AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – The Yankees’ youth movement is extending to the Stadium.
A 2,850-square foot Kids Clubhouse behind the right-field upper deck seats is among a half-dozen social gathering areas that will debut at the team’s home opener Monday.
It features Yankees-themed playground equipment, a 6-foot-high replica World Series trophy, a retractable shade and private space for nursing mothers.
“Given the fact that I have four kids, I know that it is sometimes difficult to ask toddlers to sit in one place for longer periods of time,” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Tuesday.
“I wanted to create a space where parents could sit down in the shade, be able to watch the game on TV, and allow their kids to play in a safe, contained space.”
New Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, was given a bit of a makeover during the offseason. Obstructed-view bleacher sections of each side of the center-field restaurant were removed and replaced with gathering terraces that feature new bars and food stands.
Additional party decks were created on the top level, and the team increased the total of charging stations with USB ports around the ballpark from 20 to 160 – mostly at outfield drink railings.
New food offerings are being advertised with “(hashtag)YankeeStadiYUM.”
“In all of these new spaces, the focus was to connect generations,” said Marty Greenspun, the team’s senior vice president of strategic ventures. “It doesn’t take anything away from the traditional fan, however, if you’re a family and you want to take your kids and they want to walk around the stadium and take selfies, you can do that.”
Attendance has dropped from 3.4 million in 2014 – Derek Jeter’s final season – to 3.19 million in 2015 to 3.06 million last year, which was second in the AL behind Toronto.
New York began a youth movement last summer and has three young players in the starting lineup this year: catcher Gary Sanchez, first baseman Greg Bird and right fielder Aaron Judge.
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