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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Allen Barra: Good News, Yankees Fans: 2014 is Only a Year Away

From George Ignatin down to Athlon Sports…oh, how the mighty.

Over the last few years, I’ve tended to skip reading preseason baseball magazines—too many air-headed predictions made by people without a firm grasp of statistics and economics. Athlon Sports’ Baseball Previews, though, is both hip and smart, and always has something surprising to say about every team.

I love their little factoids. No, wait, I won’t call this one a factoid because it says something important about a Yankees pitcher, Ivan Nova: He allowed 87 extra base hits, a single-season record for a Yankees pitcher. I’ve been thinking for two years now that Nova is living on borrowed time, and I’d say that pretty much proves it.

...After the humiliating loss to Detroit that ended the season, everyone had their own definition of what went wrong and how to fix it. Stuff like “Get some guys who know how to hit in the clutch,” which is ########, of course, since no one really knows how to define clutching hitting and therefore doesn’t even know it exists. Or, “They’ve got to get some guys who can make contact.” Well, during the season the Yankees led the league in on-base average (.337) and slugging (.453), and they’re supposed to be most important statistics, so they must have been making plenty of contact then.

...I agree with the last part, but I think it’s ridiculous for the richest team in baseball to do nothing over the spring to try and improve itself. If the Yankees are thinking of saving money in 2014, they ought to be thinking how much they’re going to lose this year and next when they see all those empty seats at Yankee Stadium. And if you think this isn’t going to happen this year, remember the ugly patches of unfilled seats. (Well, maybe you don’t’ remember them because you didn’t see them. The Yankee camera crews seemed to pan over the empty seats faster than the naked eye could detect them.)

Repoz Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:21 AM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4401847)
Better news: 2015 will be here in only two years.
   2. SG Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4401855)
It's going to be a long year...
   3. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4401856)
I, for one, can't wait to see the vast, deserted wasteland that will be the moated sections if the Yankees are out of contention come September, it'll be a nice, overdue middle finger to the members of the team's "brain trust" that are responsible for this awful monstrosity of a stadium ...
   4. SG Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:48 AM (#4401858)
The problem is the "brain trust" will likely react stupidly to the empty seats and make awful trades/signings to try and fix the problem. I'd love to see them clean out every single person currently in the front office, but I'd be shocked if that happened.
   5. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4401865)
We were commenting while watching the game on ESPN yesterday on the great swaths of empty seats--on Opening Day, hosting the Red Sox, no less--particularly after about the seventh inning.
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4401869)
The way the weather changed from sunny and relatively warm to just another nasty early Spring cold and windy drizzle pretty much followed the trend of the game. I doubt if even yesterday's Nats crowd would have stuck it out through a game like that.
   7. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:01 AM (#4401870)
Back in 2001, I was at old Yankee Stadium for a 15-inning game in which it drizzled the full time and never got above 40 degrees. It was never as empty as yesterday's game.
   8. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4401877)
Well, when a team displaces lifetime season ticket holders and multi-generational families of actual baseball fans to make way for corporate ########## and wall street plutocrats there to take in an elite, synergistic entertainment experience, they deserve what they get ...
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4401890)
I, for one, can't wait to see the vast, deserted wasteland that will be the moated sections if the Yankees are out of contention come September, it'll be a nice, overdue middle finger to the members of the team's "brain trust" that are responsible for this awful monstrosity of a stadium ...

Concur, heartily.

I hope the thing gets hits by a meteor (while empty) and collapses. And Levine forgot to pay their insurance premium.
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4401892)
John, I don't think even Yankee fans are feeling sorry for the Yankees.
   11. SG Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4401893)
Nope, we're just feeling sorry for ourselves.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4401898)
Does any fanbase so roundly dislike its new stadium as much as Yankee fans do, or am I overstating how Primer reflects overall sentiment?

I suppose the feeling is based on what it was replacing. A Reds fan may not think GAB is all that great, and it may well be even less appealing than NYS (been to it, but not NYS), but it still beats Riverfront.
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4401902)
I don't think any other teams replaced their stadium with a stadium designed to be exactly the same except much much much much much much much more expensive, located in exactly the same place.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4401905)
I don't think any other teams replaced their stadium with a stadium designed to be exactly the same except much much much much much much much more expensive, located in exactly the same place.


