"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 3/26/09

Today’s news is powered by a “Pitching 101″ video by former Yankee (and current Blue Jay pitching coach) Brad Arnsberg . . .

. . . the Yankees have been telling other teams they would be open to moving Cabrera and suggested that he would be a perfect fit for the White Sox, who currently have Jerry Owens, Brian Anderson and DeWayne Wise competing for the center-field job.

The move would open up more at-bats for newly acquired switch-hitter Nick Swisher, who has lost the competition to be the starting right fielder to Xavier Nady. The club had been trying to move either Swisher or Nady, but teams would be more willing to part with young talent to acquire Cabrera, according to FOXSports.com.

[My take: If they do move him, I sure hope they bring back a good catching or SS prospect.]

  • ESPN’s Howard Bryant wonders if Mark Teixeira can emulate another high-priced Yankee free agent acquisition from a different era:

Still, it is Jackson who remains the most relevant. In a universe where the Yankees seem to trot out another contender to his throne every December by signing a free agent who thinks he can conquer the big town as Jackson once did, Reggie is still The One, the standard of the big-money outsider who became part of the New York family simply by delivering on the promise.

Fittingly, while Jackson stands in the hallway cooling down, a white towel around his neck, Mark Teixeira strolls past.

Teixeira is the latest to try to climb the baseball equivalent of Mount Everest: playing in New York as the top-dollar free agent and coming through on the other side. Until the past couple of weeks, he had been able to blend in, a $180 million complementary player. But as collateral damage of Alex Rodriguez’s injury, he blends no more. With Rodriguez — and the bizarre, unrelenting dramas that seem to always accompany him — gone at least until near the All-Star break, Teixeira is the power bat in the Yankees’ lineup. He is the one who will have to create the murmurs in the stands at the new Stadium when it is his turn with two on and one out. He is now the one everyone in New York is waiting for.

[My take: I for one didn’t think A-Rod would be gone till “near the All-Star break.”  And, didn’t Mike Mussina produce as expected during his years here?  Moose might not have “conquered the big town” (nor was he expected to, as someone who suited up only once every five days), but he just went about his business, pitched well for the vast majority of the time, kept his nose clean, and would be considered a good investment in hindsight.]

Alex Rodriguez says he has “given up” hoping to be widely liked, accepting that many people he does not know well simply do not care for him personally.

“I’ve given up on that; it’s just the way it is,” the Yankees third basemen told YES’ Michael Kay in an interview recorded earlier this month that debuted last night on the network’s preseason special.

“I mean, look, I feel like right now that not too many people like me, so I’ve given up on that.

“As long as my teammates like me, and they respect me, and my two daughters love their Daddy, I’m going to go out and do the very best I can. Look, I really screwed up, and for that I’m sorry.”

[My take: If only he wouldn’t be so concerned with everyone liking him . . . people might actually like him!  And, I wouldn’t be so sure of his teammates’ respecting him.]

  • Newsday (and Lonn Trost) give us a video tour of the new Stadium.

Despite the sagging economy, it seems that no expense was spared in the $1.3-billion ballpark. Trost characterized his job as building “the most expensive stadium in the midst of the worst economy.” He did say thinking about ticket sales has caused him “many sleepless nights. No matter what you do, you can’t make everybody happy.”

[My take: You could have made the better seats a little more affordable.  So what if you recoup your investment a year or two later than planned.  From a P.R. perspective, it would have been a huge win given this horrid economy.  Also . . . about those obstructed view bleachers . . .]

  • New Stadium Insider points out an interesting segregation of concession availabilities, as delineated in the new Official A-Z Guide to the stadium:

For now, the most glaring change is the following:

Field Level Food Court

The food court located near Section 126 on the Field Level offers guests a taste of New York with a variety of concessions, including Boar’s Head deli sandwiches, Famous Famiglia pizza and Asian cuisine. Please note that only Field Level and Legends ticket holders have access to the Field Level.

We have mentioned before that one of the most enjoyable aspects of going to baseball games is roaming around the stadium and checking out all of the nooks and crannies of the ballpark. Never before have we been to a ballpark that does not let fans explore the concessions on an entire level of the Stadium. . . .

To prevent us from using the facilities or making purchases on an entire level is really creating social stratification in the new Yankee Stadium that we are not comfortable with. This also means that the middle-class family coming to Yankee Stadium to see their heroes suit up in the pinstripes will not be able to watch batting practice from the Field Level or try to procure autographs from their favorite players.

[My take: Remember when we were joking a bit about the Yanks having a “moat” around the $350 seats . . . perhaps this isn’t too far from reality.]

The Yankees put individual game tickets on sale for the first season of their new ballpark and said they had sold 170,000 by midday Tuesday. . . .

According to the Yankees’ Web site, as of early evening tickets remained at $2,625 for the April 16 home opener against Cleveland, each with a $59.70 convenience charge.

[My take: $60 for the mere shipping/handling of a ticket . . . I do hope it arrives in a velvet-lined cherrywood box with Certificate of Authenticity. For $2,625, you can fly round-trip to London . . . four times . . . and the meals are included on the flight.  Is Mr. Trost losing any sleep over this?]

  • There is finally a deal in place to sell pieces of the old Stadium:

Seats, foul poles, dugouts, urinals and numerous other items from the old Yankee Stadium will be sold to fans as part of a $10 million deal between the Yankees and New York City, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.

Demolition of the old Stadium will begin next month, prior to the scheduled April 16 opening of the new Stadium. Specifics on the sale of items will be available in the coming weeks, sources familiar with the agreement told the Post.

The old Stadium is owned by the city, which will receive a guaranteed $10 million, plus a percentage of any profits above $15.9 million, in exchange for allowing the Yankees to sell the city-owned portions of the ballpark, which includes all 57,000 seats.

[My take: Hmm . . . a Yankee Stadium urinal . . . now there’s a conversation piece.]

  • Cliff has a post up regarding the passing of two men with ties to the Bombers:
    • Super-sub and World Series hero Johnny Blanchard passed away Wednesday at the age of 76.
    • Also passing away, at the age of 83, was former Yankee executive Arthur Richman:

Poll time!

[poll id="23"]

  • Jose Vizcaino turns 41 today. Vizcaino was acquired midway through the 2000 season for the one-time World Series hero Jim Leyritz.  Vizcaino went for .276/.319/.333 in 174 ABs with the Bombers, while also getting caught on 7 of 12 stolen base attempts.  Fun fact: in 1994, he was caught on 11 of 12 attempts, and for his career he was only successful on 54% of his 136 attempts.
  • On this date in 1937, on the advice of Ty Cobb, Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio reduces the weight of his bat from 40 ounces to 36 ounces.

[My take: That’s still a lot of lumber to be swingin’.]

