"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 2/25/09

Today’s post is powered by a classic personality pitching a (for its time) classic baseball video game:

  • Edwar Ramirez has been diagnosed with mild bursitis in his right shoulder, and won’t pitch again until this weekend.
  • Mariano Rivera notes that his shoulder is well on its way to full recovery:

“It’s feeling strong and now I am building muscle,” Rivera said of the shoulder, which was operated on after last season. “I have been throwing, playing long toss and it’s getting better every day.”

The next step for Rivera is to get on a bullpen mound, but he isn’t sure when that will occur.

“I don’t want to push it,” said Rivera, who vowed on the first day of spring training he would be ready by Opening Day, April 6.

  • Tyler Kepner has a nice piece on Hideki Matsui’s efforts to get all the way back:

Matsui will be 35 in June, and his knees have made him a full-time designated hitter. He had surgery on his right knee after the 2007 season, then on his left knee on Sept. 22. Matsui delayed that operation so he could play in the final game at Yankee Stadium.

He stayed in the United States until December, working to strengthen the knee. In Japan, he practiced jogging on grass. He did not jog here until Monday, and he ran the bases gingerly after a round of batting practice Tuesday. He will not be ready to play when the Yankees visit the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday in Dunedin. …

Matsui spent 10 seasons playing his home games on artificial turf at the Tokyo Dome. At 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds, Matsui said he was among the bigger players in Japan and worried about damage to his knee cartilage.

“I knew there was a certain level of stress that was being put on my knees and my lower body in general,” he said. “I did have that fear that at some point, something was going to happen.” …

“I still feel I have a lot of baseball in me,” Matsui said. “Yes, I did get injured the last few years, but in terms of how I feel physically and my baseball skills, I don’t feel like I have any issues.”

  • Kepner also details the positional battles to be address over the next five weeks:

With Edwar Ramirez dealing with bursitis in his right shoulder, there could be another opening in the bullpen. Mariano Rivera, Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte are locks. The Yankees will probably take a long reliever, too, which leaves three more spots from a group including Jose Veras, Phil Coke, Dave Robertson, Jonathan Albaladejo, Mark Melancon and Ramirez. …

Others who will try to squeeze onto the roster include the versatile infielder Cody Ransom (who is on the 40-man roster), and non-roster players like shortstop Angel Berroa and catcher Kevin Cash. Among the other non-roster players with major league experience include Shelley Duncan, Todd Linden and John Rodriguez.

  • Newsday’s Neil Best had an interesting give-and-take with Yankee COO Lonn Trost, including this exchange:

Is it true there are seats in the bleachers from which you can’t see parts of the field?

“Yes, but we will have TVs in the walls there.”

That’s not the same thing as seeing it live, is it?

“We had a choice of selling it to somebody or not. If you come to the stadium you’ll see there are TVs in the walls. [Some views are obstructed] a little bit, but for $12 it’s a choice of taking it or not.”

[My take: Hold the phone .... you had the choice of selling it to somebody or not???? How about building the bleachers such that everyone had an unobstructed view to begin with?  When you were examining the blueprints and 3D mock-ups, didn't the obstruction sort of jump out at you?  Would YOU pay $12 to sit there?  Would you play $12 to sit in a movie theater where you could only see 3/4 of the screen?]

[By the way: 'Yankee COO Lonn Trost' anagrams to "Relocate knot? No ... nosy!"]

  • Peter Abraham has an article going behind the scenes with the Yankee pro scouts:

The pro scouts watch players in the major leagues down to the lowest levels of the minors. Their job is to gather information to allow Cashman to make the best-educated decisions about trades, waiver claims and other personnel moves. …

“You see how much work is done on the amateur scouting side, where they have cross-checking, they have meetings, they have regional meetings. They spend so much time and effort for that one day. Why can’t we do it like that on the pro side?” Cashman said. …

  • The Yanks placed three players on BaseballAmerica’s Top 100 Prospects, with Austin Jackson being the highest-ranked Baby Bomber (#36).
  • The Yanks will have the 28th pick of the first round of June’s amateur draft.
  • The Yanks have seven of their 40-man roster participating in the WBC.
  • Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball provides a very nice summary report of the 2009 arbitration process.  (Its a PDF file, and the Yankees are on page 12).

Poll Time!

[poll id="17"]

  • Fan favorite Paul O’Neill turns 46 today.  Roberto Kelly, the man the Yanks traded for O’Neill, did not become a fan favorite in Cincy.
  • Stump Merrill, manager of the treading water Yankee teams of ’90 and ’91, turns 65.  Bonus points if you know his real first name (answer later).
  • Danny Cater turns 69.  Along with the Roberto Kelly/Paul O’Neill trade, the Cater/Sparky Lyle swap of 1972 is probably one of the five best deals the Yanks have made in the past 40 years.
  • He was never a Yankee, but apparently he could have been, so we’ll wish Monte Irvin a very happy 90th birthday!  According to his entry in Wikipedia:

The Brooklyn Dodgers signed Irvin but Newark owner Effa Manley demanded compensation. Branch Rickey refused to pay for his Negro League players at this point and said he had no further interest in Irvin. Manley tried to sell him to the New York Yankees but they maintained a whites-only policy. She then sold him to the New York Giants and said “They paid me $5,000 lousy dollars for Monte Irvin. If he’d have been white they’d have given me $100,000.” Irvin, along with Ford Smith, became the first African-American players in the history of the Giants organization on January 28.

