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First Day of Camp – Link Roundup

with 212 comments

Lots of stuff to review.  First, make sure you hit SNY.com for great video coverage – including Sweeny Murti with a Hughes Clues pitch limit teaser (“upper-hundreds”).  Good David Wright dugout audio there as well to compliment this rave-up.  David looking a little slim – swing for the gaps!  Question: is it David Wright’s team now?  Because it isn’t this guy’s anymore.

YES.com coverage is lousy and the cable channel is running AB Rocket commercials, Yankee Magazine reruns, and a “tower racing” documentary this morning.  But I’m not complaining.  Camera crews are expensive!  Keep that money in the payroll, Hal!  Hire a blogger to shoot “them white bases!”

I’ve lost respect for Mark McGwire, again.  It’s not what you think.  Just caught some interview footage, noticed that he now speaks (in public) with that coed-ish upward question mark lilt at the end of every sentence.

Example (regarding being a coach versus being a special instructor):

good: “I’m not the type of guy to come down to spring training and teach a couple of guys but not be with them.  It’s really hard for them to understand.”

gay: “I’m not the type of guy to come down to spring training and teach a couple of guys but not be with them?  It’s really hard for them to understand?”

I don’t know, Mark, you’re the fuckin’ record-setting home run hitter here, you should know.  Don’t ask me?  Uh, affirm yourself, umkay? Uhm, miss the hormones much?

I am VERY excited about Javier Vazquez taking the hill again with the Yanks.  He is a gracious player, and displayed that graciousness no matter how badly he ran aground in his first stint in the Bronx.  I dig a talented veteran who returns with something to prove.  Javier’s a darkhorse to lead the staff in K’s this year, and will provide plenty of cover fire at the back of the rotation for Joba Chamberlain to let it fly for his first year of freedom from pitch counts.

Finally, this link courtesy of  “Brazzone” Leviathan pounding the keys late last night in a bleary-eyed fervor: the newest change of climate in Red Sock baseball.  Why score runs when you can prevent them, especially if you can prevent runs scored by your own team.

I know I know, it’s complicated, I’m a caveman, I’m not getting it, I should shut up and listen to the calculations until my eyes roll back into their sockets and my ears leak oatmeal.  Each layer of math on top of 3 outs, 4 bases, and 9 innings only reveals the truth more pristinely.

OK let’s review (read it with the coed question-y accent):

  1. RBIs are not important, but HRs are?
  2. I should pay attention to BBs, but not Ks?
  3. Range is important, but age isn’t?
  4. The Yankees didn’t win last year?

Written by Ryan

February 18, 2010 at 8:04 am

Thus Spake the Testy Oracles

Looks like the college graduates over at Baseball Prospectus have uttered more sooth unto the unwashed masses, who are barely able to count their thumbs.

Bottom line, Yanks are third and Mets are fourth in 2010.

Let’s review:

In 2007, they got it wrong.

In 2008, they got it wrong.

In 2009, they got it wrong.

Alas, I am but a lowly protohuman sneering and baying at the Monolith of the Baseball Intelligensia, a smallbrain hunched and rolling within the shadow of ADVANCED CALCULAMETRICATIONS:

Written by Ryan

January 28, 2010 at 10:42 pm

BOSTON BOMBSHELL

Yanks loseMets win.

Standings.

Yankees + Fox + Playoff Contender = Debacle.  That’s the formula.  Jerry Hairston Jr. gets an “A” but only for effort.  CC Sabathia can hopefully pick up the pieces today at 2pm versus Mark Buehrle.

The Mets are not going quietly.  Evidently, Carlos Beltran is taking batting practice.  Today at 1pm it’s Jon Garland vs. El Girafe.

BOMBSHELL!

The Mitchell Report’s far reaching probe, which went as far down I-95 as the Hudson River, didn’t detect these two winners dealing PEDs in the Fenway parking lot out of the trunks of their SUVs.  This news is a year old, by the way.  Special thanks to the AP for burying the story for so long:

Report: Red Sox fired 2 staffers in steroid probe

Associated Press

Sunday, Aug. 2, 2009 – 10:30 a.m. ET

BOSTON — A Boston newspaper is reporting the Red Sox fired two security staffers last summer after an investigation into steroid use.