The White Sox did a little of that.
   15. The District Attorney Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4401906)
We were commenting while watching the game on ESPN yesterday on the great swaths of empty seats--on Opening Day, hosting the Red Sox, no less
Then they need to give away tickets, like the Mets! #economics
   16. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4401915)
It's the sheer venality of the entire affair, as exemplified best by the ####### moat and everything that implies: privilege, stratified "classes" of fans, that it's about an "experience" more than baseball.

Little wonder that the atmosphere inside the stadium is a pale shadow of the raucous fervor of the old one ...
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4401916)
As much as I'd love to see the Yankees go 68-94 or something like that there is a part of me that wants to see them muddle along just south of .500 until the break. Then, Alex Rodriguez can come back and hit about .330/.400/.600 the rest of the year and lead the plucky Yankees to a division title on the last day of the season.

Of course on that last day of the season he'll go 3 for 4 but whiff in the 8th inning while Jeter will go 1 for 5 with two errors but his "1" will be a bloop single that scores the winning run and the story will be "despite hitting just .227 Jeter yet again finds a way to win while A-Rod did a patented choke job."
   18. SG Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4401917)
Does any fanbase so roundly dislike its new stadium as much as Yankee fans do, or am I overstating how Primer reflects overall sentiment?


I'm not sure it's all on the stadium itself. I haven't been to it, but I'd imagine the higher prices are a big problem. Combine that with a team that's simply less interesting even when they are winning and a down economy and there are a lot of potential factors for the negative aura around it. If the Yankees had a few better young players that fans had a greater attachment too or a more compelling team in general that might change who attends the games, and that could make the stadium seem more energetic and might change the perception around it.

As far as I can tell, Primer sentiment is pretty close to overall sentiment right now. But I think it could change.
   19. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4401918)
Does any fanbase so roundly dislike its new stadium as much as Yankee fans do, or am I overstating how Primer reflects overall sentiment?


I grew up a Yanks fan and I can safely say that it would be impossible for any other fanbase to hate it as much as we do. I went to the game yesterday and just looking around the place, I wanted to jump ship and become a Mets fan. One thing I've noticed is how muted the crowd sound is, and sure there are fewer people in the seats, but it just seems as if sound just dies in that place. Maybe it's all the stupid padded seats for the yuppie scum corporate dickwads.
   20. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4401919)
I haven't actually been to NYS but you all have me intrigued so I think I'll catch an A's game there this year.
   21. NJ in DC Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4401925)
Yankee fan here. I like the new Stadium and have no issue with the pricing or the people who go to the games.
   22. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4401931)
John, I don't think even Yankee fans are feeling sorry for the Yankees.

Nope, we're just feeling sorry for ourselves.


Good God, why? When I was 10 years old in 1954 and the Yankees got dethroned for the first time in my living memory, I was in a sincere state of shock and put a what proved to be a very effective 41 year curse on the Cleveland Indians. But not contending for the first time since 1992? Is that really a cause for self-pity?

Of course I know your comment was tongue in cheek, but there probably are some Yankee fans out there with that peculiar sense of platinum plated entitlement.
   23. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4401933)
ok, so allegedly (because who really knows) the yanks are gearing up for signing folks once they are free of the luxury tax for a spell

i have asked before and will ask here, what awesome, tremendous, make a difference players will be available? because with the rash of signings it sure seems like new York is going to overpay for players on the downside. who will be age 26-29 and great and on the market?

just curious what others are seeing?
   24. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4401939)

I suppose the feeling is based on what it was replacing. A Reds fan may not think GAB is all that great, and it may well be even less appealing than NYS (been to it, but not NYS), but it still beats Riverfront.


