I’m sitting here watching the ceremonies before the final game at Yankee Stadium. It’s been fun and emotional reliving a lot of memories and great moments. In fact. some of my earliest childhood memories are of Yankee Stadium. You know Yankee Stadium: the place they ripped up in 1974.
The place they play now bears little resemblance to the place I remember from a long time ago. A batter could hit a ball into the monuments way back when and the fielder would have to chase it down. Death Valley’s wall was 490 feet from home plate – it’s only 408 now (OK, when I was a kid they’d already moved it in to 461). There were obstructed views behind posts and a quirky scoreboard that bore little resemblance to the Diamondivision screen that’s there now.
Frankly, I’m not attached to the building they’re ripping down. The one I knew and loved has been gone for several decades. It’s the memories that are important, and I guess that’s the business point I’m trying to make. From my perspective, the authentic place that’s so dear to me passed long ago. There have been some great memories in the new place as well but they’re different – more of an adult experience. The mistake that a lot of businesses make is in attempting to associate authentic memories with inauthentic experiences. It’s the difference between The Olive Garden and your Italian grandmother’s food. One is someone’s idea of what the other really is. There’s nothing wrong with the former but it’s not the latter and the marketing problem comes when the consumer feels that cognitive dissonance. It’s not hard to fix – “The next best thing to Nona’s” is different from “It’s Nona’s gravy!” and better, in my opinion. It’s real.
I’m looking forward to my first game at the new Stadium. I’m told by folks who’ve been in it that it already feels like the old one. You know – the one that’s been gone for 35 years.