After two visits to Yankee Stadium in 2010, there are some things that have left us shaking our heads. Not the play on the field of course - the Yankees are 5-1 at home - but about other things we have seen within the walls of the grand structure.
$3 For 3 Balls
As we mentioned last week, the Yankees added a pitch speed machine, also known as a "fast pitch" to the Yankee Stadium experience. While purists were likely up in arms about this, we weren't initially bothered. After all, people spend a lot of hard earned money to attend the games and if its more about entertainment value than watching baseball, that's their right.
Of course, that was before we actually saw the setup. Right inside of the seldom-used gate 2 entrance (its the furthest from the subway) is a children's area of sorts. The "highlight" of this formerly desolate area of the stadium is the pitch speed machine. Excited to blow our arms out (seriously - is there anything worse than rearing back and throwing as hard as you can without any warm-up?) we headed over to chuck a baseball at the tarp and see how fast we could throw. As we reached down to pick up a baseball, a woman came out of nowhere and said "$3 for 3 balls." Here's some video to prove it:
It goes without saying that we passed on that opportunity. As NYYSI reader Steve points out, charging to throw the balls wasn't the worst part:
"Now, I'm well aware of how these speed pitches go. A long-time tradition at minor league ballparks, where children (and adults) get the opportunity to throw three baseballs and get them clocked by a radar gun. Sometimes it's free, but sometimes is costs a small fee. After throwing your first two balls, you get to guess what your speed is going to be on the third ball, and you win a prize if you hit it. Sometimes, a larger prize is awarded to the person who throws the fastest ball by the end of the game. Sometimes it may be the only prize. Regardless, there's always a prize involved. For $3, you get three throws. But there is absolutely no prize involved. Three throws, and if you get fastest throw so far that day, they put it up on the dry erase board next to the speed pitch. In other words, if you have the fastest pitch that day, you win the honor of seeing your name written in temporary ink by a stadium employee."
C'mon, Yankees - can't you at least hand out a souvenir cup with "27-time World Champions" slapped on it or something?
As we mentioned, this setup is located in a quiet corner of the stadium that isn't easy to stumble across. So, how did we find it? Well, a bunny dressed in a "Dylan's Candy Bar" shirt showed us the way, of course:
Furries rejoice - after years of being rigid and traditional, the Yankees are finally letting your people through the gates of Yankee Stadium. Weird stuff.
This whole wacky experience had thrown us off so much, we forgot to check how much they were charging for candy at the shop. Unfortunately, we weren't there when they were giving out free chocolate on Opening Day. The only good news was that we had finally found where the $3 Nathan's hot dogs were hiding this year. The Yankees always find a way to hide that deal in a spot that nobody will find it!
Another new addition to Yankee Stadium is Andre Chiavelli's Vintage Sportscard Club. On Thursday night, we saw his shop outside of the Yankees Museum for the first time and came away impressed. You can check out some video from that experience on NYY Stadium Insider's YouTube page.
No Drinks - Sorry
On Saturday, we decided to venture into the tunnel beyond the outfield wall to check out the Monument Park Store. Conveniently located just outside the entrance to Monument Park, this small gift shop featured another outpost for Vintage Sportscard Club's collectibles. Unfortunately, getting through the door would prove to be a hassle. Apparently they're very strict about not bringing food or drink into the shop, and they have a friendly girl standing guard at the door to make sure people adhere to the rule:
Ok, so maybe she wasn't so friendly. The most annoying part was that we were yelled at to throw away our drink but there isn't a garbage can anywhere near the store. Seriously - we walked a couple of minutes in each direction looking for one. Finally we just left the drink outside of the store on the ground and picked it up on the way out. That sure got us in the mood to spend money!
A Steiner Sports Power Play?
Once inside the store, we checked out the other outpost for Andre's Vintage Sportscard Club. Fellow fans had told us about some really cool vintage Yankees newspaper clippings that were being sold earlier in the week, so we were excited to check them out. Unfortunately, those clippings weren't there anymore by Saturday. When we asked Chiavelli what happened to the newspaper clippings he said "Mr. [Brandon] Steiner [of Steiner Sports Memorabilia] was upset because they didnt give him space to put up his Monument Park plaques, which is a decision way above me. So they asked me to take down the pictures and they put up Steiner's monument plaques. He does a huge business with them as you know, and has for years, so he has a lot of pull. We focused on vintage baseball cards and yearbooks in the store and have been doing great."
Chiavelli is clearly trying to take the high road here and we commend him for that. However, there is obviously a memorabilia showdown taking place at Yankee Stadium and Brandon Steiner is beating his chest. This weekend a worker in the shop admitted as much, telling a reader of the blog that Steiner reminded them that he had "exclusive memorabilia rights" at the stadium.