Having been to both, GAB is certainly more "fun" than YS3. It's a more intimate affair (it's hard to explain how ... mall-ish and corporate YS3 feels.) One thing that does strike you immediately about YS3 is the size and grandeur of the Stadium. It's bathed in Yankee history, it's utterly huge, and it feels the way YES network watches.
   25. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4401943)
#23- I suppose a glass half full answer would be that there could be some relatively young premium-talent players available via trade like they were in the Miami-Toronto deal. If the Yanks are willing to spend again, they can make such deals. You never know which team will be willing to cut costs.

Edit: And if you want a name- Stanton will be available soon enough :)
   26. Dan Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4401946)
i have asked before and will ask here, what awesome, tremendous, make a difference players will be available? because with the rash of signings it sure seems like new York is going to overpay for players on the downside. who will be age 26-29 and great and on the market?


David Price? Giancarlo Stanton? There's still a few teams that are crying poor and will lose good players in Free Agency.
   27. Dan Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4401947)
Having been to both, GAB is certainly more "fun" than YS3. It's a more intimate affair (it's hard to explain how ... mall-ish and corporate YS3 feels.) One thing that does strike you immediately about YS3 is the size and grandeur of the Stadium. It's bathed in Yankee history, it's utterly huge, and it feels the way YES network watches.


The concourse is more reminiscent of an airport terminal or a mall than a ballpark.
   28. SG Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4401948)
just curious what others are seeing?


Felix Hernandez. Oops.
Justin Verlander. Oops.
Buster Posey. Oops.
Clayton Kershaw. Soon to be oops.

I hope the people running the team realize free agency is changing.
   29. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4401949)
NYS used to make me mad...now it just makes me sad. I love baseball and I love the Yankees and I thought last year was fun and exciting...but lately I watch old clips of the 1995-2007 era and I feel like Gatsby staring across long island sound at the green light.
   30. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4401950)
Oh but the prices don't bother me. I can go to any weeknight non red sox game for like $1. Hahaha...I love getting a stub hub seat as a #### you to Trost and Levine.
   31. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4401951)
Also, I'm kinda sick of our fans. What kind of losers buy ALCS tickets then don't make a peep except to boo the crap out of our own guys?
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4401953)
David Price? Giancarlo Stanton? There's still a few teams that are crying poor and will lose good players in Free Agency.

possibly. but it seems those teams are trading such assets in advance of free agency versus letting them walk

   33. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4401956)
Also, I'm kinda sick of our fans. What kind of losers buy ALCS tickets then don't make a peep except to boo the crap out of our own guys?


Ones with an unearned sense of entitlement?
   34. SG Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4401958)
Yeah, there's no way the Marlins don't trade Stanton once he starts hitting arbitration and I'd guess an extension would be part of any such trade.

Didn't Price say he wouldn't shave his beard so the Yankees were out? I suppose they could pay him enough to change his mind or change their dumb rules if they are desperate enough. But I'd assume he gets traded/extended in the next year anyway, and not to an AL East team.
   35. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4401959)
Oh and if you think we're just mythologizing the old place, I'd encourage you to watch this video.


http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=2685722
   36. zack Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4401960)
and it feels the way YES network watches.

Jesus, does everyone immediately take a shower when they get home?

I can go to any weeknight non red sox game for like $1

$1...plus at least $10 in fees.
   37. zempf Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4401968)
In related news, Robinson Cano just canned Scott Boras as his agent.. and hired Jay-Z: http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/9124684/robinson-cano-new-york-yankees-switching-scott-boras-jay-z
   38. Nasty Nate Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4401972)
I've said it before, but I don't understand how teams (not just the Yankees) don't realize that the camera view from behind the pitcher becomes the de facto face of a stadium given that it is shown 250+ times each game. No one would have cared about the "moat" if the empty seats weren't on camera so much. Stadiums have had club seats and luxury boxes for years - but it wasn't embarrasing if the patrons were back in the restaurants or no-shows because it didn't show up every inning on TV.
   39. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4401981)
David Price?

Didn't he just say no f*cking way?
   40. AndrewJ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4401985)
Citizens Bank Park cost around $400 million to construct. New Yankee Stadium cost $1.4 billion. I've been to both, and can't fathom how NYS could be $1 billion more expensive than the Phils' ballpark.
   41. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4401988)
In related news, Robinson Cano just canned Scott Boras as his agent...and hired Jay-Z.

