Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium Logo.png

Yankee Stadium upper deck 2010.jpg
2010 photo
Location East 161st Street & River Avenue
Bronx, New York, United States
Coordinates 40°49′45″N 73°55′35″W / 40.82917°N 73.92639°W / 40.82917; -73.92639Coordinates: 40°49′45″N 73°55′35″W / 40.82917°N 73.92639°W / 40.82917; -73.92639
Broke ground August 19, 2006
Opened April 2, 2009 (workout day)
April 3, 2009 (exhibition game)
April 16, 2009 (regular season)
Owner New York Yankees
Operator New York Yankees
Surface Kentucky Bluegrass
Construction cost USD $ 1.5 billion[1]
($1.54 billion in 2011 dollars[2])
Architect Populous (formerly HOK Sport)[3]
Project Manager Turner Construction Company
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti[4]
Services engineer ME Engineers[4]
General Contractor Skanska USA[5]
Capacity Baseball: 50,291 (seats)
52,325 (including standing room)[6]
Football: 54,251 [7]
Field dimensions Left Field Line - 318 feet (97 m)
Left Field - 379 feet (116 m)
Left-Center - 399 feet (122 m)
Center Field - 408 feet (124 m)
Right-Center - 385 feet (117 m)
Right Field - 353 feet (108 m)
Right Field Line - 314 feet (96 m)
Backstop - 52 feet (16 m)
Tenants
New York Yankees (MLB) (2009–present)
Pinstripe Bowl (NCAA) (2010–present)

Yankee Stadium is a stadium located in The Bronx in New York City. It serves as the home ballpark for the New York Yankees, replacing the previous Yankee Stadium, built in 1923. The new ballpark was constructed across the street, north-northeast of the 1923 Yankee Stadium, on the former site of Macombs Dam Park. The ballpark opened April 2, 2009, when the Yankees hosted a workout day in front of fans from the Bronx community. The first game at the new Yankee Stadium was a pre-season exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs played on April 3, 2009, which the Yankees won 7–4.[8] The first regular season game was played on April 16, a 10–2 Yankee loss to the Cleveland Indians.[9][10]

Much of the stadium incorporates design elements from the previous Yankee Stadium, paying homage to the Yankees' history. Although stadium construction began in August 2006, the project of building a new stadium for the Yankees is one that spanned many years and faced many controversies. The stadium was built on what had been 24 acres (97,000 m2) of public parkland. Replacement ballfields, slated to open when the new stadium did, have not been completed. Also controversial was the price tag of $1.5 billion,[11] which makes it not only the most expensive baseball stadium ever built, but the third most expensive stadium of any kind (after Wembley Stadium in London and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey).

Contents

History

Planning

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner began campaigning for the building of a new stadium in the 1980s, even alleging unsafe conditions around the original Yankee Stadium despite the possibility that such statements could discourage attendance at his own team's games. Yankees ownership allegedly planned to move the team across the Hudson River to New Jersey. The Yankees also considered moving to the West Side of Manhattan, which was where the proposed West Side Stadium would later be considered for the New York Jets and the city's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.[12][13]

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had already been instrumental in the construction of taxpayer-funded minor league baseball facilities MCU Park for the Mets' minor league Brooklyn Cyclones and Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the Staten Island Yankees. Shortly before leaving office in December 2001, he announced "tentative agreements" for both the New York Yankees and New York Mets to build new stadiums. Of $1.5 billion sought for the stadiums, city and state taxpayers would pick up half the tab for construction, $800 million, along with $390 million on extra transportation.[14] The plan also said that the teams would be allowed to keep all parking revenues, which state officials had already said they wanted to keep to compensate the state for building new garages for the teams.[15] The teams would keep 96% of ticket revenues and 100% of all other revenues, not pay sales tax or property tax on the stadium, and would get low-cost electricity from the state of New York.[15] Business officials criticized the plan as giving too much money to successful teams with little reason to move to a different city.[15]

Michael Bloomberg, who succeeded Giuliani as mayor in 2002, called the former mayor's agreements "corporate welfare" and exercised the escape clause in the agreements to back out of both deals, saying that the city could not afford to build new stadiums for the Yankees and Mets. Bloomberg said that unbeknownst to him, Giuliani had inserted a clause in this deal which loosened the teams' leases with the city and would allow the Yankees and Mets to leave the city on 60 days' notice to find a new home elsewhere if the city backed out of the agreement.[14][15] At the time, Bloomberg said that publicly funded stadiums were a poor investment. Under Bloomberg, the New York City government would only offer public financing for infrastructure improvements; the teams would have to pay for the stadium themselves.

