I was thinking about this after my recent excursion to the new Yankee Stadium, and I thought since I am currently trying to avoid a paper (though it's following me around), it would be a great time to make a fanpost about it.
I have noticed in my various wanderings between the east and the west - AKA between Colorado and New York City - that there's quite a culture shock. I know. Surprise surprise. I could easily see that in my day to day life, the people, the atmosphere, etc, and I know that there is a huge difference in the sports as well, but yesterday I was finally able to experience it and really put a finger on what exactly is different. It's easy to say, the teams in the east have more money, they have Steinbrenner, etc, but that doesn't say much about what that does exactly to the feeling of simply attending a game as a simple fan.
First of all: I paid thirty three dollars for a seat I could have gotten at Coors for nine. That's not remarkable, again, we all know things cost more in New York than they do in Colorado.
The atmosphere of the stadium, though, was, to me, remarkable. Coors will always be the prettiest ballpark in my mind, but I'm biased. Still, the area around Coors is very open, lots of places to walk. Lower downtown is a lovely place of town now, with the performing arts center and the convention center. Yankee Stadium is cramed into a mess of subways, overhead passes, trains, and well, city. The difference is startling. Sitting in the third deck of Yankee Stadium, you see city. Sitting in the third deck of Coors, you see a wall of mountains. Already at Yankee Stadium, the second you get off the subway, then, there's a different kind of energy and tension, just because there has to be with so many people and so much going on around the stadium.
Inside Yankee Stadium, it's a madhouse. The team shop is the size of a small museum. The sheer amount of people is a huge difference from Colorado. Usually when I get into Coors, I will wander around and then head down to the first baseline to watch BP and see if the guys will sign when they come out to warm up, maybe talk with the ushers. Not so in Yankee Stadium. Even before the game, tickets are checked, and no one but the true bigshots with enough money to pay three hundred dollars for a trip to the ballpark are allowed to go down that close to the field. The ushers are there as crowd control only. They aren't even called ushers - they are security personnel.
I suppose it has to do with the way the clubs are run, but the Rockies are so much more approachable than the Yankees. I had fun at the game, of course, when you take away everything I'm a fan of whoever's playing baseball, but it made me miss long evenings at the ballpark in Colorado, when the sky turns pink and orange for the sunset, and it's just relaxing to hang out and watch some baseball. Of course, say what you want about fans who don't care about the game and are just socializing, but there's something to be said for an atmosphere that allows baseball to be a fun night out, which is something that I found to be almost nonexistant in Yankee Stadium.
I'm sorry if this is all totally obvious to you, but I was really struck by the whole difference in energy, and thought I'd try and articulate it.