Jared Remy, the son of Red Sox television commentator Jerry Remy, and Nicholas Alex Cyr both told the Boston Globe they used steroids, but denied any knowledge of drug use by players.

The Red Sox issued a statement saying they worked with Major League Baseball in investigating the staffers, but said that investigation is confidential. Major League Baseball said its investigation was “thorough and detailed.”

The Globe says state police confiscated a vial of steroids from Cyr’s car just before last year’s All-Star break and Cyr told police he had bought the drug from Remy.

Apparently, the two guys with all the keys to Fenway Park were milling around as late as 2008, one of which is the son of a long-time broadcaster.  The culture of corruption continues to show it’s massive bulk as the waters recede.  Exit question: why haven’t the NY papers picked up on this yet?

And the Yankee fans simply nod their heads.

Written by Ryan

August 2, 2009 at 10:59 am

“That’s Why He Went in the 9th Round”

with 52 comments

…PART 2 of 5…

In part 2 of my series outlining 5 Red Sock stories that are deserving of NY Sports Media coverage, yet remain snow jobbed, I will now tell the tale of just how the Red Sox spent 10 long years setting themselves up to get completely owned by the Yanks and their successful pursuit of Mark Teixeira.

I present the following frame-by-frame account of the slow-motion train wreck that was the Red Sox’s role in the Mark Teixeira negotiations, from a fan’s perspective, sitting calmly, as it were, on a tractor in a nearby field while the derailment and carnage ensued.  For the purpose of posterity:

1876 The National League is chartered, beginning a long, continuous line of professional baseball leagues to the modern day.

1920 Babe Ruth is sold by Harry Frazee to the New York Yankees for $125,000 cash, a $350,000 mortgage on Fenway Park, a Cubano sandwich, a flask of abysinthe, and a busted Victrola.

1998 An 18-yr-old Mark Teixeira, widely assumed to be a first-round pick in the Amateur Draft,  is drafted in the 9th round by the Boston Red Sox.  Mark turns down their $1.5M signing bonus and instead enrolls at Georgia Tech, taking new friend Scott Boras’ advice.  Years later, Mark would declare to Baseball America:

They said take it or leave it. It was a decent bonus, but it wasn’t what we were looking for, and we didn’t want to cap our negotiation before the draft even happened. It’s unfair and illegal to go to a kid and say, “We haven’t drafted you yet, we may or may not draft you, but if you don’t take 1.5 we’re not going to draft you.” What would you say? There’s 29 other teams out there–why would I ever cap myself before the draft even happens?…I was naive…The Red Sox told everybody that I wouldn’t sign, and when it got to a late enough round, they said, “Let’s take a flier on him.” So they spoiled me for everyone else–the only one that would draft me was them.

Dan Duquette, then the Red Sox general manager, said it was ‘common knowledge’ that Teixeira would be difficult to sign:

That’s why he went in the ninth round.”

2001 Mark wins the Dick Howser Trophy as the National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year…later that year, the Texas Rangers draft the college graduate as the 5th overall pick…

2002 Advances through the minor leagues….

2003 Rookie year; hits 26 homeruns…

2005 Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, All Star, Sets a record for switch-hitters with 144 RBIs…

July 2007 Traded to the Atlanta Braves mid-season…

July 2008 Traded to the LA Angels mid-season, where he preps for free agency.

9/30/08 Meanwhile, the Yankees fall hard, and do not make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.  The consensus of speculation is that first base will be fielded by a clipped-wing Jorge Posada, that Robbie Cano will be traded, that Matt Holliday is the big free agent target in the crosshairs, and that the Yanks will pursue pitching above all else.

10/16/08 Speculation on the Yankee offseason continues at full throttle.  It seems every Tom, Dick, and Harry has their own plan for Yankee Success ’09, including this projected lineup [that includes pictures!] from Bill Madden with the Daily News.

10/31/08 Mark Teixeira files for free agency.  The Elias Sports Bureau quickly rates him the top free agent in the 2008 class.

11/4 The Yankees, predictably, decline Jason Giambi’s contract option, bid goodbye to the aging slugger, and clear a conspicuous vacancy at first base.