The proposal for the current stadium was unveiled by the Yankees in 2004. The team scrapped plans to build a retractable roof, saving $200 million in construction costs.[16]

Construction

The stadium under construction in 2007 (top), and the completed venue next to the remains of the former facility in 2010 (bottom)

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the stadium took place on August 16, 2006, the 58th anniversary of Babe Ruth's death, with Steinbrenner, Bloomberg and then-Governor of New York George Pataki among the notables donning Yankees hard hats and wielding ceremonial shovels to mark the occasion.[17][18] The Yankees continued to play in the previous Yankee Stadium during the 2007 and 2008 seasons while their new home stadium was built across the street.

During construction of the stadium, a construction worker and avid Boston Red Sox fan buried a replica jersey of Red Sox player David Ortiz underneath the visitors' dugout with the objective of placing a "hex" on the Yankees, much like the "Curse of the Bambino" that had plagued the Red Sox long after trading Ruth to the Yankees. After the worker was exposed by co-workers, he was forced to help exhume the jersey.[19] The Yankees organization then donated the retrieved jersey to the Jimmy Fund, a charity started in 1948 by the Red Sox' National League rivals, the Boston Braves, but long championed by the Red Sox and particularly associated with Ted Williams.[20][21] The worker has since claimed to have buried a 2004 American League Championship Series program/scorecard, but has not said where he placed it.[22] These attempts did not work; the Yankees won the World Series in their first year in the new stadium.[23]

Financing

$1.5 million of New York state tax revenue will be used to build parking garages (as authorized by the State Legislature). The parking garage project would cost $320 million. City and state taxpayers will forgo up to $7.5 million annually in lost taxes resulting from the sale of $225 million in tax-exempt bonds authorized on October 9, 2007, by the New York City Industrial Development Agency (administered by the New York City Economic Development Corporation) to finance construction and renovation of the parking garages.[24][25] However, if the parking revenues are not enough to pay a reported $3.2 million land lease to the city, the entity that will operate the parking garages and collect revenue will be able to defer that payment.[26]

Features

The new stadium is meant to be very similar in design to the original Yankee Stadium, both in its original 1923 state and its post-renovation state in 1976. The exterior resembles the original look of the 1923 Yankee Stadium. The interior, a modern ballpark with greater space and increased amenities, features a playing field that closely mimics the 1988-2008 dimensions of the old park. The current stadium features 4,300 club seats and 68 luxury suites.

Design and layout

The Indiana limestone exterior, shown at Gate 4, mirrors the exterior of the original Yankee Stadium in 1923.

The stadium was designed by the architect firm Populous (formerly HOK Sport). The exterior was made from 11,000 pieces of Indiana limestone, along with granite and pre-cast concrete.[27] The design closely mirrors the exterior of the original Yankee Stadium when it first opened in 1923.[27] The exterior features the building's name V-cut and gold-leaf lettered above each gate.[27] The interior of the stadium is adorned with hundreds of photographs capturing the history of the Yankees. The New York Daily News newspaper partnered with the Yankees for the exhibition "The Glory of the Yankees Photo Collection", which was selected from the Daily News' collection of over 2,000 photographs.[28] Sports & The Arts was hired by the Yankees to curate the nearly 1,300 photographs that adorn the building from sources including the Daily News, Getty Images, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball.

The seats are laid out similar to the original stadium's stands, with grandstand seating that stretches beyond the foul poles, as well as bleacher seats beyond the outfield fences. The Field Level and Main Level comprise the lower bowl, with suites on the H&R Block Level, and the Upper Level and Grandstand Level comprising the upper bowl.[29] Approximately two-thirds of the stadium's seating is in the lower bowl, the inverse from the original Yankee Stadium.[29] Approximately 51,000 fans can be seated, with a standing room capacity of 52,325.[30] The new stadium's seating is spaced outward in a bowl, unlike the stacked-tiers design at the old stadium. This design places most fans farther back but lower to the field, by about an average of 30 feet (9.1 m). Over 56 suites are located within the ballpark, triple the amount from the previous stadium.[27] Seats are 19–24 inches (48–61 cm) wide, up from the previous stadium's 18–22-inch (46–56 cm) wide seats, while there is 33–39 inches (84–99 cm) of leg room, up from 29.5 inches (75 cm) of leg room in the previous stadium.[29] Many lower level seats are cushioned, while all seats are equipped with cupholders.[29] To allow for the extra seating space, the stadium's capacity is reduced by more than 4,000 seats in comparison to the previous stadium.[29]

The frieze that lined the roof of the original Yankee Stadium from 1923-1973 is replicated in its original location.

