JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

New stadiums

george-foster

I know, as a sports guy, I’m supposed to be all giddy and euphoric over my two hometown baseball teams opening new stadiums. I’m supposed to go all Joe Morgan here; blather on about the amazing facilities; the attention to details; the food options; the perks; the Grand Canyon-sized clubhouses.

Alas, I can’t.

I have yet to visit either stadium, but I struggle with the very idea of them. In my eyes, both reflect the evil turn of professional sports; the over-the-top greed that decays an industry dependent, first and foremost, on its fan base. To me, these stadiums represent the continued dismissal of fans. Think about it: The death of double headers, because why would ownership want to give paying customers a freebie every now and then? The death of early playoff games, because why would ownership want to surrender the high advertising rates that come at night? The death of hat days and bat days and program days, because why would ownership want to give away what it can sell at a 400-percent markup?

And now—stadiums. The ticket prices, of course, are a joke; aimed exclusively at corporations and the grossly rich. But everything about these joints oozes greed; oozes a let’s-milk-the-little-people-out-of-every-possible-dime. When you hear the Wilpons and Steinbrenners speaking of “Providing a memorable experience for our fans,” well, c’mon.

It’s not about the fans.

It’s about the dollar. Your dollar.

One more thing: I looooooooed Yankee Stadium. Loved it. Sure, Shea was a dump. But Yankee Stadium was a palace that served its franchise well. I’m not naive—I know this is a business, and the business is making money. But as tax money is spent on these buildings, we need to check our priorities.