Today’s news is powered by a little clip from one of the best “Simpsons” episodes ever:
- Things are going well for Nick Swisher:
The Yankees can’t help but be happy with what they’ve squeezed out of Swisher, who left the spring as a bench player but has stepped up in a big way.
“You wonder where our record would be without him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s been extremely productive. He played some great defense [Wednesday], diving all over the place. We talked about wanting to have depth and that’s what he’s provided.”
Swisher heads into Thursday’s game against the Angels leading the Yankees in home runs (seven), RBIs (19) and runs scored (19), playing gritty outfield defense and even winning the fans over earlier in the month by volunteering to pitch an inning.
- PeteAbe has the recap of Alex Rodriguez’s appearance in an extended spring training intrasquad game.
- Speaking of Alex, the News has more juicy/gory details from Selena Roberts’ upcoming book on him.
- And speaking of books (I’m riding a “Segue” here . . . ), author Peter Golenbock Peter Golenbock spoke with Baseball Prospectus Radio about his biography of Boss George.
- And speaking of Baseball Prospectus (I’m still riding that “Segue”), Kevin Goldstein has some good news on uber-prospect Jesus Montero (originally published Wednesday):
Tuesday’s stats: 2-for-4, 2 HR (4), 2 R, 2 RBI
It’s rare for a 19-year-old to be able to dominate a High-A league (and a pitcher’s circuit at that), but Montero is doing just that, as last night’s onslaught brought his averages up to .371/.421/.614, which puts him in the league’s top ten in all three categories. The other good news is that reports on his defense are better, which unfortunately upgrades him from complete unacceptable to well below average, and as a 6-foot-4, 230 pound teenager, he’s not going to get any small (sic). First base is his likely destination in the end, but it’s not going to matter, because his bat is downright special.
[My take: Unless they plan on teaching him a corner OF position, it sounds like he's trade bait in a couple of years.]
- Sticking with Baseball Prospectus, Shawn Hoffman examines the financial bottom line impact of the Yanks’ recently-announced premium seat price reductions:
What’s most important to remember is that the Yankees are still going to make a ton of money this year (far more than last year), and are very well-positioned going forward. Let’s say they only make $1 million per game off of those 1,895 premium seats, well below any reasonable estimates. Based on Forbes’ 2008 estimates, that alone would put them in front of all but six teams in terms of gate receipts—and that’s before they sell a single ticket for any of the other 50,430 seats in Yankee Stadium. So no need to fret, the new ballpark is still a massive ATM machine.
Obviously, the Yankees were caught off guard by the sheer magnitude of this economic slump. The general pricing strategy was probably set years in advance, and it seemed perfectly in line with demand, at least up until this past fall. But looking forward, there’s no reason to think the Yankees won’t be able to at least sustain these new prices. Even with the major banks struggling, New York is still filled with companies that can afford to buy suites or premium packages.
[My take: But what if those businesses decide its still bad public relations to shell out $200,000 or so on a suite? What about having to pay out the increases to the payroll built into the long-term contracts of Jeter, A-Rod, Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira? Would the Yanks then lay it at the feet of the "non-premium" fan to make up the difference?]
- And how was the crowd in those premium seats Thursday night?:
Even with a cut in some top-priced tickets, the New York Yankees still had large numbers of empty seats in prime areas when they returned home for the second homestand at $1.5 billion new Yankee Stadium.
Just 23 of 50 $2,500 seats in the first row between the dugouts were filled in by the top of the second inning of Thursday night’s 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels. In the third inning, the entire third row was empty in section 20 behind home plate, although it mostly filled by the fifth.
- Accuweather.com tries to figure out if the winds will be impacting the new Stadium on this upcoming homestand:
It appears that while the speculation will have to wait one more night (till Friday). Weather conditions tonight will not help carry balls hit to right field. Winds are expected to increase to 10 to 20 mph tonight, but they will shift from southeast to more or a southerly direction. A wind from this direction will tend to push lofty fly balls more to the left. Showers will also wander into the region tonight. Any rain will slow fly balls down a bit as well.
A test will come Friday evening, barring any untimely rain showers. Winds for the game are expected to swing around from the southwest to the west averaging 10 to 20 mph with higher gusts. The winds should come more in line with the game on Saturday, April 18. Humidity levels may be somewhat higher than that of a couple of weeks ago.
- Brandon Claussen turns 30 today. The one-time top pitching prospect made only one start for the Yanks before being dealt to the Reds for Aaron Boone in 2004. He last pitched in 2007, for the Nationals’ Triple-A team.
- Today is also the birthday of one-time Yankee minor leaguers Steven Randolph (1995 amateur draftee) and Phil Hiatt (1998 FA signee).
- On this date in 1992, one-time Yankee 3B Celerino Sanchez died at the age of 48.
- On this date in 1920, Babe Ruth hit his 50th career home run, and his first for the New York Yankees.
- On this date in 1951, Mickey Mantle hit the first home run of his career, off Randy Gumpert in an 8 – 3 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park.
- On this date in 1991, Rickey Henderson surpassed Lou Brock as MLB career stolen base leader with his 939th steal, in the A’s 7 – 4 victory over the Yankees. Henderson broke the record in the fourth inning, when he stole third base against catcher Matt Nokes.
[My take: How many of us remember the image of the "modest" Henderson holding the swiped bag aloft, and later proclaiming to be the greatest basestealer of all time? In a bit of karmic retribution, Henderson's feat was somewhat upstaged later that day by Nolan Ryan's seventh no-hitter, featuring 16 strikeouts and only two walks.]