Many design elements of the ballpark's interior are inspired by the original Yankee Stadium. The roof of the new facility features a replica of the frieze that was a trademark of the previous ballpark.[29] In the original Yankee Stadium, a copper frieze originally lined the roof of the upper deck stands, but it was torn down during the 1974–75 renovations and replicated atop the wall beyond the bleachers.[29] The new stadium replicates the frieze in its original location along the upper deck stands.[29] Made of steel coated with zinc for rust protection, it is part of the support system for the cantilevers holding up the top deck and the lighting on the roof.[31] The wall beyond the bleacher seats is "cut out" to reveal the subway trains as they pass by, like they were in the original facility. A manually-operated auxiliary scoreboard is built into the left and right field fences, in the same locations it existed in the pre-renovation iteration of the original Yankee Stadium.[29]

The Great Hall is situated along the southern front of the stadium.

Between the exterior perimeter wall and interior of the stadium is the "Great Hall", a large concourse that runs between Gates 4 and 6.[32] With seven-story ceilings, the Great Hall features more than 31,000 square feet (2,900 m2) of retail space and is lined with 20 banners of past and present Yankees superstars.[32] The Great Hall features a 5-by-383-foot (1.5 by 117 m) LED (light-emitting diode) ribbon display as well as a 25' by 36' LED video display above the entrance to the ballpark from Daktronics, a company in Brookings, South Dakota.[32][32]

Monument Park, which features the Yankees' retired numbers, as well as monuments and plaques dedicated to distinguished Yankees, has been moved from its location beyond the left field fences in the original Yankee Stadium to its new location beyond the center field fences at the new facility. The newly relocated Monument Park is now situated under the sports bar, this choice of location has drawn criticism as the many monuments are underneath the sports bar and not as in the open as in the previous Yankee Stadium. Fueling this criticism has been the advent of black shades that cover monuments on the back wall during games to prevent interference with the vision of the batter.[33] The new location of the monuments is meant to mirror their original placement in center field at the original pre-renovation Yankee Stadium, albeit when they were on the playing field. The transfer of Monument Park from the old stadium to the new stadium began on November 10, 2008.[34] The first monuments were put in place on February 23, 2009.[35] Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera requested that the Yankees reposition the team's bullpen, as well as add a door to connect the Yankees' bullpen to Monument Park, in order to allow access to it by Yankee relievers. The organization complied with his request.[27][36]

Field dimensions and playing surface

The view from the Grandstand Level (400 Level).

The field dimensions for the outfield fences have the same distance markers as the original facility prior to closing yet the dimensions are not identical.[37] Due to the design of the right-field stands and the inclusion of an embedded manual scoreboard, the right-field wall is an average of 5 feet (1.5 m) closer to home plate.[38] Overall, the fences measure 318 feet (97 m) to left field, 399 feet (122 m) to left-center field, 408 feet (124 m) to center field, 385 feet (117 m) to right-center field, and 314 to right field.[29][30] At the old Yankee Stadium, the right field wall curved from the right-field corner to straightaway center, while at the new ballpark the fence takes a sharp, almost entirely straight angle.[38] This results in a difference at certain points between the right field markers of as much as 9 feet (2.7 m).[38] The dimensions in left field are substantially the same despite the presence of an embedded auxiliary scoreboard there as well.[38]

The outfield fences measure 8 feet 5 inches (2.57 m) high from the left-field foul pole until the Yankees' bullpen, when the fences begin to gradually descend in height until the right field foul pole, where they are only 8 feet (2.4 m) tall.[29] This also marks a decrease from the previous Yankee Stadium, where the outfield walls stood at a height of approximately 10 feet (3.0 m).[37] The distance from home plate to the backstop is 52 feet 4 inches (15.95 m), a reduction of 20 feet (6.1 m) from the previous facility.[30] The field is made up of Kentucky bluegrass, the same surface as the previous stadium, which is grown on a 1,300 acres (530 ha) farm in Bridgeton, New Jersey. The grass is equipped with a drainage system (featuring over 14,000 feet (4,300 m) of pipe) that makes the field playable an hour after taking 2 inches (51 mm) of rain.[29]

