Obstructed Views in New, Publicly-Funded Ballparks

The New York Times has an interesting story--"It's Going, Going...Did You See Where It Went?"--detailing the obstructed views that can be found after one locates their (cheaper) seats in the New Yankee Stadium and Citi Department of the Treasury (?) Field.


A computer generated image of the facade at Department of the Treasury Field via


This article raised my eyebrows for a few reasons. First and foremost, New York area (and adventurous) Cardinal fans should be warned of these obstructive seats before they haul off and splurge for some tickets at Department of the Treasury Field. While the Mets organization will not be telling ticket purchasers, Timesman Ken Belson alerts us to the sections that are obstructed from seeing the entire field of play in the Metropolitans' new brick home:

As for the Mets, they continue to maintain that there are no obscured-view seats in Citi Field, despite what some fans were contending after Sunday’s game. Fans might miss a play or two, the Mets conceded. But, they added, the game action will be replayed on the scoreboards and the fans are closer to the field to begin with.

"Whenever you bring seating closer to the action, and put seating in fair territory, there will be certain angles where you lose a sightline here or there," said Dave Howard, the Mets’ vice president for business operations. "That’s typical in new ballparks, but a little different for our customers because Shea didn’t have much of anything like that."

Howard admitted that the seats in Section 533 are angled in such a way that fans will be unable to see the warning track and some of the field. He said the team has no plans to lower its ticket prices or label the seats in question as having obscured views.

We now know that Section 533 has obstructed views. You can see where exactly that section is here. (They are high up in the left field corner.) We don't want any members of Cardinal Nation suffering the same fate as Steven Gottesman...

Steven Gottesman, who has a 15-game ticket plan, went to see his four seats in Section 533, Row 15, near the top of the upper deck down the left-field line. To his "shock and horror," he could not see the warning track or about 20 feet of the outfield from the left-field line to center field.

"In other words, I will only know if a home run is hit if I am listening to a radio at the game or I wait to see the sign from the umpire," Gottesman, 45, said in an e-mail message. "If Endy Chávez made his catch in this new stadium and I had been there, I would not have seen it."

So, Mr. Gottesman would not have been able to see this piece of Mets' (and Cardinals') history:



But, he would have been able to see this little bit of Mets' (and Cardinals' history):




(Even if he couldn't actually see where Yadier Molina's game-winning home run landed.)

The second reason that this Times piece made me think is that the Mets and the Yankees got a lot of public *ahem* help in making their new ballparks a reality. Yet, they then give partially blocked viewpoints to those paying the lowest prices for tickets. I wondered, aloud, "How commonplace could this practice be?" Well, I wasn't the only one with such wonderings. Some Newsday readers wondered as much as well.

"How do you build a brand- new stadium and have obstructed-view seats?"

- A reader Feb. 25

Apparently a few readers asked this question which prompted the folks at Newsday to do a survey.

Of the 11 major-league ballparks - including the new Yankee Stadium and the Mets' new Citi Field - that have opened since 2000, eight have obstructed-view seats. Seven teams sell those tickets to the public; most wait until the rest of the stadium is sold out, and some sell them only at the box office.

That's all well and good, but what drew my attention was this little morsel of information about not having a single seat with the label "obstructed."

Six ballparks do not have any seats that are marked as obstructed view. Aside from Citi Field, they are Nationals Park (Washington, opened in 2007), Busch Stadium (St. Louis, 2006), Turner Field (Atlanta, 1997), Dolphin Stadium (Marlins, 1987) and Dodger Stadium (1962).

Given this assertion, I wonder if any of you have sat in a seat at Busch Stadium III that you would consider to have an obstructed view? I know that I've sat down beyond the right field wall in a seat with a view partially blocked by the foul pole, but I don't count this. Any baseball fan that gives a moment's thought would realize that the foul pole would be in the way. (Thankfully, the foul pole did not obstruct me from telling Juan Encarnacion, God bless him, what I think about his exploits.) To put it another way, railings and foul poles I don't think qualify as "obstructions." But, I'm very interested to see what experiences the VEB community has had with such non-labelled, yet obstructed all the same, seats at the new Busch.

Oh, I would also like to add this as my final point. Everyone in the Mets' new home would have had an unobstructed view to witness this:




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