The opening days for New York’s new baseball parks are still a year off, but one thing is obvious when you get past the gorgeous renderings – the stadiums are too small. For the sake of all New York baseball fans, construction needs to stop and new plans drawn up for bigger stadiums.
The people who run the Yankees and the Mets are smart people, so how they came up with these schemes is beyond me. Baseball draws more people every year, while New York City and its suburbs are growing. So what do our baseball teams (with the approval of New York City and state officials) do? They shrink the size of the ball parks.
The new Yankee Stadium will hold about 52,000, down from the current 57,500. The Mets’ new Citi Field will hold 44,000 people compared with Shea Stadium’s 55,700. This is a bad for baseball fans and terrible for parents, kids and grandparents, too.
A baseball stadium is a place where lasting family memories are made. I won’t forget the first time my father took me to the stadium in the Bronx one sweltering August night when I was seven. The Yankees beat the Kansas City Athletics 4-0 in a game that didn’t last two hours. And then there was the first game I took my oldest son to: He chanted “Let’s Go Mets” so loud I feared he had been permanently imprinted a fan of the city’s National League team rather than the Yankees.
Not only will these ball parks have fewer seats, but the ticket prices will be shocking. If you are planning a game or two next year, start saving up by skipping lunch now. A low-cost ticket will go for aboutÂ the price of Broadway show ticket.Â A top-priced field-level seat at Yankee Stadium will cost $2,500,Â about the price of a used car. Ouch.
Don’t get me wrong. The new ball parks look beautiful, especially Citi Field. They will be better places to watch games – much better than the upper deck seats at Shea. Pilots landing at LaGuardia are closer to home plate than my seat near the foul pole a few years ago.
Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost recently told our sport writer Sam Borden that the new stadium could have had more seats, but they would have been further from the field. “We didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make sure that each fan had a great view and could truly enjoy the new park as much as possible.”
No disrespect meant, Mr. Trost, but Yankees fans – and Mets fans, too – won’t be able to enjoy their new stadiums if there are too few seats and if the tickets are priced far beyond their means.
Do you think you’ll take your kids to see the Yankees or the Mets as often in their new stadiums? Do you remember first game with a parent, or with your own child? If so, tell us about your memories.
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