Comparison with the 1923 Stadium

Characteristic Old Stadium [as of 2008] New Stadium
Opening Day April 18, 1923 April 16, 2009
Capacity 56,866 52,325 [39](including standing room)
Seat width 18 inches (46 cm)–22 inches (56 cm) 19 inches (48 cm)–24 inches (61 cm)
Seat Length 29.5 inches (75 cm) 33 inches (84 cm)–39 inches (99 cm)
Concourse width (average) 17 feet (5.2 m) 32 feet (9.8 m)
Cup holders Select Field Level Seating For every seat in General Seating
Luxury suites 19 56
Club Seats N/A 4,300
Team stores 6,800 square feet (630 m2) 11,560 square feet (1,074 m2)
Restroom fixture ratio 1 per 89 fans 1 per 60 fans
Public elevators
(passenger lifts)
3
(Otis Traction)
16
(KONE Traction)
Video scoreboard 25 feet (7.6 m) by 33 feet (10 m)
(Standard Definition LED)
59 feet (18 m) by 101 feet (31 m)
(High Definition LED)
Distance from Home Plate to:  
Backstop 72 feet 4 inches (22 m) 52 feet 4 inches (16 m)
Left Field Line 318 feet (97 m)
Left Field 379 feet (120 m)
Left Center 399 feet (122 m)
Center Field 408 feet (124 m)
Right Center 385 feet (117 m)
Right Field 353 feet (110 m)
Right Field Line 314 feet (96 m)
Sources: The New York Yankees [30] and Andrew Clem [40]

Amenities and facilities

A signature by Babe Ruth is one of many autographs in the "ball wall", the centerpiece of the Yankee Museum.

Yankee Stadium features a wide array of amenities. It contains 63 percent more space, 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) more in total, than the previous stadium, with wider concourses and open sight lines on concourses.[27] Along with 227 miles (365 km) of wired Ethernet cable, the building has sufficient fiber-optic cable wiring that Cisco Vice President and Treasurer David Holland calls the building "future proof".[27] Over 1,100 high-definition video monitors are placed within the stadium and approximately $10 million worth of baseball merchandise is housed within the ballpark.[27]

The center field scoreboard, which measures 59 x 101 feet (31 m) and offers 5,925 square feet (550.5 m2) of viewing area, was the third-largest high definition scoreboard in the world when it opened (behind the 8,736-square-foot (811.6 m2) board at newly renovated Kauffman Stadium and the new 8,066-square-foot (749.4 m2) board at the renovated Tokyo Racecourse).[41] Since then, it has also been surpassed by the world's largest scoreboard at the new Cowboys Stadium and the new scoreboard at the Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park.[42] [43] Displaying 5,925 ft (1,806 m)² of video, the scoreboard can display four 1080p high definition images simultaneously.[29]

The Yankees clubhouse features 30,000 ft (9,100 m)² of space, over 2.5 times the space of the clubhouse from the previous facility.[44] The dressing area alone features 3,344 ft (1,019 m)² of space, with each locker equipped with a safety deposit box and touch-screen computer.[44] The Yankees clubhouse features a weight room, training room, video room, and lounge area, while both teams' clubhouses have their own indoor batting cages.[44] The Yankees' therapy room features a hydrotherapy pool with an underwater treadmill.[44] The Yankees are believed to be the first team to chemically treat their uniforms, as well as the showering surfaces with an anti-bacterial agent that reduces the risk of infection.[44]

The New York Yankees Museum, located on the lower level at Gate 6, displays a wide range of Yankees' memorabilia.[45] A "Ball Wall" features hundreds of balls autographed by past and present Yankees, and there are plans to eventually add autographs for every living player who has played for the Yankees.[45] The centerpiece of the museum is a tribute to Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, with a commemorative home plate in the floor and statues of Larsen pitching to Yogi Berra.[45] Along with a facsimile of a current locker from the Yankees' clubhouse, fans can view the locker of the late Thurman Munson, which sat unoccupied in the previous stadium's Yankee clubhouse in honor of Munson.[45]