A lot of people are sick of Steiner's blatant disregard for the interests of Yankees fans and this incident isn't going to make them any friends.
As the season wears on, we'll have less of these experiences - and that's a good thing, During the first two games, we definitely contributed to the lack of crowd enthusiasm by spending a lot of time wandering around, instead of paying attention to the action on the field. We'll be sure to update our "what's new in Yankee Stadium" post some time this week to save you from suffering the same fate.
Earlier today, we created a post for Fansnap.com, breaking down the ticket options in the Audi Yankees Club & The Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. Much of this won't be new to loyal NYYSI readers, but we wanted to share our tips with the folks who use FanSnap.com to buy their tickets.
In case you were wondering about those two unique clubs at Yankee Stadium, feel free to check out the post!no comments
In 2009, outfield sections of the "Legends Suite" were completely empty (photo courtesy of HowFreshEats.com)
Editor's Note: In 2009, much was made of the Legends Suite at Yankee Stadium (better known as the seats beyond the moat). Seats were constantly empty, especially toward the outfield, where the sight lines were worse. In an attempt to combat poor sales in 2010, the Yankees split off three sections down each of the lines, rebranded them as the "Champions Suite" and considerably dropped the prices and amenities. They even broke up the seats and started selling them in plans as small as 10 games. Below, you will find a seating chart from Yankees.com, illustrating the section (and lower prices) that we're referring to:
A regular NYYSI reader recently upgraded from the Jim Beam Suite to the newly formed "Champions Suite" and has filed a complete report. You can find it after the jump (complete with photos and video).
Now that the Yankees have closed out an impressive 5-1 home stand, its time to take another look at our 2010 Yankee Stadium attendance tracker. Through the first 6 games, with some shoddy weather thrown in the mix, the Yankees have seen 267,616 fans pass through the gates. Through 6 games in their inaugural season, the Yankees had drawn 267,014 fans, so they're two percent ahead of the 2009 pace.
|2009 Attendance||2010 Attendance|
Early indications are that the Yankees are once again going to fall short of drawing 4 million fans during the regular season. Our prediction is that they'll push 3.8 million.
We took this video today while riding the 4 train up to Yankee Stadium. For those who haven't been up there this year, it really gives you an idea of the shocking experience it is to see the old Yankee Stadium in its current state. Until it is completely gone, we'll constantly be in awe of the feelings this entire process has evoked.
Just a quick note to let everyone know that we posted an interesting piece over at Fansnap.com about A-Rod's legacy as a Yankee and his current status with the fans. We think this one is worth aggregating, so here it is:
This has been a fun month so far, huh? No better day than Saturday to pick up the pieces and review all of the stuff that has been going down in the world of Stadium Insider.
First of all, we have introduced a couple of new writers to our team, Brenden and Leonora. They've both been blogging about the Yankees for a while and they attend a bunch of games every year. They each have their own "stadium insider" personalities that we hope will shine through in all of their posts. So far Brenden has shared his experience of taking batting practice at Yankee Stadium and his guidelines for when to boo at Yankee Stadium. Leonora has contributed a stadium insider recap of each game that she's been to. Please be sure to look at the byline under the title of the post to see who's writing it. NYYSI is no longer the voice of one man. Next, if you can't get enough of Stadium Insider, here are some of the other places you can find us around the interwebs (click on the logos to find us on that service):
We recently partnered with Fansnap to provide blog posts all about the Yankee Stadium experience. It makes perfect sense - we're fan advocates and Fansnap.com is all about empowering fans to get the best value when purchasing event tickets. They're trying to build out their blog presence in major sports cities and we were their first addition to the team! Check out our first few posts from this week:
What To Look Out For During The Yankees First Home Stand of 2010: Ticket Deals Aplenty, A Final Farewell To The Old Yankee Stadium & The Return Of Matsui
Also, please subscribe to the Fansnap.com/blog RSS feed if you want to get those posts delivered right to you!
In case you haven't done so, feel free to add our RSS feed to your reader. It is the fastest and most efficient way to get your content delivered if you read a ton of blogs daily. That being said, we like the layout of our site and have some advertisers, so feel free to visit the real blog from time to time as well. Sometimes readings posts only in an RSS readers gets boring....
