Yankees Relax Batting-Practice Policy for the Unwashed Masses

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Now common folk can watch batting practice from this prized location. Photo: Getty Images

Score one for the power of a mild fan uprising. Since the new Yankee Stadium opened, fans have been complaining because unless you have a field-level ticket, you haven’t been allowed into the lower level during batting practice. This means no trying for an autograph, no possibility of snagging a batted ball (hilariously, they’d even prevented fans from watching from the bleachers, i.e. the cheapest seats in the stadium). But thanks to a change in stadium policy, when the Yankees open their homestand tonight, fans will be able to watch batting practice from some field-level seats.

According to the new policy on the team’s website, fans will now be allowed to watch batting practice from sections 103 to 111 and 129 to 136 — and from the bleachers — until the players leave the field, or approximately an hour and 45 minutes after the gates open. At this point, they’ll “be asked to return to their respective seats.” This, we’d guess, is what the Yankees were worried about: After warm-ups, the unwashed masses might linger in the pricey seats in hopes that some might remain empty so they can stay for the whole game.

But fans should have been given a little credit. The Rangers, who sell plenty of expensive ice-level seats at the Garden, allow fans to watch warm-ups from near the boards, and when the players leave the ice, there’s an organized exodus back to the upper levels. Certainly Yankee fans can be at least that civilized. Take note, though, that while you can watch batting practice from the good seats, you still can’t go anywhere near the really good seats. The Legends Suites — the sections separated by that ridiculous moat — are still off-limits. Which isn’t a surprise. If graduating NYU students aren’t allowed there during their graduation ceremony, the rest of us never had a chance.

Yankees Allow Fans to Get Close to Batting Practice [NYT]