Yesterday I got the opportunity to take a media tour through Yankee Stadium. The Yankees organization showed off the new sights and concessions for the 2017 season in an event that was attended by all sorts of media outlets. News 12, Pix 11, MLB.com, YES, Timeout New York, and Business Insider were just a few of the names I heard and logos I saw. If you were following the Pinstripe Alley Twitter account on Tuesday, you would have seen the many pictures I took documenting my experience as we toured the new additions to the venue. I’ll try my best to reproduce what I saw and felt along the way.
The Sunrun Kids Clubhouse
The media tour started with a presentation of the Sunrun Kids Clubhouse, the stadium’s new kid-friendly play area in the 300 level. It’s essentially a miniaturized baseball field with weird playground equipment that are actually oversized bats, baseball cards, and bases. There is also a giant World Series trophy that has a slide inside. It looks kind of silly, but who am I to say what is and isn’t going to be appealing to a child? The Kids Clubhouse also has an area where children can throw a baseball.
Budweiser Party Deck
We went through one of the Budweiser Party Decks as we walked under the Grandstand. There is one of these areas on each side of the stadium in sections 311 and 328. From a distance, these areas didn’t look like anything at all, but up close they...also don’t seem like much.
Welcome to the new party deck under the grandstand pic.twitter.com/L6GGKLMWXF— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 4, 2017
While the bar looks legit, I have to wonder who is going to sit at these tables that are situated in the middle of nowhere and don’t have much of a view of the field. It’s a nice gesture, but it doesn’t seem to fit in very well with the stadium around it.
The Masterpass Batter’s Eye Deck
Next they took us to the new bar and landing in center field, which may have been the best new addition. This area never seemed to have much direction or purpose before. You could buy concessions, but there was no room to eat it and there was also an area where regular folks didn’t seem to be allowed to go. Instead, the Yankees were able to transform this area into a much larger space that could actually prove to be quite popular.
OK the landings in center field might actually be cool pic.twitter.com/8ngH5a7vbl— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 4, 2017
My pictures are garbage and the people are in the way, but there really is a lot of room here. There is an unobstructed view of the field with a drink railing, plenty of tables scattered around the walkway, and a few additional seating for larger groups. Additionally, on each side of the landing are sections of drink railings for standing room. There are plenty of outlets available for phone charging too!
Goodbye bleachers goodbye TVs goodbye obstructed view hello viewing deck with charging stations pic.twitter.com/n1YVv41LWv— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 4, 2017
Also, in case you were wondering, that ugly monstrosity has a new name: The 1893 Sports Bar, or something like that. Our tour guide didn’t even seem to know himself, but I guess it has something to do with Pepsi.
The stupid bar in center field has a new name apparently pic.twitter.com/UCVBiy4wXt— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 4, 2017
The Bullpen Terraces
There are even more bars situated underneath the batter’s eye. In order to make these updates to the stadium, the Yankees decided to tear up two whole sections of the bleachers that previously offered obstructed view seating. While the beer railing sections (pictured above) still come with an obstructed view (and no TVs), the rest of these sections were used to carve out two identical terraces.
The Toyota Terrace is the Night Man to the MasterCard landing's Day Man pic.twitter.com/yjHNjfSZwB— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 4, 2017
The space is just as nice as the location above, but I was not as impressed with the bars down here as the one on top. The bars in these sections look too much like nightclubs and they seem to offer less in the way of food and alcohol. On the bright side, the Toyota Terrace overlooks the Yankees bullpen in left field and the Frank’s RedHot Terrace (what a sponsorship) overlooks the visiting bullpen in right. And when I say overlooks, I mean you are basically standing right on top of it with easy access to the players. Good luck to the opponent’s closer going forward.
The AT&T Sports Lounge
This full bar is situated in section 134 but is completely separated from any kind of view of the field. Instead, guests can sit at the bar or find a table and watch the game on television. It’s like going to the game without ever having to feel like you are at a live sporting event. It also felt incredibly tacky.
By lounge they mean airport bar pic.twitter.com/c5tAetBAnd— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 4, 2017
Beer: If you’re someone who cares about your beer selection, here is the full list of offerings available in 2017.
Draft beers include: Blue Moon, Blue Moon White IPA, Blue Moon Seasonal, Blue Point Mosaic, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Blue Point Hoptical Illusion, Bronx Banner Ale, Budweiser, Bud Light, Catskill Brewery Ball Lightning Pilsner, Chelsea Checker Cab, Coors Light, Corona Light, Goose Island, Goose Island 312, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Guinness, Heineken, Heineken Light, Kirin Ichiban, Leinenkugel, Miller Lite, Modelo, Newcastle, Old Blue Last, Shock Top, Stella Artois, Strongbow and Yuengling
Glass-bottled beers include: Blue Moon, Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Platinum, Coors Light, Corona, Corona Light, Dos Equis, Guinness Blonde, Heineken, Heineken Light, Hoegaarden, Miller Lite, O’Doul’s, Red Bridge, Stella Artois, Strongbow and Yuengling
Craft-Bottled Beers include: Blue Point Blueberry, Blue Point Mosaic, Blue Point Seasonal, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Goose Island IPA, Goose Island 312, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Kona Big Wave, Kona Longboard Lager, Southern Tier IPA, Southern Tier Porter, Southern Tier Tangiers
Can beers include: Beck’s, Bronx Banner Ale, Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Lime-A-Rita, Bud Mango-Rita, Coors Light, Goose Island IPA, Heineken, Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, Shock Top, Stella Artois, Warsteiner Pilsner, Warsteiner Pilsner Grapefruit
All-in-all, I thought it was a very interesting experience. While the weather wasn’t great, you could still get a sense of how these new spaces will be utilized going forward. I’m not entirely sure how frequently the seating in the Budweiser Party Deck will be used, or if breastfeeding mothers will even want to use the new facilities they have there, but the additions have certainly not taken anything away from the stadium.
It is clear that the Yankees have heard the criticisms of Yankee Stadium, seen the drop in attendance, and are at least trying to do something about it. The new additions certainly don’t help the ballpark feel more authentic, but they don’t exactly make it feel any more like a Las Vegas casino. I still believe they need an area for young fans that is not a playground for babies. I also think it wouldn’t hurt to step back from the stainless steel look they have going on all over the place. Not everything has to look shiny and lifeless. Still, a bigger gathering area could help bring more life into the crowd and into the stadium itself.
Tune in tomorrow for my review of some of the food items available this year.