The Yankees put on quite a show for the media today. Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost invited everybody into George Steinbrenner’s suite at the Stadium where there’s a model of the new park.
After pointing out some features, they showed us a 20-minute film (narrated by John Sterling) they’re using to sell luxury suites. We then went over to the Stadium after getting the mandatory hard hats.
It’s hard to get a feel for a baseball park when the field is covered by giant cranes, trucks and cement blocks. But the place is huge. Trost said the new Stadium is 63 percent larger than the old site, an additional 500,000 square feet.
The scoreboard screen, as an example, will be six times larger than what they have now. The high-definition screen will be 58 x 103. There will also be hand-operated scoreboards in the fence in right center and left center.
Here are answers to some of your questions:
The old Stadium: It will be torn down in the spring of 2009 and converted into a public park. Plans calls for 12,000 trees to be planted in the shape of the stadium. There will be a baseball field, a softball field and a Little League field. But outside of the warning track, no footprint of the field will remain. The city of New York owns the old stadium and will be responsible for taking it down and selling off seats and other things.
Metro North: The station is half completed. It will service the Harlem, New Haven and Hudson lines.
Parking: There are 7,000 spaces now. There will be 11,000 eventually.
Bleachers: There will be roughly the same amount of seats. The fans in the bleachers will have their own food court. There will be a sports bar (open to the general public) in straightaway center field.
Fans seated next to the restaurant on the left field side won’t be able to see right field (and vice versa) but the side walls of the restaurant will have television screens.
The look: The white frieze will be positioned across the entire grandstand. All the seats will be blue and the field dimensions will be exactly the same as they are now. The split upper deck reminded me of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Each section has an open concourse, meaning you’ll be able to see the field when you leave your seat.
Capacity: The current Stadium holds 56,000. The new Stadium will hold 53,000 including standing room. Trost said they were constrained by space. But there will be a significant increase in the number of fans who sit in luxury boxes. For the average fan, it will be a tougher ticket.
The seats: They will be wider, deeper and have more leg room. The bleachers will still be benches.
Monument Park: Will be in center field and more accessible. All of the monuments and plaques will be moved over.
Yankees Museum: Will be down the right field concourse. Thurman Munson’s locker and other artifacts will be there.
All-year round: The Stadium will have a banquet, business and conference center that will be used all year. Several of the restaurants will be open all year as well. Suites will be available for rent for parties, weddings, etc.
The clubhouse: It will stretch from behind the plate nearly to the right-field foul pole. Two batting cages, a soft-toss cage, an enormous clubhouse. Office space for everybody including the strength coach, traveling secretary, etc. A room for the coaches, a room for staff members, a huge trainers room complete with a rehab pool, a press-conference room, etc.
The Great Hall: When you come in off the street, it will be through the Great Hall, a 31,000-square foot area that will serve as a concourse before entering the actual Stadium. There will be a transparent ceiling but open-air windows.