  • On this date in 1951, in an exhibition game at University of Southern California, Mickey Mantle propels a home run estimated at 654 to 660 feet. The shot clears Bovard Field and then goes the width of a practice football field before landing. Mantle has two homers, a bases loaded triple, and drives in seven runs as the Yankees flunk the Trojans, 15 – 1.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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90 comments

1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 26, 2009 9:52 am

The moat thing isn't a joke at all. There's a concrete wall up between the regular field level seats and the "Legends Suites," which is what the Yankees are calling the literally cushy seats in the front rows. That said, if the New Stadium Insider guys are right, the "plebes" won't be allowed on the field level at all, not even during batting practice or to partake of the concessions. If that's true, I really would love to see an angry mob tear this abomination to the ground.

2 Bum Rush   ~  Mar 26, 2009 9:59 am

Today's lineup and PA's comment says Girardi is thinking about batting Jeter in the leadoff spot. Based on his increased likelihood for double plays, that's a great call. They seem close on pitches per plate appearance.

I can't see Melky bringing back a legit prospect. It's crazy to realize that the Yankees are starting their third season in a row without a legit CF and that's five if you think Damon wasn't that in 2006. Oh, Carlos Beltran...but then they have no problem dropping so much more on a past-peak 3B and 1B and for ten and eight years respectively. I can't believe Cashman still has a job...or Angel Berroa.

3 Bum Rush   ~  Mar 26, 2009 10:01 am

If that’s true, I really would love to see an angry mob tear this abomination to the ground.

I'll meet you there....in about thirty-five years when they move back across the street.

But I bet you'll be able to wave to Giuliani!

4 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 26, 2009 10:40 am

If I ever go inside the New Yankee Stadium, it won't be on my penny, period. I don't care nearly enough about catching a home game at a superfluous stadium to risk eviction from my own home.

5 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 10:41 am

Is it really a big deal if that fabled family of four isn't given the opportunity to pay huge markups of concessions? I mean, shouldn't they be more interested in buying their Boar's Head sandwiches at a much lower price outside the stadium (or in their own neighborhood before leaving)? I am sorry, but when I think about "angry mobs", I don't envision a passioned fight for deli meats.

6 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 10:45 am

[4] Why would you be evicted from your home for attending a Yankee game?

7 Bum Rush   ~  Mar 26, 2009 10:45 am

Also, according to PA, they're opening the gates three hours before. I can't see the Yanks paying for security to guard the lowest level that whole time. Supposedly, they designed it to restrict access points. So it will be really hard to get to the bottom level, unless you use ninja skills, but if you're already there it should be easy enough to jump the wall.

8 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:03 am

[6] The issue is not whether the family of four can buy overpriced concessions. It is, rather, the somewhat disturbing fact that the ever more steeply hierarchized pricing scheme will be reinforced by the physical segregation of fans in different seating (and pricing) zones. The Yankees' are certainly within their rights to do so, and if the market bears it, yada-yada. Still, it strikes me as off-putting, more in keeping with the Roman Empire (where the upper class had special entrances, exits, and reserved seating at all public performances, separating them from the hoi polloi) than the rather more egalitarian society in which we live.

9 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:06 am

[5] I believe you're missing the point. Buying concessions at a ballgame is part of the experience of being at the game, no matter what stadium you go to. I'll bet it would bother plenty of people that they don't have the same access to better food when they are NOT allowed to bring in their own food in lieu of access. It's like waving money in front of a poor person and mocking them for not having it.

That fable family of four was used to saving what money they could to attend a ballgame at a stadium that was world renowned and filled with history, not to mention amenities (good or bad). Now that same family of four is told to pony up a multiple amount of what they used to pay for maybe the same experience in a new place that only evokes the richness of the old one. And if they can't pony up and continue to pay the same amount, well, you're not allowed HERE, HERE and HERE (which would have made the experience whole or at least comparable to the old place). But that's okay, because they deserve it for being not-rich or just plain stingy. I get it, I'm gone.

All the same, I speak for myself in saying that I can resist the temptation of spending money on a luxury such as attending a ballgame there instead of meeting my financial responsibilities; the alternative would be unforgivably stupid for me. Yet, I can't fault anyone else for making the effort to "join the fun" or for "protesting the absurdities", whatever your heart's desire.

10 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:08 am

I think that no one wants to feel restricted, especially in a place which was historically fun to explore.

As for the cushy seats, one can't even be wealthy, but uber, uber wealthy to justify that outlay in this current economy. I guess we'll see a lot of Jack Nicholson and Bruce Springsteen behing homeplate cause those seats will be utilized by VIPs.

I'm still laughing about the urinal as a conversation piece. Good work Diane!

11 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:13 am

[6] I have a choice: pay a rediculous price (for me) to have a good seat, or put the money toward rent. I'm not blessed yet that I can afford both. For what I can afford, I can get a better seat at home with the YES Network. I know a lot of people in the same position, but I speak for myself.

12 RIYank   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:14 am

[5] I am sorry, but when I think about “angry mobs”, I don’t envision a passioned fight for deli meats.

Yeah. but that was before Hank said, "Let them eat Oscar Mayer."

13 RIYank   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:15 am

[11] If that position is really bad for your back, and with your fist in a bowl of potato chips, then yeah, I'm in the same position.

14 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:15 am

By the way, as a family of four, I would be skewered if I didn't adhere to the baseball game experience, which includes concessions (much to my chagrin). I think it's part of the Gestalt of the baseball outing. I expect to go a little uncomfortably beyond my budget as the kids get caught up in the moment. I woulndn't want to tell them that they can't have that or that or that because we're economically segregated. How screwy is that?

As I've been saying, my HD tv will have to do or I go to games with friends and forget the family outing all together, so my kids won't be as lucky as I was. They'll live, but it makes me sad.

15 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:19 am

[8] For starters, we don't know if there will be segregation (bleacher fans were always segregated in the old place, but no one seemed to think it trumpeted the advent of a caste system). Secondly, all forms of businesses segregate customers based on how much you pay. I am not sure why the Yankees actions are being singled out as detrimental to society.

[9] I couldn't disagree more. I attend a lot of games and have never considered buying food to be an integral part of the experience. Because the Yankees do allow you to bring in your food, your other point is "mute".

If the fabeled family of four wants to go to a game they still can...there are plenty of upper deck and bleacher seats available at very affordable prices. Now, if that family of four wants to sit in great seats against Boston and enjoy Stadium Boar's Head, well, they'll have to pay up for that.

As for an individual, the Stadium experience can easily be had for anywhere from $10-40 per game. Unless you also want to cut out all movies, museums, amusement parks, etc., I don't see the point.

16 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:26 am

[14] I guess everyone's experiences are different. I've never had a problem bringing in my own M&Ms, for example, versus buying the $5 bag at the stadium.

17 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:29 am

[15] This only illustrates our different observations and vantage points on society, William. I respect that and will discontinue this conversation out of respect for our differences.

[13] Potato chips Shomato chips; I'm a gourmet with leftovers! >;)

18 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:30 am

[15] fans were always segregated in the old place, but no one seemed to think it trumpeted the advent of a caste system.

