A Ballpark Review: Yankee Stadium

Being a baseball fan, it’s pretty much a life goal of mine to visit every ML stadium. At the time being, I haven’t even hit double digits. But hopefully I’ve got quite a few mores years to make the rounds.

To accomplish this goal, I’ve decided to visit a new stadium each summer to cross a park off the list, and take in the culture of that city on a weekend getaway. Last year was glitzy LA. This year is dreary Cleveland, Ohio!

However, when choosing parks to visit, I haven’t come across many reliable sites for information on the experience of each park. Some are outdated. Others have terrible opinions (so you’re telling me Minute Maid Park is the 24th best stadium, behind the likes of Globe Life and US Cellular?). So I figured I’d share my current experiences and future experiences so that more people like me have a good idea of what they’re getting themselves into with each destination.

For my criteria, I’ve chosen ten categories, yet I have rated each category differently, based on what I value the most. For example, how beautiful a park is #1 for me, so I will value it at 25% of my total valuations. In fact, my Big Four factors are aesthetics, seats/view, atmosphere, and attractions. I like a beautiful stadium, with great seating options, a fun atmosphere, and things to do before the game such as visit the team museum or look at unique attractions on the concourse. My overall factors are

1) Aesthetics- 25

Exterior- 5

Interior- 10

Backdrop- 10

2) Seats & View- 20

Sight lines- 10

Proximity- 5

Comfort- 5

3) Atmosphere- 15

Fan Participation- 5

Attendance- 5

Fan Knowledge- 5

4) Attractions- 15

Museums & Team History- 10

Stuff to See and Do- 5

5) Food & Drink- 10

Hot Dog- 5

Best of the Rest- 5
6) Game Entertainment/Presentation- 5
7) Cleanliness- 5
8) Local Scene & Location- 5
9) Access & Cost- 5
10) Misc- Bonus Points

11) Personal Opinion- 5

Franchise: New York Yankees

Year Opened: 2009

Capacity: 49,642

Games Attended: Too many to list

So…here is the review for Yankee Stadium, a stadium I’ve been to about about 10 or so times now.

1) Aesthetics- 18/25

Exterior- 5/5

Yankee Stadium has a magnificent exterior design which excludes elegance and royalty, which is what you should expect when you enter New Yankee Stadium. The smooth brick design replicates the original Yankee Stadium (1923-mid 1970’s) and it is a perfect tribute.

Interior- 8/10

The new Yankee Stadium is a beautiful ballpark and I say so because I love how they pay tribute to the original, pre-1970’s Yankee Stadium. The Grand Hall is a wonderful addition, with banners of past players hanging up and allowing for an open walkway before you get to the main concourse. I also really like the video board and advertisement structure in center field. Some people aren’t a fan of the big ads in stadiums, but it’s a part of the industry and the Yankees did as good a job as they can do making the advertisements fit into the feel and look of the stadium. And the facade is arguably the best interior design feature of any ballpark.

Backdrop- 5/10

The only negative points here is the lack of backdrop- but what do you expect when you build a park in the Bronx? Another mistake was hiding Monument Park in center. That should have been apart of the stadium dynamic, much like it was in the old stadium.

2) Seat & View-  16/20

Sight line- 8/10

Yankee Stadium has some of the best seats and sight lines of any park I’ve been to. I’ve sat in the upper deck several times and it still feels like you’re right on top of the action. Moreover, there is an open concourse so you can still catch the action going to grab a bite or use the restroom. The second and third levels are also great spots that give you a fantastic vantage point of the park while still feeling really close to the field. The bleachers, however, are the one downside. The closer you get to the Mohegan Sun Bar in center, the worse your view is. On the right field side, you can’t left field and vice a versa. The upshot is that these are cheap seats and you’ll get to mingle with the most passionate, die-hard fans at the park so you will still have a fun time while saving some money.

Proximity- 4/5

As mentioned above, you feel close to the action here whether on the first, second, third, or fourth level.

Comfort- 4/5

I have never had a problem at Yankee stadium. The seats allow for sample space between seats and offer good leg room.

Recommended seats:

Section 428/414: Sit in the first few rows and this is the biggest bang for you buck. Cheap(er) seats and it feels like you are right on top of the action, with a view of the whole field.

Bleachers 203: Home of the Bleacher Creatures

Section 206: Catch a home run in the overhang on the second level in right field.

Sec. 414

Sec. 414

3) Atmosphere- 13.5/15

Fan Participation- 5/5

It should come as no surprise that the Yankee Stadium atmosphere is one of the top few in baseball. The fans care and know a lot about the game. The Bleacher Creatures are the most famous fan section in MLB, but the majority of people in attendance are just as devout. The only knock comes from the fact it’s not the old stadium. That stadium would rock it was so loud. Now with all the corporate suites and luxury boxes, the field level is quieter with suits occupying those sections (if they even show up) and many of the passionate fans have been priced out of attending games. But on weekends and against good teams the place will still sell out and remind you why attending baseball in the Bronx is a pilgrimage all fans need to make.

