Yankees

Keidel: Big, Bronx Bucks

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Yankee Stadium exterior (credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Yankee Stadium exterior (credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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By Jason Keidel
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Now that the Yankees have closed their group hug, dropping at least $122 million on CC Sabathia and retaining Brian Cashman, 8 million New Yorkers have eulogized the 2011 club in 8 million ways.

“We lost because of Teixeira.”

“We lost because of Swisher.”

“Burnett.”

And A-Rod has been blamed for everything short of the bizarre blizzard we got in October.

The more temperate fans – largely west of the Hudson – say we’re spoiled, that any gripe after a 97-win season is specious, if not infantile.

But you could say the Bronx made us that way. The Steinbrenner mission statement has been unwavering since 1973: World Series win or season lost.

Cementing the pact between team and town, the Yankees built a billion-dollar shrine to the nouveau baseball experience, a multi-themed park where one can visit for a three-hour window of baseball and never see a game. Lathered with gift shops pawning $300 retro-jerseys, martini bars, steakhouses, and $2,500 courtside seats, the decidedly cold and corporate building celebrates the future far more than the past.

When you pummel a perfectly good stadium (I went to 20 games at the old place in 2008 and had no issues with any part of the park) and replace it with a limestone temple, an ode to the expense account, appletini and Abercrombie crowd, then it seems odd that you’d lament the very natives your home accommodates.

Yankee Stadium is like the gaudy edifice flanking Central Park (from Fifth Avenue or CPW), with a perfect view of treetops and corporate softball, replete with elevator operators (don’t we all know how to press a button?) and doormen doting on rich old women whose pint-sized puppies take on human qualities (sweaters, boots, and nicknames).

There’s a definable detachment from reality in both cases. New York City, despite its reputation for cloud-tickling skyscrapers, used to be an amalgam of neighborhoods, brownstones, bodegas, and reasonably priced apartments. Then Times Square became Disney-North and Manhattan became little more than a row of condos, Whole Foods, and 24-hour pharmacies.

And baseball used to be about ten-buck tickets bought right before a game, where you needn’t be a intoxicated Bleacher Creature to inhale the ambiance of an authentic ballgame.

There’s a deliciously funny Web site – nomaas.org – whose mantra, “If We Had $200 million To Burn, The Yankees Would Never Lose A Game,” reflects the fury of fans who are tired of having their pockets legally picked.

Sorry if this sounds redundant. But if you ask your fans to refinance their mortgages to keep up with the (Andruw) Joneses, then expect an ornery horde every season sans World Series hardware. Forgive the cliché, but you made us this way.

Feel free to email me: Keidel.Jason@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/JasonKeidel

Yankees fans, would you gladly trade the growing expense of a day at the park for — gasp! — a lower payroll? Sound off in the comments below…

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