This was a huge bone of contention for many fans, and something that was specifically to be addressed in the new park. On the one hand, it has--and now the 5000 bleacher fans have greater access to the rest of the park. On the other hand, the remaining 45,000 fans are to be more segregated than they ever were in either version of the old ball park.

If the fabeled family of four wants to go to a game they still can…Now, if that family of four wants to sit in great seats against Boston and enjoy Stadium Boar’s Head, well, they’ll have to pay up for that.

So, you are not even the slightest bit uncomfortable with the possibility that the family of four, along with another 12,000 fans in the upper deck not only will not be able to enjoy Boar's Head, they will actually be cordoned off from whole swaths of the stadium? Does this mean that during batting practice, the kids in the upper deck will not be allowed, say, to go to the field level to get autographs or catch foul balls?

Again, this goes beyond any of the physical segregation of the old stadium.

So yes, the old stadium, built in the less enlightened 1920s, was designed such as to physically separate the bleachers from the rest of the crowd. The new stadium has managed, in this aspect, to roll back the clock to even less enlightened days!

19 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:35 am

[15] we don’t know if there will be segregation

This is true. My complaints are of course hypothetical...we won't know until we see what policies the Yankees actually put in place.

However, according to the yankees.com A-Z new stadium guide:

FIELD LEVEL FOOD COURT
The food court located near Section 126 on the Field Level offers guests a taste of New York with a variety of concessions, including Boar¹s Head deli sandwiches, Famous Famiglia pizza and Asian cuisine. Please note that only Field Level and Legends ticket holders have access to the Field Level.

So, from this it sounds as if my worst case scenario of less affluent kids denied the opportunity to get autographs is a definite possibility.

20 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:35 am

[19] Ack, I messed up the html tags again!

21 hiscross   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:40 am

Use MLB.com over the web. Some restrictions, but I can see lots of games. I will be attending the August 6 game vs Red Sox. I will have been to all three Yankee Stadiums. I'll probably never return because of cost and how baseball in general has fallen, but I'll always be a Yankee.

22 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:41 am

[17] Fair enough...I didn't realize you hadn't intended to invite a dialogue with your comment.

[18] Again, no one knows what the stadium's policy on access to the Field Level will be, so perhaps we should wait to find out before settling on a level of condemnation. What we do know, however, is that similar policies have existed and do exist, so the sensational tone of the NSI seems unwarranted. Similarly, your claims of fans being denied access to “whole swaths” and the clock being rolled back to the 1920’s lack the necessary context to determine whether they are accurate.

It seems as if everything pertaining to the new Stadium has been cloaked in class and political warfare Perhaps that is the result of the turbulent economic times in which we live.

23 ny2ca2dc   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:41 am

In other news, I'd be all for the Yanks getting something for Melky. AJax is the "CF of the future", and Gardner is a better 4th OF, so Melky doesn't have a long term place on the team. Of course AJax could fall flat, etc, but if they could get a high ceiling low level position prospect (I actually don't think they need more catchers, but do need a SS prospect that might turn into a league average big leaguer) that would be perfection. There's not a lot of /impact/ position prospects - I'd say Montero is the only one with multiple-All Star upside. Maybe and Engle Beltre of 2 years ago type?

24 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:54 am

[22] Not in a baseball blog, no, and perhaps that's my fault for discussing it here. But again, I'm certain we respect each other's position in regard to what it means baseball-wise, so no need to carry it further :)

[23] I wonder if Melky is the Juan Rivera that I lamented not having anymore... there's not much doubt that he'll be nothing more than a serviceable replacement part at best on the Yankees, which may mean something when the inevitable injuries to our older outfielders occur. That is unless you don't mind replacing him with John Rodriguez on the bench. All we ever hope for is the best out of any player, even if the best for Melky is not good enough to start in our outfield, eh?

25 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:00 pm

[22] perhaps we should wait to find out before settling on a level of condemnation

See [19].

26 zack   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:07 pm

[15] "I couldn’t disagree more. I attend a lot of games and have never considered buying food to be an integral part of the experience. Because the Yankees do allow you to bring in your food, your other point is “mute”."

You're joking right? Sure, its all well and good that your are so above all that or are penny pinching enough that you don't buy food there or consider it part of the game. But, do you really dare think you speak for the rest of fans? Give me a break. Do you have kids, or have you ever gone to a game with kids William? Even bringing in TONS of food to games, its still pretty much impossible to not buy food there. And most fans/visitors to the stadium aren't so savvy as you and don't plan so far ahead.

For you food at the game might not be part of the experience, but for most, it is. At pretty much every other sports stadium/arena in the world, you can walk around, buy food where you want, and enjoy a whole world of the sport beyond the action on the field. In fact, its pretty much why people go to the stadium. So try to lay off the high and mighty lecturing, okay?

27 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:08 pm

[22] Perhaps that is the result of the turbulent economic times in which we live.

Perhaps. But I have had the feeling that, because of demand, the Yankees have been treating their customers like shit for several tears, even before these turbulent times. The stadium experience has become for me, at least, increasingly less pleasant since at least the 1990s. I still go because I love going to at least one big league game a year, and I have a long "streak" of attending a game at the stadium. But if I perceive that the bullshit has gone across the street to the new stadium--and if I have to jump through hoops to buy tix like this year--the streak will end next season. I can always watch the Yankees at the Rogers Centre.

28 jonnystrongleg   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:08 pm

A family of 4 can attend the 5/3 & 5/4 games against the Angels and sit in the section furthest away from home plate (by Height and Length) for $22 a pop.

Other that that, they cannot attend a weekend game and sit in the grandstand ($22-$30 level) from now until at least the end of July (I say "at least" since that's as far as I carried this out).

So the assertion that there are plenty of seats available that are practically usable by a family of 4 is simply not true.

29 jonnystrongleg   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:09 pm

Sorry, that's the 5/2 & 5/3 games vs the Angels

30 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:09 pm

The suntan lotion, umbrellas, bag check fiascos certainly detract from feeling "welcome" in the Stadium.

31 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:15 pm

[30] Over the past decade, Yankee Stadium has been by far the least welcoming sports venue I have attended. Now, we will see how the new stadium, which the Yankees bill as the most fan friendly in the league, feels.

32 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:17 pm

[25] I think I was composing [22], while you were submitting [19].

[26] Yes...I go to a lot of games with kids, and they want M&Ms...not Yankee Stadium M&M's. It isn't a matter of me being "above that" or a "penny pincher", nor do I think it takes great levels of planning to avoid a lot of unnecessary expenses. Finally, no, I am not speaking for every fan, nor are you or others who think one must buy overpriced food at a ballgame to enjoy the true experience.

If you want me to lay off the “high and might lecturing”, lay off the “whining” about food prices. If you really go to games for the food, well, then you should be willing to pay the prices. After all, if the food is really adding so much to your experience, then it must be worth it. As for me, I go to watch baseball, not eat food, so it’s easy to avoid paying ridiculous markups on subpar food.

