Welcome to Yankee Stadium

This is a Rant that has been about three years in the making. It’s not so much a Rant, either, as it is an answer to “who designed this stadium and where are the bloody ushers?!” while sitting in the box sections of Yankee Stadium. See, this weekend was my first home game in a while (as per normal, they lost) so I was “re-introduced” to some things after about a month of not seeing the boys play live. The trip to the Bronx was per normal – I take the Merritt to the Hutch to the Cross County to the Major Deagan and *zoop* right into the Stadium parking lot. This beats the piss outta sitting in the normal five mile back up of the George Washington Bridge if you take i-95. In fact, were it not for this traffic pattern, there’s no way I would have agreed to the Saturday season ticket package that I signed on for; 12 games a season is good times but if it consistently takes three hours to get to the stadium, then it’s bollocks.

So, as I have “season” tickets, I’m always in the same section, box, row, and seat every game. This is a good thing at Yankee Stadium, as it is one of the most confusing seat layouts ever devised. Maybe it worked in the 70’s when the stadium was remodelled; maybe it’s the original layout from the 20’s, offering a peek into history. I have no idea, but what I do know is that 50% of the fans can’t find their seats. For this, and this is a rarity, I blame the people at the stadium and not the stupidity of the mass populous. If you find an usher that isn’t protecting the Field level seats, they will gladly and efficiently help you – it’s just rare to find an available usher. In addition to that, there’s no signs to help a fan out – the seating arrangements are handed down from fan to fan like a Unix kernal command set; it’s like folklore and if you aren’t part of the legacy, you have no idea where you’re sitting. The main reason for me thinking it’s high time to post this was from a pre-game experience at this weeks game… there was a coouple of Red Sox fans, sitting in the seats next to mine; I know the ticket holders for these seats and these people weren’t them so I was a wee perplexed. When I approached the row, these people leaped up and were ready to run to another section; they were just getting out the sun for a little while. After telling them that there’s no problem in this and they should stay, they sat down and started chatting – this is how you can tell an out of towner, while in NYC: they were being nice which most NYC residents can’t spell, much less be – and yes, I attribute this to part of the uniqueness of NYC, so I wouldn’t change it if I could. These MA people were from Springfield – right over the CT/MA border – and more baseball fans than Red Sox fans – they were just in awe of the place, what with the players of old having played on this very field. They were also shocked to hear that anyone that proposes during the Fan Marquee Scoreboard (where they put messages up on the main scoreboard between innings – birthday wishes, etc.) gets boo-ed by the fans – until they remembered that they were in NYC. Sorta helps keep perspective. Anyway, they were commenting on the number of people that were glassy-eyed and lost while finding their seats in the stands, even an hour before the game.

This is where I come in. I have an engineering mind set and believe it or not, but the stadium is actually logically laid out, if you know the rules that govern the seating. Having been there a few times, I finally figured out how most of it works – more or less – and I think I might be able to explain it. At least the reading audience of this site will be able to find their seats, and throw out whoever isn’t supposed to be in them when you get there! Basically, there’s five levels to Yankee Stadium (pic):

  1. Bleachers (pic)

  2. Field Level

  3. Main Level

  4. Loge Level

  5. Tier Level

I started the sections with the bleachers because they are the easiest to explain: there’s setting in Left Field and Right Field, and they are divided into section numbers – I believe they run from 39 to 50-something. I’ve never sat out there, but you can see the section numbers from the outfield. You find your Section, and then your Row; the bleachers are general admission I think, but even if they aren’t then it’s Row and Seat – the concept of Box doesn’t come into place, so it’s easy enough. The other four levels are subdivided by Section, Type/Box, Row and Seat, depending on your seat type. What the hell is Randy talking about? Follow along:

The sections at the Stadium are just for general direction. At right of home plate is section 1, to the left is section 2. The sections run all even from the plate to left field, ending at 36 and odd to the right ending at either 35 or 37, in right field. Say you had a thing for Giambi or Mondesi and wanted to sit over by first base to watch them play; somewhere around section 15 is where you want to be – it’s odd, so to the right side of the field and the 15 is about 1/2 way around the seats. Got it so far?

