Monday, November 16, 2009

Could Pacquaio & Mayweather Fight At Yankee Stadium?

On the heels of Manny Pacquiao's 12th round TKO against Miguel Cotto that took place in the wee hours of this past Sunday morning, the New York Times wonders if the first boxing match in the New Yankee Stadium could be the biggest fight boxing has seen in quite some time:
With the undefeated Mayweather and an international superstar in Pacquiao, the biggest draws in boxing, Greenburg said the bout would deserve a “Super Bowl-type stage.” That presents an enticing option, as early as next May — Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees are interested in hosting a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight next spring, according to a person in baseball who spoke on the condition of anonymity. There have been no formal discussions, and there will not be before an agreement is reached between the fighters, but high-ranking Yankees employees have told boxing officials of their interest.
Of course, in order for this to happen, Mayweather and Pacquiao actually have to agree to fight, something that should be a foregone conclusion but isn't. One thing that promises to make these discussions difficult is the relationship between Floyd Mayweather and Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter. Floyd used to be a client of Arum's at Top Rank but bought out his contract in 2006 for Golden Boy.

Since then, lawsuits have been filed, insults heaved and Mayweather has gone so as to say that he wouldn't fight Pacquiao if Bob Arum was involved. At the press conference for the Pacquaio vs. Cotto fight that took place at Yankee Stadium, Arum was confident that Yankee Stadium would host a big fight this year but pessimistic that it would be this one.

One obvious advantage that Yankee Stadium has over anywhere in Las Vegas is seating capacity. The arena in the MGM Grand seats about 17,000 people while a fight in Yankee Stadium with the field being utilized for seating would comfortably hold over 60,000. However, the 45,000 or so marginal seats that would be gained by moving the fight to Yankee Stadium would probably average say, $75 a pop, equating to just a rounding error in comparison to where the bread will really be buttered: Pay Per View buys.

Early estimates place that number for Saturday's Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight at about 1.3 to 1.4 million (at $55 each) and should the mega fight come to fruition, it would easily surpass those numbers. Floyd makes his home in Vegas and might use the location as a bargaining chip in what are sure to be contentious fight negotiations.

Each participant would be guaranteed tens of millions of dollars. The public clearly wants to see a match up between the two best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet. Each can make the case that they are the best fighter of this generation but neither will be validated until they beat the other.

It would be cool to have such a huge event take place at Yankee Stadium, but the most important thing is that it actually does happen. When push comes to shove, I think it will. Arum and Mayweather should be able to put their personal distaste for each other aside for the sake of the almighty dollar. We all know Floyd's a fan of that.

[Update: There is a similar story about the Cowboys' new stadium, for what it's worth. The venue itself would be much more conducive to hosting a huge fight but I wonder how many tickets they could sell in Dallas, which isn't the best boxing market.]

Checking Back In With An Old Timer

What's up Fackers? It's been a while, so many have never seen one of my posts on this site and the rest have probably forgotten about me - if so, no hard feelings. I haven't written anything here in quite a long time but did lend some legal insights into this post back in May. Before that, I put together some reports on Austin Jackson early in the season and profiled several former Yankees for our countdown to Spring Training.

Well, let me introduce/re-introduce myself. My name is Joe and I am a soon-to-be attorney. I was absent the most part of this fackin' awesome season because I had to study for the New York State Bar Exam (congrats to all those who passed). Brilliant work by Jay and fellow BC Guy Matt in taking this blog from 5 readers to being attributed and acclaimed by respected baseball blogs like Shysterball, Big League Stew, River Ave. Blues and Walkoff Walk. As Jay takes a step back this offseason, I look forward to contributing more - mostly about the NFL and College Hoops. Of course, I will also provide my thoughts on the main focus of the blog, the World Champion New York Yankees.

One of my favorite posts that I did in previewing the season was detailing my talk with John, an Old Time Yanks fan, at the Albany Ancient Order of Hibernians pub. Well last Friday, I ran into John again, at the Albany AOH where he was donning his World Series Champions shirt and hat as well as a smile reminiscent of a father seeing his first born. Over a few pints of Guinness, he told me to cherish this Championship every second, because you never know when the next one is going to come. The 80 year old man also took some time to talk some trash to a few Sawx fans at the pub, which I'm sure most readers of Fack Youk can appreciate.