Cano is going to look great in a Nets uniform.
   42. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4401990)
Andrew

apparently the mob in nyc is far more expensive than philly
   43. deputydrew Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4401993)
#35, how is your video any different than this one?

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25407877&c_id=mlb

I've been a season ticket holder at YS2 and YS3 and completely agree that the new park is a corporate monstrosity. But, it's also very fitting for the team. It's not the team of the Bronx and hasn't been in a long time. It's now the team of Wall Street, as epitomized by Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
   44. rufus was here Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4402000)
From a financial perspective, both the NYS and the ARod contract are exhibits 1 and 2 in how different the world was pre-2008 market collapse. I know NYS didn't open until 2009, but all the planning and the seating schemes happened pre-2008, and just reek of corporate arrogance. Any chance either of those things happens the same way after the market tanks?

And John, I completely agree with your sentiments on the moat and the "Legend" seats. What a waste -- what you want there is density of devoted fans. I've been to mid-summer games where the rest of the stadium is packed, and the seats in front of the moat are half-full at most. Embarrassing.
   45. madvillain Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4402012)
I went a few times the year it opened, back when I was living in NYC, and it just felt like an HD, completely sanitized version of the old stadium. One time I got there for BP hoping to score a ball and despite that fact that it was me and maybe 5000 of my closest buddies in the entirety of the stadium, the usher very forcefully told me that I could not hang out in the LF stands if my ticket was not in that section.

I found that ridiculous. It was about 90 minutes before game time, the stadium was empty: what a completely unnecessary fan unfriendly policy.

That the place was built with zero interest bonds from the hands of the taxpayers (among other concessions from the city) is just the cherry on top.


I know NYS didn't open until 2009, but all the planning and the seating schemes happened pre-2008, and just reek of corporate arrogance. Any chance either of those things happens the same way after the market tanks?


I was running a canvass crew late that winter when they introduced the new pricing schemes and had quite a bit of time to listen WFAN in the van. Literally, for like a week, all Francesca talked about and took calls on was outrage at the new prices. There was immediate blowback, even from loyal season ticket holders that now found themselves either 3x away from the field as before or completely priced out.
   46. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4402039)
From a financial perspective, both the NYS and the ARod contract are exhibits 1 and 2 in how different the world was pre-2008 market collapse. I know NYS didn't open until 2009, but all the planning and the seating schemes happened pre-2008, and just reek of corporate arrogance. Any chance either of those things happens the same way after the market tanks?

Sure, corporate arrogance is virtually the same now as it was then, especially in NYC.

Maybe they would cut out half the seats for the hoi polloi and make it an elite destination for just the corporate types, with the new knowledge that those are the only people with any money.
   47. Blastin Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4402047)
Yankee fan here. I like the new Stadium and have no issue with the pricing or the people who go to the games.


I like it just fine, too. I get my cheap ten buck seats, sit up at the top, I can see very well and the bathrooms are no longer tiny and gross. Walking in and out is much easier.

Yeah, the food/drinks are expensive. It's NYC. I budget for it (and I don't bother getting crappy beer much anyway, aside from the yearly souvenir cup pick up).

And it takes me, like, 20 minutes to get there from home.

I don't hate the stadium or this team. I'll always love the team, even though they may well struggle this year.

How strange that I am not grumpy and cynical, but I'm just really glad baseball is back.
   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4402066)
And John, I completely agree with your sentiments on the moat and the "Legend" seats. What a waste -- what you want there is density of devoted fans. I've been to mid-summer games where the rest of the stadium is packed, and the seats in front of the moat are half-full at most. Embarrassing.

Well, those people have access to an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink restaurant. Lot's of us would be at the bar slurping shrimp cocktail and Johnnie Walker too.
   49. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4402078)
I like it just fine, too. I get my cheap ten buck seats, sit up at the top, I can see very well and the bathrooms are no longer tiny and gross. Walking in and out is much easier.

