"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 2/27/09

Today’s news is powered by the brainpower of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of “Mythbusters” (with special guest Roger Clemens):

  • Cliff has the recap of the Yanks 5-1 win over the Rays yesterday.
  • Here’s a link to something to make Banterites less nervous …. Georgie juices one.  (sorry … couldn’t resist)
  • Tyler Kepner writes of Posada’s progress to date.
  • The Bombers will be wearing a new cap to commemorate their inaugural season in their new stadium.
  • George Vecsey notes the number of major leaguers that have lost a bit of weight in the off-season, including Brian Bruney.
  • Those obstructed-view bleacher seats will now go for $5, rather than the original $12.
  • The Bombers and Bank of America have ended their long, drawn out negotiations for a major sponsorship deal.
  • Lonn Trost, however, states that the economy has not affected the Yankees’ sponsorship deals “one iota”.  Furthermore, with regard to those obstructed-view bleacher seats:

“Those seats are being sold at $5, not $12,” he said. “I think some seats may have gone out improperly invoiced. Those are going to be corrected, but those 600 seats are going to be $5.” …

“When we built the sports bar we knew architecturally there is an architectural shadow,” he said. “And that means there are a group of seats that are in the bleachers that if you are sitting very close to either the rightfield or leftfield side of the sports bar, you may not see the opposite side.

“We knew that going in, and to that extent we pre-prepared to put televisions in the wall, as well as that big screen so you don’t miss anything.”

[My take: You put televisions in the food courts so people don’t miss the action.  You shouldn’t have to put them in the actual seating area.  Whatever.]

  • I posed a Yankee Stadium question to Neil deMause in a BP.com chat:

dianagramr (NYC): Have you reached out to Lonn Trost to take in a game together from the “obstructed view” bleacher seats at the new Stadium? And … wouldn’t you say its HORRIBLE business practice to not disclose upfront (ESPECIALLY to season ticket purchasers) that some seats may have obstructed views?

Neil deMause: Horrible business practice, by the Yankees customer service department? Who could imagine that?

Given who we’re dealing with here, I think it’s equally possible that the Yankees were trying to snooker their fans into buying seats that face a blank wall (with a TV on it), or that they simply misplaced the stamp with “OBSTRUCTED VIEW” on it. Malfeasance and incompetence are both major parts of the Yanks’ playbook.

As for Lonn and me taking in a game together, he doesn’t take my calls. And after that last paragraph I just wrote, I don’t expect he’s going to start anytime soon.

  • In a response to someone else’s question about Yankee ticket prices, deMause stated:

I have noticed that StubHub is fairly hopping with seats at reasonable prices, leading me to believe that either season ticket holders are dumping their excess tickets, or professional scalpers got greedy and are stuck with more inventory than the economy can handle. So my advice is to remain patient, and see if some bargains show up as the season approaches – maybe the Yanks will even have to offer special two-for-one deals to fill their pricier seats like NBA teams are now doing. It’d still only help for Tuesday nights in May against the Twins, not weekends vs. the Red Sox, but twas ever thus, even at the old place.

  • Cashman apparently “handled” A-Rod’s choice of transportation to games down in Florida:

Asked Thursday about the propriety of Rodriguez’s bringing Sucart around the team, General Manager Brian Cashman was succinct: “It’s been handled,” he said. Cashman didn’t say any more on the subject, but his feelings were clear. If rooting for Rodriguez is exasperating, imagine how it feels to be Cashman, continually defusing situations Rodriguez should never have gotten into in the first place.

  • The Daily News reports that the “handling” of the above incident is actually a banning of Yuri Sucart from the team’s facilities.
  • Davey Johnson jokes about his disappointment in A-Rod not playing for his U.S. contingent in the WBC:

“The only thing I was upset about Alex not being on our club is I was a Madonna fan,” Johnson said. “I was hoping she would show up.”

  • Happy 40th birthday to Willie (When will someone bail *me* out?) Banks.  Banks had cups of coffee with the Yanks in ’97 and ’98 before being dealt to the D’backs for two minor leaguers.
  • Greg Cadaret turns 47 today.  He was acquired (along with Eric Plunk and Luis Polonia) from the A’s in 1989 … for Rickey Henderson.
  • Ron Hassey turns 56 today.  Hassey managed to get traded five times in less than 26 months between 1984 and 1986.
  • On this date in 1985,  Toby Harrah is traded by the Yankees to Texas for outfielder Billy Sample and a player to be named later.

