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Friday, February 15, 2013

Kevin Youkilis sez he'll 'always be a Red Sock'

$12 million for one season doesn't buy what it used to. Kevin Youkilis, who will make more in 2013 than David Wright will, made his New York Yankees debut Thursday. And he promptly announced his loyalties to his old Boston Red Sox team, saying "I’ll always be a Red Sock." Oh, great.

I couldn't stand Youk -- I call him Yuck -- as a Red Sock, and the fact that he is now a Yankee makes my skin crawl. This isn't the likeable, self-deprecating and fun Johnny Damon becoming a Yank at the prime of his career. This is an overpaid has-been who can't stay healthy, and who even some Red Sox fans and players acknowledge is a jerk. Even his fellow players got sick of the way he threw a hissy fit every time he struck out.

Can't say Youkilis has made a great impression on me so far. He's made Joba Chamberlain look like  paragon of maturity -- Joba had the guts to reach out to him first, only to be treated to radio silence for a month. Then when Youk arrives in Florida as a Yankee, the first thing he did was buy a Red Sox fan coffee. Whatta guy.

Some say that he's just being honest by saying that he'll always be a Red Sock. But there is a way of saying that his time with Boston meant something to him, without saying it the way he did.

And really, if he were being 100% honest, here's what he should have said. Even I could have respected this real attempt at honesty:

"Hello, suckers! Of course I'll always be a Red Sox -- their fans are the ones who will be paying my freight at card shows and Red Sox reunion events for the next fifty years. You think I want to pull a Johnny Damon and alienate the people who will be paying for my time on the golf course in my golden years? No way.

"I have no desire to be part of the Yankee way, other than to cash that $12 million check that Brian Cashman gave me. And people think Bobby Valentine is a knucklehead. Only Cash would sign me, somebody who missed more time to injury in 2012 than Alex Rodriguez, to replace  A-Rod. And pay me $12 million to do it, way more than anybody else even came close to offering me.

"But Cash goes crazy for anybody related to the 2004 Red Sox -- me, Derek Lowe, Alan Embree, Mark Bellhorn... I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to talk Curt Schilling out of retirement to make a comeback!

"Oh, and I still hate Joba Chamberlain.

"Now, I'm off to spend $12 million of the Yankees' money while I hang out with denizens of Red Sox Nation. Ka-ching!"

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lonn Trost, Hal Steinbrenner show the Yankees' real priority: Smashing StubHub

I can't remember a spring training when I was this cynical about the Yankees' prospects for the season. World Series or bust? Really? More like $189M or bust.

That's what happens when you have a disastrous offseason like this one. I mean, really -- what Brian Cashman moves, exactly, excited you this winter? Signing the injury-ridden ex-Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis for $12 million, way above what anybody else would pay him? Going with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart as your catchers? Starting spring without a right-handed hitting outfielder?

Then you have Hal Steinbrenner, who is so clueless that he told the Wall Street Journal he was "surprised" to hear of the fans' "anger." Really, Hal? Where have you been, exactly? Oh, I know. You've been worried about the evil StubHub, the real enemy.

I know it's become a cliche to wonder "What would George Steinbrenner do?" when it comes to any new development in Yankeeland, but when the only time you hear the team's co-owner show any passion, it's about smashing StubHub, it's pretty sad. Here's what Hal recently said in a statement about the Yankees moving to Ticketmaster for their new official secondary market venue:
"The Yankees Ticket Exchange will be a safe, convenient, reliable and expedient way to purchase and sell guaranteed authentic Yankees tickets," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "It is unfortunate that unscrupulous resellers utilize deceptive practices and tactics and employ unofficial websites, all of which give rise to counterfeit tickets."
I'm sorry if I missed this epidemic of counterfeit tickets, especially given that StubHub guarantees all of the tickets they sell. The real issue, of course, is that the Yankees are greedy, and even though they have already gotten paid the first time around for ticket sales, they don't actually want to see a free market when it comes to reselling those tickets. They also don't like it when the secondary market shows the real value of those tickets, which is a lot lower than the Yanks would like to think they are.

Oh, and I have to laugh at the idea of anything connected with Ticketmaster as being fan-friendly. They are the ones who came up with "convenience fees" to print own your tickets. And while the new program's fees for sellers are 5% for season ticket holders, it is 15% for those who are not season ticket holders.

Lonn Trost blames Hurricane Sandy and snowstorm for slow ticket sales

Then there's the Yanks' Lonn Trost, who has made his contempt for those terrible Yankee fans who actually look for deals on tickets abundantly clear. He was recently on Mike Francesa talking his nonsense about ticket speculators, and comparing it the the Securities and Exchange Commission needing to crack down on short sellers.

Trost also claimed that slow ticket sales were due to Hurricane Sandy and the recent snowstorm. Huh? The hurricane was October 29, and Nemo was a typical winter snowstorm when it came to New York City (New England and Long Island was another story.) And there is zero evidence that either of them have had any effect on ticket sales.

If the Steinbrenner kids actually knew anything about business, they would realize that the lower prices on StubHub are not due to the bogeyman of ticket speculators. And counterfeit tickets are not really an issue. The real issue is that this isn't a very interesting, inspiring team right now, the tickets are way overpriced, and the novelty of the new stadium has worn off.

Trost also complained about StubHub being greedy, making 25% on each ticket sold. Strong words from a guy who sells $1300 seats for a baseball game. He also threatened to sue the organization for daring to have an office across the street from the stadium. (Right now, StubHub can still sell Yankees tickets, but fans can no longer print the tickets out on their home computer. The office would allow them to get hard copies of the tickets at their location.)

At any rate, after seeing what the Yankees choose to focus on, why should I be excited about this season? What is the team motto for 2013? Another year older and even more injury-ridden? You'll pay more for tickets and you'll like it? Good grief.