  • On this date in 1994, the Veterans Committee elects Phil Rizzuto to the Hall of Fame.
  • Back in 2005, Kerry Konrad’s $2,325 bid won an eBay auction giving him the one-day naming rights to the Fleet Center Arena in Boston.  Konrad, a Yankee fan, wanted to call it the “Derek Jeter Center”. But instead, on this date, ESPN reports that Konrad will agree to call it the “Jimmy Fund Center,” after a Boston friend and Red Sox fan donated an additional $6,275 for the children charitable effort, bringing the total amount to $8,600 (symbolizing the 86 years between Red Sox World Championships).

Categories:  Diane Firstman  Emma Span  News of the Day

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65 comments

1 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:16 am

and the wait for my ticket invoice continues....

I think saying the '90-'91 Yankees were "treading water" is being a little charitable

2 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:18 am

Um, D...You ROCK.

Thanks for brining me back to the Intellivision days. In 5th grade, my classmate, Andrew Marcus, sold me his old Intellivision, which I got instead of Atari, because the sports games were so good. Remember those non joy stick joysticks, with the round center?

Dag, bringing me BACK.

3 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:18 am

[0] The Yankees will probably take a long reliever, too...

Why?

Long relievers (and "swing men") made sense in the days of four man rotations and smaller bull pens. But with a five man rotation--this year including a number of innings eaters, in the Yankees' case--and a seven man bull pen, does the team really need a long reliever? Why not just get the seven best BP arms and use them judiciously?

4 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:24 am

Gee, sounds like Irvin came about as close to being a Yankee as I have. In fact, one could argue that the info on Wikipedia asserts that he couldn't have been a Yankee.

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:25 am

I agree, MP, this team does not need a designated long reliever.

6 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:28 am

[4]

sigh

7 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:38 am

Wow. TVs in the walls. Why not just set up folding chairs in the concourse and sell those seats - they've got TV sets there, too.

Jay Jaffe's got a good post on the Yankees' treatment of longtime fans: http://tinyurl.com/cxwqca. As it happens, he got offered pretty much the exact same seats I did, and posted a picture of the view from there. Take a look at what they want me to pay $85 a seat for.

8 ny2ca2dc   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:47 am

PeteAbe reports Girardi saying the rotation will be: "Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte and Chamberlain"

Wang getting the respect! It's a good day!

9 Diane Firstman   ~  Feb 25, 2009 9:55 am

[8]

It also makes sense to throw a ground-baller in between the K guys. Gives the opponents some more adjusting to do in a 3-game series.

10 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:02 am

I never understood the point of that fucking restaurant. Its an eyesore, and now its obstructing views. Just so people can come and not watch the game.

11 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:07 am

[10] The point of the restaurant is for the Yankees to make more money, especially off people for whom going to the ballpark and watching the damn game is not sufficient entertainment. Hence restaurant and obstructed views, martini bar and fewer affordable seats, and so forth.

12 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:11 am

monkey

I think I'm just old fashioned (at 21 years of age) I never quite understood while major league baseball stadiums needed swimming pools, ferris wheels, petting zoos or big ugly black rooms.

13 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:16 am

[12] On this point we agree entirely. What really pisses me of is that fans are complicit in this. As much as we can decry owners for holding cities hostage for public funding for new mall parks, the fans themselves seem to clamor for these additional attractions...they then brag about how their team's new stadium has so many "fan friendly" or "kid friendly" amenities, like swimming pools and ferris wheels and the like.

Good heavens, give me a decent seat at a reasonable price, a beer (or soda, if that's your thing) and a hot dog or peanuts and let me watch the game. What could be more fan--or kid--friendly than that?

14 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:23 am

I enjoyed just going to the ballpark and watching a game when I was six years old. Kids these days.

In other news, Venezuelan Francisco Cervelli is playing for Italy in the Bud Games.

Have I mentioned how much I hate this absurd tournament?

15 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:28 am

[14] Holy crap, that's two things we agree on. If I recall correctly, that's nearly two more than we have agreed on in total since I started posted on this blog!

; )

16 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:29 am

Wouldn't shock me. :)

17 Raf   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:42 am

In fact, one could argue that the info on Wikipedia asserts that he couldn’t have been a Yankee.

Of course, they had a "whites only" policy :)

I never quite understood while major league baseball stadiums needed swimming pools, ferris wheels, petting zoos or big ugly black rooms.