As one of my first posts back, I think it would be cool to rehash my first conversation with him and see how his observations look in hindsight:
Yankees Payroll: Despite being a humble, bingo-playing man, John had no qualms about the Yankees payroll. He cannot get over the fact that people start bitching about the recent signings of Teixeira, Sabathia and Burnett but fail to consider that their payroll will be less than last year. He is very pleased that the Hank/Hal tandem will continue to spend like their father. "Put the best team on the field," says the man. Many older generation fans have soured on baseball due to the ridiculous salaries of players, but John is such a dedicated fan that even at his advanced age he makes several bus trips from Albany to Yankee Stadium a year.
John was right on here. Once again, the day after the clinch, the sports radio circuit was bitching about the Yankees buying their 27th World Championship without acknowledging that the Yankees payroll decreased. Also, how about some acknowledgement for Cash signing the right guys in Teix, CC and AJ, guys who could handle the atmosphere of the Bronx and perform when it really matters, unlike those tall cranky lefties, guys who wear golden thongs, spar with concrete, smoke pot on airplanes and harass female flight attendants or wine aficionados with a nickname that begins with "Home Run"? Kudos to Hank and Hal for continuing the win at all costs strategy employed by their dad. Let's hope that the two brothers will be inspired by the events transpiring over the last glorious week and continue to do whatever it takes to please Yankees fans.
Yankees Prospects: Almost every other word out of the guy's mouth was "Jackson." Of course, he was talking about future perennial All-Star CF Austin "Action/AJax" Jackson. Knew everything about him. Cannot wait for the 5 tooler to start manning sports' most pristine real estate in 2010. If I remember correctly (don't hold me to this due to copious Guinness consumption), I think Mickey Mantle's name was even mentioned when discussing Jackson. I have no idea how he knows all of this considering I don't think he has a computer/internet access. He was also adverse to trading Ian Kennedy away.
As Matt previously stated, we didn't spend too much time on prospects this year. But, A-Jax was the International League's Rookie of the Year, finishing .300/.354/.405 with 24 SB, 4 HR, and 65 RBI. I was a bit disappointed in his power development and decrease in OBP, but think he did considering it was his first year in AAA. I would like to see him start out in Scranton and improve upon last year. Patience is the key for both Austin and Yankees fans. John appeared to be wrong, 2011 should be the year.

Dellin Betances had a much rougher year than Jackson. Before undergoing season ending Tommy John surgery in August, Betances had struggled with Double-A Trenton this season, going 2-5 with a 5.48 ERA in 11 starts. We have seen Tommy John surgery work wonders with some young pitchers, so let's see what it does with the 6'8" native New Yorker. Unfortunately, we will not find out until 2011. Get well soon, Dellin!

Another mammoth Yankees pitcher didn't have a good season either. Andrew Brackman, the 6'10" righthy from NC State who Scott Boras negotiated onto the 40-man roster after being signed out of college, had TJ surgery immediately after being picked 30th overall in the 2007 draft. The surgery caused Brackman to miss the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In 2009, the former basketball player ended his first season with 106 hits in 106.2 innings of work, 103K (8.69 K/9), walk rate of 6.41 BB/9, 5.91 ERA, and 1.71 WHIP for the A Charleston River Dogs. Brackman was much better after being placed in the bullpen in August and September but he needs obviously has a long way to go in terms of harnessing his stuff.

Jesus Montero, the 19-year old Venezuelan catcher/DH sensation had a great season down the farm, splitting 98 games between Charleston and AA Trenton. In 44 games with Trenton, Jesus hit .317/.370/.539 with 9 HR, 33 RBI. These states if extrapolated to 160 games are 30 home runs, 43 doubles, 200 hits, 121 RBIs, 80 strikeouts and 50 walks. While his offensive state improved vastly, his defensive stats declined all across the board. The good folks at Yankees Universe compared the youngster to Prince Fielder. A lot of teams should be inquiring about him this winter. If he tears up AAA next year and manages not to get traded, he should be a fixture in the Bronx beginning in 2011.
Current Outfield Situation: According to John, the CF job needs to be given to Brett Gardner. Melky needs to be released/traded due to his negative influence on Cano (who is expected to have a great comeback year). He would love to see Matsui moved but the full no-trade clause and high salary makes it virtually impossible. Nady or Swisher? Like me, he likes Nady more than Swisher but thinks Nady is a better trade option due to his salary. Likes Damon for LF.
Well, many of us at Fack Youk thought that Brett Gardner should have received the majority of the playing time and been the starting CF on the playoff roster. Looking at the season in review, the Gardy/Melky duo was very serviceable, each providing different qualities to the team. Interestingly, Melky matured greatly and came through with multiple walk off hits. Nady was obviously a non-factor, and luckily Matsui was still on the roster when the World Series rolled around.
Key to '09: The health of Posada.
I'm not sure that there was one "key" per se. Obviously the return and health of Posada was very important. Jorge's Wins Above Replacement this year was 4.0 compared to his 2009 value of 0.8. This increase wasn't even the highest on the team--that was shared by Cano (who went from .5 to 4.2) and Jeter, who many feared was entering his decline phase (3.7 to 7.4).

