Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yankees: "Nothing's F___ed Here, Dude"

Part of an email from New York Yankees Ticket News:

Yankees Seats Between The Bases:

We are happy to announce that a limited number of Season Plan seat locations are now available in select infield seating areas between the bases of the new Yankee Stadium. Season Plans between the bases are the best way to ensure the finest general seat locations for 2009, the inaugural season of the new Yankee Stadium.

Buy Seats Between The Bases Now »

Number One: You are not "happy to announce that a limited number of Season Plan seat locations are now available in select infield seating areas...". Yes, we are thrilled that some of the most expensive seats in our Stadium are still unsold!

"A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY"... you hear that, folks? This reminds me of the infomerical for some shitty gold coin or an Obama plate that they are calling a "collector's item".
"Due to strong demand, there is a limit of two victory plates per caller".

Actually, no. Due to weak demand, you have to advertise. Do people really fall for this shit? I can only buy two??? They must be valuable!!! Nevermind the fact that nothing ever purchased on an infomercial or QVC has ever increased in value. They don't sell things that are rare, or that actual collectors want on TV.

They are even having an Open House so you can select the seats!!!!
A limited number of Field Level seats between the bases and Yankees Premium Season Seat Licenses are still available.

Come to Yankee Stadium to meet with a Yankees Account Representative and view the best available locations, which feature spectacular views and numerous amenities. During the Open House Select a Seat, guests will be able to "try-out" seat locations for all ticket packages, including Full and Partial Plans.
"Try-out"? Does that mean you get to, like, sit in them? Get the Yankees to play an exhibition game for people, and you might get some of them to think about dropping a minimum of $325 per ticket.

The Quote Of The Day

...comes from Jason at It Is About The Money, Stupid, and coincidentally is about the money (stupid):
Maybe the Yanks have become a giant Ponzi scheme of their own. Bigger and bigger contracts and longer and longer commitments, all funded by a scheme of a shiny new ballpark with all the bells and whistles. But if the team slumps and that leads to attendance slumps, could we see some major changes due to solvency issues?
God, that is frightening. Unfortunately, it also makes a whole lot of sense. The same things that were seen as tremendous opportunities heading into Spring Training now seem like potential liabilities.

The New Stadium, which was supposed to create a thrust of new revenue, has large vacancies in the most expensive areas. The Yankees aren't divulging the extent to which tickets remain unsold, but the fact that they were advertising them during a Spring Training game is a terrible sign. The plan for the New Stadium was to keep the upper deck seats affordable by charging the corporations who were going to buy the luxury boxes and field level seats through the nose because of their lack of price sensitivity.

That dynamic no longer exists. Companies are pinching pennies everywhere you look, and to many of them, not having to fire an extra employee or two is worth not getting season tickets. What now? The Yankees can't lower the prices for the seats that remain unsold without royally pissing off those who have already paid full price.

There are on-the-field considerations as well. That one guy, the steroid user with 9 years on his contract and the bad hip. I was a lot more optimistic about his future about 40 days ago. As Jason points out in his post, Sabathia and Teixeira were both great acquisitions, but they were acquired at premium prices and are unlikely to look like bargains at any point in their deals. Five years of A.J. Burnett at $16.5M per... ditto.

Could the Yankees, once (and probably still) a blue chip stock, ever fall so far as to deal with solvency issues? Most of that depends on the on-field product. If they are winning, the New Stadium will be packed. However, if the Yanks are drifting lifelessly through August and September like they were last year, they are going to be a whole lot more empty seats this time around.

More Details On Kellerman's Departure Emerging

(h/t commenter Myth)

The Daily News is starting to fill in some of the blanks on the sudden departure of Max Kellerman from 1050 ESPN Radio (not in order of appearance):
There was major friction over the format of "The Max Kellerman Show." The format was in flux no matter the state of the show's ratings. A partner (Brian Kenny) was added but left. Other parts of Kellerman's studio crew were shuffled or jettisoned. Sources said Kellerman was particularly angered when management dumped his producer Robin Lundberg.
Kellerman had brought Lundberg along with him as an intern at Around the Horn, to a Producer on I, Max on Fox and most recently to be his producer on 1050. Lundberg provided hilarious on-air quips and one-liners, but also seemed quite competent in his role as producer, at least from a listener's perspective.
"Max wasn't happy when the show was cut back (an hour)," [1050 Executive Tim] McCarthy said. "He wanted to do other things and we just obliged him. We could have held him (to the contract) but I've never worked that way. It doesn't make sense to do that. It's not fair to Max, not fair to the other people here, not fair to our listeners."
It's sort of a dick move on Kellerman's part to force his way out, but he had already worked his was up from a two hour to a three hour slot, and saw his on-air time being cut back by the person he was brought into replace.

It was discussed in the comments of the previous post, and by Simon and myself over email, but this is worth bringing forward.

Cowherd's show has no place in New York City.

He is extremely College Football centric, which most New Yorkers (especially people native to the area) have minimal interest in. He knows next to nothing about baseball, which FJM expertly (and hilariously) took him to task for, once upon a time.

