Sunday, November 30, 2008

All quiet on the Yankee hot stove front

There's not much going on in Yankeeland - or in the rest of the baseball world these days, for that matter. Squawker reader McGreevey1903 writes:
I'm scratching my head over the slow start for this free agent market. It seems ages since the Yankees made their offer for Sabathia, and the longer this goes on, the more likely it seems that he ends up on the West coast somewhere. Worst case scenario for the Yankees would be that none of the big pitching free agents sign, leaving a rotation of Wang, Chamberlain, Hughes, Kennedy, and some fifth starter.
I wonder if any of this quiet is connected somehow with the uncertainty regarding the economy these days. Speaking of which, I also wonder what the powers that be in Yankees and Mets ownership are thinking right now. They are finally opening their new ballparks - both of which are playgrounds for the rich - only to have the economy tank so badly. That's gotta hurt.

Did you ever visit one of those historic mansions, like Hyde Park's Vanderbilt Mansion? And all the ostentatiousness seems both gorgeous and disgusting? That's what I'm thinking Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are going to look like.

In a time when even Oprah Winfrey's "Favorite Things" show has morphed from the program showcasing $3800 refrigerators with an HDTV built in, to this year's "Thriftiest Holiday Ever" episode, where the big give featured free MP3s of Christmas songs, I'm thinking that the new stadiums are already out of style before they've even opened. It could be like how Chicago's new Comiskey Park became a dinosaur as soon as Camden Yards opened and changed the style of baseball stadiums forever.'s Larry Dobrow wrote a funny column on the new Yankee Stadium, talking about the new amenities, including the Yankee seats with teak armrests and the concierge service. The kicker to the story is that he finds out that his old 20-game ticket plan will now cost $550 per ticket per game, adding up to $22 grand for two seats. Unreal.

While the stadium does sound like it will be beautiful, I think it will also seem vulgar in this economy. Not to mention that it's unclear who will be able to afford these prices. Remember, many of the cheap seats in the old ballparks have been eliminated, in favor of more luxury boxes and suites. Worst. Timing. Ever.

As for Citi Field, the Mets really should either let Citigroup out of their $400 million naming rights contract, or force Citigroup to change the name to something more appropriate. Two NYC City Council members suggested that it should be called Citi/Taxpayer Field, since the U.S. taxpayers are bailing out the company.

My own thought is that the Mets should make official the derogatory name Yankee fans have come up with for the new stadium (hint - it rhymes with Citi.) Because it's fitting for the current situation, given that taxpayers are paying towards naming rights for a stadium that many of them can no longer afford to attend on a regular basis.

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Two other notes:

  • If you haven't already entered our A&E Essential Games DVD giveaway, you can do so here. We've gotten a terrific response so far. And thanks to our friends at baseball blogs Was Watching, Baseball and the Boogie Down, The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus, and The Sommer Frieze for helping us get the word out about our new digs, and about our giveaway.
  • And it looks like Alex Rodriguez and Madonna are finally going public with their relationship - he was in the front row of her recent Miami show, and he even handed her a water bottle during the concert. In a year, A-Rod has gone from MVP to Madonna's waterboy. Let's hope he can have some more greatest hits next season.

But what do you think? Leave us a comment!


Anonymous said...

Two points:

1) Renaming the stadium would only hurt Citibank. Right now they're paying for the investment of publicity. 81 games+ per year their name is announced to everyone watching games, reading newspapers, etc. It's a great investment, but if you change the name not only does the asset become devalued, but it also creates a negative association in peoples' minds between Citibank and the bailout.

2)Really? Sh***y Field? Come on, I've come to expect greater wit from Yankees fans than just using an inaccurate derogatory term that rhymes with the actual name. Just amateur. You'd think a team with all of that history would be classier.

Thats all. Seacrest, out.

Jonmouk71 said...

I'm looking forward to going to both new stadiums - going to new Yankee Stadium means that I will have seen the Yankees in the original stadium (1972), Shea Stadium (1974-5), the refurbished Stadium (including game 3, '76 World Series) and the new one. I have a soft spot for Shea as my uncle, who was a Met fan, took me to my first live game in 1965 (Mets 4 - Dodgers 3 on a bases loaded walk to Johnny Stephenson of all people). But as hard as he tried, he couldn't turn this Yankee fan (since '61) to the dark side. For Yankee fans, the best book on those wilderness years (1965-76) is Pinstriped Summers by Dick Lally (yes - someone did really write a book about the Mike Burke Yankees)

Lisa Swan said...

Anon, I have no standards, and no class! And I grew up with two other brothers who would make jokes like that. So yeah, you got me!

What can I say? I'm not as clever as Squawker Jon, who came up with funny yet clean nicknames for the new Yankee Stadium. I got nothing but the cheap shot!

And Jonmouk71, I'll have to look for that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

Jonmouk71 said...

Lisa - there are several copies of the Lally book on eBay - my personal favorite parts: the demise of the 1965 Johnny Keane Yankees; the return of the Major and utter futility of '66-'69; and the Gabe Paul Massacre where he traded half the pitching staff for Chris Chambliss, and Thurman's reaction the next day in the press, "How could they trade Fred Beene?"

Uncle Mike said...

Anon: If the Mets didn't want Yankee fans to come up with that name, they shouldn't have named it something that rhymes. Of course, perhaps Pity Field would be more appropriate. It's certainly more printable!

Jonmouk: Before the book you mentioned, Philip Bashe, who has also written several books about health and a bio of cartoon voicemeister Mel Blanc, wrote "Dog Days," starting with the end of the old Yankee dynasty in 1964 and ending with Chris Chambliss in 1976. It showed me that the myth I'd grown up to believe in the years after '76 -- that CBS messed everything up and only the arrival of George Steinbrenner saved the Yankees -- was, in large part, unfair. The Topping-Webb regime let the foundation crumble, Burke did bring in Munson, Lyle and Nettles before selling to George, Burke did negotiate with Mayor Lindsay to save the Stadium for another two generations, and the rise in quality of opponents, especially Boston and Baltimore, needs to be taken into account for those down years. Bashe even appeared on some YES Yankeeographies to discuss the changes of those years.

Somebody once said that whole forests have been felled to produce the paper on which Red Sox books have been written, but, as with everything else in relation to the Red Sox, the books that have been written on the Yankees need take no back seats. My personal favorite is "October Men" by Roger Kahn, about the 1977-78 team, the first baseball team I ever saw. The fact that he grew up a Dodger fan in Brooklyn and was predisposed to loathe the Yankees -- and wrote "The Boys of Summer," which saved the Dodger myth in the way that the New York Giants' memory hasn't been properly preserved -- makes his appreciation of the George-Billy-Reggie-Thurman team all the better.

Jonmouk71 said...

Uncle Mike - thanks for the tip on the Bashe book - I picked up a used copy on eBay. But I do note that Bashe wrote his book in 1994; the Lally book was published in 1985 - so most likely Bashe used it as a source.

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