But what about the children, as the cliche goes? Squawker Jon pointed out that the fact that this giveaway involves kids is even more amazing. It really is a shocking turn of events!
I take a look at that Facebook "On This Day" app each day, which shows me what I was posting on previous years on this date. And last year at this time, I was Squawking -- and writing on Facebook -- about how angry the Yankees were at A-Rod, and how they were doing their best to alienate him. Remember how they got mad about him showing up for spring training *early*? It never made any sense to me then or now. They needed to get the best out of him in order to win, so wouldn't they want to make him more comfortable, not less?
At any rate, A-Rod's great year -- or at least great four months -- is arguably why the Yankees made the postseason at all. And thanks to that great season, Rodriguez is now at 687 homers. His next home run milestone is at 714, so if he stays healthy, it's possible he could get 27 homers this year and earn that next $6 million in this contract.
So given this promotional event, and given the emails Yankee fans have gotten this year featuring A-Rod in order to sell tickets, I guess the team is going to concede that he is, um, marketable? So I guess they've resigned themselves to paying that next $6 million milestone, right? I don't see how they can get out of it this time.
Speaking of which, I was trying to figure out yesterday who got the tax deduction when the Yankees settled with Alex on paying out the previous milestone for reaching 660 homers. The team's press release last July said:
Mr. Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that a total of $3.5 million in charitable contributions will be made by the Club, with $1 million going to the following charities that have long enjoyed the support of one or both: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa, and Pitch In For Baseball; and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation.I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like the team is getting the tax deduction for this. So basically, they got out of paying $2.5 million to A-Rod that they were contractually obligated to do. Plus it looks like they got a $3.5 million tax deduction for this as well. But of course, they invested all that back into improving the team, right? Of course not. They didn't sign a single free agent this winter -- the only team not to do so. Instead, Hal Steinbrenner has more money in his pocket to use for getting fooled in shill auctions again. Oy.
It's funny -- fans get soooo outraged over how much money players make. But they never think about how much owners make. At least the players earned their money by being the best of the world at what they do. What did Prince Hal do to earn his money, other than to be George Steinbrenner's son? Talk about being born on third base and thinking he hit a triple!
Hal's big innovation is to take away the one remaining advantage the Yankees have over other teams -- the ability to spend. Oh, joy.
The New York Daily News did an article the other day -- complete with a puff piece back page cover about "The Art of the Steal" -- about the trades Brian (Fredo) Cashman made this winter. (Shouldn't we wait to see the players in action on the field before we call the trades "steals"?) In it, Cashman told columnist John Harper that the team had "even loftier hopes," Harper writes, with bigger deals they tried to make, but failed at. "If you knew all the different things we tried for, you'd really have a story," Cashman said. Oh, please. This isn't preschool. You don't get credit for the things you tried to do!
Cashman also talked about the team's goals for this season, saying: "If our starting rotation stays healthy we have a chance to be one of the better teams competing for the post-season.'' Quite a change from "World Series or bust," isn't it? Is that slogan going to get fans to buy tickets?
And given that the rotation consists of pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka, who is one pitch away from Tommy John surgery, the aging CC Sabathia, the injury-ridden Michael Pineda, who has yet to have an injury-free year as a Yankee, and Nathan Eovaldi, who entered the year on the disabled list, the odds of the team having an injury-free rotation are about as good as me running the Brooklyn Half Marathon in under two hours. Which is to say, it's not going to happen!
But Cash has a built-in excuse for the team not doing anything this year -- it's the rotation, stupid. Hey, it's not like there were stud pitchers like David Price or Zack Greinke on the free agent market last winter or anything. Oh, wait.
It is going to be interesting to see how many fans show up in the Bronx this year. There are only so many walks down memory lane (the Yanks also announced yesterday that they had special days planned for Mariano Rivera and the 1996 team) that will put fannies in the seats. The product on the field will need to be compelling as well. And that remains to be seen.