They don't need them. I certainly don't need them. But people are willing to pay to utilize them. I don't like it, but it seems that I (we?) are in the minority. Over the weekend, they replayed Seaver's 300 win on the MLB network. Watching a game has changed so much over the years. No entrance music, no sound effects, very little in the way of distractions. There was only organ music, IIRC.

18 Raf   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:44 am

[2] Alex, I still have an intellivision 2 stashed away in a closet somewhere. Mattel Electronics went under shortly thereafter. I had the baseball game featured in the clip, I think I picked it up from Odd-Lot for like 2-3 dollars.

19 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 10:57 am

[12] [13] I know I am old fashioned, but I don't mind the growing list of amenities at ballparks because I realize that revenue from casual fans sustains my addiction. If there wasn’t money to be made from them, I am sure they wouldn’t exist. While it would be nice to not have the frills from a purist standpoint, I can easily live with them if it means the Yankees will always do what it takes to put the best team on the field. Personally, if I was going to do away with a revenue producer, it would be the sale of good old fashioned beer. Nothing distracts from enjoyment of the game more than be surrounding by a horde of drunks who have no interest in the game. At least the luxury box elite and the restaurant roaming tourists don’t impede on my enjoyment of the game.

Also, from my memory of the bleachers at the Old Stadium, as much as the last 10-15 feet from the wall was obstructed by the outfield fence, so it’s not like there were no obstructions previously. Also, because the tier was so close to the field, almost every section starting half way down each baseline featured a significant field obstruction. With the new recessed upper deck, those obstructions should be lessened. Of course, even that change has been criticized because it removed fans from the field. Not matter what the configuration is, it seems as if people will complain for the sake of complaining.

20 ny2ca2dc   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:07 am

I think the waterslides and petting zoos also help get casual and non-fans out the the ballpark - and there's no better way to get people into the game than seeing baseball in person. For a long time I only enjoyed the game in the sense I liked going to a ballpark - but it eventually grew into pretty hard core fandom (blogs like this helped too).

It's pretty hard to get people hooked on the game watching it on TV, so getting them out to the park is always going to be a good thing. Don't be so grumpy y'all!

21 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:10 am

[19] The obstructions caused by the OF fence or even the overhang on 75 y.o. stadium does not seem quite comparable to that caused by an enormous CF restaurant on a brand-new stadium, which sheers off significant sections of the field from those sitting near it. That just seems like bad design, or a design with no thought whatsoever to the bleacher fans.

I agree that additional amenities help subsidize your addition, but the calculus is a little more complex, no? More amenities also means more construction and maintenance costs, which are flipped back in turn onto the fans. They are, as we all agree, popular...which drives up attendance (demand), which in turn increases prices. So in the end, I am not convinced that the CF restaurant will subsidize me in any way.

Or did you mean that it results in more Yankee revenue, which allows them to spend more on players?

I would not mind, believe it or not, if beer were banned from sports venues.

22 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:12 am

[20] But I don't think that this gets many people into the game at all. It gets them hooked on petting zoos and water slides. If you want to get people into the game--the casual fan--take him to a minor league game, which is very affordable, have some dogs and have a good time watching the game. If things drag, leave in the middle of the game.

23 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:26 am

[21] I am not sure why the reason for the obstruction is relevant. Basically, it seems as if the Yankees had a choice between a restaurant or (guessing wildly) or 200 bleacher seats. They opted for the restaurant, but figured they would still make the seats available. I guess they could have done away with the seats altogether, but I am not sure how that benefits anyone. As long as they are clearly labeled as obstructed, then having the seats gives 200 people the chance to choose whether they want to sit there. When you consider that many of those people probably just want to be in the park anyway, I don't see the problem.

As to your second point (and I did mean more revenue means more expensive players), while amenities do add to building costs, that is sunk expense. Also, as we have discussed previously, the taxpayers of NYC are not on the hook for anything with this stadium. While one can argue whether the state and federal government are offering a subsidy, the benefit to the city is actually a net gain. If your local Congressman brinks federal pork to your town, he gets re-elected, so I am not sure why there is a local furor over the Stadium deal.

[22] I know many people who go to games based on give aways. If fireworks, caps and bottle openers can drive attendance, I definitely think fancy restaurants, water slides and petting zoos can do the same.

24 rbj   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:32 am

Scary thing is, I remember that Intellivision ad.

Normally I don't like amenities aside from food/beer concessions, but I will make allowance for kiddie parks. Nothing worse than having a fidgety, nonbaseball interested kid sitting next to you.

Lineup is up over at Peter's. Ah, baseball.

BTW, I'm going to eat at an Olive Garden for lunch today. That makes me eligible for the Italian team. And due to having a Dutch grandmother, I'm eligible for the team from the Netherlands too.

25 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:38 am

[23] I am not sure why the reason for the obstruction is relevant.

