Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Yankee Stadium Tough on Autograph Seekers

It seems hitting a home runs at the new Yankee Stadium is easier than getting a players to sign autographs. Are today's players too elite or too far removed? Does today's kid trying to get an autograph become tomorrow's season ticket holder?

"Inside the stadium on a recent Sunday, fans tried to get autographs during batting practice, young children and their parents lining up against the right-field wall and calling out to players as they warmed up. When Joba Chamberlain, a promising pitcher known for being somewhat generous with his signature, sauntered into right field, the crowd cried for his attention. After a short warm-up, he left without signing an autograph.

Among the disappointed were David Thoreen’s two sons, Sam, 9, and Henry, 13. Each year, the family has driven from their home in Worcester, Mass., to attend a Yankee game and meet players and get their autographs outside the player parking lot."

Here's the rest of the article in the NYTimes.


Anonymous said...

I'm not terribly surprised. CitiField doesn't seem all that much better.

There, the player parking lot is between the first base and right field gates. During the opening exhibition games, it was protected by a fence and one or two security guards. You could call to the players, get them to wave to you and take pictures of them arriving. I even saw evidence that a few signed autographs. Inside, during BP, you could watch from any spot on the field except for the premium seats behind home plate.

Once the regular games started, the Mets put up a screen over the player parking lot fence and added more security, and restricted fans to the outfield area seats for batting practice.

Once upon a time, the Mets used to do an offseason caravan with one or two player appearances open to the general public. Now, all that they do are expensive charity dinner appearances.

I do think that today's players -- at least in New York -- are too far removed from the fans.

Tony said...

It is really too bad, the new ballparks take away the player/fan interaction. I don't see Steiner making any apologies for the prices they charge. I feel bad for the young fans who did not get Chamberlain's autograph, but I sure as hell wouldn't spend a few hundred dollars on a photo poster just to have his autograph. I'd do without.

zman40 said...

That's why I am glad that I live close to Kansas City. The team may suck, but it is a great place for getting autographs- during bp and by the parking lot.

JRJ said...

@Paul - You're right - $iti/TARP field seems just as bad.

@zman40 - One of the benefits of being near a small market team - getting Zack Greinke to sign your Sports Illustrated!? nice one.

@Tony - I couldn't believe they paid the $$ to Steiner. That move plays right into the hands of what the Yankees and atheletes want. Why sign for free, whe you can get someone to overpay for your things in the gift shop.

Thanks for comments everyone.

Tony said...

AJ Romeo, director of Yankees-Steiner Collectibles, said the bustling store, styled like a museum, offers a remedy for the shrinking access that the stadium provides fans. “We still give the fans an opportunity to get an autographed baseball,” he said.

This comment really bugs me. Part of the thrill about getting an autograph from a player is giving him your item, seeing them sign it and being handed back to you. Those are lifetime memories to be shared. I'll always remember getting a baseball signed by Billy Martin when I was a youngster of about 13 or so. He was mgr. of Oakland at the time. What kind of memory will a kid have nowadays of walking into the Steiner store?
"Hey son, I remember when I was eight, my dad took me to the Steiner store at Yankee Stadium and he bought this Mariano Rivera baseball for $250. I'm not sure he actually signed it, even though it has this fancy hologram sticker on it..."
What a memory......