Isn’t amazing how Daily News writers go from moral outrage on the one hand to a different brand of outrage on the other all in the space of 800 words? Yesterday, Filip Bondy, writing about the Red Sox jersey fiasco at the new Yankee Stadium, did just that.
The city of New York is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructural costs and is too generously ceding precious parkland to the Yankees, just to ensure that the new Bronx stadium will become a showcase profit maker for the extended corporate Steinbrenner family.
In return, the city probably should not be asking too much that the Yankees demonstrate a modicum of common sense befitting such fortunate business partners, when it comes to this expensive co-enterprise.
But on Sunday, we witnessed an inane spectacle that should wholly frighten any taxpayer or serious baseball fan. At the cost of about $30,000 and the wasted sweat of 5-1/2 hours’ toil, the Yankees directed construction workers at the site to drill for a tattered David Ortiz baseball jersey a Red Sox fan/construction worker had buried beneath considerable cement.
Got that outrage? The city is investing way too much money in the stadium, and the Yankees should show some common sense. That $30,000 of their own money they spent to dig up the jersey, that’s not common sense in Bondy’s word.
So what if the Yankees try to recapture those lost funds. Well, Filip Bondy, the construction expert and lawyer, thinks that deserves its own outrage:
Yankee officials are turning what might have been a dumb lark into something much darker. They are threatening to throw legal fees into the growing pot, by suing Gino Castignoli for his jersey burial.
“There are criminal issues and maybe civil,” said the ultra-serious Lonn Trost, chief operating officer for the club.
The Yankees will lose this case, I can promise you. No judge or jury, even in the Bronx, will find that a buried jersey, out of sight and structurally harmless, demands punitive damages. Castignoli did nothing that demanded $30,000 worth of repairs. If the Yanks pursue this civil case against the worker, then they will only look nastier, forfeit more money and (hard to believe) make greater fools of themselves.
I would believe that the Yanks could easily win this case. In what contract does it allow for workers to bury clothing in the Yankee Stadium foundation? In which employment agreement are construction workers allowed to act like total goof-offs? I’m not really going out on a limb when I say none.
While Bondy thinks the Yanks wasted their time and money, Buster Olney, among others, hit the nail upon the head this morning. The Yanks had to remove the jersey once they found out about it because otherwise, for as long as they played in the new stadium, the team struggles would be blamed on a Red Sox jersey buried in the stadium. As dumb as that sounds, it would just be another in a long line of absurd baseball superstitions. The jersey’s gone; the guy deserves to be sued; and we can all share in that special brand of outrage.