The reason Kellerman was popular here was not only because he had a completely unique perspective, it was because that perspective was highly localized. Max literally proclaimed New York City as "the center of the known Universe" and ran his show accordingly. He doted on the Yankees, Giants and Knicks, but also covered the Mets and Jets before looking out to the rest of the sports world. Cowherd isn't going to devote 1/100th of the time Max did to NY teams.
Industry sources said Kellerman's representative has already had a preliminary conversation with the FANdroids, but was told to return when he was not under contract to ESPN-1050.

Now, that's the case. When asked if there was any business going down with Kellerman, WFAN operations chief Mark Chernoff would only say: "We are looking for a partner for Mike. Mike wants a partner. If people are interested in talking to us we are interested in talking to them."
This just doesn't make sense to me. I'm not that excited to hear the two of them together. I don't like Francesa at all, and am not interested in listening to them shout each other down, Francesa with his "sauces" and Kellerman with his analytical perspective. It would take both of them toning down their style, which would make (2+2=3).

Why don't they tell Benigno & Roberts to take a hike, put Kellerman in the 10-1 slot, and steal all of Kellerman's listeners from 1050? I've sort of built my schedule around listening to the radio in the morning and then cranking down on work later in the day. Perhaps some of Kellerman's other loyal listeners have developed similar habits. I'm guessing they would be a whole lot more likely to tune the dial over to WFAN at 10:00AM, than listen to two hours of Brandon Tierney and an hour of Colin Cowherd, as opposed to waiting until 1:00 when Francesa comes on. If Max becomes Francesa's co-host, the worst part of my day is now the worst part of my day again.

Despite the fact that Michael Kay isn't all that well liked around New York City, Yankee fans can still tune in knowing that during the baseball season, he's probably going to be talking about their team. It wouldn't be total a no-brainer to listen to Francesa and Kellerman.

There's also the potential for Francesa to lose listeners because Kellerman tends to rub people, especially older people (who make up much of his listenership), the wrong way. Younger listeners are more likely to get his references to Wu-Tang and the Juggernaut (Bitch) and not necessarily mind his constantly self-congratulatory on-air presence.

WFAN, don't stack your talent to the roof in the one slot you have that's already popular. You must be hurting for the 18-34 year old male demographic in the earlier part of the day, and this is the perfect opportunity to attract some of that in a big way. I'm yours for the taking.

Joba Strong, Cone Wrong, Shelly Goes Long

[Last night was the first chance I've had to catch any Spring Training action this year. Although the games are not at all compelling, it's a great thing to have on in the background while you cook some dinner and dig your apartment out from a couple weeks of neglect.

It also serves the purpose of establishing some sort of a game recap posting convention for when the regular season rolls around. For now there are screen grabs and some commentary, but nothing too analytical. There are
plenty of places you can get that stuff at a higher level than I am capable of.]

Joba looked strong and struck out 3 in his three innings, and topping out at 96mph. He needed only 29 pitches (20 strikes) to get through the Reds, allowing one run on three hits without walking a batter.

A fastball on the outside to Jay Bruce. As you can see, Joba was already halfway to the dugout before the ump finished his punch out. Disgraceful.
A slider on the outside corner that Brandon Phillips didn't have a shot at.
And a breaking ball right over the dish that froze Juan Encarnacion.
I wasn't going to bring this up, but David Cone made this ass-backwards point twice:
"...we kind of touched on it earlier, how effective [Nady] was as a Yankee. He had a great year in Pittsburgh, but when he came over in the trade with Damaso Marte... he was solid. And really, probably the reason Bobby Abreu wasn't re-signed was because of how well Xavier Nady played for the Yankees last year so they know he's a right field option for them... And he's the reason that Bobby Abreu was not re-signed."
He's right. Except he's completely wrong. Here are Xavier Nady's splits by team last year:
  • Pirates - .330/.383/.535 (144 OPS+)
  • Yankees - .268/.320/.474 (105 OPS+)
He was excellent with the Pirates last year, but barely above league average offensively as a corner outfielder in his time with the Yanks. He did have 12 HRs in 59 games with the Yanks as opposed to 13 in 89 games with the Pirates, which in a way is worse, because those stats already take that into account, meaning he was more of an all or nothing hitter with the Bombers.

I'd say the "the reason" they didn't sign Bobby Abreu was that he was looking for a 3 year deal when the free agency period began and Nady was only arbitration eligible. Ironically, however, Nady ended up getting a $6.55M contract, while Abreu was forced to settle for $5M.


Leading in to the top of the third inning, YES showed the following message:

I don't think this is your target market, Yankees Ticket Sales. How many people do you think were watching the third inning of a Spring Training game saying to themselves, "Hey, I was wondering what I could do with that $52,650 I have just sitting around! Field Level Yankees season tickets... Why didn't I think of that?"

"LIMITED TIME ONLY"? If they were really going so fast, they probably wouldn't have to advertise their availability. Yes, it will be a limited amount of time until the prices are lowered. So... "PURCHASE TODAY!"

I'm all for the Field Level subsidizing the rest of the stadium with ridiculously inflated ticket prices, like Lon Trost and others have claimed it does. But if they are going to sit empty, that sort of fucks that plan in the ear, no?


A high-five, Shelly? You just hit a three run homer. What happened to the signature Shelly Duncan Forearm Bash(c) ??? My sincere guess is that word came down from the front office that he needed to stop because he was probably going to hurt someone.

P.S. I don't care if Kei Igawa pitched two perfect innings, I'd still rather pretend he doesn't exist.