11/9 Anthony McCarron hints of the possibility of Tex going to the Yankees.  The article attracts very little attention [24 total comments] upon it’s 6:30am publication on that Sunday morning; the Jets won big the night before, Andy Pettitte had just filed for free agency himself, and, oh yeah, Mike Lupica issues his weekly installment about the tax burden of the new stadiums on the good people of wauh bluah blahh….

11/13 The Yanks acquire Nick Swisher, in a move roundly applauded by fans.  Cashman toasts the deal:

“I know one thing about Nick Swisher from afar…He’s a very competitive player. He’s a grinder. He plays at one level at all times.”

Girardi waxes gleeful:

“We’re excited with the addition of Nick Swisher…We feel he has a ton of upside. He’s a patient switch-hitter, adds versatility at a number of defensive positions, including first base and the outfield, and will be a positive presence inside the clubhouse.”

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com suggests that the lineup is finalized:

It originally seemed as if the Yankees would attempt to fill that void by throwing money at Mark Teixeira, far and away the top free-agent first baseman on the market. And even though Cashman said that the addition of Swisher wouldn’t preclude him from pursuing Teixeira, it stands to reason that Girardi’s lineup is now all but set heading into 2009.  Instead of spending money on a first baseman, the Yankees can now focus almost exclusively on pitching — their top priority all along.

11/14 Negotiations between free agents and teams may officially begin.  GM Brian Cashman puts his first call into the C.C. Sabathia camp.

11/18 Nick Swisher is interviewed by Mike Francesa on WFAN, a NYC AM radio station, where “new Yankee first baseman” introduces himself as a “part of the puzzle [heh heh]”:

Swisher on FAN

11/25 Reports from the Dominican Republic of Robinson Cano’s greatly improved workout ethic emerge, along with the announcement of his promotion in the lineup to batting 3rd or 5th.  Batting coach Kevin Long declares:

“If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be, he has to learn about the strike zone and taking a lot more often than not…He can do that, because he hits as well as anybody with two strikes.”

12/2 The Yanks decline to offer arbitration to Bobby Abreu, one of their top sluggers.  The internet buzzes with speculation on the 2009 Yankee lineup; most figure a more muscular and revitalized Robinson Cano, along with ARod, Nady, Swisher, and Matsui in the middle of the order.

12/7 Brian Cashman heads out to the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas:

Pitching remains a top priority…Cashman would not specify what areas of need he saw for the Yankees, beyond starting pitching. “We’re open to anything that makes us better,” he said. “I have players at positions who are set, but I also have flexibility.”

12/9 Cashman makes a personal visit, upon invitation, to CC Sabathia’s home in California.  He seemingly jokes about 1-way flying coach [the Red Sox booked a private jet to court Daisuke Matsuzaka] with a single comment that subtly foreshadows the carnage yet to ensue on Yawkey Way:

We’re not the Red Sox.”

12/10 News breaks of CC Sabathia signing with the Yanks.  The free agent market floodgates are officially open. But the Yankees’ final intent is far from revealed, and the media has no inkling of the twist in the tracks that Boston is speeding into:

Jon Heyman / SI: “..they are also in serious negotiations with free-agent Derek Lowe. An agreement with Lowe appears likely to be finalized in the coming days, as well….The Yankees, though, are intent on adding three starters and are also talking with A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets. They are hopeful of adding one of those two pitchers to round out their rotation.”

Providence Journal:Reports surfaced yesterday that the Red Sox are likely to land free-agent Mark Teixeira. Several media outlets reported Boston GM Theo Epstein has made it a priority this offseason to sign the slugging first baseman.”

The Great Jay Jaffe / Baseball Prospectus: “Cashman made fixing the rotation his top priority…On the other hand, their offense in 2008 was mediocre…I’ve argued elsewhere that the Yankees should have instead pursued Mark Teixeira, the free-agent market’s top hitter…”

Buster Olney / ESPN: “Sabathia was more than just the No. 1 prize on the free-agent market. He was the centerpiece of their entire offseason game plan….And had the Yankees not been able to land him, they might have shifted philosophies and made a major play for the biggest bats on the market, Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez.”

Bill Madden / NY Daily News: “”It’s all but done, but there are still a lot of things that have to be worked out,” said a club source.  Cashman was heading back here for the winter meetings and was expected to resume negotiations with the agents for free-agent pitchers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.”