The next subdivision of seating is the differences between the levels. Field Level are the seats between the field wall and the first aisle that runs parallel to the base line. These seats are all Box seats – more on this later – and are usually the best in the house. To get to these, enter via any gate and you’re at the Field Level already – when you walk to the field, you’ll be walking down the stairs, towards the field to get to your seats. The Main Level is the section between the first aisle and the rest of the seats on the lower level. There’s two ways into this section – one is the same as the Field Level except you’ll be walking up and away from the field. This is usually the best way to Main Box seats. The other way into the Main Level is to take the ramps and escalators to where the signs say “Main”. This will take you to a walk way (filled with concessions, so it’s good to know about it and avoid the food courts) and, guiding by section number, you can find your seats; you’ll be walking down to your seats. Moving onto the Loge and Tier Levels, these work the same way – you need to take the Ramps up two or three levels to get to a walkway that will take you to your seats. They are marked by section of course, and you’ll be walking either up or down to get to your seats – it’s not too hard once you know how to read your ticket, but either way – these are the second and third levels of the stadium, so there’s a different starting point.

Once you have your level and your section, things get a bit more complicated. The Main and Tier levels all have an extra subdivision of Reserve and Box seats; the Field and Loge levels have nothing but Box seats. Box seats are the first half of a section, the section closer to the field; Reserve seats are the back half of a section. Box seats take a whole section and split it up further into multiple boxes – this is where people get lost. They see “section 18” and just sit down. They don’t understand that there’s four Boxes in section 18, each with Row’s A-G. In addition to that the Row’s run 1-8 but not straight across. Confused? Not surprising that – it’s a confusing concept until you get to the place. See, Rows do not cross over a Box line, so if there’s a row of 8 seats and it’s Box 102 and 104, the first “ticket” row will be Row A. The first row of physical seats run 1 2 3 4 | 4 3 2 1. The second row of seats will run 8 7 6 5 | 5 6 7 8, with both rows being considered Row A for their respective Boxes. This is what runs into confusion obviously. Here’s a picture of a Main Box section, with the Box and Reserve sections marked. The Section numbers are the largest given for directions – Box numbers are found only on the railing between Main and Field Levels. This is the single most confusing issue! I wish they had people there to explain this part of the process because it would help save a great deal of confusion for the fans.

The other hiccup in the seating process is the different between Box and Reserve seats. There’s a railing to mark the separation of Box and Reserve, but the seats all look like their they same section – I mean they are the same section, but there’s no real way to know that there’s a separation between the Reserve and Box seats. So people don’t ever seem to get that right either, in any of the three levels that have this distinction. In addition to that, Reserve seats run like the bleachers to: one Row for each physical row of seats and the numbers go from 1 to 15 (or more) as the Reserve section runs across the entire Section – only the Box seats have the screw up in the middle of the section.

So that’s about it. Sound normal now? It is when you’re at the Stadium actually. Now that you know about the whole concept of Box seats, how hard can it be? Most people make the mistake of seeing “Section” and just looking for their Row. This is how most other stadiums/arenas that I’ve been to are laid out and rightfully so – makes life easier, if less historical or charming. But it can and should make sense now:

  • First find your section, to the left or right side of home plate.

  • Now find your Level and go there.

  • Now see if you’re in the Box or Reserve seats

    • If Box seats, find your Box, then Row, then Seat, moving forward from the middle railing

    • If Reserve seats, find your Row and Seat, moving back from the middle railing

  • Order a beer for a job well done!

Hope this helps out you Yankees fans – I even hope it helps the Red Sox fans that drive south to defile my blessed house of the Babe, as you fans need all the help you can get! This is just my bit to help the team – or maybe I’m just tired of having my field of home plate blocked during the first three innings as some yodel can’t find his seat! :)

2 thoughts on “Welcome to Yankee Stadium”

  1. In the new Yankee Stadium? No idea – everything in this post was with regards to the retired Stadium… I haven’t been to the new one yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.