First the Dodgers left Brooklyn's Ebbetts Field when they
get a new stadium. Now, as legendary Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once
said, "Its deja vu all over again."
As the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres get set to kick
off the World Series tomorrow, both teams are grumbling over their
The Yankees, who play in the "House That Ruth Built," want luxury
boxes, a better neighborhood, no traffic jams, and improved parking.
San Diego residents will get a chance to vote Nov. 3 on a referendum
to replace their 1960s-era Qualcomm stadium with a new $411 million
facility that has all the latest 1990s electronic amenities.
It's the Yankees, however, that have created the most furor -
after all, Yankee Stadium has a long historical relationship with
national pastime. It's where Babe Ruth belted all those home runs,
Joe DiMaggio set a new standard for baseball excellence with his 56-
game hitting streak, and those Bronx Bombers, Roger Maris and Mickey
Mantle, put fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers.
But now the Yankees' principal owner, George Steinbrenner - a man
known around town simply as "The Boss" - is unhappy. He wants to
draw 3 million fans a year to Yankee games - a feat almost
accomplished this year when the club set an American League record
for wins. But Mr. Steinbrenner thinks attendance is lagging because
stockbrokers don't want to ride the subway to the gritty
working-class neighborhood that surrounds the stadium. After the
season ends, he may make a decision as to where his team will play
after its lease expires at the end of 2002.
Professional teams demanding new stadiums is a recurring issue.
According to Fitch-IPCA, a rating agency, about 30 of the 113 pro
sports teams are looking for new facilities. Since 1987, slightly
more than 30 new stadiums have been built at a cost of $5 billion.
To keep the Yankees from jumping to New Jersey, Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani - an avid Yankee fan - is considering building a covered
stadium on Manhattan's West Side that could cost $1.3 billion. The
issue has even entered the realm of politics with one of the
gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Peter Vallone, trying to get a
referendum on where the Yanks will play.
The referendum question is now tied up in the courts where an
appeals court heard arguments yesterday. In an initial decision, the
lower court judge called Yankee Stadium a "tabernacle of sport" and
ruled that the city has to let the voters decide before building a
Baseball only, please
On the other coast, the Padres are unhappy with Qualcomm Stadium
(a.k.a. "The Big Q"), which was originally built for both football
and baseball. The stadium was expanded to accommodate the Super Bowl
in 1998, but today, stadium owners want single-use fields such as
Camden Yards in Baltimore or Jacobs Field in Cleveland.
With a new stadium, team owners imagine the city - a popular
tourist and convention destination - getting the All Star Game and a
crack at World Cup Baseball, a potential international event dreamed
up by Major League Baseball. …