Peter Gammons: John Smoltz wants to come back for another season. He is throwing and thinks he will be ready early next season. The Red Sox have been given his medicals and videos. The feeling is that Boston might be a good fit.”

12/13 The Washington Post cites Yankee sources as declaring the Yanks out of the Tex running:

To this point, the Yankees have signaled a firm no, but if there is any chance at all of it happening, agent Scott Boras would almost certainly give it all the time it needed to happen. One clue might have come when the Yankees and pitcher A.J. Burnett agreed to a reported five-year, $82.5 million deal yesterday….One Yankees executive as far back as mid-November insisted the team would not be bidding on Teixeira, as their focus was on pitching. With ace left-hander CC Sabathia already in the fold and Burnett about to sign, the Yankees still may not be done, with veterans Andy Pettitte and Derek Lowe also on their radar screen.

12/14 The New York Post lists the Yankees among Tex’s secondary suitors, then quickly mentions Manny Ramirez as the targeted alternative free agent slugger that the Yanks would really try for.

12/16 Yankees.com reports that “Teixeira decision is likely coming soon”.  The probables:

Teixeira is known to have eight-year offers, of varying financial value, from the Angels, Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals. Ravech includes among the interested teams the Yankees, who are not believed to have yet made an offer, and indicates that the Orioles have a strong attraction for Teixeira, who is originally from Annapolis, Md.

12/18 NY Newsday quotes anonymous Yankee officials backing off Teixeira:

“We’re monitoring the situation, but we have not made an offer.  We may not make an offer.  If the money gets too rich, then we won’t

Meanwhile, multiple media outlets report that Red Sox officials are in Texas, where Teixeira lives, to meet with agent Scott Boras.  Some Boston sites already declare Boston is the frontrunner.

12/19 Early in the morning, Boston owner John Henry sends a now infamous email to the Boston media:

“We met with Mr. Teixeira and were very much impressed with him. After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor.”

To which Scott Boras responds,

“The Boston ownership was kind enough to request and travel to meet with Mark Teixeira. While it was a very positive meeting, Mark was candid and advised he is in the process of making a decision and is now attempting to eliminate teams.”

**Editor’s Note: Later that morning, LibertyBoyNYC laughs his ass off.

Later that day, Terry Francona and Theo Epstein are denied comment at a press conference announcing an unrelated business partnership:

Just 15 hours after Henry sent that e-mail, Epstein and Boston manager Terry Francona did not speak at a news conference at Logan Airport, which lasted about 15 minutes…Epstein and Francona were escorted away as the news conference was ending.

[That evening, Kevin Youkilis announces that he is, now, ready to move back to third base to accomodate Mark Teixeira.  There are no comments on record from current Red Sock thirdbaseman Mike Lowell.]

The suddenly panicked Nation rallies behind their image of Dear Leader John Henry, chanting bluff! BluffBluffBluff!

Ken Rosenthal wonders,

The Yankees seem disinclined to sign Teixeira if his price soars to the $180 million to $200 million range.  Funny time for them to find religion, don’t you think?

The Yankees, in the opinion of one rival general manager, should be pursuing Teixeira as aggressively as they did left-hander CC Sabathia.

“Teixeira is the only great player the Red Sox are after,” the GM says. “If the Yankees get Sabathia and Teixeira, the Red Sox can’t counter that. There’s nothing they can do.”

12/20 Peter Gammons assures Red Sox Nation that all is well on the Red Sox Express Train.  The ride was just getting bumpy and rest assured, all is well – despite Scott Boras diving off into the underbrush, despite the hydraulic wailing of steel brakes, and despite the flames slithering about the head and ankles.