The ballpark offers a wide choice of restaurants. There are 25 fixed concessions stands, along with 112 moveable ones.[32] A Hard Rock Cafe is located within the ballpark, but it is open to anyone at the 161 St. and River Ave. entrance year round.[32] The Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium officially opened on March 30, 2009, and an opening ceremony took place on April 2, 2009.[46] A steakhouse called NYY Steak is located beyond right field.[32] Celebrity chefs will occasionally make appearances at the ballpark's restaurants and help prepare food for fans in premium seating over the course of the season.[32] Above Monument Park in center field is the Mohegan Sun sports bar, whose tinted black glass acts as the ballpark's batter's eye. The sports bar obstructs the view of approximately 600 bleacher seats in the right and left field bleachers, preventing fans from seeing the action occurring deep in the opposite side of the outfield. In response, the Yankees installed TV monitors on the sides of the sports bar's outer walls, and have reduced the price of these obstructed-view seats from $12 to $5.[47][48]

Accessibility and transportation

The stadium is serviced via subway by the 161st Street station on the IRT Jerome Avenue Line (top) (as well as the IND Concourse Line; not shown) and via railroad by the East 153rd Street Metro North station (bottom)

The stadium is reachable via the 161st Street – Yankee Stadium station complex, the same that served the old Yankee Stadium, by the 4 B D trains of the New York City Subway. It is also served by the Yankees – East 153rd Street (Metro-North station), which opened on May 23, 2009,[49] which routinely features Hudson Line train service, but on game days, Harlem Line and New Haven Line trains as well as shuttle trains from Grand Central Terminal also platform there. The stadium is also served by multiple bus lines. On game days, NY Waterway operates the "Yankee Clipper" ferry route stopping at Port Imperial (Weehawken) and Hoboken in New Jersey and West 38th Street, the Wall Street Ferry Pier, and East 34th Street in Manhattan, and New York Water Taxi operates a free ferry to the stadium from the Wall Street Ferry Pier before every game only. For selected games, SeaStreak provides high-speed ferry service to Highlands, New Jersey.

Yankee Stadium is accessible by car via the Major Deegan Expressway (Interstate 87), with connections to Interstate 95, Interstate 278 and other major thoroughfares. Aside from existing parking lots and garages serving the stadium, construction for additional parking garages is planned. The New York State Legislature agreed to $70 million in subsidies for a $320 million parking garage project. On October 9, 2007, the New York City Industrial Development Agency approved $225 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance construction of three new parking garages that will have 3,600 new parking spaces, and renovation of the existing 5,569 parking spaces nearby.[50] Plans initially called for a fourth new garage, but this was eliminated before the final approval. The garages will be built (and renovated) by the Community Initiatives Development Corporation of Hudson, N.Y., a nonprofit entity that will use the parking revenue to repay the bonds and pay a $3 million yearly land lease to the City of New York. Parking is expected to cost $25 per game.[50]

Public opinion

Opening and public perception

Four F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 174th Fighter Wing fly over the "New" Yankee Stadium on Opening Day

Although Yankee Stadium has been praised for its amenities and its usage of "classic" design elements from the original facility, the new stadium has been widely criticized for fan-unfriendly practices.[51][52] Seats within the first eight rows in the lower bowl, called the "Legends Suite", rank among the highest priced tickets in professional sports, with the average ticket in the section selling for $510 and the most expensive single game-day ticket costing $2,600.[51] Legends Suite Seats have been regularly empty, with many ticket holders in this section having given up their tickets, and others remaining unsold, despite most other seats in the ballpark selling out. This has created an embarrassing image on television of the seats behind home plate being almost completely vacant.[51] Consequently, a surplus of tickets for Legends Seats have emerged in the secondary market, and with supply exceeding demand, resale prices have dropped. Empty seats in the Legends Suite could even be seen during the 2009 playoffs, including World Series games. Even though all playoff games have been sellouts, Legends Suite ticket holders are in the lounges and the restaurant underneath instead of their seats.[53][54]

Legends Suite seats are also separate from the other lower bowl seating and are vigorously patrolled by stadium security, with the divider being described as a "concrete moat".[51][52] Fans that do not have tickets within this premium section in the front rows are not allowed to access it, nor stand behind the dugouts during batting practice to watch players hit or request autographs.[51][52]

The stadium during a Yankees – Red Sox game.

