There's been quite a to-do in the Philly blogosphere about the empty seats at Yankee Stadium the past two nights. And why not? The Stadium was only 96% full on Wednesday night, and some fans spent part of the night retreating under cover in the mist. With a five run deficit at a late hour in the ninth, some folks simply got up and headed for the open concourses to watch the last half inning. None of those actions lend themselves to a rowdy playoff atmosphere
Jimmy Rollins, for one, wasn't impressed with the new joint:
Asked if Yankee Stadium were a different atmosphere for a World Series game, Rollins replied, "You'd like to believe so. It's really more of a different atmosphere at our ballpark, which is so loud and rowdy. I expected that when I came here, but I heard one big cheer, and that was on a home run. Other than that," Rollins said before finishing his quote with a shrug of the shoulders.
Don't blame the whole of Yankees fans, Jimmy, for your inability to hear big cheers. Blame the individuals who decided it would be smart to put luxury boxes behind home plate and the dugouts. I'm referring, of course, to the Yankees Legends Suites, the infamous section surrounded by a moat with seat prices in the thousands and corporate fat-cats networking instead of watching the sport. Just 3% of the capacity of the Stadium is seated in these sections, yet they are the face of the game for millions of fans watching on TV.
There should never be a huge luxury box this close to the action in any sport. I'm not implying that teams should give these seats away for free to the "real fans", in fact, the price for these seats should be astronomical. But to provide these folks with a swank sheltered lounge immediately behind the seating area with free foodstuffs and cocktail waitresses at the beck and call only encourages fans to leave the seats. Those empty seats take away from the overall enjoyment for not just the rest of the fans in the park but also makes it seem like Yankee Stadium is half-full of aloof, unstirred ticketholders. That couldn't be further from the truth.
So, I propose that the Yankees re-adjust the fancy schmancy lounge area behind the high-priced dugout section so that the fat cat fans will stay in their seats and cheer on the team. In fact, these folks should be denied any amenities whatsoever, save for maybe a peanut vendor and a mason jar to urinate in. Put the luxury boxes up high, next to the press box, where folks cannot (and should not) be seen. Also, the lounge area should be transformed into a homeless shelter for battered women and children, thus making this a wise P.R. move for the Steinbrenners. WIN WIN.
(Photo courtesy of the good folks at the 700 Level and our pal Dmac)