Gammons is in control here:

…We don’t know whether the Angels, were they to lose Teixeira, would turn to Manny Ramirez. We don’t know whether Randy Levine, Hank Steinbrenner and the Yankees could win out and buy Ramirez. We don’t know whether the Red Sox will decide not to pony up and sign Teixeira…Yankees GM Brian Cashman flew to Sabathia’s house during the winter meetings…because he feared that if Teixeira signed quickly with the Red Sox or the Nationals and the Angels then approached Sabathia…he might give them the California discount…For two years, it has been the Red Sox’s plan to sign Teixeira. That plan remains. What remains to be seen is whether the Red Sox can quantify what Boras does or does not have in offers…

12/22 A Nation turns it’s lonely eyes to Bill Madden, who simply sends out more smoke, railing against Boras and his mechanism of suckering owners into spending more than they want to.  The word “Yankees” does not appear in the column a single instance:

…Boras potentially had the perfect storm of ingredients to make yet another record score – two of the wealthiest large-market teams, the Red Sox and Angels, desperate to have Teixeira’s bat, and a perennial doormat, the Washington Nationals, desperate to generate enthusiasm from their disillusioned fan base…the Nats’ Ted Lerner more and more looks to be emerging as this year’s prime candidate for the “One Dumb Owner” (in the mold of Texas’ Tom Hicks) Boras always seems to bamboozle…apparently, the Red Sox’s and Angels’ offers for Teixeira are not even approaching $200 million – Boras’ downscaled figure – and that’s why he invoked his patented “mystery team” card on Henry.

12/23 Mark Teixeira signs with…the Yankees.

Jon Heyman breaks the story:

Teixeira, who hit .308 with 33 home runs and 121 RBIs in 2008, will receive an eight-year, $180 million deal from the Yankees with a full no-trade provision…

…It appears as if the Yankees were given the last chance to sign Teixeira, an indication that New York was near the top of his list all along. The Yankees quietly remained in contact with the Teixeira camp, but after spending $243.5 million on star starting pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, they didn’t appear anxious to be the market setter.

2009 Mark Teixeira dons the Pinstripes:

I’ve been very blessed in my career, very lucky to play with some great players, and now I’m getting to play with the greatest organization in sports history, with some of the greatest players in sports history.

I’ve always said ever since I was a rookie that no one is going to expect more out of me than I expect out of myself. I’ve been given an incredible gift and I believe that I have yet to tap my potential and I’m trying to get better, I’m trying to find ways to get better, so I know there’s a lot of responsibility but you know my character says, hey, I’m trying to get better I haven’t accomplished anything yet.

I don’t have a World Series ring on my finger so I think it’s going to be a give and take. I know that you guys are going to expect a lot out of me, the fans of New York expect a lot out of me, but at the same time I expect more out of myself so it’s going be to be a lot of fun.

I think it says a lot about the Yankees organization that a kid that grew up in Baltimore, had season tickets to Baltimore Orioles games, and would cheer for every other player in the world except for Don Mattingly. Don Mattingly was my guy and people say, why not Cal? Why not Eddie? And I say I love Cal, I love Eddie, but there’s something about Don Mattingly. I would go to Orioles games, my dad would take me to O’s games and I would wear a Yankees hat. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s that wasn’t a safe thing to do in Baltimore, but it was worth it. That’s just a part of being a Yankee that there’s something above everything else, no matter where you are, no matter what stadium you’re in, there’s Yankees fans everywhere and being a Yankee there’s nothing better.

This process was so confusing at some times. Sometimes I told Scott, hey stop calling me (laughs), and then I’d call him five times a day, hey what’s going on, what’s going on. My wife and I decided probably two weeks before Christmas, ‘Hey, the Yankees is where we want to be.

I was very impressed with Cash when he came out to Washington. We met with a bunch of teams. You know it took Scott and I probably a month just to narrow it down to five teams that we would want to negotiate with. Cash made me a nice little video of Yankee Stadium and he put his college recruiting pitch in there and I was impressed.

I’ve always wanted to be with an organization that doesn’t shy away from the big money players, free agents, and doing whatever it takes to win, and the Yankees are on the top of that list.

That’s why he went in the ninth round.”…


Written by Ryan

January 29, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Snow Job – The Biggest Baseball Stories That Are Getting Buried

PART 1 of 5

As I gazed out of the kitchen window into a winter wonderland this morning, I couldn’t help but feel that the entire Northeast has been thoroughly snowed over.  I opened the computer and clicked into the web,  I couldn’t help but feel that the entire NY sports world has been thoroughly snow-jobbed. 

Mort Zuckerman’s printing presses have been pumping out reams of yellow paper criticizing the Yankees on all levels. 

