The whole world has heard by now the big rant that hit the airwaves yesterday as the New York Yankees announced their new enhancements to Yankee Stadium. I'm talking about Mike Francesa, of course, and his displeasure with the changes. He sounded like he was just handed the memo while he was on the air, and just reacting to it off the top of his head. Now I have always liked Mike, so don't mistake what I'm saying as bashing the guy. I think times are changing, the Yankees are trying to make the Stadium better, and Mike is having a hard time adjusting.
The full description of the changes is kind of long, but you can read it for yourself on the Yankees' MLB.com site HERE. First of all, if you heard the broadcast, you might think Mike has a problem with bars and restaurants at the Stadium. If he does, he's the only one. I've been to the restaurants and to most of the party decks. I love them. I've never seen anyone in there looking unhappy. So what's the problem? You're mad because the Yankees want to open another place to sit, eat, and drink while they enjoy the game? C'mon man.
Next, he ripped into the new Sunrun Kids Clubhouse. This I just don't get. I mean, he has three small children. Keeping the kids in their seats for 3+ hours in the hot summer sun even with the occasional bathroom and food/drink run is nearly impossible without something bad happening. Every parent knows the kids need a break, even the most die-hard. The Yankees will also have a private space for mothers who are nursing. Mike took special aim at that. In fact, he went back to talking about "breast pumps" at least 3 times. Again, I like Mike. But I remember the days when the Yankees held Briefcase Day for men 25 and over (I think it was 25, but I might be wrong). Making it a little more friendly and comfortable for women and mothers is a step in the right direction. It's about time.
Finally, Mike opened fire on what the Yankees are calling social gathering areas. They're open areas for fans to hang out. They already had a couple of those areas behind the bleachers. They're pretty nice actually. “Isn’t there a game going on during this?" Yes, there is, Mike. Some of us wouldn't mind it if we had a place to hang out with others while cheering on the Yankees. Some of us like being social and meeting people. I'm not sure what the problem is.
Since we're on the topic of social gathering, I wish they'd knock down that stupid "moat". I'm glad that all these new offerings are "accessible to all Yankee Stadium ticketed Guests". Still, nothing tells people that they're 2nd class citizens like telling them they can't hang near the people who bought the expensive tickets. It really is high time. Okay, now I'm whining!
Back to the topic at hand ...
Now I know a bunch of you are going to tell me that they're ruining the tradition of the Stadium. I hear you. I heard you at the opening of the 2009 season when you said that the Stadium didn't "feel" the same. I hear it all the time about how the Stadium feels more like a mall than a ballpark. Listen, I've been to Fenway Park (in my Yankees T-shirt, of course). Aside from the historical significance, the place is a dump. Most of the development they've done there has been outside of the ballpark in a fenced off area you're allowed to go to and still go back in the ballpark. Going there and coming back is a pain in the butt. It's hard to believe that I have to convince people of this, but having good food options and being able to get a drink while enjoying a Yankee game is a good thing. Relax. Enjoy. Change is a good thing.
One last thing. I have to say something nice about Mike Francesa. Like I said, I like the guy. I've listened to him for years. His voice is as much a part of Yankees Universe as John Sterling's home run calls and Phil Rizzuto's "Holy Cow!". I usually like what he has to say, and I always get the sense that he wants the team to do well. Maybe he had a bad day. Maybe he'll come around the next time he takes the kids to the Stadium. Regardless, this is a good thing and there's a lot of people who will appreciate it.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @KingAgamemnon