As always, we'll be tweeting away on Twitter. We have 1,500 followers and the list grows each day. We also recently found out that we're the third most influential #Yankees Twitter user in the world, at least according to WeFollow.com (behind only Nick Swisher and Mark Feinsand). We'll take that with a grain of salt, but at the very least it shows that we're committed to utilizing the service to share our thoughts, opinions, analysis and stadium news. While we stick to the stadium experience here, we tend to talk more baseball on the Twitter feed. We like to mix it up across the different channels. You can also find the other Stadium Insider contributors on Twitter:
We're still trying to get our feet wet on Facebook, as we typically use that service for personal interactions. That being said, we plan on having more outings like our beer night with Bronx Goblin next Friday night, and Facebook is a great place to organize those events. Speaking of that bar night, please head over to Facebook and RSVP now if you plan on coming:
We'll be posting videos shot on our HD Flip Cam from inside the stadium all season long. We'll be capturing everything we see that might be even the least bit compelling. Youtube has HD video, so we'll be posting them there. If anyone has suggestions for an alternative video service to use, please let us know. In the meantime, if you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you'll get to see what we find interesting on each of our trips to Yankee Stadium!
(in the news)
We haven't had too much to report on this front as of late, but this week we were featured prominently in a Yankees ticket article in the free daily newspaper Metro New York. This newspaper gets in the hands of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each day, so it was cool for us. We have a "press clips" page where we have kept track of some of our other prominent mentions in the past. Its nice to pat yourself on the back sometimes.
In case you haven't done so yet, check out our posts about the changes to Yankee Stadium for 2010. Nothing groundbreaking here, but definitely fun to keep an eye during your next trip to the stadium. We have more to add to this from our first couple of trips to the stadium, so look for an update on Sunday (including videos).
The third game of the year is when the Yankees generally draw their first typical crowd of the year. It's the first game in a few of the ticket plans that the Yankees offer, and as it's not a big ticket event people come to check out their seats and the crowd for the first time.
To give some background, I have three Yankees ticket plans: A Friday+, 12 Game #1 and an 11 Game plan. I don't like going to games on the weekend, so rather than getting a 20 game plan or trying to get a 41 game plan I just stick a bunch of weekday plans together. Last night was the first game 12 Game #1 for the year, and I was excited to go because I'd moved my plan from 432A Row 12 (an okay seat but not recommended if you can get something better at a comparable price) to Bleachers 236 Row 15.
I arrived in the area at 6:15 and entered through the Bleacher Gate area, which is always less crowded and more relaxed than the gates in the Babe Ruth Plaza. My purse was the same that I brought in the day before and I was essentially waived through by the guard who took a cursory glance but didn't waste any time poking around the depths of my bag. To be fair to security I didn't have much in the bag for them to sift through.
The friend I brought with me wanted a beer, and we initially wandered over to the nearest beer vendor and found out that the price of Bud Light (the default beer sold at the beer stands) is $10 this year. So we walked over to the Beers of the World vendor on the Main Level (there's one on the Bleacher level too but we wanted to take a stroll) and he picked up a Guinness for $11. I am honestly not sure why anyone would buy a Bud Light for $10 when you can walk a few extra feet and get a better quality beer for only $1 more. When you're overpaying for stadium concessions you might as well go all the way.
The bleacher crowd is known for being rowdy and so there's always some of that there, and I don't know how it is in right field but in left it seems to me that the rowdiness comes from people who don't go to a lot of games and think that's how you're supposed to act in the bleachers. There was a group of drunk college-age people sitting near my seats, but they were only notable for the girls who kept trying to get the stadium camera to put them up on the HD screen (it didn't work). In my immediate area people were pleasant, and because the game was very much in the Yankees' favor, happy.
Around the time of Curtis Granderson's second triple, people were doing the wave. I almost missed it because of the timing of the stupid wave thing, and some people in the section over from mine did. The crowd then stopped doing the wave, hopefully because they realized it is stupid and you can miss awesome things. How often are you going to see someone on the Yankees hit two triples at Yankee Stadium??
People started filtering out of the stadium during the top of the 7th inning and by the bottom half the place was pretty empty but the crowd that remained stayed until the end of the game. I know people like to make fun of the Dodgers crowd but let's not kid ourselves, during midweek games that aren't really that close people leave early to catch trains/maybe get home before midnight. It doesn't bother me personally that much because it gives me more space to spread out and relax for the last chunk of the game.
Besides the view and the price the best thing about the bleachers is that it is incredibly easy to leave. In other areas of the stadium it can take a long time to get out--especially if you take the stairs--but not in Bleacher Gate land. From my seat to the street took about five minutes, and as I walked around the corner to 161st Street I saw my bus and was quickly on my way home.
This game was pretty awesome to be at for a regular old midweek game. The Yankees played well and won handily, I got to watch the continued downward spiral of Scott Kazmir, and the dumb people in the crowd were amusing instead of rude or violent and so I will forgive them for almost making me miss Granderson's second triple. A marked improvement over the drunken boo-birds from Game 2.