Since a week ago, I number no less than 16 articles associated with the Joe Torre book, which contains “fresh” storylines that have been running plots for 14 years now, “revealing quotes” that are simply rehashes and/or summations, and “revelations” that, likely, any Yankee fan could tell you about off the top of his/her head.  Even more confounding, it seems a cottage industry has popped up like a Liliputian tent city around Joe Torre’s aching belly, illiciting the greatest attention and hubub from every ominous gurgle and resonating fart.

Since January ’07, I count 3 weekly articles recycling unfounded accusations of tax fraud and embezzlement on public funds involving the new stadium, even though a multitude of civic officials and boards have roundly and soundly OK’d the stadium deals [whose beginnings trace some 10 years back].  New reporters keep taking the handoff, never imagining that the vast majority of baseball fans in the city want new stadiums.  Frankly, it’s been like watching a rotating lineup of enthusiastic midgets take turns at trying a slam-dunk.  They’re having fun, so why tell them it’s an impossible dream?

Since the Mitchell Report [how long ago now??], I tab 5 articles weekly involving Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee, etc. even though those parties have long been de-attached from the Yankees, Mets, and baseball.  Thanks to Mike Lupica and the I-Team, I now have a better window on the current status of Clemens’ buttcheeks than the seat of his luckiest pair of jeans.

In the interest of fairness I will post no less than 5 scandal-worthy stories about the Sox [a good target to begin with], that I hereby report for the public good.  Today’s installment is quite the doozy:

The Pedroia Family Secret

My sympathy to the victims and family.  I consider this my contribution to Megan’s Law.

While the scandalous details of the deterioration of ARod’s family, including detailed accounts of his wife’s jaunts to France with Lenny Travis, have been announced, re-announced, discussed, dissected, summated, and outlined since last summer, the shocking true story of Dustin’s older brother Brett and his cavorting with 8-year-old boys is buried in the Boston papers under 5 inches of snow, and utterly invisible in the NY papers.  From the Boston Herald link above:

Lt. Charles Wilts, spokesman for the Woodland (Calif.) Police Department, said Brett Philip Pedroia was arrested Jan. 9 for sex crimes involving a then 8-year-old boy in 2004.

Wilts said Pedroia, 30, was charged with two counts of lewd acts with a child under the age of 13 and two acts of oral copulation with a minor, both felonies. The spokesman added the alleged sex crimes took place in a home in January 2004.  He declined to say where the residence was located or whose home it was.

Pedroia’s family owns a tire business in Woodland, a city of 53,000 people about 20 miles north of Sacramento. The defendant, Wilts said, “may have worked for the family business.”

The Red Sox are distancing themselves from this already:

Reportedly, Dustin Pedroia, 25, and his brother are not close and have not spoken in recent years.

Really?  Not close to the brother who works in the family business?  Here’s a proud Dustin in a local tire store commercial up in “-aaaah” territory, bragging about his family business and the “experiences” he gained there:

Coincidentally, if that tire guy doesn’t look like a child molester, I don’t know who does.  C’mon, the bony build, the vacuously shark-like eyes, the bright green shirt, the pasty face, the hair? 

But don’t get me wrong – I’m not piling on little Dustin while his family braces to undergo what shapes up to be a very difficult trial.  I’m just saying that right now would be the perfect time to start the “Dustin Pedroia Speak Up Foundation for Victims of Sex Abuse”.  Right now would not be a good time to put yourself at arm’s length from the scandal, because it simply makes him look like he, himself, has something to hide.  Why not shine a big bright spotlight on it all and say, “we can wrench some positivity from this terrible event”?  Why not say, “I stand at my brother’s defense”?  Is he even waiting for the outcome of the trial?  Can we get some I Team coverage on that, Lup?  Or is the risk of wrecking lives not linked to the Pinstripes too gauche for you?

Uncle Sal sends his regards.  Give us a break already, Daily News.

Coming Soon…Part 2 of 5: John Henry’s Greatest Bungling Ever

Written by Ryan

January 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

Batman vs. The State [update: Portrait of a Shakedown]

Randy Levine defends the private funding of the stadium, under the heat lamps of a subpeona throwdown from Dick Brodsky [aka the Riddler] and his Albany henchmen.  Uncle Sal nobly retransmits the audio here.