33 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:19 pm

[28] Exactly, unless that family are season ticket holders. Because, of course, the total capacity of the stadium was reduced while the number of "premium seats" was increased. Given the already high demand for Yankees tix, this pushed more and more people to obtain season tickets in the grandstand (whether new season ticket holders or older plan holders who chose less expensive seats). Hell, when I logged on on the first day of single game ticket sales, I could not find any games with even two seats available in the grandstand or terrace that fit my relatively open travel schedule. How a family with a few kids will find tix for a single game is a whole other question.

34 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:22 pm

[32] OK. Then you saw the Yankees own stated policy that the field level will be exclusive to field level ticket holders. Now, I'm not sure what that means, but does seem as though little Johnny in the upper deck--and about 30,000 of his fellow attendees-- will not only come away from the Stadium without Boar's Head, he will also come away without an autograph or a BP home run ball.

This, if true, does not even give you a moment's pause?

35 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:24 pm

[27] That's fair...but if one doesn't want the Yankees to maximize their market opportunity, then they shouldn't also expect them to pay so much in player salaries. I realize there are some who would be more than happy to have a more pedestrian team as long as they could get a great seat at an affordable price. That's fine. Ultimately, however, I think most fans want the team to go all out to remain competitive. Everyone is free to have their own preference, but if I felt like the Yankees were penny pinching on players because they wanted to keep field level seats more affordable, that is what I regard as being treated like shit.

[28] On Tuesday, I purchased 6 tickets to the May 7 game against TB for $5 each. I had earlier done the same for a June game against the Nationals. If the tickets are all sold out now, I guess that’s too bad, but what could the Yankees do…ask people to not buy the discounted seats in case others wanted to do the same at a later date?

36 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:29 pm

[34] I don't know what the means either...if it is literally true, the field level will have to be a completely separate level with restricted access. I can't imagine the logistics required to enforce that. Also, it says nothing about the time...it could be that restricted areas are open before the game. In other words, there are no details, so I don't see the point in creating a doomsday scenario.

37 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:30 pm

[35] but if one doesn’t want the Yankees to maximize their market opportunity...

The Yankees make staggering amounts of money on TV revenues, and they make money on game attendance and merchandise. They make money now on more luxury boxes and premium seating.

They did not, however, *need* to cut the seating capacity by 10% in a stadium that is 60% larger in order to make payroll. Nor do they need, as it seems, to cut off two-thirds of the stadium from the field level amenities. Nor do they have treat you like shit.

38 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:31 pm

For me this isn't really about the access to the concessions as much as it is the access to the field level. Whenever I had tickets in the regular seating bowl of the old Stadium, the first thing I would do when I got to the park was go out on the main level and watch batting practice. I caught ball while pressed against the left field wall once on a day that I had nosebleed seats. I have some great close-up photos of players long-tossing and taking infield practice from days when I had seats in the upper deck. To me, walking around the main level and getting as close to the field as possible before finding your seats for the game is part of the experience of being at the ballpark. I do think fans should have access to whatever concessions they want to purchase, but that's just on principle. Pre-game access to the field level, however, is, to me, essential to the ballpark experience.

39 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:33 pm

[36] It would be very easy to enforce. You enter the great hall and immediately the ticket holders segregate. The field level ticket holders pass security and enter into one concourse, with food courts, etc. The rest are directed to stairs or an escalator to another set of concourses.

In this case, it would very difficult to get people to leave the field level once they enter, so you would probably not be allowed past a certain point at any time the stadium is open.

You're right in general, I'll wait and see this season what new policies the Yankees have in store for us.

40 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:36 pm

[37] You say they didn't "need" to do it, but how do you know? What change in design would have been required for those extra 5,000 seats, and what would that have done to the cost of the project? Already, you have people stating that the obstructed bleacher seats shouldn't have been included, so I can only imagine the uproar if the lost 5,000 would have had less than optimal sightlines.

If you feel like you are being treated like shit, I can't convince you otherwise. I would point out, however, that you have come to such a strong conclusion without ever stepping foot in the place. Again, this might be a difference in priority, but I think the Yankees attempts to continually put a top team on the field override the affordability of seating (especially when there remain a lot of affordable seats). In my opinion, Pirates fans get treated like shit every season, and they have great seats available for every game.

41 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:40 pm

[38] On that, I would agree. Having pre-game access to the lower level is a nice part of the experience, especially for kids. Now, I could understand if the $2,000 seats were ropped off, but most of the Field Level should be left open. I don't really see how the Yankees would benefit in restricting access in such a significant way, so that's why I'd rather wait and see what really happens come April16.

As for the concessions, I just don't think it's an issue (especially because the new ballpark with have tons of new choices all over). Also, simialr things have existed in other places, including at Shea, where there was (or used to be) a lower level concession that could only be accessed by showing a field level ticket.

42 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:45 pm

[40] If you feel like you are being treated like shit, I can’t convince you otherwise. I would point out, however, that you have come to such a strong conclusion without ever stepping foot in the place.

No. I said they have been treating me like shit for years. We will see if the new "fan friendly" stadium alleviates this feeling.

what would that have done to the cost of the project?

I have a hard time believing that the great architectural minds at HOK could not have managed a different design, with more seats, within the staggering budget they Yankees were working with. I imagine that, somehow, a couple of fewer premium restaurants and clubs might--just might--have allowed the larger footprint to be configured differently, allowing for a few more rows of bleachers or upper deck seats. I even hazard to guess that a slightly greater cantilever of the decks could have been engineered..but it's just a guess.

So, yes, you are correct strictly speaking that I do not know what the Yankees needed to do. But your line of argument here strikes me as a bit of sophistry.

43 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 26, 2009 12:56 pm

IF access to field level were blocked out, it would be an outrage. I had access to field level at the old stadium. It is tradition for families and kids to show up early and ask autographs from players. It was fun for me to watch up close the players tossing and chatting.

Whenever I had friends from outside the country visit me in NYC, I would take them early to the game so they could take pictures and see the players up close. They appreciated the experience more. The Europeans always thought the players would be small and fat and would be shocked to find big, tall, inshape players. (I kept them from seeing David Wells.)

When I was at San Francisoco Giant's stadium, one of the cool things to do was to walk around the beautiful ball park and take in the various views. The whole park was accessible. The guards were fan-friendly and would kindly nudge you away after a few pictures were taken.

If the Yankees go out of their way to segregate fans like this, they are shooting themselves in the foot. By making the Stadium experience less pleasant, they are making it easier for fans to find alternative forms of fun.

Too bad baseball has that anti-trust exemption or we could get another baseball team in here and get real competition.

44 Shaun P.   ~  Mar 26, 2009 1:07 pm

When I saw 40-something comments, before I clicked on "Read More". I thought there was a lively discussion raging about what the Yanks could possibly get in return for Melky via trade. Whoops!