Some obstructions are more or less inevitable given the geometry of the game. If you put up a fence, it will block peoples' views even a little. The overhang cost views of the corners of the OF. This was a trade-off caused by building technology of the 1920s and a design that put lots of fans closer to the action by stacking the decks.

This is different, I believe, from the obstructions created by the CF restaurant, which are worse than anything in the current stadium (those closest to the restaurant miss something like 40% of the field; moreover, the closest to the restaurant will have the hardest time seeing the TVs). Also, these obstructions are unnecessary. They are not created by a structural element of the park, or by a necessary part of the playing field (foul pole or fence), but by a restaurant lodged smack in the middle of the bleachers.

In addition, the restaurant is unsightly (that is my aesthetic opinion), and it was poorly designed to boot. They could have built it with much more angled walls, so that the obstructed seats were less obstructed. Or they could have pushed it back more. Or they could have elevated the bleachers more. Or they could have placed the bullpens between the bleachers and the restaurant, in the spaces that now contain the obstructed seats. The design is sloppy and shortsighted, or merely selfish on the Yankees part.

I long ago reconciled myself to the new stadium, and I look forward to many of its comforts (mainly, concourses that actually work). But I will forever and always harbor some bitterness that for over a billion dollars, on a plot of (park) land that is 60% larger, in the largest baseball market, they built a stadium with significantly fewer seats...and some of those are badly obstructed by a restaurant.

26 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:41 am

[23] I know many people who go to games based on give aways. If fireworks, caps and bottle openers can drive attendance, I definitely think fancy restaurants, water slides and petting zoos can do the same.

I never said such things did not drive attendance. I challenged whether water slides, etc. contributed to actually getting casual fans hooked on the game.

When you go to the park to get your bottle opener, you then sit with your bottle opener watching the game. When you go to the park to play on a water slide, you are probably not taking in too much of the game.

27 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:51 am

[25] I think you're right, monkeypants. There had to be better ways to get that restaurant in CF than obstructing the view of so many fans. Why intentionally cause the problem? That is, why intentionally create seats that most anyone who knows anything about watching a ballgame (eg, multiple-game ticket buyers - aka their regular customers) are going to avoid like the plague? Its one thing if its an unavoidable structural obstruction, but as you say, its not. It makes no sense to me.

Unless they project that the restaurant's revenues are going to significantly outweigh any loss of butts in seats, or they figure that it doesn't matter because those are among the cheapest seats anyway.

28 The Hawk   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:54 am

[8] 'Tis righteous

29 Yankee Mama   ~  Feb 25, 2009 11:55 am

Honestly, as a huge fan of watching the entire game and being a mother of 2 small children, I am not particularly happy with the allure of a kiddy whatever. What's wrong with teaching kids how to sit? My 8 year-old son sits with me and has since he was a wee bairn. My daughter is more fidgety, hence she goes to fewer games.

I'm there to watch baseball not have full entertainment experience. As for the CF restaurant. I'd be ok with it if it didn't make it impossible for people on the left field side not able to see the plays on the right fieid side and visa versa. I mean, didn't they have the opportunity to get it right?

30 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:11 pm

[25] Would this even be an issue if the Yankees simply decided to not include the 200 or so obstructed seats (again, that's a guess that could be too high or too low)?

Also, how many seats do you think the stadium should have? One factor limiting capacity is the larger size of seats and rows. Do you think the new Stadium should employ the same cramped seating layout to accomodate more fans? Also, the wider concourse probably took up a lot of space. Would more seats be a fair trade-off for similar narrow walkways? Finally, to add more seats in the bowl, I am sure they would have to recess them even more. Would it be ok to move fans further from the field to increase supply?

The new Stadium will feature only 3K fewer seats than the old one. Compared to most new stadiums, that's pretty good.

[26] True, but families may be able to balance the interests of children as a result of a petting zoo and or water slide. For example, while dad and son watch the game, mom and daughter could hangout at the water slide.

[27] Again, they could have simply eliminated the seats altogether, but why not give fans the option of sitting in the obstructed rows?

31 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:14 pm

william, I'm glad that the Yankees' approach to seating has helped fuel your addiction. I think it may finally have broken mine.

32 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:15 pm

[26] Also, I am not sure the goal should be to get casual fans hooked. They are, after all, casual. While I am sure some dabblers can and do become hooked, I think the game itself takes care of that part. Those who get “hooked” probably either don’t need to step into a ballpark to become an addict, or will be quickly lured away from the frills.

33 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:16 pm

[32] Well, if the idea were to please the hardcore fan, they haven't done a very good job of that, either?

34 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:22 pm

[31] Teams like the Pirates will have tons of good seats available at incredibly low prices. Of course, they will also be playing very bad baseball. I can remember having my pick of seats at Yankee Stadium. Now matter how close I got to the field, Oscar Azocar didn't play any better.

