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Posts Tagged ‘New York Yankees’

When are things going to turn around for Yankees?

Posted by ZA on May 15, 2009

It’s been a tough start for the new era of the New York Yankees.  Before training camp even started they had to deal with the Alex Rodriguez steroids controversy.  Since then they’ve struggled on the field, handing out home runs like the dentist hands out free toothpaste samples.  They’ve been blasted by fans and media for their overpriced premium tickets.  And they’ve discovered potential flaws in the design of their stadium that are the cause of all of the home runs.  If they could take a mulligan on 2009, I think George Steinbrenner definitely would.

Today’s latest Yankee bashing comes from the Wall Street Journal.  The WSJ chronicles some of the problems that are plaguing new Yankee Stadium and what the team can do to overcome them.  There are some good quotes in the article from John McHale Jr. who was an executive with the Detroit Tigers when they opened Comerica Park in 2000.  McHale Jr says a team must, “…sit and watch and determine whether something unusual is built in.”  Doing that with the Tigers convinced them to shorten their outfield fences, which made the park more friendly to home run hitters.  That move is part of what helped the Tigers win a World Series in 2006.

Will the Yankees brass have the balls to make changes to their $1.5B baseball palace? It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong, hopefully the Steinbrenners won’t be afraid to make changes.  They already lowered prices on their premium seats, which is a good start.  But there are other changes they probably need to make to get the Yankees back at the top of the heap.

For the record, my prediction is that the Yankees will make the playoffs this season.  I even think they have a good shot at making a run to the World Series if their pitching comes together.  Of course I’m the same guy that picked a Yankees versus Chicago Cubs World Series in 2008, so maybe my biases are overshadowing my good judgement.

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Yankees caught with performance enhancing substance?

Posted by ZA on April 20, 2009

The New York Yankees have been caught red handed providing a performance enhancing substance to members of their team.  The result has been an overabundance of home runs at new Yankee Stadium.  Yankee home games are averaging 4.5 home runs per game, which translates to approximately 350 home runs over the course of a season.  The current rate of home runs is more than 3x greater than the 1.35 home runs per game average at Camden Yards and US Cellular Field, which shared the top two spots in 2008.

The performance enhancing substance being provided by Yankees brass?  Wind.  The design of new Yankee Stadium is causing a wind tunnel that has caused the rash of home runs.  Darren Rovell at CNBC was first to report on the story and said the Yankees are examining the “wind tunnel” effect causing all of the home runs.  Then a Accuweather story said that the angle of the seating in the new stadium “could have an effect on wind speed across the field”.  Accuweather went on to say that the “wind tunnel” conditions are most prevalent now and in late Fall, so the homers presumably would not keep up at this pace.

I’m sure this story will continue to evolve as it is investigated by the team, league and media.  But there is one thing that I’m already sure, that the Yankees are not happy at the thought that their $1.5 billion dollar stadium has a flawed design.  And if that turns out to be true, then I expect Populous, the architects who designed new Yankee Stadium, might be looking to change their name back to HOK Sport to hide from this embarrassment.

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Soccer provides an outlet from Cartel violence in Mexico

Posted by ZA on April 8, 2009

Nice piece from the New York Times on how soccer has provided a positive diversion to residents in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  Juarez is a city known as one of the most violent places on Earth; with an estimated 4000 murders in Juarez over the past couple of years.  Juarez residents have been terrorized by the violence drug cartels brought to their city.  So what do the good people of Cuidad Juarez have to keep them smiling?  Soccer, specifically their hometown Indios football club.

Los Indios de Juarez is the local professional team that has played in Mexico’s top two divisions.  The team is as popular in Juarez as the Yankees are in New York or the Cowboys are in Dallas.  But while American professional athletes live a privileged life, the Indios players live in fear that their families might be harmed by the Mexican cartels.  A few incidents that have occurred have prompted some Indios players to send their families to live in safer cities within Mexico.  The article says that fans attend Indios games that are played under intense security.  And while it says they generally tune out their fears while the Indios are playing, they quickly return to the dangerous reality of daily life in Juarez once the game ends.

Very sad the situation these good people in Mexico are forced to live within.  Hopefully the combination of the federal troops that were sent to Juarez in early 2009, and the intense media spotlight on the Cartel violence will help their situation.  In the meanwhile I know that I’ll be rooting for Los Indios de Cuidad Juarez because I’ll know each victory gives their fans something to be happy about.  Each Indios victory gives the residents of Juarez some much deserved joy that their dangerous lives might otherwise not permit.

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New York Yankees COO comes clean

Posted by ZA on March 30, 2009

A lot of executives put off the persona that nothing phases them…they subscribe to the ‘never let them see you sweat’ mantra.  But not New York Yankees COO, Lonn Trost, who will tell you exactly how he really feels.

The Yankees’ Trost had a great quote in the Newark Star-Ledger about how he is feeling coming into the 2009 baseball season.   Trost said, “Most expensive stadium, highest prices and the worst economy in history means I don’t sleep at night.  Everybody in every walk of life is suffering from the economy, and we’re no different“.

One of the most powerful people in one of the most successful sports franchises on the planet isn’t getting a good night’s sleep.  He’s worried about how the Yankees are going to fill up their luxurious, new stadium every night.  I love that Trost is so honest about the Yankees situation, because I’m not sure everyone in his position would be so candid.

Trost is probably right not to be sleeping so well, because the challenge facing the Yankees is a daunting one.  They are opening up the new Yankee Stadium at a time when discretionary spending in New York City is at one of its lowest points this decade.  The financial sector of New York has taken it squarely on the nose during this economic downturn.  The Yankees were obviously counting on selling luxury seats to many of those who were most effected.

With many of those prospects suddenly unable to buy season tickets at new Yankee Stadium, the team was forced to put those tickets on-sale to the public.  The single game ticket on-sale the Yankees offered through Ticketmaster featured scores of seats priced between $350 and $2600.  Imagine the pain the Yankees are feeling selling that $2600.00 Infield Box seat on a game-by-game basis.  The only thing worse would be not selling that seat.  Lonn Trost is a guy who is most feeling that pain.

In the long-run the New York Yankees will be fine.  But the next few seasons, particularly after the hype of this inaugural season in the new ballpark is gone, could be rougher financially than what they’ve experienced recently.  The Yankees are going to face the same challenge other MLB teams have faced for years.  They’ll be forced to watch their spending closely as they try to sell out all of their tickets.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

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