The Yankee Stadium staff was also criticized for an incident during a May 4, 2009 game, which was interrupted by a rain delay.[55] Fans were told by some staff members that the game was unlikely to resume and consequently, many fans exited the stadium, only for the game to eventually resume play.[55] The fans that left the ballpark were not permitted to re-enter, per the stadium's re-entry policy, and many subsequently got into arguments with stadium personnel.[55] In response to the backlash the Yankees received for the incident, the staff members were required to sign a gag order preventing them from speaking to media, but they did indicate that communication for rain delays would be improved.[55]

After less than a season, cracks have appeared on the concrete ramps of the Stadium. The Yankees are trying to determine whether there was something wrong with the concrete, or the ramps' installation or design. The company involved in inspecting the concrete was indicted on charges that its employees either faked or failed to perform some required tests and falsified the results of others.[56]


In 2009, the stadium was criticized for its propensity for allowing home runs. In its opening season, 237 home runs were hit.

In its first season, Yankee Stadium quickly acquired a reputation as a "bandbox" and a "launching pad" due to the high number of home runs hit at the new ballpark.[57][58][59][60][61][62] Through its first 23 games, 87 home runs were hit at the venue, easily besting Enron Field's (now called Minute Maid Park) previous record set in 2000.[63] Early in the season, Yankee Stadium was on pace to break Coors Field's 1999 single-season record of 303 home runs allowed, and the hometown New York Daily News newspaper started publishing a daily graphic comparing each stadium's home run totals through a similar number of games.

ESPN commentator Peter Gammons denounced the new facility as "one of the biggest jokes in baseball" and concludes that "[it] was not a very well-planned ballpark."[59] Likewise, Gammons' ESPN colleague Buster Olney described the stadium as being "on steroids" and likened it to his childhood Wiffle-ball park.[57][64] Newsday columnist Wallace Matthews joined in the criticism, labeling the stadium "ridiculous" and decrying its cheapening of the home run.[58] Former Yankee Reggie Jackson termed the park "too small" to contain current player Alex Rodriguez and suggested it might enable the third baseman to hit 75 home runs in a season.[58]

A variety of theories have been posited to account for the dramatic increase in home runs at the new Yankee Stadium over the original stadium, foremost among these the sharper angles of the outfield walls[38] and the speculated presence of a wind tunnel.[57] During construction of the new ballpark, engineers commissioned a wind study, the results of which indicated there would be no noticeable difference between the two stadiums.[65] The franchise is planning to conduct a second study, but Major League rules prohibit it from making any changes to the playing field until the off-season.[65]

An independent study by the weather service provider AccuWeather in June 2009 concluded that the shape and height of the right field wall, rather than the wind, is responsible for the proliferation of home runs at the stadium.[66] AccuWeather's analysis found that roughly 20% of the home runs hit at the new ballpark would not have been home runs at the old ballpark due to the gentle curve of its right field corner, and its 10-foot (3.0 m) wall height.[66] Nothing was observed in wind speeds and patterns that would account for the increase.[66]

The number of home runs hit at the new stadium slowed significantly as the season progressed,[67] but a new single-season record for most home runs hit at a Yankee home ballpark was nonetheless set in the Yankees' 73rd home game of 2009 when Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hit the 216th home run of the season at the venue, surpassing the previous record of 215 set at the original Yankee Stadium in 2005.[68]

It should be noted that the Yankees offense, as in previous years, employed many home run hitters in 2009. The Yankees hit 108 home runs while playing on the road, the second most in baseball behind the Philadelphia Phillies.[69]

In 2010, the early rate of home runs were markedly less through May 15, 2010, with 35 home runs hit in 14 games for 2.5 per game (a projection of 205 - in 2009, the stadium finished at 2.93 per game for a total of 237.) Even though the stadium's home run rate decreased slightly for the 2010 season to 2.73 per game, it was still the highest figure in the majors.[70] However, the prolific home run rate of April and May 2009 that drew criticism has not sustained itself over any season thus far, and while through the first two months of the 2011 season the Yankees hit far more homers than any other team in the majors[71], Yankee Stadium was not the top home run park.[70]

