BRONX - From 1923 until 2008, the New York Yankees played their home games in the confines of "The House that Ruth Built."
For many fans it was a stadium steeped in tradition, where Babe Ruth roamed right field, Mickey Mantle slugged many of his 536 career home runs and Joe DiMaggio rolled during his 56-game hitting streak.
More important, while calling Yankee Stadium home, the Bronx Bombers became arguably the most successful sports franchise. Since 1903, the Yankees have captured 39 American League pennants and 26 world championships. The next most successful American League teams are Oakland, with 15 pennants, and Boston with 12.
This pair of fans look up at the facade of the new Yankee Stadium, wearing jerseys of two Yankee greats separated by seven decades: Babe Ruth (3) and Bernie Williams.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
When the Yankees left their stadium at the end of 2008 and moved across the street to their new home, many wondered what would be the result. Manager Joe Torre, who led the Yankees to four World Series titles and 11 consecutive playoff appearances, had moved on to Los Angeles and been replaced by the unproven Joe Girardi, who failed to lead the Yankees to the playoffs in 2008, his first year. Modern stars like third baseman Alex Rodriguez and pitcher C.C. Sabathia were unproven in the postseason. But here we are in October/November, and Yankee Stadium, in its first year, is hosting the World Series again.
It's hard to say whether the Yankees and their fans are better off in their new stadium. There are plenty of positives, including The Great Hall, where there are large banners with photos of 20 Yankee greats. Monument Park still remains in the outfield, and a museum pays tribute to historic Yankee moments. And if you're a fan of home runs, there seems to be a constant, swift breeze, forever carrying long fly balls to the short porch in right field.
Unfortunately, there's plenty not to like about the stadium also. A restaurant obstructs the view from low-priced bleacher seats in centerfield, and ticket prices are outrageously expensive, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And one of the biggest travesties is that, for many home games this season, the seats behind home plate and the dugouts were empty because they were too expensive. These seats are also off limits to the general ticket holder prior to the game, putting an end to the decades-long tradition of young fans getting autographs near home plate during pregame batting practice.
For better and worse, a new era of home games has started for the Yankees, its first year ending with home-field advantage in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. For those of you who haven't had a chance to see the new stadium, take a look at some of the photos of it I took this past April during one of its first-ever homestands.
Contact Mike Lynch at (518) 891-2600 ext. 28 or email@example.com.