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Fenway Park and The New Yankee Stadium in One Week

Sunday afternoon at the ball park in New York City

After a few hectic months of wedding planning and an amazing day where I was lucky enough to marry my amazing wife, we took off to our honeymoon. Somewhat knowingly to her, I had a few sports related sites that I wanted to see along the way.

A cruise stop in Boston required a quick blow by Fenway Park and a five-night stay in New York City wouldn’t be complete without attending at least one sporting event. Travelling in June, we had two options, the Yankees or the Mets. Sorry Mets fans, but as a casual baseball fan it was a pretty obvious choice.

Fenway and Yankee stadium have almost nothing in common, other than the fact that both of their home teams play in the American League East. Fenway opened its doors to the first generation of Red Sox maniacs in 1912, making it the oldest park in the league, while the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009.

Having home fields sporting a nearly 100-year age gap exists due to conscious choices on the sides of both organizations. The previous Yankee Stadium, which stood just across the street from its predecessor, was constructed in 1923. In the early 2000’s both of these storied franchises were forced to make some tough choices with their aging facilities.

Quite clearly, the Yankees opted for a brand new stadium, while the fanatic “Red Sox Nation” harshly opposed the prospect of doing the same in Boston. After a few years of arguing the Red Sox opted to put $285 million into renovations that just wrapped up this year. It seems a reasonable compromise compared to the $2.3 billion price tag that came with the new Yankee Stadium.

So, you may be asking yourself, what do you get when you save $2.015 billion in infrastructure costs as a Major League Baseball franchise? A heck of a lot of character and the longest sell out streak in MLB history.

If these seats are replaced, Fenway loses 3,000 seats due to new safety regulation. They aren't going anywhere.

Some of the character that comes with these cost savings include the world famous Green Monster, the awkward “Triangle” in center field and the Lone Red Chair. These historical ditties are also accompanied by horribly uncomfortable wood/steel seats, seriously obstructed views due to ill placed support beams, and seats on top of the Green Monster in which fans must be on constant watch for 100 mph+ balls whizzing at their noggins. All of these things, as thoroughly explained to us by a tour guide who had the same accent as Ben Affleck in Goodwill Hunting, are treasured features in the eyes of “Red Sox Nation”; the good and the bad.

The new Yankee stadium in comparison is sadly lacking history or features that would distract you as a fan from enjoying the game in a culturally important way. Except they did install frieze around the roof of the stadium to replicate the look of the old stadium…
Other than that Yankee Stadium is pretty much everything you would want from a $2.3 billion expenditure. Although it really is an exceptionally functional baseball stadium, you don’t walk away with the same feeling that you do with one built in 1912. I will give the stadium a bit of a break though. At this time Derek Jeter was approaching the 3,000 hit mark but was in the middle of an 18 game stint on the Disabled List. I can understand why the majority of fans were probably not as into it as they would be if Jeter were playing and inching closer to 3,000 hits.

Either way, I didn’t take a tour in Yankee Stadium and I didn’t see a game in Fenway, but I came away with a more memorable experience from the latter.

The feeling of an empty Fenway Park with kids from Make-A-Wish-Foundation hitting grounders from a batting cage set up on home plate had more feeling than a packed Yankee Stadium on a beautiful June Sunday afternoon. This might not be a fair comparison considering Fenway is one of the most storied buildings in all of sports, but in the context of the rivalry that exists between these two franchises I think it matters. A lot.

Boston fans would be happy with what I saw, some Yankees fans would be ticked off and try to justify the new stadium, but I bet lots of New Yorkers are probably missing the old stadium that used to stand across the street.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @Matt FOTB

Photo credits: A Wittmeier

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  1. March 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm

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