While I am happy with my relocation arrangement, I didn't go into the process with any unrealistic expectations. For almost 10 years, the Yankees gave me the chance to repurchase my same seats without seeking if someone else was willing to bid higher. I had a great seat in section 4 of the tier, and always though they were among the best in the house. I am pretty sure someone else would have been willing to pay more than I would. Still, the Yankees essentially gave me a free private seat license for 10 years. While I can see how such an arrangement has created a sense of entitlement, I think people are losing some perspective. I want the Yankees to provide me with the best baseball possible…I want the biggest and best stars….I want Sabathia and Teixeira…I don’t want the Yankees primary goal to be making sure there most loyal fans always get the seats they want at the prices they want…the only way to accomplish that seems to be fielding a poor team.

35 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:25 pm

[33] In most businesses, you have to cater to the hardcore (the few who spend a lot) and the casual (the many who spend a little). Even though I am a hardcore fan, I am not a hardcore spender. So, in a sense, the Yankees are catering to the hardcore: those buying 81 games plans.

36 Raf   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:49 pm

I don’t want the Yankees primary goal to be making sure there most loyal fans always get the seats they want at the prices they want…the only way to accomplish that seems to be fielding a poor team.

I don't think that's necessarily true. Other teams have fielded competitive teams with less $$. The Twins and Braves immediately come to mind, though I don't know how their ticket pricing schemes are.

37 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:50 pm

[35] Well, that's certainly a choice they have every right to make. But they've finally made it clear to me that my patronage doesn't mean crap to them, that I'm not even worth a pretense. In fact, they've been telling me that for years; generally, I've felt that their attitude ranged from scant tolerance to contempt. Finally, they may have broken me.

After a lifetime of passion for this team, I'm seriously reconsidering whether I want to bother with them at all. It won't be an easy habit to break, but I think they've finally sucked all the pleasure out of it.

38 Yankee Mama   ~  Feb 25, 2009 12:57 pm

[30] While mother and daughter could hang out at the waterslide? Seriously? Are we back in the 1950's? I won't dignify that with a response.

What defines a harcore fan? It's not determined by financial liquidity. It's a passion thing. The few who spend a lot are mostly corporations, who use the tickets as business write-offs. Although, with banks all but plumeting, it remains to be seen how shareholders will feel about this luxury.

39 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:00 pm

[36] I am not sure of their pricing schemes either, but I think we can agree that the demand for baseball in those markets doesn't compare with New York. Also, I don't think most of us what be happy with the hit and miss realities of those two teams right now.

[37] Clearly, you have every right to feel the way you do, but from my perspective, I think the only thing the Yankees owe their "loyal" fans is every effort possible to put a good team on the field...not careful attention in the ticket selling process. If I had a choice between being treated like a valuable customer or watching a great team, I'd opt for the latter.

It strikes me as funny how so many people are citing loyalty as a reason why the Yankees should have given them better seats. Let's be honest...if the Yankees tanked, how many of these loyalists would still purchase their seats? It seems like what most people want is a free personal seat license...even though they would raise a fit if they were offered the chance to buy one. Why should any of us have been given the right to virtual PSLs? I had the chance to attend the ASG, Opening Day and the last game all because of being a season ticket holder. I am sure the Yankees could have held all those tickets out to the highest bidder, so it is unfair to say the team hasn't and doesn't take loyalty into account...even if it isn't as much as some would like.

Finally, if the Yankees were charging too much for tickets, why does such a vibrant secondary market exist? I know lots of season ticket holders who subsidize the games they go to by selling off the ones they do not. Yankee tickets have basically become an asset, so I am not really sure why people think the Yankees shouldn't treat them as such.

40 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:03 pm

[38] Give me a break...I don't think we need to be back in the 1950s to accept that men likely make up a larger percentage of hardcore fans. I am not sure why that would offend you.

Defining a hardcore fan is relative, but it would make horrible business practice to define your ticket strategy around keeping happy diehard fans who don't spend a lot of money.

41 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:11 pm

[39] Well, we disagree. I watched two stretches of really awful teams, and they never stopped me from caring. The Yankees have finally accomplished that. At this point, I don't think I give a crap how good they are. Most of these players don't mean that much to me, the Stadium that was my second home is gone, I won't get to go to any games, and they treat me like garbage. I can't see any reason why their on-field success means anything to me.

42 Yankee Mama   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:14 pm

The Yankees used to be sensitive to diehard Yankee fans who can't spend the money by doing 5 dollar ticket plans. They were a great way to go to the stadium and soak it all in. It was an act good will that filled the stadium and was good for the community. Where are those ticket plans?

43 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:16 pm

[41] We definitely disagree. Like you, I have attended games and watched religiously through good times and bad, but I don't base the team's obligations to me on the quality of the seat I can get. I don't begrudge anyone from feeling that way, but think they should at least acknowledge that the Yankees' obligation isn't only to them.

44 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:18 pm

[30]

Also, how many seats do you think the stadium should have?...Would it be ok to move fans further from the field to increase supply?