I’m taking the weekend off … see you all Monday.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 PJ   ~  Feb 27, 2009 9:20 am


And they did, too!


2 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 27, 2009 9:22 am

monkeypants, I'm glad we briefly reopened the WBC discussion yesterday, because I had never heard of Baseballissimo until you mentioned it. It sounds like a fascinating book, and something I bet my dad would love too. Thanks for the tip. And happy hunting when you go to Italy this year. I'd love to go even once.

Trost's quote was fascinating to me because he managed to be so illogically equivocal. No kidding, if you sit in a seat close to the sports bar (I thought it was a restaurant), you might not be able to see the other side. The point, Mr. Trost, is that there are some seats where you definitely will not be able to see the other side. He acknowledges that such seats exist, but dances around what happens when you sit in one of them (you "might not" be able to see). Amazing.

I can't wait to see a published report somewhere of what its like to sit in the one of the seats nearest the sports bar.

3 FreddySez   ~  Feb 27, 2009 9:29 am

I've actually knocked the cover off a baseball, with a wood bat, in BP. But it was an old, worn ball, and it had gotten wet from the grass. As with the Mythbusters test, it was the hide next to the stitches, not the stitches themselves, that failed.

Don't think for a minute that I didn't keep the hide and tell the tale (downplaying the "old ball" and "BP" elements depending on the audience). I think the hide spent some time on my bulletin board at work.

Conditions notwithstanding, hitting that ball and watching the other guys react was a sweet feeling.

4 monkeypants   ~  Feb 27, 2009 10:00 am



The last few years each I have spent a month in Italy, teaching a course (that's all I'll say!). Since I have to babysit, er, mold the young minds of students, my free time is not a flexible as you would think. It always works out that the teams closest play away, or I have some other obligation, etc. on the weekends when FIBS (Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball) Serie A teams play.

But this year I *think* I'll be able to get to a game in Bologna!

Trost is such a lying sack of shit. For three years they were fuzzy about the seating capacity, and only at the end were the lower estimates confirmed.

For years all we heard about were improved sight lines, etc., then he tells us they knew all along that a significant portion of the bleachers (more than 10%) would have an "architectural shadow."

As of just a few days ago he told Neil Best that the bleachers were 12$, take it or leave it. Now he suddenly says that the "shadowed" seats were wrongly priced.

I don't mind the new Stadium per se, but the organization, or at least their front men, are wretched.

5 PJ   ~  Feb 27, 2009 10:02 am

[3] I can attest to that Freddy! I've seen plenty of torn or failed cowhides in my days. I've even seen them chewed off by dogs and people! Unfortunately, I can also attest to splitting a synthetic balata cover on a golf ball too many times to count, as well. Perhaps if they hit the bat with the ball on an angle instead of squarely on the sweet spot, such that one could "smell the smoke", enough friction would occur at impact that would cause the cover to fail eventually. It would at least loosen considerably and noticeably. Clemens would know nothing about "smelling the smoke". He'd know about "shots" though...


6 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 27, 2009 10:06 am

[4] I'm told by friends who've visited that Bologna is a beautiful city. Another place I'd love to get to.

Whatever virtues Trost and Levine have (had?) on the inside business part of the Yanks, they really seem to have no virtues when it comes to dealing with the game of baseball, or its fans. In fact, since (IIRC) both were essentially brought on board to help bring about a New Stadium, with that Stadium opening in a few weeks, perhaps its time for them to go.

7 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 10:51 am

I have to admit that it amazes me that this obstructed bleacher view continues to be an issue, especially with the fact that they will cost $5. Also, according to Trost, the tickets are stamped obstructed, so I am not sure how one could suggest anyone is being misled. I am fairly certain that the entire section will sell out for the season, so obviously someone will benefit from them. If Pete Abe is correct, the bleachers will not be sealed off as in the old place, so for $5, fans get a seat and have access to the new Stadium. That sounds like a good deal to me.

deMause has clearly made a niche criticizing new ballparks, but I have found his commentary to be sanctimonious at best. His comments above illustrate that.

Finally, on the issue of seating capacity, it should be noted that the new Yankee Stadium will trail only the Los Angeles Dodgers in number of seats sold, and that would be the case even if they decided to eliminate the 600 obstructed views. The fact is that the Yankees did make an effort to maintain a sizeable capacity and it is likely that did increase the sight lines. It seems like the knee jerk reaction is to criticize, but everyone who has toured the new place has raved about it. I am sure that once people get in side, the fact that a few bleacher seats have obstructed views will seem rather minor.

