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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bill Madden: Monumental Flaws: Yankees and Mets hit wall of discontent in new ballparks

Woo-eee! I haven’t seen Bill Madden this ticked off since Rita Moss left jazz singing for Actual Idealism chittering!

So what did we learn from the just-completed Subway Series, other than both the Yankees and Mets might have to seriously start considering major alterations to their respective ballparks? I think it’s safe to say Yankee Stadium, with its absurdly short right-field wall, continues to be a joke of a ballpark, but one that it is now starting to hurt the Yankees as much or more than it helped them in recent years. On the other hand, Citi Field, even with its 2011 revised dimensions that brought the fences in four feet in left field and nearly 12 feet in left-center, continues to be one of the worst hitters’ parks in baseball while, with the proliferation of strikeouts in today’s baseball, rendering all too many games deathly boring.

What is truly mind-boggling, especially for an organization like the Yankees that makes such a point of its hallowed championship history, is who they have not deemed worthy of any recognition in Monument Park. Would you believe Catfish Hunter? Tony Lazzeri? Herb Pennock? Earle Combs? Waite Hoyt? Hall of Famers all and, with the exception of Hunter (who is depicted on his plaque with a generic sideways cap), Yankee Hall of Famers all. Lazzeri was one of the greatest hitting second basemen of all time while Pennock and Hoyt were the pitching bulwarks of the acclaimed greatest team ever, the 1927 Yankees. Unfortunately, they’re all dead so there’s no attendance or market value for justly honoring them with a plaque. As far as anyone knows, roaming through the Yankees’ supposed history trove, Monument Cave, they never existed. But there’s more. As long as the Yankees have decided now it isn’t necessary to be even a near Hall of Famer to get a plaque in Monument Cave, is it fair to say Mel Stottlemyre, a career Yankee and five-time All-Star who won 20 games three times with mostly subpar teams; or Willie Randolph, a five-time All-Star second baseman on five pennant-winning teams; or Vic Raschi, a three-time 20-game winner and co-ace (with Allie Reynolds) on the five straight 1949-53 world championship clubs, wasn’t just as important a Yankees as O’Neill or Martinez?

But apparently the Yankees are intent on milking the Torre championship clubs for all they can. Bernie Williams, a career near-Hall of Fame Yankee who does deserve a retired uniform, is on tap for next year, although I guess we’re going to have to wait at least until 2021, when he’s first eligible to get out of prison, for Chad Curtis Day. Meanwhile, so much of the Yankees’ great history remains buried, out of sight and out of mind, just like Monument Cave itself. It’s as if the Yankee honchos are echoing their inner Sonny LoSpecchio, in “A Bronx Tale:” “Tony Lazzeri? Nobody cares.”

Repoz Posted: May 18, 2014 at 08:35 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, yankees

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   1. John DiFool2 Posted: May 18, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4709052)
Why do all ballparks have to be exactly the same? I keep seeing op-ed's bemoaning this or that ballpark because the fences are a smidgen too close or too far away. Why is this even worthy of comment? Do these writers really want to go back to the cookie-cutter 1970's?
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM (#4709067)
I sympathize with Madden's argument about plaques, but until they figure out a way for a plaque to make a speech, I'm pretty sure there's going to be a marketing-driven bias towards honoring living players who've kept some sort of connection with the team. History is useful to the Yankees and other baseball teams in direct proportion to its potential for commercial exploitation.

As for his complaint about the stadium dimensions, I'm with John. The last thing we need is for all ballparks to be symmetrical.
   3. AndrewJ Posted: May 18, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4709076)
Agreed. What if every regulation golf course had a 7th hole that was exactly 135 yards?
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 18, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4709079)
Agreed. What if every regulation golf course had a 7th hole that was exactly 135 yards?