Well, I would think that the largest market and the most popular team (both for fans and haters), with through the roof attendance for a decade, the largest stadium in the league would be appropriate. So, I would have hoped that that current capacitity could have been maintained.

And yes, I would have more rows in the upper deck, for at least those fans will have an unobstructed (if more distant) view of the field. I also would have added more bleacher seats. And I would not have angled the ends of the upper deck, which cost a good number of seats.

The new Stadium will feature only 3K fewer seats than the old one. Compared to most new stadiums, that’s pretty good.

The number is closer to 5000, from around 57,000 to close to 52,000 seats. That's a pretty big chunk, despite Yankee propaganda to the contrary, and especially considering that most of the "lost" seats have come from the more affordable sections of the stadium.

[37]

Finally, they may have broken me.

My brother, who has been going to games for 40 years, feels the same way. This summer will be the first in memory when we don't make the annual pilgrimage to the stadium together.

I still hang on, though, like the abused housewife who defends her husband.

[39]

Yankee tickets have basically become an asset, so I am not really sure why people think the Yankees shouldn’t treat them as such.

I don't deny this is the Yankees right. I do not deny that the sports business in general, and MLB in particular has changed greatly in the last decade or so. Smaller mall-parks, for example, have driven up demand for individual games, which has put pressure on fans to buy season tix (further encouraged by pro rata deals by the teams), which in turn further pressures the ticket market.

Gone are the days, which I remember, when a person could walk up to the Stadium on game day and buy a ticket, even a quality ticket.

So, with more tickets being sold ahead of time, especially in season packages, fans who live farther away from the city (like myself) are compelled also to purchase individual tix farther in advance, or to buy them in the secondary market.

That's areality, you are correct.

It is also a reality that the *relative* cost of tickets at the stadium (the most expensive box seats v. less expensive seats) has changed drastically over the last decade-plus. Now the most expensive tickets are proportionally far more expensive than ever before. Thus MLB, the most "egalitarian" of the major sports leagues historically (since more games meant less "value" per game, so lower average attendance and more affordable seats), has become much more hierarchical.

Again, this is a reality, not illegal, no one is doing anything "wrong", and so forth.

45 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:20 pm

[42] Those "plans" were actually a group of $5 dates that could be bought individually. They were essentially low demand games. I am sure that if such games remain, similar plans will be offered.

46 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:23 pm

[39] I think you put the quotes in the wrong place - they shouldn't be around "loyal", they should be around "fans". The Yanks have two constituents to take care of, fans and customers, though admittedly they are not distinct entities; clearly they overlap.So, consider it like this - there are three groups of people the Yanks need to cater to.

First are "fans", people like me, who either live too far away from the Bronx or otherwise never (or rarely ever) attend a game. Our primary consideration is that the Yanks put the best team on the field; concerns about tickets, seats, etc are secondary at best, but probably non-existent. I'd say we're very satisfied with the current situation, because the team looks damn good.

At the other end are "customers": the corporations and others who shell out the most cash for the luxury boxes and the best seats, but are not (necessarily) fans the way you or I are (though I'm sure some are). That is, their seats/boxes are primarily for business purposes, and so their primary consideration is their seats and the amenities. The Yanks fielding a good team is perhaps a concern, but certainly secondary, if it exists. Even if the Yanks are bad, there's a lot of cachet in the Yankee/Yankee Stadium brand, enough to make a trip to the ballpark a good client outing (particularly for those who don't know or care about baseball). I'd say the "customers" are very satisfied with the current situation.

Then there are the "customer-fans", people who love team AND buy tickets. I'd call these the real "hardcore" fans, because they not only follow it closely, they shell out cash to go to games (and more cash when they get there). The Yanks ought to have a big interest in keeping these people the happiest, because I'd argue these are the people who will keep shelling out for the tickets even when the team sucks - and many instances likely have been shelling out for tickets for years (if not longer). Yet it seems like these are the exact people - the Yanks' best customers, in every sense of those words - who have been treated the worst. They've been given the shaft in so many ways, and clearly at the expense of the "customers", who, of course, pay a lot more money.

As "healthy" as the secondary ticket market is, I wouldn't mistake that as "it doesn't matter if we screw over people who've been customers for years, there are plenty of people to take their place". Rather, I'd view it skeptically, because there's only one "last year of the Old Stadium" and "first year of the New Stadium". In any case, I think this horse is dead.

47 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:26 pm

[43] No, you're right, the Yankees don't owe anything to me. I've always had some illusion that, at some level, it was my team. But you're right, it's theirs. They don't owe me anything, they don't have to let me into any games, they can treat me as crappy as they want.

But then why would I want to feel the slightest loyalty towards them? Just out of habit? Why on earth should I feel any interest in their performance if they make it so clear that they don't five a crap about me?

