Friday, August 14, 2009

Yankee Stadium Security Redux

Bumping this to the top of the page since I am sick of weather posts being all that is up here.

Here is something you would never expect to read on New Stadium Insider: Yankee Stadium security is a well-oiled machine that takes supervisor directives to heart.

Last night, we were on hand for the renewal of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry in the Bronx and the friendly security staffers were on edge from the start. According to members of the staff, security was informed that with the Red Sox in town, they needed to be at the top of their game. There were to be no warnings - any fan deemed to be unruly by that particular security guard was to be thrown out, no questions asked. Little did we know that we would nearly be victims of this ill-advised policy.

When we decided to vacate our season seats in the nosebleeds sometime in the 4th inning, to get a better view, we were embarking on a journey that would leave us feeling like bottom of the totem pole scum. At the bottom of a steep stairwell, which leads fans from the upper deck down to the rear section of the field-level food court, we encountered trouble. You see, this was one of the spots that we had deemed a "rapey" upon our first visit to the new stadium - a place that would allow someone seedy to get away with something illicit. In this particular trip through the "rape zone" we decided to act out exactly how someone could get away with smoking - cigarette or otherwise - in this isolated corridor.

Much to our surprise, seconds after going through the exaggerated (read: obviously not REAL) motions of someone lighting something up to smoke, while the other was a "lookout," a security guard was descending on us from an overhang above, summoning us to his post. Keep in mind, we don't actually smoke - as nerdy "Stadium Insiders" we were having an animated discussion about the pitfalls of some of the back staircases at the new stadium. Long story short, this security guard accused us of smoking and "let us off" with a ripped ticket stub - a warning that indicated one strike against us - any more "unruly" behavior and we were out of there. No amount of explaining this blog, or our past experiences with that stairwell were enough for this blowhard security guard to admit that he was mistaken. At the end of the day, we understood that the guy was doing exactly was he was told to do - defend his "post" from low-life fans, without hearing any excuses. One day, maybe that guy will understand that we aren't his target demographic. Hank Steinbrenner is.

We enjoyed the game without any more run-ins with overzealous security until the 8th inning. While watching the game from our favorite standing room only spot behind section 120a, a couple of guys left the expensive seats and offered us their tickets so we could enjoy the rest of the game from the cushy comfort of field level seats. While obviously against the "rules," we figured the security in this particular section would look the other way since we have become friendly with them. One of the security guards in the vicinity even went to high school with fellow blog author, Nick. Unfortunately for us, this was not the night to sneak down to the expensive seats, even with a ticket stub. The smug teenager guarding the section shook his head when we presented him with the tickets and promptly confiscated them. We didn't put up much of a fight - that low-wage worker would probably be the one on the hook if we were the type of scum that runs onto the field in a drunken stupor to get his 15 seconds of fame. It just served as a reminder that as much as you can have friendly conversations with the same Yankee Stadium security guards night in and night out, they are not your friends

This is not your father's Yankee Stadium. When big games arrive, "ushers" are not there to ensure that everyone finds their seat, has fun and returns home safely. "Yankee Stadium Security" is there to rigidly follow supervisor directives out of fear for their jobs. This often leads to misunderstandings between fans and security that escalate to ugly levels. We'll readily admit that in both of the situations described above, security was doing their job, but the black and white way in which they went about it was all wrong. We are the most passionate of fans, trying to enjoy all parts of the new Yankee Stadium. They would prefer if we just stay in our cheap seats, where we belong.
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