The playoffs aren’t even over … at least I don’t think so. I stopped watching after Jeter went down. Besides, I like sleep.
I’m rooting for the Cards, because the O’s got eliminated.
Not to close the season with bitterness, but I have a few problems with the Yanks and baseball in general.
You know that nothing is right when you read an article like this in the NY Times, telling me that in the biggest and best baseball town in the nation, there are empty seats at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs.
Derek Jeter was not the only person missing at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Several thousand fans were, too.On a sunny afternoon, 47,082 fans were at the stadium to watch the Yankees play Detroit in Game 2 of their best-of-seven American League Championship Series. It was the third straight playoff home game that the Yankees drew fewer than 47,200 fans, or about 3,000 short of capacity. During the previous 17 playoff home games dating to 2009, when the new Yankee Stadium opened, the Yankees averaged 50,140 fans.
The empty seats were hard to hide. On Friday, when the Yankees played the Orioles in a deciding fifth game, the announced attendance was 47,081. On Saturday, the Yankees said they had sold 47,122 tickets. Ushers were told to move fans in the upper deck into empty seats below so the unfilled sections would be less noticeable, according to Yahoo Sports [ME: This is an old Shea Stadium ploy. I'll let that one hang out there].
On Saturday, the Yankees sent e-mails to fans to alert them that tickets were still available for Sunday’s game [ME: Funny, in my dictionary an "alert" is a fire or something. The only fire here is on the Yankees' balance sheets].
The sudden decline may be the result of the new playoff format that forced the Yankees to play home games on five consecutive days. Without a day off, fans have had less time to prepare to attend games. StubHub and other online resellers had thousands of tickets available, including some for as little as $25 for Sunday’s game [ME: Why go to the stadium for the playoffs, when if you go in the regular season you get screwed on $40 seats and $10 beer?].
The Yankees are also in the playoffs so regularly that fans might be avoiding first- and second-round games assuming that the team will advance to the World Series [ME: Bullshit! The seasoned baseball fans don't have the basketball "last 2 minutes" mentality. This is why we play nine innings]. Jeter’s injury Saturday night and the team’s subsequent loss may have dampened enthusiasm as well [ME: Ya think?]
“The playoff schedule seemed to be a lot more uncertain,” Vince Gennaro, the author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball, said. “I wonder if it’s getting tougher and tougher to plan. You can’t make too many trips down there, and perhaps the expectation is that the Yankees will go deeper in the playoffs.” [ME: Let's add another round of playoffs. Let's play until Thanksgiving. That'll help].
A Yankees team official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that home teams during the playoffs have to set aside more tickets than usual for league officials, sponsors and visiting teams. About 1,000 of those tickets were returned for Saturday’s game and the Yankees did not have enough time to sell them to the public [ME: Bullshit! The tickets are likely issued on a consignment basis and the Yanks probably knew about it in advance, but were unable to do anything about it].
The bigger problem, the official said, is that fans have become used to shopping for bargains on Web sites like StubHub rather than paying full price at the box office [ME: Bullshit! this is terrible reporting, tickets for seats that you want are not available at StubHub for reasonable prices. Must be a different StubHub than the one I use].
“The reality is there are thousands of tickets on the secondary market, so why would anyone buy our few remaining tickets,” the official said, noting that more than 17,000 tickets were available for resale to Sunday’s game. “We don’t control our own box office anymore.” [ME: This is what happens when Shylock requires his pound of flesh].
The reality: guys like me – day job, family, a little money to spend – won’t buy your passes from the Yiddish craigslist hustlers you’ve dispatched all over Manhattan, because I have an “unexpected” aversion to a dick up my ass.
It’s an embarrassment on top of embarrassments – on top of ARod’s ridiculous showing, on top of Nick Swisher’s very sudden hey-I’ll-see-you-guys-later free agent blather, on top of 40-year-old DH Raul Ibanez being the last man standing, on top of Cano swinging through every first pitch as if by decree.
But that’s just the Yanks. Baseball has bigger problems, the Yanks are simply the bellweather.
Empty seats and dark TVs happen when:
- you allow third-party buyers to snatch up all the tickets in advance (“tickets on sale now” is a sick joke) at discounted prices so that you can tell your financers that you’ve sold out, while the third-parties release the tickets on to the streets with sky-high markups.
- you start games at 8pm on the East Coast, because the real world has children to wash dishes for and the real world has work tomorrow that the real world can not zombie through the next day because you are looking for a nation-wide payoff.
- you close off the local fan base, who buy your cheap, Chinese-made, massively upcharged licensed swag, you close off the local fan base by pricing them out of the stadium and issuing tickets to third parties who in turn release them into the tourist and local corporate handout markets.
- you have umpires who miss calls by five feet or more, and mobbed-up pigeon-feeders like Joe Torre are the official arbiters of fair play using cutting-edge technology.
- TBS has the rights to an East Coast game and we have to listen to the omniscient John Smoltz prattle on about strike calls using the computer thingy. (It was nice for me, however, to hear Cal Ripken Jr. send one across Smoltz’s chin regarding Braves pitchers being notorious for getting the strike called on balls outside during Smoltz’s heyday, with which Smoltz, who obviously gets his rear shined by the TBS crew, responded with pregnant silence).
- the computer thingy has one purpose and one purpose alone, and that’s to be a surrogate for your own fuckin’ eyes. Because as we all know, a computer thingy can’t possibly be wrong, or be used to mislead.
It’s becoming dreadfully clear to sports owners that sports is a pastime, not a profitable endeavor. The more this underlying fundamental is avoided, the more distorted the game will be. The distortions run from the size of hitters’ biceps, to foul balls becoming fair by five feet or more, to safe being the new out, to an Atlanta-based broadcast outlet calling a Yankee game, to ARod’s leering smile, to a playoff schedule that can seem to milk the cow enough, to barnstorming Japan, to ridiculous international series.
Somewhere there is a baseball game being played according to the rules of the game, according to the fundamentals of the game. It is not televised. There are no contracts signed. It is not financed. It is simply played.
Some day, MLB will collapse under its own weight and have to start over according to fundamentals. I’ll take my kids to a game, maybe, then. In the meantime, it’s a long slow goodbye.