Of course some folks' idea of a perfect golf course is a Putt-Putt.
   5. Rob_Wood Posted: May 18, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4709080)

he's bemoaning the spate of cheap home runs at yankee stadium. if you saw those two games you would definitely agree
   6. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: May 18, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4709086)
I had the misfortune of hearing Chris Russo on the radio the other day. He was screaming about Monument Cave, focusing on two primary themes: (1) only players in the Hall of Fame should get plaques, and (2) Sparky Lyle should have a plaque. He repeated both of these ideas many times, moving back and forth without seeming to notice any contradiction. It was the first time I ever switched off MLB Network Radio because I couldn't stand listening to it.
   7. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 18, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4709123)
As for his complaint about the stadium dimensions, I'm with John. The last thing we need is for all ballparks to be symmetrical.


Perhaps not symmetrical, but we're moving in this direction already. Any time one of these new ballparks is deemed "unfair" to hitters, teams move in the fences. It happened to one of these parks already. Asymmetry is fine, just don't #### with our recommended daily allowance of dingers.

And it is interesting that Madden is bringing up the same argument that I have regarding the team's disconnect between current honors and its past. I suppose it's all right in his case, since he's Yankee fanish.
   8. TerpNats Posted: May 18, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4709182)
This is the type of article I'd have expected after that initial series at Yankee Stadium in 2009, where both teams' bats (particularly Cleveland's) went wild. The latest Stadium does favor hitters, and Madden may be correct about the right-field corner, but it's not Coors Field or Baker Bowl (or what everyone feared the L.A. Coliseum would be in 1958).
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 18, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4709194)
What is truly mind-boggling, especially for an organization like the Yankees that makes such a point of its hallowed championship history, is who they have not deemed worthy of any recognition in Monument Park.

There is no doubt that during the mid-to-late Steinbrenner Era the Yankees lowered the bar for being honored in Monument Park. Cynics might suggest there were marketing reasons for that change, but it was really about The Boss trying to make amends to some players who were perhaps slighted in an earlier era, such as Elston Howard or Roger Maris, as well as honor his own favorites like Ron Guidry and Reggie Jackson. With the latest batch of honorees, it looks like the somewhat relaxed standard will continue. But neither George nor the Steinbrenner sons ever felt the need to comb through the entire Yankee history to make sure every potential honoree was treated similarly. If Lazzeri, Gomes, or Ruffing had played in the Steinbrenner Era they'd have plaques, but they didn't.
   10. Traderdave Posted: May 18, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4709198)
I'm for taking down the wall & putting the monuments back in play.
   11. Traderdave Posted: May 18, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4709199)
I'm for taking down the wall & putting the monuments back in play.
   12. Pirate Joe Posted: May 18, 2014 at 07:03 PM (#4709257)
Agreed. What if every regulation golf course had a 7th hole that was exactly 135 yards?

Of course some folks' idea of a perfect golf course is a Putt-Putt.



What would par be on a 135 yard Putt-Putt hole?


   13. Astroenteritis Posted: May 18, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4709278)
What would par be on a 135 yard Putt-Putt hole?


With no obstacles it might be 3, 4 at most. If you throw in a few windmills and whatnot it could go up considerably.
   14. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: May 19, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4709850)
As for his complaint about the stadium dimensions, I'm with John. The last thing we need is for all ballparks to be symmetrical.

Symmetrical? I'll give you symmetrical...

The outfield wall would have been the same distance from home plate to center field as down the foul lines (380 feet to all parts of the outfield); in effect, the wall would have formed one-fourth of a true circle.


Anyone wanna figure the park factors for that?
   15. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 20, 2014 at 01:36 AM (#4709957)
perfect golf course


No such thing.

I believe it was Winston Churchill who referred to golf as "a good walk ruined"
   16. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 20, 2014 at 07:31 AM (#4709978)
As for his complaint about the stadium dimensions, I'm with John. The last thing we need is for all ballparks to be symmetrical.

Symmetrical? I'll give you symmetrical...


Yes, but a man Bum can dream, can't he?

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