Buzz Kill: New Stadium Inaugurations Are Not What Many Paid to See

September 24, 2009 - 8:24 am

So, Kanye West, what do you think? Your opinion is greatly needed. What new sports venue merits being crowned the Best New Home Stadium from 2008 until this past Sunday? On Sunday, Jerry Jones unveiled his box-office masterpiece of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, replacing the old Texas Stadium that was home for so many years to greats such as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Tony Dorsett and more. Yet, he did not receive what he had bargained for. Despite the flashy lights, high-definition television screens, retractable roof and luxury suites, the Cowboys' NFC East rivals spoiled the inauguration and left Jones and coach Wade Phillips speechless when Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes launched the game-winning, 37-yard field goal straight through the posts to give the Giants a 33-31 victory. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw three interceptions '€” all resulting in Giants touchdowns '€” in the stadium debut. The Cowboys quarterback completed 13-of-29 passes for 127 yards. One pick, in particular, was quite amusing, as Romo attempted to complete a pass to tight end Jason Witten that ended up in the hands of Kenny Phillips after bouncing off Witten's shoe. One can only wonder whether somewhere, Jessica Simpson was in a skybox engaged in a victory dance. Yes, Jones' much-anticipated grand opening ended in a dud, but he should carries no long-term worries '€” yet, that is. The Yankees and Mets celebrated the opening of their new home turfs this past April, bidding farewell to the old Yankee Stadium and the middle-of-nowhere Shea Stadium, respectively. As with every New York event, the induction of both ballparks, the "new" Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, received an array of lights-camera-action coverage, including the momentous '€” and at times controversial '€” buildup. (There was that small incident where one of the construction workers, who was an avid Boston Red Sox fan, buried a David Ortiz jersey in the cement sealing in the restaurant section of the stadium. The jersey was dug up and removed days later, though the hole remains as something of a new Yankee Stadium monument.) Yet, to New York fans' dismay, the Yankees' and the Mets' home openers were overshadowed by losses. In fact, most fans found themselves questioning several aspects and features of the stadiums instead of focusing on their home team. What is going on with that short porch in right field in Yankee Stadium that has turned Johnny Damon into a home run basher? Why are there more shrines and engravings dedicated to the Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field than the Mets? How much do these box seats actually cost, Mr. Steinbrenner? Wait, why is Dwight Gooden getting reprimanded for carving his autograph in Citi's bathroom? Dimensions and artistic differences aside, on April 16 the Yankees suffered a humiliating 10-2 opening defeat to the Indians in their $1.5 billion home investment. CC Sabathia (and his freshly inked $161 million contract) was tagged and proved unable to escape the sixth frame. Earlier that week, on April 13, the Mets had flopped in their $800 million home, inaugurating the facility with a 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres. From the moment Jody Gerut lead off the game with a home run off Mets starter Mike Pelfrey, fans have been convinced that the new park is doomed to failure, especially with the Mets owning a better record than only the miserable Washington Nationals in the NL East. Back to football: Indianapolis Colts fans could not have been more ecstatic last year when the team kicked off the season in the new Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 7 against the Chicago Bears. Determined to avenge their Super Bowl defeat, however, the Bears rained on Peyton Manning and the stadium's parade, winning 29-13. Though Manning manage to pass for 257 yards with one touchdown, the Bears limited the Indy rushing game to 53 yards.

While the Colts finished the season with a reputable 12-4 record, they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Chargers. The Yankees currently are preparing for another postseason run, owning the best record in baseball while their subway counterparts dwell in fourth in the NL East. What is now in store for the Cowboys? Only the future can tell. And the award for Best New Home Stadium Opener goes to '€¦ Taylor Swift?