FWIW, I think the Yanks will get very little if they trade Melky. Everyone knows he's out of options, and in a few days, Gardner is almost certainly going to be named the starting CF, which reduces his value even more. Add in the high salary ($1.4M), the bad year he had last year, and that whoever trades for him has to put him on the 25-man roster, and I think the Yanks will be lucky to unload him for anything of value.

Having said all this, I now believe that within the next week, the Yanks will announce that Nady has been traded, because that's how it seems Cashman does things: the opposite of what it told in the traditional press.

As for the New Stadium, sheesh, what a mess.

45 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 1:19 pm

[42] Sophistry is a nice way of saying a lot not so nice things, so I'll let that pass. You may not take my positions seriously, but I don't think they are superficial. I completely stand behind my believe that we should see the Yankees access policies before condemning them, and think it is entirely plausible that 51,000 seats was optimal from a cost standpoint for the features that the Yankees wanted to include. Of course, the Yankees have only averaged 51,000 the last three years (likely augmented by the close of the Stadium), so its not like the Yankees are drastically cutting back from their average attendance levels anyway. It's easy to state what is and isn't necessary without knowing the details.

46 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 2:04 pm

[46] I'll stand by my sophistry comment inasmuch as I think that the objection "you don't know for sure" verges on tautology and can be applied in almost any argument, any time. One could push it further and say we never *know* anything for sure...but I find the entire line o argument a bit pointless.

Now, you write...

or the features that the Yankees wanted to include.

Ah! This is a somewhat different statement from your original argument (implied) that the Yankees were limited by building costs. Rather, no you suggest that they were limited by the features they wanted to include--such as center field restaurants, luxury clubs, massive amounts of retail space, the great hall, etc. In so saying, you implicit suggest that the Yankees chose (i.e. did not need) to shave 10% of the seating capacity of the stadium. By this logic, the Yankees could have increased seating capacity (and thus reduces pressure on demand) by opting for a somewhat different set of priorities.

So, in effect, you are now agreeing with me.

47 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 2:09 pm

[41] [38] On that, I would agree.

And so by agreeing with Cliff at [38], you have again agreed with the main point I made about such potential segregation of the field level: see [8], [18], [19], [34]

48 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 2:25 pm

[46] “You don’t know for sure” is a very valid response to someone jumping to conclusions. Personally, I prefer to know what a policy is before condemning it. That might be sophistry to you, but it seems like good common sense to me.

As for the Stadium, you seem to be suggesting that the Yankees priority should be maintaining a capacity (or increasing it) that has never been used (on average), rather than building a ballpark that meets the needs and desires of the organization and the fans that will be attending games. I am sure, for example, the Yankees could have used smaller seats in a an effort to squeeze more in, but that would be less than ideal for most. Similarly, the Yankees could have scrapped any number of revenue generators to allow for more seats, but that means they would have to take a revenue hit to do so. Regardless of the tax-free financing they received, the team is still on the hook for 100% of the debt payments, so I know I wouldn’t advise them to scrap things like the sports bar for seats that will go unused most nights. As a Yankee fan, I want the team’s main priority to be spending whatever it takes to maintain a high quality ball club. If that means 4,000 fewer seats, then that’s fine with me. I realize that others have different priorities, and don’t begrudge them that at all. I do, however, think the Yankees decision reflects the priorities of most of their fans.

One more point…in the 1980s, tickets to YS were very affordable. Why then did they rarely average much over 30,000?

49 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 2:28 pm

[47] I never disagreed with the point that a complete and total segregation of the Field Level would be a bad idea (albeit not a catastrophy with social implications). I just don't think it is likely that such a policy is in the works, so don't see a need to condemn the Yankees in advance for it.

50 The Hawk   ~  Mar 26, 2009 2:35 pm

I despise the idea of the new stadium and what it stands for. I already hated how bloated the prices were but there was a pretty egalitarian feel to the old place; it was a dump no matter what seats you had. Plus I could remember when it wasn't so expensive - the new park will never have that association.

I can't stand any of these new stadiums with their emphasis on "amenities" and Yankee Stadium is the worst offender I've heard of ... All these ridiculous ideas about clubs and restaurants, it just turns me off completely. I'd rather pay cheaper prices with only hot dogs and peanuts available. The idea of "luxury" and a baseball game don't mix, for me. Even if tickets weren't much cheaper it would be worth it just to have a more game-oriented vibe. Baseball is why I like to go to the ballpark, I don't give a rat's ass about the extras. Spend the money on more people to keep the place clean, if there's money to burn.

51 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 26, 2009 3:07 pm

[50] Amen to that! I'm in 100 percent agreement with you. I know I'm old school, but clearly the market is asking for something different or else why would the new stadia go in that direction? Why are my ticket prices offsetting costs for the running of an amusement park?

The Nationals have all that kid-friendly stuff. I didn't even tell my kids about the amenities when we visited, lest they distract me from what I'm there for, namely a baseball game. Also, when I was little, I learned to sit, watch and keep score. I''m not claiming that all kids will do that easily (take my daughter, for instance), but it doesn't hurt to teach kids to settle themselves.

52 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 3:14 pm

[48] One more point…in the 1980s, tickets to YS were very affordable. Why then did they rarely average much over 30,000?

I don't know. You would say t is because the team was less competitive. But then, look at the attendance figures for the Yankees in the 1950s and 1960s. Obviously a great many factors go into attendance besides a straightforward equation of on-field success --> higher attendance.

As I have argued before, and as I recall you agreed, teams are making a conscious decision to downsize their stadiums in order to drive up demand for tickets. This puts more pressure on fans to purchase tix ahead of time, whether season tix or individual games. This in turn guarantees that the organization will have high high paid attendance regardless of the of the quality of product they put on the field.

That is an exaggeration of course, but it is hard to deny that MLB franchises are getting more savvy at insulating themselves against elastic demand.

Similarly, Trost himself admitted that most of the seats "lost" in the new stadium were because of the increase in luxury boxes. Again, a conscious decision to target the very wealthy individual/corporate consumer, who must by the boxes in season plans, at the expense of less wealthy fans.

I understand fully the economic argument that you are making. I understand quite clearly what the Yankees are doing. I see that the organization has decided to privilege a certain set of money-making ventures and amenities, and target a certain segment of consumers,at the expense of another segment of fans. Fair enough. But i also agree with [50] that this creates an unpleasant vibe.

I guess overall I am a bit put off by the ease with which you accept the "make as much as they can" atmosphere of the new stadium. My brother, as I have posted before, has simply stopped attending games for the first time since the 1960s because he no longer wants to go to the Yankees Cash Machine (as he calls both the old and new stadiums, because everything you do there, from parking to sitting to eating, involves ever escalating prices...all with unpleasant service). You would counter that the Yankees' rapacious policies allow them to put the best product on the field. Maybe. But Iam not convinced that the motive is competitive. Rather, i suspect that the Yankees have simply figured out that instead of trying to make money by hoping for a big gate on a sunny weekend, they would rather target a smaller group of wealthier people as their consumers.

