Yankee Stadium Offers More Than Just a Game

The Yankees lost, but there was plenty to distract the fans from the field

There's a reason why nobody reviews a restaurant or a play on its first night. There are kinks to iron out and changes that have to be made in order to make sure everything goes smoothly over the long run. After leaving the first game at Yankee Stadium, the first thought is that it's probably fair to give the new place the same kind of grace period.

Not that it isn't a helluva place. The Great Hall that greets you upon entrance is just as grand as the name implies and studded with photos and videos celebrtating the team's rich history. The concourses are wide and you can always turn your head to catch a view of the field, even bellying right up to the field level seats and standing to watch for as long as you like. There's more food, it tastes better (though it costs more) and the bathrooms don't have the lived-in feel of the place across the street.

None of the park has that lived-in feel, yet, and that definitely had a negative impact on the game. There was so much new to check out, from stores to food stands to what has to be the largest collection of flat-screen televisions in one place, that there was little time devoted to actually watching the game being played. All of the distractions, including the massive video board in center field, are overwhelming. They make it difficult to remember that you came to watch a game, and that the game is the reason why the stadium exists in the first place. 

Of course, on a day when the Yankees look as bad as they did on Thursday everyone welcomes a little distraction. Perhaps the 10-2 final score explains why it felt like the game was nothing more than background noise.

At the original stadium there wasn't much to do beyond watching the game. That meant it was a shared experience for all of the fans, regardless of where they were sitting or how much they paid to get there. Much has been made of the various "premium" seats and ticketed bars and skyboxes, but the bigger difference is that Yankee Stadium now offers a wider range of game experiences than its predecessor which means that everyone is kinda doing their own thing.  

Will that change over time? Probably. Comparing it to the old stadium at this place isn't fair because it hasn't developed the history, quirks and memory that the original Stadium had pouring out of every crack in the concrete. The Yankees tried to move all that stuff across the street, but those aren't things that can be installed like a light bulb. They have to develop over time, and they have to develop organically. That means they may wind up being different in the long run, which isn't a bad thing but its certainly a different one. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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