It's been a long time, I'm sorry I left you ...
So yeah, the Internet has been giving me fits over the last 11 days, but that doesn't mean I don't have a wealth of opinions. So, instead of dumping them all at once, I've decided to disperse them over the next week.
First up is a comparison of the new Yankee Stadium against Citizens Bank Park.
In a span of 30 days I witnessed my first games at each stadium. Both were massive, packed and wholly impressive, but in this humble Yankee fan's opinion: CBP blows the billion-dollar frieze off of Yankee Stadium.
I arrived at CBP before the gates opened, giving me ample time to peruse the stadium and take in its various displays of history. I looked at all the plaques, read the timeline/picturscape displaying various high points in the team's existence, all while having my ears pleasurably flooded with the voice of the late Harry Kalas.
Although it is very clear that CBP is indeed the Phils' ballpark, it's not overly aggressive. If I were Nationals fan, I more than likely would have felt welcome -- not intimidated -- in enemy territory.
The only negative of the pregame was the realization that if one is going to arrive early and watch BP at a night game from the right-field bleachers, one would also be wise to bring sunglasses.
As far as Yankee Stadium goes, that thing is well, massive. The outside has giant photos of each player posted between each of the stadium's gates. Between Gate 6 and Gate 8 (my gate) I was greeted by A.J. Burnett (that night's starter), Chien-Ming Wang (who came on in relief of Burnett) and Nick Swisher (who did nothing).
My friend and I arrived just before the national anthem/God Bless America, so there was no time to check out Monument Park, or any of YS's other various displays of history. I'm already pretty versed in Yankees lore, so that wasn't a total loss.
What was a total loss, though, was the fifteen minutes I spent in line waiting for a sausage and a Pepsi.
From my position in line, one could clearly see the Pepsi bottle displayed as an option for purchase, along with the spinning hot dogs and sausages on the grill. Despite the visual evidence to the contrary, once I reached the front of the line I was informed that neither sausages nor Pepsi were not available.
Once again, this is before the game has started. The stand was out of Pepsi and the sausages were not ready. For shame, whoever is in charge of that stuff, for shame. I guess the thinking is: No real fan wants to spend a sunny May evening at a ballgame with a sausage and hot dog. No, the real fan wants to spend, spend, spend at the sushi bar, butcher shop or Hard Rock Cafe.
Being extremely thirsty after a long set of rides in the subway, I settled for a 20-ounce lemonade at the parallel-universe price of five dollars.
Compare that to CBP, where I was able to walk up to Bull's Barbecue and with almost no waiting walk away with a delicious sandwich and a Pepsi (albeit for $11). Mind you, this was also several hours before game time, and lo and behold there was food available.
Even the seating itself provided an excellent insight into how each team views the fans for whom premium seating is not an option.
At CBP, the fans are given actual, movie-theater style folding seat made of green plastic. They're not the swankiest places to sit, but hey, they're yours -- and they come with a cupholder.
Not so at Yankee Stadium, where they seem to have upgraded everything but the bleachers. As in the old park, the cheap seats are not seats at all. Instead, the fans are given hard, metal, backless benches -- just what you need on a humid summer night. To put this oversight into perspective, even the Thunder got rid of their metal benches and installed individual plastic seats this offseason.
Hey, Yankees, take a tip from Hank Steinbrenner and join the 21st century.