Here's the letter I'm going to send to the Yankees. Any other issues I should raise with them about the running of the Stadium? Let me know by Friday.
Dear Brian Cashman,
I’m a season ticket holder in the bleacher section 39 ever since they first became available. Naturally, I’m looking forward to the new season and the new stadium in 2009. Here is some feedback about the running of the Yankees that I hope will be helpful.
1. YES network reruns – the YES network has one major asset: Yankee games and the coverage of its team of reporters. As you know, Yankee Rewind plays the highlights of the game hours later and the next day. Yet for some reason, the post-game coverage is never included. Are they in a rush to get to reruns of “White Shadow?” I attend 40+ home games a season. And of course we never know when a game will end so trying to tape the post-game interviews and clubhouse report etc can be tricky and means recording 7+ hours of TV. The post-game show can be easily edited down to a half hour just like the game itself is edited down. I would love to be able to watch the post-game interviews and record them with ease. Why not include the post-game coverage when you rebroadcast the game? Everyone who is at the game or watching it at a sports bar or a friend’s house would be able to dependably tape the post-game coverage and see it later that day or the next morning. You spend millions of dollars assembling a team of reporters and creating that coverage. Why broadcast it only once?
2. The Numbers Game at the Stadium – the Numbers game is the between innings filler that combines knowledge of Yankee numbers with simple math. However, the real point of the game should be to educate fans about which Yankee players had which numbers. But the way the game is presented obscures this simple and obvious task. It begins by saying something like Babe Ruth’s number plus Derek Jeter’s number equals what number? But when giving the solution, they don’t tell you what number Ruth and Jeter have. The answer should be presented as follows: Babe Ruth’s #3 plus Derek Jeter’s #2 equals Joe DiMaggio’s #5. After a season, a lot more fans would be able to say that Don Mattingly had #23 and Jim Bouton had #56 and so on.
3. The Cap Game – another between inning time killer. It’s basically the shell game with caps. I and most everyone around me could easily follow the ball and have done so for literally a decade without ever picking wrong unless someone blocked our view, spoke to us, etc. Literally NEVER wrong. Until last season. The computer program has been fiddled with. Now it’s completely random where the ball is found and has nothing to do with where it began. After never being wrong we are wrong most of the time. This is just annoying and it isn’t because our eyesight is going. Did someone decide the cap game should be randomized? Is the computer program corrupted? Something has changed with this game.
4. Bag search – I doubt you’ll do anything about this until the new stadium but it’s worth repeating: the refusal to let some bags into the Stadium is annoying, disruptive, unfair to working people who suddenly have to spend $5 or more storing their bags across the street at the bowling alley, add an extra 20 minutes or more to their time at the Stadium to wait in long lines to pick the bag up and most importantly of all does not make anyone even remotely safer. If I thought it made us safer, I would gladly be strip-searched at the Stadium. But the casual blocking of some bags doesn’t do so. Yankee Stadium is the only baseball stadium in the country that still has this ban in place and it’s pointless. Women often bring in giant purses and bags, people with kids are allowed to bring in tons of bags, people in the regular seats (as opposed to bleachers) are far less likely to be turned away with a bag and the searches of people are so haphazard that banning bags is pointless. It was a panicked, short term reaction to heightened security concerns that should have been phased out long ago. Please at least do so when you open the new Stadium.
5. Bleacher entrance security – the past two seasons have brought a tremendous increase in the wait time to enter the bleachers. Many games if not most games only ONE gate is opened (with two doorways to funnel people through). Invariably, unless you arrive more than half an hour early that means a line snaking all the way past the ticket booths and other entrances by the parking garage, disrupting things for many many different fans. Even on game days that are sold out, the bleacher entrance almost never opens all the gates available to them to funnel in fans. I understand the expense of having sets of security for two or three different gates is onerous, especially when they won’t be needed except for one hour before the game and up to half an hour after the game has begun. But simply glancing at the chaos of just one gate and the deeply unhappy fans who have to stand in line for half an hour just to get up to the gate on the one day they go to a game each year (only to find out they can’t bring in a bag and have to go across the street and then get back in line) will show you what a disastrous policy this is. There is no excuse for not having a full complement of security and opening iup every gate possible on Opening Day, the Boston and Mets series and other sold out games. For years, both main gates into the bleachers were open with one line stretching towards the garage and the other towards the subway. The economizing in the last two years has made getting into the bleachers a miserable experience for everyone.
6. The painted aisle numbers – every season the numbers are painted twice, once at the beginning and once at the beginning of the second half after the All Star Break. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough and the numbers are so faded by the post-season that all the casual fans are completely lost and confused. I’d strongly recommend painting the aisle numbers three times a season. Once at the beginning, once at the All-Star break and once again halfway through the second half so that the numbers will be fresh enough come post-season.
Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. I look forward to another great season. And thank God you didn’t trade away the farm to get Johan Santana. However the young pitchers do this season (and however Santana does), that would have been a disastrous, soul-crushing deal.