Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Two Words Yankee Fans Won't Want To Hear For A Long Time - Rain Delay

Upon disembarking the the 4-train at 161st street, there was a different feel surrounding Yankee Stadium. It wasn't only the steady rain and late-winter chill in the air, but the buzz that only the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry can bring. Being our fifth trip to the new Yankee Stadium (including the two exhibition games), the place was starting to feel comfortable, and thoughts were going through our head that this would be the night that the new Yankee Stadium became home. Then there was a two hour and twenty minute rain delay.

Far be it from us to complain. On this night, we had Audi Club Access (again), and we were ready to nosh down on a $65 all you can eat buffet (more on that in a separate post). Being in a climate-controlled, indoor restaurant, the rain delay could have lasted four hours and we wouldn't have minded. On the downside, we were enjoying this amenity along with a very small percentage of lucky fans, while the real fans were sitting in the rain, waiting on a game that seemed like it would never start.

One would assume that the Yankees would take advantage of their state of the art, high-definition screen in centerfield, and show something entertaining. In the past, they would show the whole collection of Yankeographies during rain delays, or at the very least some highlights and bloopers. It appears that in a Lonn Trostian, Randy Levinean judgement, the Yankees have decided to forego fan-friendly, on-screen entertainment during rain delays, in favor of this fancy graphic:

(photo taken by Heather during Sunday's rain delay)

We'll admit that it is a very well-designed graphic, and it looks good in high definition, but it gets old after five minutes - as does the rain-themed music that the team plays over the PA system. The only conclusion that we can draw is that the Yankees don't want fans to pay too much attention to the big screen, when they could be paying out of their wallets at the concession stands.

Fans had such little faith in the video screen providing them with anything useful that they resorted to relying on security guards and hospitality workers for postponement information. Obviously, anyone who had been to the previously postponed game on Sunday realized that as soon as a weather cancellation was announced, it would be on the screen, and a mass exodus would ensue. Perhaps the near riots could have been prevented if the Yankees had used their video board to engage the fans. Instead, fans were left wandering around and getting drunk.

Once the game started at 9:20 PM on a school and work night, much of the buzz from earlier in the evening was gone. Having had plenty of time to finish our delectable dinner from the Audi Yankees Club, we headed to our cheap seats in the Grandstand in time first inning - back where we belonged. Aside from sparsely populated seats, we were greeted by an inordinate amount of Red Sox fans. This was to be expected with an affordable secondary ticket market, but it still wasn't a welcome sight.

Needless to say everyone was on edge, and the occasional squabble broke out between Yankees and Red Sox fans. Luckily, nobody felt the need to come to blows over a baseball game (at least in our vicinity), although we were tempted when an idiot Yankees fan behind us started yelling when Molina dropped a wind driven foul ball. "Posada would have caught that" was the incorrect statement that he felt the need to repeat for two straight minutes. It was a bit much.

The game was played at the typical snail's pace of a Yankee Red Sox game, so we had to head out after the bottom of the fifth inning - after all, we're not professional bloggers and we have a job to slave away at every day from 9-6. Of course, the Yankees immediately mounted a comeback featuring some Teixeira home runs, but we had to settle for hearing the roar from the 4-train platform. All in all, it was another disappointing night at the new Yankee Stadium from a fan's perspective. As for the amenities, everyone is going to want to stay tuned for our review of the Audi Yankees Club.
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