Stadium firsts

Before the official Opening Day against the Cleveland Indians April 16, 2009, the Yankees hosted a two-game exhibition series at the stadium in early April against the Chicago Cubs.[9] Grady Sizemore of the Indians was the first player to hit a grand slam off of Yankee pitcher Dámaso Marte. The Indians and 2008 Cy Young Award winner, Cliff Lee, spoiled the opening of the new stadium by winning 10-2. Before the Yankees went to bat for the first time, the bat that Babe Ruth used to hit his first home run at the old Yankee Stadium in 1923 was placed momentarily on home plate.[72] Jorge Posada hit the first Yankee home run in the new ballpark hitting his off Lee in the same game. Russell Branyan, while playing for the Seattle Mariners, was the first player to hit a home run off of the Mohegan Sun Restaurant in center field. Like its predecessor, the new Yankee Stadium hosted the World Series in its very first season; in the 2009 World Series, the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4 games to 2. It also became the latest stadium to host a World Series-clinching victory by its home team in the venue's first season (after the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series at Busch Stadium in 2006), when, on November 4, 2009, the Yankees won their 27th World Series championship against the Phillies. The Yankees are the only team to inaugurate two stadiums with World Series wins and also appeared in the 1976 World Series following the refurbishment of the original Yankee Stadium. On October 6, 2011 Detroit Tigers in game five of the ALDS were the first team to eliminate the Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium in the postseason.

Statistic Exhibition Regular season Postseason
First game April 3, 2009
Yankees 7, Cubs 4
April 16, 2009
Indians 10, Yankees 2
October 7, 2009
Yankees 7, Twins 2
Ceremonial First Pitch Reggie Jackson Yogi Berra Eric T. Olson
First Pitch Chien-Ming Wang CC Sabathia CC Sabathia
First Batter Aaron Miles (Cubs) Grady Sizemore (Indians) Denard Span (Twins)
First Hit Aaron Miles (Cubs) Johnny Damon Denard Span (Twins)
First Yankees hit Derek Jeter Johnny Damon Derek Jeter
First Home Run Robinson Cano Jorge Posada Derek Jeter
First win Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee (Indians) CC Sabathia
First Save Jonathan Albaladejo Mariano Rivera (4/17) Mariano Rivera

Many historic milestones and records have been achieved at Yankee Stadium. In 2009, Derek Jeter became the Yankees all-time hits leader with his 2,722nd hit, surpassing Lou Gehrig's 72-year record.[73] The following season, Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run at the Stadium, becoming the youngest player to accomplish the feat.[74] In 2011, three significant milestones were achieved at the stadium. In July, Jeter became the first Yankee to join the 3000 hit club and collect all 3,000 hits with the franchise.[75] The following month, the Yankees became the first team in history to hit three grand slams in a single game.[76] As the regular season drew to a close, Mariano Rivera became the all-time leader in regular season saves, when he earned his 602nd save.[77] That game drew the smallest crowd in the three-year existence of Yankee Stadium, according STATS LLC.

Other events

Yankee Stadium in football configuration for a game between Army and Rutgers.

The first ever non-baseball event at the Stadium took place on April 25, 2009, with pastor and televangelist Joel Osteen holding a “Historic Night of Hope” prayer service.[78]

A New York University graduation ceremony took place on May 13, 2009 with the address being delivered by U.S. Secretary of State and former New York Senator Hillary Clinton. The 2010 NYU ceremony featured alumnus Alec Baldwin as a speaker.[79] President Bill Clinton will speak at the 2011 ceremony.[80]

The promotional tour for the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight began with an event at Yankee Stadium on September 10, 2009.

On June 5, 2010, Yuri Foreman fought Cotto in the first boxing match in The Bronx since 1976. The fight was referred to as the "Stadium Slugfest." Cotto defeated Foreman with a TKO in the ninth round.[81]

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish played a college football game at Yankee Stadium against The Army Black Knights on November 20, 2010, with the Irish defeating the Black Knights 27-3. This marked the two teams' first meeting in the Bronx since 1969.[82] Army played Rutgers in 2011 (Rutgers defeated Army 27-12)[83], and will play Air Force and Boston College in 2012 and 2014, respectively, at Yankee Stadium.

Yankee Stadium hosted the newly-created Pinstripe Bowl, an annual college football bowl game that pitted Syracuse (3rd place Big East) against Kansas State (7th place Big 12) on December 30, 2010. Syracuse defeated Kansas State 36-34 in a shootout. [84]

The Yankees were in discussions with the National Hockey League to have Yankee Stadium host the 2011 NHL Winter Classic. However, the NHL chose Heinz Field as the host. The stadium was a candidate to host the 2010 NHL Winter Classic before it was awarded to Boston's Fenway Park.[85]

Rappers Jay-Z and Eminem performed the first concert at Yankee Stadium on September 13, 2010.[86]

Paul McCartney performed at Yankee Stadium on July 15 and 16, 2011.[87][88]

Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, the "Big 4" of Thrash Metal, performed together for the second time in the United States at Yankee Stadium on September 14, 2011.[89]

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