To this end, when the next new Yankee Stadium is built in 40 years, it will hold 20,000 seats, each selling for $5000 to $50,000 a piece (or whatever).

This is the Yankees' prerogative, no doubt. I think that it says something very sad about our culture.

53 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 3:23 pm

[48] I'm curious, William--

You're a "bottom line" guy. You want the Yankees to do whatever it takes to make as much money and have the biggest payroll and most competitive team. Would you prefer that the Yankees sell the naming rights of the stadium, for example, to squeeze a little more money out of sponsors?

Are there any limits to this, in your mind? Is anything "sacred"?

I'm not talking about utilitarian or practical arguments for limits (for example, "the team should not sell the stadium naming rights because in the long run it will lower the value of the Yankee product").

So what say you? Is everything for sale, to the highest bidder, so long as someone is willing to pay? A million dollars to sit in the dugout during games. $100 for access to players for autographs? Etc.?

54 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 3:44 pm

[52] Winning definitely plays a role. You can't really compare the 1950s/1960s to the 1980s because in the former, most of the games were during the day and people had to work. Also, I'd imagine that the presence of an extra team factored into the equation as well, not to mention age demographics.

Still, I would say the main reason attendance is up is because baseball is more popular now than it ever has been, contrary to the many who claim baseball is losing its conenction with the American public. So, at a time when more games are available on TV and ticket prices are on the rise, more people are attending games. As a result of this demand, it only makes sense that the teams would raise prices, especially teams that pour a ton of money into their on-the-field product.

As for the capacity of new stadiums, I think teams have identified a critical threshold that minimizes the amount of unused inventory. That's good business. If we all want the Yankees to maintain their brand and be hell bent on fielding a top notch team, you have to accept their desire to maximize revenue. If that means 5,000 seats (most of which go unused) give way to suites and a bar, then so be it.

Also, it's not like the old Yankee stadium wasn't without its issues. The cramped seats, limited entry points and narrow aisles were a major source of discomfort to me. As a long-time fan who attends a fair amount of games, I view the more spacious environment of the new stadium as a major benefit.

You keep making sweeping, social statements, but I just don't see how they tie into Yankee Stadium. Contrary to your claim, I don't think the Yankees are making as much as they can off the Stadium. I know I consider my $25 seat to be a bargain (evidenced by the price I usually get when I put them on Stub Hub). The entire grandstand and bleachers and even a good portion of the Main section is fairly priced, in my opinion. Add in the discount days and I simply do not see the picture you are painting. In fact, it could be argued that the high prices being charged to the "rich" are keeping other seats affordable.

55 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 3:50 pm

[53] I would prefer to keep the name Yankee Stadium because it sounds right to me (and besides, I think you are right about the brand benefit), but if the team determined that the marginal revenue gained was necessary, I could easily accept the decision.

I am sorry, but the name of the stadium isn't sacred. Similarly, how would it impact anyone negatively if someone could sit in the dugout for $1 million? Maybe it's just me, but sacred applies to things a lot more important than how a baseball team seeks to maximize its revenue.

56 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:00 pm

[55] I was just coming up with a few examples. So, it does seem that for you everything is for sale, at least when it comes to baseball.

Yes, many things are more important than baseball. But baseball is also one of many indicators. That "nothing is sacred" in baseball is just another sign to me that nothing is sacred in general.

57 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:06 pm

[56] Again, the things I think of as sacred can't be bought, so maybe that's why I have a different viewpoint. I don't seen anything morally compelling about a business forgoing additional revenue obtained in a legal manner. I also don't equate what I hold dear about baseball to dollars and cents. I guess if someone could show me why a stadium name, for example, should be considered "scared", I'd have a better idea about from where you are coming.

58 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:08 pm

[54] In fact, it could be argued that the high prices being charged to the “rich” are keeping other seats affordable.

Indeed, and the argument is often made. It's probably true on some level. But you cannot deny that the cost of the highest priced seats in YS and NYS has grown far faster than inflation. Moreover, the cost differential between the most expensive and cheapest seats, which was pretty stable adjusted for inflation until the 1990s, has grown ever wider. In recent memory I could hope to afford the best seats in the house--I'm not talking about availability, but rather price. You cannot deny the number of cheap seats has been drastically reduced in the new stadium: there a shade fewer bleacher seats and far fewer grandstand seats (compared to the tier level of the old stadium).

Something seems to be going on here. It is pretty clear that attending a MLB game--at least at YS--which used to be the most egalitarian of the major professional sports in terms of cost per game, is now becoming more and more hierarchical.

So yes, the guys who sit in the segregated, cushy, very expensive seats subsidize the smaller number of affordable seats in the upper deck. I just wonder when owners will simply eliminate the upper deck altogether and just charge the rich guy more.

In any case, if you do not see the grower hierarchization of attending a game at the stadium, or if you simply don't care, then we'll have to end the conversation here.

59 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:09 pm

[48] "One more point…in the 1980s, tickets to YS were very affordable. Why then did they rarely average much over 30,000?"

I don't understand the point of this question. How many teams really averaged much over 30,000 in the 1980s? I am guessing not many. I looked up a few teams and found that the Cardinals and Dodgers did. But the Royals, Red Sox, Braves, Cubs, Indians didn't.

For what it's worth, the Mets who actually won a World Series and had some exciting players and teams averaged 26,116 for the 1980s.

And the Yankees? 28,334

Attendance Data from Baseball Almanac.

60 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:15 pm

[57] I operate on the ideal assumption that legal limits are the extreme, but that vaguer qualities such as seemliness and decorum compel people to operate within narrowed boundaries and limits. Thus, while it is not illegal that the Yankees sell as many ads as possible and cover ever square inch of the outfield walls with ads (nor do I think it should be), I find the appearance distasteful..rather "whore-ific." Now, there is no rational reason why the Yankees should not maximize their profits, so paint away. On the other hand, I would like to think the organization's motives are not always so cold-heartedly rational and profit driven.

Let's put it another way. The Yankees are, I hear, quite generous when it comes to charitable donations. I would like to think they give money to charity because they think that it is the right thing to do, not because it's a tax write off. So too I naively like to think that the Yankees eschew some potential profit sources because they find the attendant policies unseemly.

61 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:22 pm

[58] The disparity between the high-end and low-end ticket prices has certainly increased, but that's not really a bad thing. Think of it this way...if the best seats downstairs were all $50 each, there would be great demand for season tickets at the level. Even at such a price, however, one season seat would cost about $4,000. I am pretty sure that level would price out most of the people we are talking about in this discussion. So, by keeping the price low, the Yankees would essentially be making it easier on the "rich" to afford season tickets. In other words, there isn't a growing hierarchy in the stands...it's been there since the demand for baseball exploded (and would be in any business experiencing similar demand).

I prefer the route they have taken, which is to charge more for the seats likely to be purchased by the wealthy, while maintaining fair prices for seats frequented by less fortunate fans. Personally, I think that's part of the reason I have a good seat in the upper deck for only $25.

