Earlier this month, an old video game feature was unearthed on the internet. All-Star Baseball 2004 included several bonus stadiums that had yet to be built when the game was released. The game included new homes for the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, the "Washington DC expansion team", and the New York Yankees. The video is narrated by Derek Jeter (he was on the cover of the game) and he explains to the fans the amazing, and bizarre, features of these new stadiums.
Let's take a tour of the new Yankee Stadium as it was described in 2004:
According to what Jeter says, this new Yankee Stadium takes a few features from the classic stadium, but introduces a lot of ideas that never came to be when it was officially introduced a few years later. As he says, the dimensions of the outfield fences are identical to the original Yankee Stadium, but that's about the only thing they got right.
In this version of the stadium, a retractable roof was included, similar to the one at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Of course the new Yankee Stadium doesn't have that, but it was widely believed to be in the original plans at the time this video game was being made. The idea of a domed stadium goes as far back as 2001 before those plans were scraped around 2004 when the final design was introduced. Apparently the Yankees decided not to go with a retractable roof in order to save $200 million in construction costs. While the classic feel of an open stadium is nice, a retractable roof could have been useful to prevent rainouts from ever happening again in the Bronx.
Not knowing really what to do with much of the stadium, the game designers decided to make the bleachers and scoreboard area look like the old place. They placed the facade on top of the scoreboard and didn't include the Yankee Stadium sign that would ultimately make its way into the real version.
The outfield stands look a lot like the old stadium without the renovation cutout in left-center to push the fences in from their original dimensions. There is no black seating or Mohegan Sports Bar to serve as the batter's eye, though there is a small green space in center field that must serve some purpose. Instead of the small middle deck like in the old stadium, this place has a full three decks in left field under the roof, but only two in right, maintaining the overhanging right field upper deck. A third deck comes into view in right field foul territory, just in case you were concerned with where the roof connects.
For some reason the creators of this video game thought it was a good idea to put the monuments and flag pole back into the field of play like they were before the old stadium's renovations. Interestingly, they've added a fourth monument when there was only ever three back then–Babe Ruth, Miller Huggins, and Lou Gehrig–who could the fourth be!? There are now monuments to Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and the victims of September 11th, but why would only one be represented?
The game does include a version of Monument Park, which seems to devote as much space as the current one does, only this one isn't concealed by the sports bar on top of it. There also aren't any retired numbers on display like it traditionally has. While the new stadium has a Monument Cave, this looks like Monument Wall, which is really just the original design smushed right up against the outfield fence.
In this stadium, the bullpen is housed in left field up alongside the length of the outfield fence and it looks to be huge. The final design would ultimately place the bullpens on either side of the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in center field and they likely don't take up as much room.
Finally, it was weird to see one single building emerging from behind the outfield wall. Home plate faces away from Manhattan, so it could never have the New York City skyline in view, but I did some digging to find out more information about this building. In real life, it's The Executive Towers luxury apartment complex at 1020 Grand Concourse and it's where rich people can live in the Bronx and maybe watch a Yankee game from their window.
Of course, this video game Yankee Stadium ended up being completely different from what the Yankees unveiled in 2009, but it was a good effort. The design of the stadium feels a little uneven when comparing the left field stands to center field, but at least it came with a retractable roof. What would you have liked to see from the new Yankee Stadium?