Although his WAR actually decreased for some reason, I thought that Andy Pettitte was one of the most important keys to the 2009 season. I actually didn't want Pettitte on the team due to the amount of money that he wanted and because of his putrid 2nd half of 2008. Well, this second half, he pitched to the tune of a 3.31 ERA, 6-3 record, and .226 BAA in 14 starts. His contributions were a major reason the Yanks fared so well from the All-Star break onward. Not to mention that he clinched the ALDS, ALCS and World Series. Will he retire on top or come back for #28?
Teixeira: The Yankees best signing in a long time. Thinks he will be at worst a Tino Martinez.
A very good comparison by John. Teixeira, in my opinion, was a better fielder than Tino this year. Not that it is an end-all, be-allm but Teix won a Gold Glove while Tino did not. How many images in your head do you have of Teix doing a split like a ballerina? Although he did not hit too particularly well in the postseason, his defense saved the team multiple times in October. Oh, I forgot, he also led the AL in RBI and HR, picking up the Silver Slugger award for AL 1B. Not too shabby. Jason who?


I hope that you enjoyed reading this revisitation. Not a bad prophesy from an old timer. I look forward to speaking with John again as the Hot Stove warms up. Let me know if you would like me to ask him something special.

Giants Figure Out A Way To Win: Do Nothing

Good morning, Fackers. Typically, the bye week during the NFL season is a welcome break for a team, but as much for the fans. A Sunday after the baseball season has concluded and without your NFL team in action seems kind of empty and aimless. However, that extra healing and preparation time is incredibly useful to the teams. And this week was particularly advantageous to the Giants, although they had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Big Blue had their best week since since blowing out the Raiders back on October 11th and they didn't even have to get off their couches. As heartbreaking and inopportune as their last minute loss of the Chargers was last week, it was nearly neutralized by the way the cards fell this weekend.

The Eagles made a trip out to San Diego but lost to the Chargers behind a resurgent LaDanian Tomlinson (96 yards, 2 TDs). The Cowboys visited Lambeau Field and were held scoreless by the Packers until there was less than one minute left in the 4th quarter. This left the 'Boys at (6-3) and the Eagles at (5-4) meaning the G-Men (5-4) are one game out of first place in the NFC and hold the edge in a tiebreaker against the Cowboys (although they don't against Philly).

The Giants' next two opponents, the Falcons and the Broncos, both lost as well. Atlanta outgained the Panthers on offense but two interceptions by Matt Ryan proved to be costly, as the 28-19 loss dropped them to (5-4) - tied with the Giants going into next week's match up. The Broncos suffered a 27-17 loss to the Redskins -their third straight. Kyle Orton was also hurt in the game and is unsure whether he'll be able to play next week. Like the Giants, the Broncos got off to a perfect start but have since hit the skids against some tougher competition and suddenly don't look so hot.

The Saints (9-0), Vikings (8-1) and Cardinals (6-3) all seem to be safe bets to win their respective divisions, but the scrum for the final three playoff spots just got a lot more interesting. The Giants, Eagles, Packers and Falcons are all sitting at (5-4) with the Cowboys just one game ahead. Chicago, Carolina and San Francisco are (4-5) but seem like longshots to end up in the postseason.

The Giants were significantly helped by the way things played out yesterday but have their work cut out for them in the near future. They play the Falcons next week at the Meadowlands and then have to travel to Denver to play on short rest on Thanksgiving. The following two weeks feature showdowns with Cowboys and Eagles.

The picture looks a whole lot rosier for the G-Men than it did after their loss to the Chargers, but that isn't saying all that much. They're squarely in the middle of the pack for the NFC Wild Card spots and will need to distinguish themselves over the next four weeks against stiff competition under difficult circumstances.