You keep talking about the owners eliminating the upper deck to focus on the rich, but that doesn't make any sense. It wouldn't make any sense to eliminate any paying fan base that wasn't infringing on another. Unless you think the rich would pay more for having more exposure to the sun, for example, I am not sure what benefit there would be.

Also, you keep suggesting that only the rich have access to the lower seats, when the reality is that many "regular guys" get those tickets through their company. I know I go to 3-4 games a year using company seats, and my experience has been that many others are in the same boat.

62 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:24 pm

[59] That was pretty much my point. Everyone talks about how much prices are going up without looking about how much demand for tickets is going up. And, by ignoring that second part of the equation, they fail to explain why teams shouldn't take advantage.

63 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:25 pm

[55] "but if the team determined that the marginal revenue gained was necessary, I could easily accept the decision."

This acceptance of the team's decision is partly based on the idea that the team is doing a proper assessment. As we have seen all too much recently, corporations don't always make the right decisions for long term growth. All too often, short term profits are too luring.

I think a part of the Yankee stadium design already shows flawed decision making: obstructed view in the bleachers. That Yankee management then tried to charge the same prices for the obstructed view seats as regular bleachers shows an out of touch management unfamiliar with the details of the Stadium they built. Note that it was after a hue and cry that the prices for the obstructed seats were dropped.

Now you trust this management that "easily?" Do we even want to bring up the cost overruns for the Stadium and the additional bonds that had to be issued?

Or the money spent on digging up a Red Sox jersey buried in concrete?

I have a hard time accepting any of their decisions "easily." And I certainly wouldn't take their word at face value.

64 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:31 pm

[62] Why shouldn't teams take advantage?

Mainly because baseball enjoys an anti-trust exemption. If it wants to be a real business, then give up the exemption. Let real competition happen and then take advantage of the demand.

Otherwise, it's pretty easy to take advantage of a situation if you are a monopoly. Baseball fans want real baseball. And MLB is the only game in town for that.

65 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:33 pm

[61] I know I go to 3-4 games a year using company seats, and my experience has been that many others are in the same boat.

That's different and you know it. The primary customer is still the corporation. That you are the recipient o corporate patronage is a separate issue.

66 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:35 pm

[60] So it's not our modern society and current day baseball with whom you have a problem then? Afterall, any video or photo of 1940-50s baseball would reveal advertisements all over the field. Even the green monster was covered so "whorishly". If the Yankees decided to fill the park with adds, they would be decidedly going old school. Again, I am not sure who that hurts or why it would require a cold heart.

As for the charitable donations, the Yankees have been operating at a loss for a while, so they wouldn't benefit from the deductions. With their increased debt burden, I don't expect that to change too much either. Secondly, I think I have already pointed to areas where the Yankees do eschew profit (tickets that sell far below their scalper value, for example), while you noted their refusal to sell the naming rights.

Basically, it seems as if you want the Yankees do some kind of means testing in their ticket selling practices (otherwise, how do you keep the tickets out of the hands of those who can afford more). I don't think makes much sense (especially when you consider most people would turn around and scalp their tickets if they could really get 5-10x their value.

67 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:38 pm

[61] You keep talking about the owners eliminating the upper deck to focus on the rich, but that doesn’t make any sense. It wouldn’t make any sense to eliminate any paying fan base that wasn’t infringing on another.

It makes perfect sense. Convert the entire stadium into a season-ticket only, luxury experience. Find a small number of aristocrats whose demand is essentially inelastic and charge them whatever you can. And, security and maintenance costs would be cheaper.

As for the eliminated upper deck, they will pay for games through the exclusive cable packages, where ads can be show--perhaps even projected right on the field or the pitcher's back--without having to worry about actually putting these ads in the stadium.

68 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:40 pm

[64] I don't have any problem with that. If Congress wants to repeal the exemption, I could live with that. Of course, the established MLB wouldn't really be impacted (in fact, teams could move more freely). What would really be hurt is the minor leagues, so one would have to consider all of the implications before advocating that decision.

[65] Why is it a separate issue? What is more important...the entity buying or using the tickets? Is it still hierarchial if many middle-class fans get to sit in the seats you claim are off limits to only the rich? In fact, I think this reality gives further justification to the approach of having expensive seats subsidize less expensive ones.

69 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:41 pm

[66] If the Yankees decided to fill the park with adds, they would be decidedly going old school. Again, I am not sure who that hurts or why it would require a cold heart.

Not every stadium was equally plastered with ads. And by the late 1950s most all ahd been eliminated from the walls at YS, as any old video will show.

But I like your idea about the Yankees going old school--just as I had suggested earlier about rolling back the clock to less enlightened times.

70 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:41 pm

[67] And you called my arguments sophistry?

71 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:45 pm

[68] Yes it is important who or what entity is buying the ticket. One of the successes of the egalitarian American system (itself very much the product of more or less free markets), is that more people could afford more things, more "luxuries."

There is a qualitative difference between Joe American being able to afford great seats and Joe American obtaining patronage because he happens to work for company X or live next to aristocrat Y. Or do you think that, in general, a return to something like the Roman days--with aristocrats throwing bread and money at pressing crowds of patrons, again reinforcing the steep economic AND social hierarchy--would be no big deal?

72 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:45 pm

[69] Most stadiums in parks where fans attended games were plastered with fans. I am not sure what your point is here. And, I still fail to see how these "ads" hurt anyone, especially in a country in which most entertainment is heavily sponsored (and subsidized).

73 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:45 pm

[70] Mine is really more reductio ad absurdum.

74 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:48 pm

[72] Because I, and I believe other, find it distasteful that everything is for sale, that every space is a venue for advertising, that every bit of dead time is a moment for an ad (remember when there was organ music rather than blaring ads in between innings?).

You do not. So therein is our basic philosophical difference.

75 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:49 pm

[71] Now you really lost me...I am sorry, but if you are going to compare ticketing policy to the Roman Empire, I can't follow along. That line of arguments strikes me as a little too dramatic.

Also, our "egalitarian American system" has made luxuries more universal, but not all luxury is created equal. So, while most American can afford a car, not everyone can afford a Maybach. And, while we mostly can all take nice vacations, very few of us have a tropical villa at our disposal. Similarly, while most of us can afford a seat in Yankee Stadium, we all can't come up with the price for the best locations.

This isn't an issue of aristocracy versus egalitarianism.

76 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:50 pm

[68] "Of course, the established MLB wouldn’t really be impacted (in fact, teams could move more freely). What would really be hurt is the minor leagues, so one would have to consider all of the implications before advocating that decision."

I am not advocating this. I am saying that there is some rationale to the idea that teams don't maximize their profits and be more fan friendly because they enjoy a certain protection that other businesses don't.