For the past couple of years, we've anecdotally noticed that before big games, supply wins out over demand and Yankee ticket prices plummet. It seems that with the onset of electronic ticketing and an increase in amateur brokers, it has become commonplace for sellers to misjudge the market and be forced to dump last minute Yankees tickets. Thanks to Fansnap.com's helpful average price graphs, our hunch has been verified. The following is a graph of the average Yankees ticket prices for the past two home openers, starting from around a month out until the day of the game:
Even last year when average ticket prices were well over $600, there was a precipitous drop in the days preceding the opening of the new Yankee Stadium. 2010 Yankees home opener average ticket prices were less of a roller coaster ride, but the trend was still a downward one. As we pointed out in a recent post, supply was steadily increasing as the event drew closer and a drop in price was easy to predict.
Here's where it gets interesting. Since the economics behind our simple analysis above made so much sense, we figured this same rule would apply when looking at other MLB home openers year to year. Luckily, we have somewhat of an apples to apples comparison right here in New York City, as the cross-town rival Mets also opened a new stadium last year. Utilizing Fansnap's fancy gadgetry, we were able to pull up the following graph:
Citi Field in Flushing is only a few miles away from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, but the ticket price trends are COMPLETELY different. For the past two years, prices have risen considerably leading up to the event, with the highest average price coinciding with opening day. It is obvious that in the days leading up to Mets home openers the supply of tickets dwindles and prices predictably float upwards. Perhaps fans who buy tickets to Mets home openers are less likely to do so just to turn around and sell them? It would seem that once tickets are sold by the Mets or any other source, they are off the market, leading to a steady increase in prices.
For the sake of being thorough, lets take a look at the ticket market in Minnesota - a market considerably smaller than New York and one that just witnessed the opening of their own new stadium - Target Field:
There seems to have been a bit more fluctuation both years, but there was still a minor rise in prices right before the Twins home openers in both 2009 and 2010. Minnesota Twins tickets were some of the hottest in baseball during the past month, especially for opening day against the Red Sox, but average prices took a bit of a plunge as the calendar turned to April. In our opinion, it is at this point that people who had no intention of attending the game realized that they had to sell their tickets, resulting in the price drop. Eventually the demand caught back up to the supply and prices rose slightly right before the event.
The analysis above is simply a best guess based on our experience as a fan buying tickets and by observing Fansnap's graphs. We only have two years worth of opening day data to work with, making it hard to draw any definitive conclusions. For the biggest games such as the playoffs and World Series, all bets are off. That being said, as fans, we'll be paying close attention to the price of Yankees tickets as big regular season games approach. If this trend continues, we'll have to seriously consider waiting until the last minute to buy tickets for these games.
UPDATE: 4/16/10, 5:20 PM: Steve has checked in with the following:
Showers and thunderstorms will move through the Bronx this evening. Initially the showers will be scattered with some breaks in the rainfall through 9 PM. At 9 PM a line of organized strong thunderstorms is expected with very heavy downpours, wind gusts up to 40 mph, and occasional lightning. Temperatures will range from 57 to 53 degrees through the game. Winds will veer from the east to northwest around 5 to 10 mph. I expect the switch in winds around 7:30 to 8 PM. The winds will be weak enough not to impact the game, however the winds will be blowing out. Clearly, the main threat is the rainfall.
Look out after 9 PM people. Stay safe out there!
Rain is in the forecast for the Yankees' Friday night showdown with the Rangers, so as always Steve from NYNJPAWeather.com is on hand, providing special forecasts exclusively for NYYSI. This was a popular feature on the blog last year and we're extremely happy that Steve is back for another season! Steve's website recently launched a premium, members only section. If you appreciate his spectacular independent meteorology, please sign up for his premium service.
Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms are forecast, especially after 8 PM. Winds will veer towards the northwest around 5 mph which will blow out towards right field, however the showers will have a high potential to at least produce a delay in the game if not a postponement. Temperatures will range from 60 to 56 degrees. Very raw conditions expected, so bring a jacket and a lot of patience.
Game Delay Potential: HIGH Showers and thunderstorms approaching from the Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey will approach the Bronx. These showers will be capable of heavy downpours and produce very poor playing conditions.
Game Postponement: MODERATE The extent and development of the showers and isolated thunderstorms will be key. There is potential for a break in the rainfall long enough to get at least 6 innings in before the rain is too heavy to play in.
As always, we'll provide updates if anything changes. For now, you can track the radar below, and click here for the latest image.