Copyright 2013 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
The New York Post
October 29, 2013 Tuesday
All Editions; Pg. 38
|Hou$e (house) that Ruth built 'razes' much interest|
Ruth built it. Steinbrenner tore it down. And Brandon Steiner has been trying for four years to sell the old Yankee Stadium piece by piece to people with fond memories of the joint.
Babe Ruth and George Steinbrenner, of course, both made a lot of money thanks to that stadium. Steiner, a well-known sports memorabilia dealer with a very good imagination, hasn't turned a profit yet on his venture.
But the Westchester businessman swears he will. He's pretty sure his 50-50 deal with the Yanks will turn out worthwhile if nobody else melts down the armrests from the stadium seats for scrap metal. I'll get to the business side of this story - complete with the armrest lawsuit - in a little bit.
I have been intrigued by Steiner's business venture with the Yanks since the day the old stadium was demolished after the 2008 season. How can you not be fascinated by a business that is selling dirt from Whitey Ford's pitcher's mound and Phil Rizzuto's infield ($30), and freeze-dried sod from the outfield where Joe D, Mickey, Roger, Bernie and Johnny roamed ($109.99)?
Okay, Johnny Damon wasn't in quite the same league as DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris and Williams, but I'll tell you in a minute why I included him.
Not everything from the old stadium went up for sale. The Yanks wouldn't let Steiner have the urinals no matter how much he pissed and moaned. And the old center-field scoreboard was too big for anyone to want. It's destined for a minor-league stadium.
But you can still get a chunk of a different scoreboard's lights from Steiner for $724. Why not $725? Who knows? They aren't wired to light up, so you'll just have to look at the dead bulbs when you tell (admiring?) friends what they are.
Brilliant, don't you think?
Well, I've always thought so. A building that large can be sliced and diced into millions of little pieces, and when attached to photos, autographs, statistics - the possible products are limitless.
"It was my idea," Steiner says. "The Yankees were thinking about selling seats." Instead, Steiner joined the team in buying the torn-down stadium. Together they ponied up a total of $18.5 million - and that covered the cost of recovering the items plus paying the city $11.5 million. They owned the Stadium after all.
The famous frieze around the top of the stadium cost a half-million dollars just to take down. So far, however, Steiner says he's sold only two big pieces for $45,000 each.
Other, pint-size bits of the famous facade from the original 1923 stadium are being sold in sizes that fit better on a coffee table.
"I walked into the stadium and said, 'I have to have the frieze,' " Steiner said. "Bad idea!"
Steiner also sold bricks from the stadium, 9,000 of which came from the old Monument Park in center field. When they literally dug deeper they found another 5,000 bricks (price: $300) that dated back to the 1920s. They were found in the bowels of the stadium, including in the batting cage players used under the stands.
Are your fondest memories from the bleachers? One bench that'll fit two rear ends is for sale at $724. A pair of regular seats is twice that amount.
Maybe you'll settle for just the back of the seat - with the number 2 on it - for $300. Steiner says he's sold between 8,000 and 10,000 pairs of seats.
Remember, the stadium sat about 50,000. But not all the seats were recoverable. There should have been 18,000 pairs, but that number was cut dramatically because, Steiner alleges, someone at the Syracuse storage facility decided to go into the scrap-metal business. He's got a lawsuit against that company for millions of dollars.
Maybe you'll settle for the letter "R" that seems to be part of a restroom sign for $270. You can get a bigger sized "S" from a different sign, also $270.
If I'm insulting you with these cheaper items, let's get into the luxury category - players' lockers. Most of the lockers for marquee players will run you between $50,000 and $75,000.
Steiner says he realized what a challenge it was the ship these massive lockers after A-Rod and Derek Jeter bought theirs.
Mariano Rivera didn't want his locker, so it was sold for a bargain at $25,000. (Rivera did take dirt from the new stadium's mound after his last game - and didn't pay a dime.)
Maybe you were a fan of the batboy. His locker is still available for $7,500 to $10,000. (I'm pretty sure he'll even sign it for you.) The spot where Damon dressed is also on the market, and it'll run you $7,500.
So how much is Steiner going to make on this whole deal?
"At the end of the day we can make a few million dollars," he says, adding that the Yankee deal, which was a five-year plan, has led to other stadium-knockdown projects.
"Right now, I'm real, real close to even," Steiner said.
Not the greatest deal ever, but was it worth it?
"One hundred percent," Steiner says. "We got the most amount of fans something from the greatest stadium ever."
Sod of dreams
Steiner Sports is proving you can put a price on just about anything-when it comes to old Yankee Stadium. Some items are still available for sale.
* Turf $100 for 3-inch by 3-inch piece of freeze-dried sod behind glass
* Stadium seats $1,500 for a pair
* Foul pole $24 (for a piece on a plaque); $5,000 for small section
* Bat holder $5,000
* Helmet holder $2,500
* Sign in executive office lobby $10,000
Various Yankee Stadium items.
October 29, 2013