But assuming Congress does remove this assumption, MLB would have a huge incumbency advantage for a while. But someone ever came along with money, you could certainly see a smaller upstart league positioning itself in major markets. Minor league franchises would be hurt. But the players would probably be better off since now there are more jobs. And the fans would have more options.

77 jen   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:50 pm

While I'm not thrilled that the field level will be cut off (and I agree with william that we should wait and see about batting practice), restricted sections are not a new concept in MLB. Camden Yards has a Club Level with lounges and concessions (and an air conditioned concourse) only available to people with tickets for that level. And if you want a Kobe beef burger at Safeco you need ticket to the Terrace Club level.

78 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:54 pm

[73] Yes...absurdum...sounds about right ;)

[74] OK fine...it may be distasteful to you, but that's a long way from the sweeping social implications you are trying to draw. I wonder how you would feel, however, if you were the one doing the selling though?

79 monkeypants   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:55 pm

[75] It was dramatic for a purpose, to highlight the qualitative difference between affording something for yourself and getting something through patronage. In both cases the individual enjoys the same benefits (in this case, the use of the tickets), but in the latter he is placed in a dependent position to do so.

80 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 4:55 pm

[76] I am with you...but I don't really agree that MLB clubs are deriving much of an advantage from the exemption, as things stand.

81 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 26, 2009 5:00 pm

[77] I get your point, but are the tickets for that level $2,500 plus the $59.00 shipping fee at Safeco and Camden Yards? Are the club levels more egalitarian in that a family can splurge or are they completely inaccessible?

Gotta love a banter that incorporates the word sophistry. Over at Lohud, PA is talking about Hooters and drawing stick figures of Mrs. Matsui. What a dichotomy!

Baseball belongs to everyone.

82 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 26, 2009 5:13 pm

[80] "but I don’t really agree that MLB clubs are deriving much of an advantage from the exemption, as things stand."

I disagree. According to wiki: "Federal Baseball Club v. National League, 259 U.S. 200 (1922), is a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Major League Baseball was exempt from the provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act."

A Federal Baseball League was trying to get going but couldn't because of the NL and AL. This decision was crucial because stopped a viable competitor when baseball was still in its infancy. If the 1922 ruling had gone the other way, other leagues may have started up after the Federal League folded.

The lack of competition is a tremendous advantage. The strength of the MLB and the growth of its fanbase is very much due to the fact there has been no competition. And no future competition was allowed either.

83 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 5:15 pm

[82] I said I don't think the clubs ARE deriving an advantage; I didn't mean to suggest they didn't benefit in the past. The other sports, for example, do not enjoy the same anti-trust benefits (they do have some exemptions pertaining to the negotiation of media contracts), yet you don't see successful start-ups in those leagues.

84 jen   ~  Mar 26, 2009 5:21 pm

[81] Of course they're not $2,500. But not every field level seat at the new Stadium is that much either. I think they start at $90. Not saying that $90 is affordable for a family to splurge on, but you're implying that you need $2500 to get into the field level.

85 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 26, 2009 5:47 pm

[83] "I said I don’t think the clubs ARE deriving an advantage; I didn’t mean to suggest they didn’t benefit in the past."

That benefit from the past is a huge benefit that still pays off. Imagine if Babe Ruth had been hitting his homers for the Federal League instead of the Yankees. Or when Joe D was having his contract dispute, that another league offered him more money?

Instead, MLB has a history -- one that it lives off today by displaying images of Ruth, Dimaggio, Gehrig, Mays, Robinson, etc... MLB has a fanbase that exists because of lack of competition. What if the Dodgers had stayed in Brooklyn but just moved to another rival league? Or even if it had moved, maybe the jilted Dodger fan finds a Non-MLB team to root for? What if a Negro League were available and viable?

The point is that the history, "benefits in the past", still is an advantage now. Baseball is synonymous with MLB. This has allowed to teams to wrangle stadium funding out of cities. For a long time, it prevented free agency and still allows teams a form of indentured service (until the player can finally become a free agent).

Even from the advertising perspective, imagine having a product equated with only one business? How much would Dell pay to be the only computer manufacturer that people think of when buying a computer? Billions? This existing mindset is what prevents other leagues from starting up now (assuming they were allowed to). This mindset prevents good players from going to a new league and fans from going to those games. This is how the clubs are still deriving an advantage now.

86 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 26, 2009 7:01 pm

[85] True, but most teams have already paid for that "built-in" advantage. While the Yankees are a rare example of ownership that was able to buy low, most teams have recently been purchased at inflated prices made possible by the legacy benefits that you suggest. For example, it wouldn't really be fair to expect the new owners of the Cubs to make concessions because previous owners enjoyed the benefits of anti-trust exemption.

87 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Mar 26, 2009 11:17 pm

William and Monkeypants, thanks for an entertaining discussion on this topic. Filled my lunch hour quite well!

and shiver-me-timbers, Monkepants, I agree with you on this one..see, i knew we could get past the WBC thing :)

With the YES Network money, can't they keep tkt prices low and still afford the big contracts?

88 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 27, 2009 1:04 am

[86] It's funny that you pick the Cubs for this example. I would say that part of the legacy benefits that they STILL enjoy is that no one really expects them to win. Cubs fans are, after all, long-suffering. That alone should be enough to have the owners make concessions.

Stil, I see your point. As a response to the idea that the Cubs purchase price will include legacy benefits, I would say that the new owners of the Cubs will only pay for part of the legacy benefits. The other part of the payment will be by not screwing over the fans and maintaining the legacy benefits. You screw over your fan base often enough and you can kiss your resale value goodbye.

89 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 27, 2009 6:30 am

[87] Glad we could entertain you!

[88] Why do fans keep flocking to sports in droves, even as many opine about how they are be treating so poorly? Perhaps this paradox suggests that the benefit we derive does, in fact, support the price? I enjoy baseball so much, and spend so much of my free time following it, that I don't think I come close to "paying" for the experience (except perhaps in the emotional toll of difficult losses). I know it isn’t a popular opinion, but maybe we are so used to get something that we really enjoy for so little, that paying a "fair" price seems so abhorrent?

90 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 27, 2009 2:28 pm

[89] Why do fans keep going to sports?

That generic question requires a very complex response. One that I don't have time for (and I am sure you don't either). But sports in general has always had a place in society and people will always flock to it. But that doesn't mean the price paid for it is worth it. People do get ripped off sometimes.

But we started talking about the Yankees and then expanded to baseball and now sports in general. I think the discussion is going the wrong direction.

Just to bring it back a little, I don't think that all of baseball is screwing the fans. But I do think the Yankees are taking advantage of their particular market to the detriment of the average fan. The fact is that NYC (specifically Manhattan) has a very high concentration of wealth. The Yankees are targeting that crowd. But having gone to games in Cleveland, Chicago (both teams), Shea, Fenway, SF, Philly, St. Louis, Florida, I have been treated better as a fan there than I have in general at Yankee Stadium where it is pretty clear that the management thinks little about the fans that pay less than $75 for their ticket.

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