Powered by ’80s New Wave music, here’s the news:
- Over at LoHud, Pete Abe wonders “at what point is rotation depth a concern”:
It’s not acceptable for a contending team to go into the season with four good starters and hold a contest for the fifth spot. You need to have a good No. 5 and decent options beyond that. Or do you believe that Sabathia, Burnett, Wang and Chamberlain will all stay healthy for six months?
Sign Andy Pettitte and the problem is solved. We wrote last week that one side had to blink. But so far nobody has. If not Pettitte, then somebody else.
[My take: I know I'm gonna sound like a broken record, but why not take a stab at Ben Sheets?]
- At the Times, Jim Dwyer opines on the Stadium funding fiasco and the political machinations thereof:
Without a doubt, politics is part of the invisible cost benefit analysis of the Yankees and Mets stadium deals — not only for those who now criticize them, like the comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr., who approved them in 2006, but also for those few who champion them, like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Such political values may not turn up on any public balance sheet, but it would be unwise to ignore them simply because they are invisible.
Suppose you are Mr. Bloomberg, your hopes of becoming president or vice president all but vanished. You have to step down as mayor in 2009 because a law that you unequivocally supported says you only get two terms.
How handy, then, to have powerful allies, like the developer, Jerry I. Speyer and the lobbyist, Howard Rubenstein, to convince other influential people that term limits will deprive the city of an essential leader during an era of financial crisis.
[My take: I think every member of the City Council, the NY State Assembly, and the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget should be forced to read THIS book, especially Chapter 6 – The Stadium Issue].
- In a separate Times article, is it noted that the Stadium financing issue may be an albatross for Bloomberg’s re-election hopes.
- ESPN.com (via the AP) reports on a contentious Stadium financing hearing featuring Randy Levine and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky:
At the heart of the disagreement was the funding mechanism by which the Yankees will pay back bondholders through an instrument called payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs.
“Only this, and nothing additional from the government or the taxpayers, pays back the private bondholders,” Levine said.
But Brodsky insisted in a report prepared for the meeting that “taxpayers are paying the cost of constructing Yankee Stadium despite repeated claims to the contrary.”
[My take: All the Yanks' 'sturm und drang' about creation of jobs and increased revenues for the City would seem to be a bit hollow. At best, the construction jobs were only for a couple of years, and really, how many more workers will be employed in the new Stadium as compared to the old Stadium? The City isn't getting a new revenue source ... its just replacing an older one. Perhaps there will be higher sales tax revenue from the tax on a $6 soda rather than the $5 you paid for the same thing at the old Stadium. And ... let's not forget all the times Boss George threatened to pull the Yankees out of the Bronx if he didn't get his improvements to his facility.]
- The odds of Andy Pettitte being in pinstripes this season are …. dimming, as per MLB.com.
- MLB.com reports that the Yankees have 20 NRIs coming to Spring Training next month, including recent acquisitions Kevin Cash, John Rodriguez, Angel Berroa and Jason Johnson.
- Shelley Duncan cleared waivers, and was one of the 20 NRIs.
- The Post reports that Goose Gossage is happy that Jim Rice finally got the call for the Hall:
Gossage said the only bummer from his own election a year ago was that Rice didn’t get to go in with him.
“I thought he deserved to go in way before this, but better late than never,” Gossage told The Associated Press today. “I’m really very happy for him. From a pitcher’s standpoint, no one scared me – but he was one of the guys that came the closest.”
Gossage figures he and Rice were cut from the same cloth: no-nonsense individuals who got under opponents’ skin with their passionate, competitive nature, and he counts the matchups against Rice among his best memories.
- NHL hockey in the new Stadium? It could happen, reports Newsday.
- Happy 53rd birthday to Jerry Narron. He debuted with the Yanks in 1979 at the age of 23, and was Munson’s caddy until the Captain’s tragic passing. Brad Gulden was then called up, and took over the starting catching job for the rest of the year. Narron was traded in the off-season, and Rick Cerone was acquired to take over behind the plate in 1980.
- On this date in 1934, Babe Ruth signs a one-year contract worth $35,000. While the contract is considered a lucrative one for the times, it represents a pay cut of $17,000 for “The Babe” .
- On this date in 1958, the Yankees announce that 140 games will be televised during the upcoming season. The deal is worth over $1,000,000.