circles the bases after hitting a home run (what to watch, the player running around the bases or the TV?). It is all the other billboards, one brighter than the other”Delta, Pepsi, Bank of America, Dunkin Donuts (I wonder how it will play during the afternoon). And there are several scoreboards. The entire area is so busy, so insistent, it was difficult for me to focus on the field of play. And I didn™t exactly know where to look. My eyes were overwhelmed and I felt lost.