Be sure to catch up by reading my previous Batman installment article regarding the ins and outs of stadium funding, and why it’s a no-brainer for the good people of all Gotham.

Here is the link to the official parks dept. site that details progress, outlay, and community benefit.  Enjoy.  Go Yanks.

Update:  Stadiums are Sure Bet for Private Investors

Think the Yanks won’t go all out to sell premium seating at premium prices?  Think again.

Although some may interpret the Yanks’ tapping of a real estate brokerage to move what may be the most expensive rental property in the country, I see it as a creative way of keeping their price point firm.

A key point to consider, from the Times article:

At the Yankees’ 52,325-seat stadium, the team has sold 24,564 full season-ticket packages, up from 19,400 last year. By combining full and partial packages, the team said it has sold the equivalent of 39,393 full season tickets.

In other words, the Yanks have sold out 535 seats shy of a Fenway Park [capacity: 39,928] for the entire 2009 season; pre-paid at top-dollar prices, and pre-paid in full.  The Stadium only has to draw 12,000 – 13,000 fans to the gate for any game in order to sell out completely.

Reading into the NYT article, the Mets are doing alright themselves, in spite of cheesy patches, rusty iron, slighted oaks, eminent domain, Tim Redding, et al.

Update:  Yankees Dig In; Brodsky Served

From this morning’s Daily News article, apparently there is no love lost between the Yanks and Westchester Toad Boss State Assemblyman Dick Brodsky [D].  A heck of a lot as been thrown against the wall this week, but what sticks?

The play-by-play:

Team President Randy Levine Wednesday accused Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) of grandstanding “in a pathetic attempt to seek media attention” by slamming the Yankees with “lies, distortions and misrepresentations.”

Lies, distortions, and misrepresentations.  Democrat National Party playbook, page 8.

Testifying before Brodsky’s committee, which has been scrutinizing the team’s deal for months, Levine charged that Brodsky supported tax incentives for an upstate race track with ties to campaign contributors – even as he trashed the Yankees’ deal.

Somebody wake up Dick and let him know that the Steinbrenners have a fly on the wall in every big-money sports gambling circle east of the Mississippi.  They even bought Joe Torre a horse, for crying out loud.  Joe Torre.  Elegant Thoroughbreds.  You do the math.

“It is quite remarkable to me that a state representative from wealthy Westchester County is actively trying to insert himself into the Bronx to destroy jobs and stop the revitalization of the poorest congressional district in the nation,” Levine said.

Given that the Yankees are probably a distant second place to the Democrats in populating Westchester County, perhaps that comment was partly ill-advised.  Let’s move on:

Brodsky said the only race track-tied contributor he knew of had given him money before going to work for the track.

He declined to name the contributor, saying, “Let their smear machine give you that information.”

He said the Yankees were striking back at him because they “aren’t used to being called to account….There’s a public policy dispute about what the taxpayers are paying.

“You don’t come with answers. You make up accusations and smears against the guy asking the questions. I mean, that’s the Yankees. *[“nyaa nyaa poopy-panty Stinkies, blinkies, Spankees, dinkies, poopy-heads, booby-brains!”]*”

*paraphrased by the editor*

Wait a second, smears and accusations, and poopy-panties?  That’s the Yankees?  No, to be clear, this is the Yankees:

The team and the city officials who brokered a package of tax-exempt bonds to finance the $1.3 billion stadium say the park will cost city taxpayers less than $400 million and that the team is shouldering most of the expenses.

The Independent Budget Office released new numbers Wednesday that seem to endorse the team and city’s claim. That office put the city’s costs including lost tax revenue at $362 million and the costs to the state and federal governments at $492 million combined.

Again, the DN doesn’t list the benefits that offset the costs and enumerate how the city, in fact, is in the black, but that’s OK.  The DN harbors Lupica,  so in printing only half the story, they deserve a patty-pat for trying to be real journalists.

