Leave it to the Times — the publisher's kid, no less — to come up with one of the dumber reasons to hate the infinitely hateable Yankee Stadium: The kiddies can't get autographs anymore!
A.G. Sulzberger, son of Pinch, writes today:
Outside the old Yankee Stadium, fans young and old would gather along barricades near the players' entrance, waiting for a chance at the most coveted of baseball keepsakes - an autograph.
Players had to walk from their parking lot across a small street, Ruppert Place, to a private stadium entrance by the press gate, exposing them - even just for a minute or two - to the pleas of Yankee-crazed kids and autograph hounds before and after games.
But the new Yankee Stadium has ended this beloved ritual in the Bronx. The Yankees relocated the players' parking area behind the stadium walls, meaning that players now drive in and out in luxury vehicles, protected even from curious eyes by tinted windows.
I'll ignore the ridiculous spectacle of a Sulzberger playing the class card (luxury vehicles! tinted windows!). And I'll also concede that this private entrance is definitely of a piece with the Yankees' general view of their stadium as a sort Versailles-on-the-Harlem River. But the last type on earth who needs or deserves our sympathy is the autograph hound, whom Sulzberger the Younger mistakenly seems to think of as some wide-eyed Oliver Twist in an adorably oversized Yankees cap, shyly offering up his scrapbook and the Melky Cabrera card he just plucked from the spokes of his bicycle.
C'mon. You know these people. Most of them are adults in replica jerseys who really should know better, and most of those autographed baseballs merely wind up on a shelf in a memorabilia store or the desk of an accountant in White Plains anyway. I'm all for piling on the wonderful public relations horror show that is the Yankees' new ballpark — excuse me, stadium — but let's at least direct our populist outrage at worthy targets. Like Lonn Trost.