Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankee Stadium

Today is the last game at Yankee Stadium. Only time will tell if abandoning that hallowed ground will mean hard times for the NY Yankees. Many of us can but hope that it will! (Has Notre Dame struggled in football because they remodeled their stadium? Only Touchdown Jesus knows that for sure.) Where I grew up, there were two kinds of people: fans of the Detroit Tigers or one of the teams in Chicago, or jerks who were fans of the Yankees just because they won a lot of games.

But this is a time for nostalgia, so here is my contribution. I've never been in the place, but back in the early summer of 1967, on a circuitous return home from Expo 67 in Montreal, my Dad made a point to navigate past various landmarks in NYC. That included driving around Yankee Stadium.

From the outside it was more impressive than Tiger Stadium (originally knows as Briggs Stadium), which looked more like a run-down factory. Yankee Stadium at least looked like an out-of-date office building, if your office building had a giant black sign around the top. Since plenty of NYC buildings did have an ostentatious sign on them (as did the GM building in Detroit), it fit right in.

My other Yankees memory is of going to Detroit for a ball game sometime in the early 60s to see the Tigers play the hated Yankees. To a kid, that shutout loss (1-0? 2-0?) was a boring nightmare. I think I would have appreciated watching masterful pitching (I think it was Whitey Ford on the mound) a bit more if my present-self could have talked to my then-self.

The key bit of trivia during the broadcast of tonight's game (not to mention the all-day pre-game show on ESPN) has been the price of tickets back in 1923 when the stadium opened. I used the info on Robert Sahr's inflation info site to do the conversion: It is a factor of about 12.5.

So that $1.10 paid for a grandstand seat in 1923 should be about $14 today, which is just enough to get into the bleachers at today's prices. You have to more than double that to get into the nosebleed section of the upper grandstand, and fork over about ten times that to get into the "mid priced" grandstand seats.

And that 15 cent program would be $2 in today's money. What a joke! But then I'll bet it wasn't a glossy color production either.

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