48 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:33 pm

[44] All of your points are fair, but I think some context is needed. While it would be nice to turn back the clock on the price inflation of tickets, that of course would mean players who have to make less money. Now, in order for the players to make less money, the owners would have to make less money too (unless we simply want to the players to subsidize our enjoyment and the owner’s wealth). In order for the owners to make less money, the teams need to generate less revenue. And, the only way to stunt revenue would be to seriously limit the distribution of games via the media. Does any fan really want that?

In 1982, I could have my pick of seats at Yankee Stadium for meager prices, but I couldn’t watch every single game on TV (nor could I watch every out of town game). The explosion in revenue has resulted from the increase in the availability games. If I had to choose, I would rather watch all 162 Yankee games than get to sit behind home plate 10 times.

I know it’s tempting to harken back to the good old days…but we need to remember what it was really like back then. So, while we can’t walk up and buy a great ticket, we can turn on the TV and head to the internet for wall-to-wall, full year coverage. I know I would have killed for that growing up as a kid.

49 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:34 pm

[46] In any case, I think this horse is dead.

What was that, Wilbur?

50 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:37 pm

[48] In 1982, I could have my pick of seats at Yankee Stadium for meager prices, but I couldn’t watch every single game on TV (nor could I watch every out of town game). The explosion in revenue has resulted from the increase in the availability games...

Guess what, in my case I can hardly watch a handful of games per year, and it has been like that for years. I get most of my games via radio, which is what I did in 1982.

I'm not sure I wouldn't prefer trade cheaper prices for 162 game TV access (which, if available, I would also pay for). I'd have to think about it.

51 Yankee Mama   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:41 pm

This was a question put to Lonn Trost:

Is there any chance the Yankees will drop the cost of the most expensive tickets to entice buyers in these difficult economic times?

Said Trost, "No, our prices are our prices."

[46] You are spot on. Amen to that.

[47] I'm not trying to convince you of anything, but doesn't the love for baseball and a team you've supported for years supplant the stupid mishandlings of the front office? I think they are thinking one thing: how do we recoup our investment? What is the most profitable thing to do today? I don't think they are thinking big picture, long term thinking, which means they are not thinking about the diehards. They assume that they will always be around because team loyalty transcends. Yes, it's like an abused spouse. We're taken for granted. And if we don't go to the games, we always can juice with our YES habit.

52 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:54 pm

[51] With the move to the new Stadium and the team's characteristic turnover of personnel, I find that there's a lot less to hold me than I might have imagined.

53 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 1:59 pm

[46] It's an interesting distinction, but I think diehards are fans first and customers second. Taking myself as an example, I'd much rather do without my tickets than watch a bad team. I have a feeling most other teams' diehard fans would laugh at the notion that Yankee diehards are being shafted after the team spent like crazy in the off season. I am sure those fans would gladly deal with an obstruction or a less than optimal seat location for the same chance to watch a quality team. After all, most of the complaints are about not liking one's new seat. In a sense, those fans have been shown loyalty by being given the right to buy seats before everyone else. Again, from a personal standpoint, I know others would pay more than I could for the seats I was given.

[47] The Yankees owe you a good team, IMHO, nothing more, although I'm sure some would argue they don't owe you even that. Loyalty is a two-way street, afterall. I wonder if the same people who think they should be given their favored seats for life, would be willing to pay for the right (maybe buy the tickets for the next 50 years)?

I'd love the Yankees to really care about me personally...but why do I matter more than you or any other diehard? If they give me exaclty what I want, doesn't that mean someone else will likely get the shaft? The one thing we should all have in common is the desire to see a great team, and I think the Yankees do a very good job at trying to accomplish that.

[50] Out of curiousity, why can't you get 162 game access?

54 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:03 pm

Lonn Trost on WFAN at 2 o'clock, this should be fun.

I just wanna know if I'm gonna be completely shutout at this point, I don't even care about location or days. Upper deck on Tuesdays? Fine, just let me know.

55 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:08 pm

[53] Out of curiousity, why can’t you get 162 game access?

*Can't* may be too strong. Perhaps better is that it would be highly improbable. As a kid I grew up in rural upstate NY, with no access to WPIX, so we followed all games on the radio. After my college years (when I had YES or whatever it was called then on cable), I spent ten years or so in Ohio. Lots of Reds and Indians, not so much Yankees.

Now, I live in Montreal (I think I've mentioned that here before?): lots of Blue Jays, not so much Yankees. The MLB premium package (what is it called, Extra Innings or something?) is ONLY available on the local cable monopoly if you buy a three sport package with the NFL and NHL, and keep the inscription for a full year. I'm not shelling out that kind of money.

But I can usually pick up a fuzzy radio feed from NYC, so I've come full circle!

===

Yes, I know, I can get the games on the interweb. I subscribed two seasons ago, but the feed quality wasn't worth the money, nor the cost of upgrading my monthly download limit. Plus, my wife almost killed me when I had the computer wired through the TV to watch the games. Maybe I'm just cheap.

56 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:44 pm

[47] Loyalty is a two-way street? Well, no, apparently it isn't. It's strictly one-way.