Yeah, the food/drinks are expensive. It's NYC. I budget for it (and I don't bother getting crappy beer much anyway, aside from the yearly souvenir cup pick up).

And it takes me, like, 20 minutes to get there from home.

I don't hate the stadium or this team. I'll always love the team, even though they may well struggle this year.


Since it only costs me $179.99 a year with no food or subway costs to see all the games on a big screen TV, that's pretty much my outlook as well. Though I do admit that I can get nostalgic for the time I could see the M&M boys from behind the plate for $1.30 and a 10 cent subway ride from Greenwich Village. I guess that the new version of "General Admission" is now just called "StubHub".
   50. DKDC Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4402103)
I can’t fully embrace the schaudenfreude yet, but I’m starting to believe this is really happening.

I don’t mythologize the old stadium one bit, but at least you felt something there. The new stadium and the fan experience it has fostered are an embarrassment to all of baseball.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4402109)
I can’t fully embrace the schaudenfreude yet, but I’m starting to believe this is really happening.

A lot of us are Yankee fans, we just have the schaden, no freude.
   52. Blastin Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4402114)
No schaden for me.
   53. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4402115)
http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=19792195&c_id=mlb


Loudest. Noise. Ever.
   54. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4402118)

#35, how is your video any different than this one?


Dunno, doesn't seem quite the same to me....but I guess overall it's not that the new stadium NEVER pops. It did for A-Rod in 2009, for instance. It just doesn't have that constant dull roar that the old place had. Also, remember that the 1995 clip is for a random solo homer in the middle innings and the Ibanez clip is for a 2 out bottom of the ninth game tying homer.
   55. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4402120)
Ok, here's a difference worth noting. Look at that Tino Martinez video above. When the camera cuts from the ball tracking view of the upper deck to the shot of Tino jogging down the first baseline, look at the fans in the field boxes down the line where the current "legends" seats are.

That explains the atmosphere difference right there. The guys in the bleachers are the same as they always were, more or less.
   56. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4402138)

Also, what the hell is going on when the YANKEES can't sell out opening day or the ALCS. This is a team that, in AVERAGED over 50,000 fans from 2005-2008, including a whopping 53,000+ in 2008. Now they can't sell out the playoffs? They can't sell out opening day? The Royals and Astros sell out opening day. The Yankees have 3000 empties at least.

What is going on?
   57. Publius Publicola Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4402188)
It's going to be a long year...


Nineteen sixteee fivvvve!!!!!!!!
   58. Walt Davis Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4402381)
just curious what others are seeing?

HW, I started noting all the buyouts and the lack of upcoming FAs a year ago (relevant to the Cubs), so I'm mainly with you. Almost all of the good young talent is tied up through their early 30s at least. But ...

The Yanks actually have quite a bit to spend for 2014 and still stay under the cap. They've got something like $70 to maybe $80 M to spend this offseason and still reset.

I don't remember the entire list, but in addition to Cano there are some nice mid-tier guys this offseason at positions the Yanks need. Possibly Ellsbury, McCann, Choo, Pence if he bounces back. On the pitching side, question marks but Garza, Josh Johnson, Lincecum. Cano, Ellsbury/Choo and whichever of the starters looks healthy and effective seems doable.

2015 is a wasteland. Looks like Chase Headley could be there.

2016 has some FA talent although a good chunk of it will be signed by then. Potentially a 34-year-old Miguel Cabrera, an interesting decision for Detroit. Austin Jackson hasn't been bought out yet although I suspect Detroit/Jackson is just waiting to see if the offense is for real and will sign something mid-year or post-season. Same with Heyward. Alex Gordon is an FA in 2016 (at 32). Wieters. J Upton.

And, yeah, who knows what teams are going to decide to dump what talent and whether the Yanks will have the shiny prospects to pull it off.
   59. AndrewJ Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4402660)
I've said it before, but I don't understand how teams (not just the Yankees) don't realize that the camera view from behind the pitcher becomes the de facto face of a stadium given that it is shown 250+ times each game. No one would have cared about the "moat" if the empty seats weren't on camera so much.

This. I'm surprised the Yanks haven't invested in cameras mounted behind home plate.

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