The Observer pushes further and scripts the verbal ass-whipping delivered by the City Economic Development Corp. representative Seth Pinsky:

Mr. Pinsky: It’s important just to point out—not withstanding the fun and games that you’ve had with my e-mails, and I know that this is part of the game and I don’t take it personally

Mr. Brodsky: Let me stop you—

Mr. Pinsky: No, I—

Mr. Brodsky: I am not going to permit the characterizations of the work of this committee as games

Mr. Pinsky: I’m not characterizing the work

[He later withdrew his description of the work as “fun and games”]

Mr. Pinsky: It’s an amazing cycle to see—that I get a request from you for information, I respond to that; the next day, it’s in the Daily News. Interesting. But, first, I do want to just say—

Mr. Brodsky: None of that is true—

Mr. Pinsky: Actually it is, but that’s O.K.

[emphasis added]

That’s OK by me, too, Mr. Pinsky, because we have Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, new stadium, plenty of parking, new rail station, new parks for the kids, Jeter still gets laid, ARod will still play 3B and hit homers, Kay is still an immortal buffoon, Joba is still on fire, and we’ve already sold out a Fenway’s worth of ’09 season tickets.  For all these reasons and more…

Nyaa-nyaa poopy-panties on you, Mr. Brodsky, nyaa-nyaa poopy-panties on you, sir!

Update:  Portrait of a Shakedown

Apparently, the bond issue is becoming a political issue quite suddenly, because the state is in the throes of bankruptcy.  From Bloomberg

“Whatever emotional or political benefits result from public financial assistance to the Yankees, the economic benefits are slight or nonexistent, while the public costs, estimated at over $700 million, are enormous, at a time when other pressing capital needs go begging,” Brodsky wrote in a report for the hearing…

…Although the team is paying for the stadium facility, the state and city have agreed to fund about $700 million in supporting infrastructure, including a new Metro-North rail station, 28 acres (11 hectares) of new recreation areas, parking and street improvements.

Wrong, Bloomberg.  The state and city will not “fund” the $700M infrastructure, they will “beg” private investors for the money through a municipial bond issue, just like before [would those investors even have reached so deep if it wasn’t Yankee Stadium?].  And the Yankees, just like before, will be on the hook to pay those investors back:

The Yankees will retire the bonds with payments in lieu of real estate taxes to the city at a rate of $60 million to $70 million annually over 43 years, Pinsky said. The city will transfer those funds to the IDA, which will pay the bondholders, he said.   “From the city’s bottom-line position, the Yankees end up paying amounts that they weren’t previously paying,” Pinsky said. 

Details of the cost benefit analysis are here; the 64 page PDF says in the first 2 pages is that in spite of all the marble and stainless steel trimmings, the city will still be in the black to the tune of about $60M the first year.  This does not account for the added incremental revenues from bumps in new sales taxes, etc. which, after that most expensive first year, is gravy on the city’s potatos.  $60M is just the benefit gleaned from within the initial cost outlay.  The detail is there, so it’s not like the Yankees have not been transparent.  Page 42 outlines employment gains but doesn’t itemize the actual economic benefit of +1,100 or so newly-payrolled workers drawn from the shabby environs, which most intelligent human beings can applaud at face value. 

Let’s balance what you’ve heard about as far as Hal & Hank’s bells and whistles with what the government has demanded of the project since 2006.  Well, there’s $38.6 million to placate NYPD demands for anti-terrorism concrete structure hardening…which, I suppose, will render the New Yankee Stadium as the world’s largest concrete bunker.   To boot, the city required $11 million to install a fire and police command station, aka the “Danger Room”.   Those aren’t Hank’s prescriptions, to be sure – although the thought of him hunkering down and declaring himself Generalissimo is interesting, and yes I would sign up to bear arms for a South Bronx Cecession.  I wasn’t born to serve Albany, that’s for sure.

My point is, everyone has a vested interest, and that interest has been vested already.  It’s money in the bank for the city, which is money in the bank for the state.  The suit, the shoes, and cufflinks have been bought.  Why go cheap on a clip-on tie? 

The deal was this: the city government signs off on the bond issue and gives up collecting rent, the Yanks pay back the bonds, give up the parking revenue, and take over the stadium maintenance.  It’s the state that is all of a sudden reneg’ing; it’s the state that seems to be up one big Hudson River-sized creek without a taxable paddle.  The Yanks are today’s target.  You the Taxpayer are next.

Written by Ryan

January 14, 2009 at 8:10 am