Friday, August 7, 2009

Game 109: Shakedown Street

While the Yankees were shaking down the Sox last night, the new Yankee Stadium had a watershed moment for itself. Not only did the ballpark have its highest attendance (49,005) in its brief history, but it came alive for the first time.

The Stadium has been justifiably panned for a number of reasons: the insane ticket prices, the obstructed view bleacher seats, the decreased capacity compared to the old joint, the institutionalized caste system, the cold and sterile nature of the place, Monument Cave, etc. I'm not sure it's quite as bad as it's been made out to be, but it certainly has it flaws.

My biggest problem with it has been the lack of atmosphere. Part of that may be structural, with the upper deck recessed much further back from the field than across the street. Part of that can be attributed to the best seats being empty on a nightly basis. Part of that can be chalked up to the place being a mall with a baseball field in the middle. How can fans create an atmosphere if they're off at the farmer's market, or the art gallery, or the butcher shop?

Last night though was a lot different, and I couldn't be happier. There was a buzz all day long. The Yanks were rolling, the Sox were struggling, and the Yanks were overdue for some head-to-head wins. On the interwebs, on talk radio, in the tabloids, amongst the fans - the energy was building back to the way it should be.

Once I hit the Major Deegan on my way to the game, I knew this one would be different. The gridlock from the Mosholu down past Van Cortland Park, Fordham, and the GW, all the way to the Harlem River lots was a good indication the people were coming out for this one.

River Ave was buzzing, once again the Bronx's version of Shakedown Street at a Dead show. T-shirt vendors on the sidewalk. A fully packed Stan's. Roy White doing an autograph signing at one of the memorablia shops.

The Stadium itself didn't disappoint. It was fairly electric from the first pitch, and stayed that way even through some early bumps for the Yanks and a sloppy strikezone from Derryl Cousins. The atmosphere in the eight-run fourth inning is how Yankee Stadium is supposed to be, Sounds like our pal Joe at RAB got what he wanted.

I'm hoping for much of the same tonight. Big ptiching match-up with Burnett vs. Beckett for the third time this year. It'll be interesting to see if Beckett, never one to shy away from pitching inside, goes after anyone in the wake of Pedroia's plunking last night. A.J.'s first two against the Sox were ugly, but he's been on an absolute tear since then - Saturday's start notwithstanding. As a team the Yankees cashed in on being overdue against the Sox last night - let's hope A.J. get his tonight and that the Stadium is rocking again.

Grateful Dead - Shakedown Street

Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart
When I can hear it beat out loud!

Nothing shaking on Shakedown Street
Used to be the heart of the town
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart
You just gotta poke around


  1. I think it's always going to look emptier for no other reason than the fact that you can see the field from the concourses now. During the game, the concourses are now packed with people who aren't in their seats. Also, a lot of the richer folks are in the Legends Club as opposed to their seats.

  2. Any more games like the last two, and all the talk of no atmosphere will drift off into... well, the atomosphere.

    As they would say in English "football," two-nil! We beat The Scum, two-nil!