It’s never nice to speak ill about the ill, especially when death is apparent. With that in mind, I’ll be kind and just say this: Yankee Stadium can’t collapse fast enough.
Unfortunately, the Grim Reaper won’t swing the wrecking ball until sometime in October 2008, depending on when Alex Rodriguez kills another playoff run. That’s 21 months from now, or roughly the time between Carl Pavano starts. Until then, baseball fans must continue to root for the Yankees while sitting in a facility past its glory, which is sort of like taking Giselle Bundchen for a spin in a wheezing, old Coup de Ville.
Four million people visit Yankee Stadium every year to see Derek Jeter throw across his body to first base, to witness what $200 million buys these days in baseball talent, to observe the winningest team in baseball this decade.
Four million people do not visit Yankee Stadium to do a riverdance while standing in line for the three or four restrooms. Four million people do not visit Yankee Stadium to squeeze through aisles built for supermodels or fight for shouting space at concession stands the size of shopping-mall information booths. Four million people, or at least the few who dare to drive, do not visit Yankee Stadium hours before the first pitch just so they can find one of the limited parking spaces sold at monthly home mortgages.
Once you remove the product on the field and Monument Park in the outfield, the “Yankee experience” is like the death of Barbaro: overrated and overplayed.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, commissioner Bud Selig and other important types made it official yesterday when the All-Star Game was given to the Bronx in ’08, but this was a mercy gesture, a nice way of being nice to a sick, suffering old cathedral that should’ve had the plug pulled a decade ago. Ordinarily, the Midseason Classic wouldn’t come anywhere near Yankee Stadium, because baseball knows what we know: The place isn’t fit for it.
Ahem. Perish the thought the ballgame alone is worthy of a near-capacity venue. In my too-many years of attending games at Yankee Stadium, I’ve been hit in the head with a full cup of beer. I’ve had two cars broken into. Worst of all, I even paid money that in some way went towards Mel Hall’s wages. And despite of all this (and a near pathological dislike for the hosts), I would still rank the place far ahead of most of the nuevo ballparks that feature wider concourses, plentiful parking, etc.