Attendance- 4/5

As alluded to above, this place doesn’t fill up like it used to, especially on week nights. But they still sell out or come close to it quite often and will be among the league leaders in attendance.

Fan Knowledge- 4.5/5

The little knock is that there are some jack off fans. But people know the game, know the latest baseball news, and ready to cheer from the first pitch.

4) Attractions- 13.5/15

Museums & Team History- 10/10

With the rich history of the Yankees, it’s no surprise that the Yankees do it big when it comes to honoring the team. Monument Park is the coolest tribute of a team’s past in all of baseball. However, if you want to visit you need to get there right when gates open otherwise you won’t get in because of the long line. In addition to Monument Park, the Yankees also have a team museum for people to get their Yankee history fix.

Stuff to See & Do- 3.5/5

A cool thing the Yankees do is hang posters and quotes of famous players throughout the park. To a non-Yankees fan this may seem excessive, but to me it’s awesome. My favorite concourse item the Yankees have is the retired numbers fixed to the wall behind the bleachers.

As for team stores, with the Yankees being the big money franchise they are, have numerous store locations throughout the ballpark.

Retired numbers on the bleachers concourse

Retired numbers on the bleachers concourse

5) Food & Drink- 5.5/10

Hot Dog- 3/5

A Yankee dog (Hebrew National) is one of my least favorite in baseball- I’d give it a 5/10 rating. They also have Nathan’s foot long dogs, which people love, but I am not Nathan’s fan.

Best of the Rest- 2.5/5

The chicken fingers are simply okay and everything else is out of budget. As for the drink selection- it’s Bud or Michelob Ultra for way too much water and it tastes like water. The only redeeming quality is that there are a lot of different food choices- from pulled pork to steak sandwiches to a fruit market- but it’s just expensive and usually not worth the money.

6) Game Presentation & Entertainment- 4/5

The Yankees have a reputation for being a no-thrills organization, but they still have a solid game entertainment package. Before the game, their video board shows highlights of famous players and famous moments in Yankees history. During the game they will still do the same “find the ball in the cap” and “pick the winner of the race” videos which fans of all ages always enjoy. In addition, the Yankees still employ an organist which is really cool for something as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and regularly play “God Bless America” in the 7th. And of course- win or lose they still play Sinatra’s “New York, New York”, something Yankee and non-Yankee fans alike can take comfort in after a fun day at the park.

7) Cleanliness- 5/5

This should get a high rating because the park is still pretty new, but this might be the cleanest stadium I have ever been to. It might be the one thing that stands out the most to me. The concourse is clean, the seats are clean, and everything is still in mint condition. The old stadium was gross, cramped, and foul smelling. The new stadium is much, much improved and makes for a better game experience.

8) Local Scene & Location- 2/5

At the old stadium, this might have gotten a 1. But where the old stadium once stood is now a beautiful athletic park with ball fields for the local community. However, the stadium is still in the Bronx so outside some local pizza joints and unofficial team stores there isn’t anything to do other than hop on a D or 4 train back to Manhattan.

9) Access & Cost- 2/5

As we all know, Yankee Stadium is the most expensive ticket in baseball. It also has the most expensive food and it costs money to get to the stadium (train or exorbitant parking fees). However, there are ways to enjoy Yankee Stadium without draining your bank account. Find an upper deck or bleacher seat and come stuffed so you don’t find yourself needing to eat at the game. And while transportation can be expensive, all you need to do is take the subway right to 161st St and River Avenue. No need to drive and spend a fortune on limited parking.

10) Misc- 3

Stats & Info- 1

Yankee Stadium does a great job showing the stats real fans like to process during the game. It is not only easy to spot on the mega-video board, but it is on the LED panels lining the different levels of the park.

Concourse- 1

Yankee Stadium is an open concourse, so it earns the bonus points.

Traditions- 1

Very few other parks have traditions like Yankee Stadium. The Bleacher Creatures’ “Role Call” might be the best tradition in baseball, and playing Sinatra’s “New York, New York” win or lose is something all fans look forward to.

11) Personal Opinion-4/5

I love Yankee Stadium. I also hate it. But the good outweighs the bad by a mile. This stadium is cleaner, nicer, has better seats, and looks beautiful. Yet it’s not as loud and more corporate. Despite that, it can still be a rocking stadium and the beauty of it has sold me enough to enjoy it more than the old stadium.

Final Score: 85.5/115

A must see stadium for any baseball fan.

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