8 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 27, 2009 11:40 am

[7] "I am sure that once people get in side, the fact that a few bleacher seats have obstructed views will seem rather minor."

Sure, except for the 600 people sitting in those seats!

The "outrage" is over Trost's comments, which are misleading at best, and the fact that there was no need to have those 600 seats be obstructed view. When someone - we won't get into that, Neil does an admirable job covering it - pays over a billion dollars for a brand new, state of the art stadium, you'd think it would include no obstructed view seats. Otherwise, how is it state of the art?

On a happier note, if you go here you can see streaming video of the Yanks getting ready to take batting practice. (Swisher is taking swings as I type this.)

9 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 11:48 am

[8] Actually, I think those 600 people may be among the most pleased. Afterall, they only have to pay $5 to get into the park and, unlike the old place, they will have access to what should be a magnificent facility. Considering that many people go to games more for the atmosphere than the game, these discount seats are a nice deal...and it's much better to have them than to not.

Again, here is how the Yankees could have done away with obstructed seats...they could simply told the builder not to put seats in the shadow. There...problem solved. The only problem is that 600 people who would probably want to pay $5 for them would no longer have the chance.

10 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 27, 2009 12:27 pm

[9] I suppose you're right; anyone who's only willing to pay $5 to be let into a state-of-the-art entertainment center shouldn't expect too much, huh? >;)

11 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 27, 2009 12:28 pm

Sorry, I can't resist saying this, but the guy in the youtube clip featured up top looks *exactly* like Philip Seymore Hoffman's Lester Bangs in "Almost Famous."

12 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 27, 2009 12:38 pm

[9] william, would you be happy sitting in one of those seats for a game? Me neither. I'd bet there are lot more people like you and me who are going to sit in those seats and wonder how the fuck the Yankees spent [Dr Evil voice]ONE BILLION DOLLARS[/Dr Evil voice] on the ballpark and managed to include such awful seats, without ever thinking, "Wow, I paid only $5 to get in here, this is awesome!"

13 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 12:41 pm

[12] If I really wanted to go to the Stadium, and my option was to (a) not be permitted entry; or (b) pay $5 for the obstructed seat, I would be very happy to opt for the latter. Now, personally I have never liked sitting in the bleachers (or wings of the tier), obstructions or not, because I think it's a lousy seat. That doesn't mean I think the Yankees should do away with them all. Just because I might not like the seat doesn't mean the Stadium is better off without it.

14 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 27, 2009 12:55 pm

[13] You'd think they'd be a little more thoughtful, though, in terms of the money they acquired and spent to make this a vivid and lasting experience for all the fans that they could have designed bleachers seats that were not obstructed to this degree. That says nothing more than pure thoughtlessness and greed by the braintrust, and for what it's worth nobody should be told to endure it just because we made a mistake and you want to get in here so badly (and we want whatever money you have just as badly). Yeah, they can do without the seats if they can't think to design them better.

If you gave me a half-cooked hot dog while everyone else was eating steak, would I want to eat it unless I was absolutely starving? Maybe, but you can bet I won't ever come back there again.

15 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 27, 2009 1:20 pm

[14] I understand your argument, but my point is that in order to "design bleachers seats that were not obstructed to this degree", they would have had to include 600 less. Had they done that, no one would be talking about this issue. Of course, in doing so, they would have denied 600 people the chance to attend a game. It seems like a no-brainer type decision (unless your main concern is PR). After all, if these seats are really so bad, why would anyone buy them? No one is forcing them to...as long as the obstruction is clearly noted, I don't see any problem.

You seem to be suggesting that it would have been easy to keep the 600 seats without an obstruction, but how do you accomplish that? Recess the restaurant a bit? Then, I guess you could argue why not add some more seats in the new shadow so you can at least give more fans the options of paying to enter the facility. Of course, if you do that, someone will criticize these added seats, which creates a no-win cycle.

16 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 27, 2009 4:02 pm

[15] If it were me Will, I'd have chosen the unobstructed views for those 600, but I suppose the thinking was that the extra square footage for the restaurant would yield more revenue than the 600 seats, and because of the obstructions they could discount the price on those seats, creating a "have your cake and eat it too" situation. From a revenue POV, it makes sense, but for PR and as a fan who can only afford a $5 ticket, it really has to suck. I wouldn't be surprised if those seats remained empty more often than not in the not-too-far future.

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