I acknowledge that the ideal Monument Park visit is entirely a matter of personal preference, but I believe Yankee Stadium III would need a major renovation to truly make their current Monument Park a worthwhile experience.
I was raised in Yankee Stadium II, with the renovations of the '70s a distant memory and the glow of those '90s postseason runs still on the horizon. For me, Monument Park involved a long walk past the retired numbers and toward the monuments, and a slow exit through the many plaques. It was a space to pass through and maybe catch a BP home run.
For my father, the monuments belong in the outfield. They are things to be walked by as you exit the Stadium through the center field gate. For the record, I think that would be cool, too, but not so much that I'm going to waste too much effort dreaming that the Yankees' brass are likely to bring this back.
I don't know anyone who likes Monument Park's current home beneath the monument to sports capitalism known as the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. There are a host of problems. The cave-like atmosphere. The giant floating George head. These are problems I accept as forever problems, and no amount of wishing will ever fix these problems. But there is still one problem the Yankees can solve; Monument Park is too cramped and the solution is to take out the plaques.
I'm already on the record that the Yankees should retire fewer numbers and hang more plaques. Hank Bauer, Willie Randolph, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui. Heck, I'm all for Mel Stottlemyre Day and Shane Spencer Day. Why not? Have a day, cheer for them in the pre-game and watch a few highlights. And then hang up a plaque that says a few nice things about the guy.
But instead of hanging the plaque in Monument Dungeon, the Yankees should hang their plaques all around Yankee Stadium. Hang them in the Concourses and hang them above the hundreds of concession stands and hang them in the exit ramps so you have something to read while 50,000 people shuffle out of the Stadium singing "New York, New York." I would put a replica of each plaque onto each level so that a walk around the Stadium serves as a walk through Monument Park. While we're at it, let's take the one well-executed idea of the Great Hall–those larger than life banners of Yankee legends–and hang banners or pictures around the Stadium. Give us championship swings and perfect games at every section.
When the Steinbrenners built Yankee Stadium III, they sold it to us, the fans, as a celebration of the Yankees' rich tradition. The exterior of the building is modeled on that history, but to date, the interior only celebrates free market enterprise and the Steinbrenners' ability to hock every square inch of the outfield walls. It wouldn't take too much work to fix that.