57 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:49 pm

[56] Sorry, that should have read [53]

And, [53], I find that having a great team really isn't the only thing that matters to me. If it were, why wouldn't I just decide to follow whoever was in first place? The whole point of being a lifelong fan was that they were my team no matter what.

I enjoyed being a Yankee fan just fine when they weren't a great team. Now they're probably going to be great, and I find no pleasure in it.

58 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:55 pm

[30]

Would this even be an issue if the Yankees simply decided to not include the 200 or so obstructed seats (again, that’s a guess that could be too high or too low)?

Only because Trost was just interviewed on the Fan: he said that 600 bleacher seats would be obstructed. That's more than 10% of the total bleacher capacity. In my mind, that is simply slack design.

This said, he did claim that they would be sold at a discount price, which is step in the right direction.

59 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 2:59 pm

[56] The fact that you were essentially given a free PSL in the old stadium as well as offered tickets in the New Stadium is loyalty. What would you say if the Yankees promised you the seats you want, but only if you were "loyal" enough to pay for the next 50 years? That is, after all, what you are asking of them...the right to have the seats you want on your terms.

Being a fan means you follow one team...and it should be that team's responsibility to make every possible effort to win. If the Yankees main concern was me getting my favorite seats, well, then I'd be very concerned about their priorities. Everyone has their own best interests in mind, but I think the Yankees have to look out for the collective...if that means a few fans lose interest, then so be it...that's better than giving the greater fan base a lesser product.

60 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:00 pm

[58] I am listening too and the price is $5. For all of those families just looking for the atmosphere of the ballpark, those tickets seem ideal.

61 monkeypants   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:09 pm

[60] Not only families, but dudes who want to go to booze it up, also. You get cheap entry price, then wander around (maybe spend your time in the bleacher food court).

I still hate the restaurant, but surely there will be a market for $5 seats.

62 Raf   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:18 pm

I am not sure of their pricing schemes either, but I think we can agree that the demand for baseball in those markets doesn’t compare with New York. Also, I don’t think most of us what be happy with the hit and miss realities of those two teams right now.

My point was that you don't need to have high ticket prices to field a competitive team. I don't think that was the case with the Braves from 1991-2005, but as I mentioned before I don't have their ticket pricing scheme.

While it's great that the Yanks are able to sign players, they've been doing that since the dawn of free agency. I don't think that having low ticket prices will mean that the Yanks have to field a lousy team.

63 JL25and3   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:25 pm

[b]That is, after all, what you are asking of them…the right to have the seats you want on your terms.[/b]

Now you're starting to get condescending. My seats on my terms would be affordable seats behind home plate. I'm willing to compromise a whole lot on that - I'd take expensive seats in the outfield. They're offering me seats behind a goddam foul pole, so I can't even see the pitcher's mound. If that's loyalty, they can shove it.

Honestly, I'm beyond thinking of winning as the only consideration. it's really not the only thing that brings me enjoyment. You and the Yankees seem to have a wonderful relationship, and you're welcome to it. Your fandom really isn't the sort that interests me, which is exactly why this team may finally have beaten the loyalty out of me.

64 ny2ca2dc   ~  Feb 25, 2009 3:58 pm

[55] I've been using MLB.TV for a few years and last year the quality of the feed made some serious strides forward. You might want to give it another look - but to get good quality you will need a fast internet connection, and a pretty fast computer to keep up with the data. I think the website has a connection speed test.

It's still flaky - the feed will drop maybe once a game (often during the most tense moments!), but for $110/yr, it's pretty hard to beat - and it includes home and away radio feeds, and now both the home and away TV feeds. My complaint with the service is the quality, not the price.

65 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2009 4:45 pm

[63] It isn't condescension at all...I am merely pointing out how the Yankees have been loyal to you: first by giving you a PSL in the old place, and now by giving you a chance for tickets in the new place before many others.

I am sorry that you don't like my fandom, but maybe it's because I don't have the sense of entitlement. I've been a Yankee fan for over 25 years and have never once felt the Yankees owed me anything but good baseball. I realize that there are some who just want good seats; some that want cheap beer; some that want to watch players who share their world view. I just want good baseball and expect the Yankees to do everything they can to deliver that.

If getting seats behind a foul poul is too much for you, then maybe you should drop the team altogether. I don't really know what to say about that. I just know I'd rather sit behind a foul poul than watch a team that counts its money and doesn't invest back on the field. To me "loyalty" to the team doesn't end because I get a less than desireable seat assignment, but everyone is free to define the term as they see fit. Maybe if the Yankees had fewer fans, they could take the approach you want, but that's not the case. Ultimately, if losing a few fans is the cost of doing what's best for the majority , then I guess that's a price the team has to pay. Call me cynical, but when and if the team struggles for an extended period of time, I know I'll be there, but I don't think many of those complaining will be...regardless of how they were treated in this process.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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