No Podcast Today

Well this is a record, two posts in one day from me.  Unfortunately we won’t have a podcast for you tonight.  But there’s a good reason, fellow RAB contributor and a really good friend, Joe Pawlikowski and his lovely wife have welcomed a new baby daughter.  I pushed for the name “1998 New York Yankees Pawlikowski” but i was overruled as I am just the servers guy, not the baby guy.   Welcome to the RAB family little Veronica, and congrats to Joe, his wife and family.

We’ll be back on the regular podcast schedule Thursday to talk more Yanks!

Manchester City, Yanks to team up on NY MLS franchise

For much of the spring, a groundswell of institutional support for a New York City-based Major League Soccer franchise has been growing. The primary owners were set to be Manchester City Football Club, and the team, owned by a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family, has had their eye on a piece of Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Now, the Yankees are involved as well, as a part-owners and powerful players on the New York City political scene, as they are joining with Manchester City to own part of MLS’ 20th franchise.

The Yankees will own approximately a quarter of the new soccer club, and as long as a stadium can be identified in time, the team will likely begin play during the 2015 MLS season. “We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country. The New York area is home to more than 19 million people­, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”

For the Yankees and Manchester City, theirs is a marriage of political expediency as much as it is about economics. Soccer franchise ownership is hardly a high-reward investment, but the Yankees, through Legends Hospitality, already work with Manchester City. More importantly, though, the Yankees have deep-seated connections to the upper echelons of New York politics. Randy Levine and Lonn Trost will likely put their heads to see a stadium deal through during the final months of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term.

In fact, Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner appointed Levine as his soccer guru in a statement this morning. “We are pleased to be associated with this major move by MLS to increase its presence in the New York market and to enhance the opportunity for New York soccer fans to enjoy high-level play in their own city. We look forward to the opportunity to work with Manchester City to create something very special for the soccer fans of New York — and to bringing another terrific team to this city for all sports fans to enjoy,” said Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner of the New York Yankees. “Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, will be the point person in leading the effort to launch and establish the team on behalf of the organization.”

The real elephant in the room here though is the park land grab. New York City park advocates have been dismayed that MLS’ attention has turned to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Already the subject of a planned expansion by the U.S. Open, this park area serves as a gathering point for many Queens communities, and plopping down a soccer stadium in the park would further limit scarce green space. The city has offered up land that’s a several miles and neighborhoods away, but the site pales in comparison with the current green expanse.

While MLS and Manchester City hope the Yanks’ involvement can push this project through to the finish line, parks advocates believe the team’s eventual lobbying efforts may serve as a wake-up call. “We hope this new deal once and for all puts to rest any further attempts to seize even more public parkland in Flushing Meadows Park,” Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said to The Times. “The Yankees were given enough.”

No matter the outcome of the stadium debate, the Yanks are poised to delve deeper into the New York City sports landscape, and it seems likely that Yankee Stadium will host a soccer team for at least its first season of existence. I wonder what the Boss would say if he were still alive.

Super Bowl XLVII Open Thread

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick pitching in high school. (Photo via Max Preps)
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick pitching in high school. (Photo via Max Preps)

The Ravens and 49ers will meet in Super Bowl XLVII (that’s 47) tonight at 6:30pm ET on CBS, and my official prediction is a 24-20 win for San Francisco. No particular reason, it’s a complete guess on my part. My football knowledge is pretty limited; it would be generous to call me a casual fan. I enjoy watching football because I have little rooting interest and it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy a sport once in a while.

Anyway, talk about the big game (and the commercials!) or anything else right here. There are no hockey or basketball games being played and no other network is stupid enough to broadcast new shows tonight. It’s Super Bowl or bust. Enjoy.

Biz Hits: The Yanks stink; Madonna and soccer in the Bronx

A few non-baseball related items for your overnight enjoyment: The Yankees have announced that Madonna will perform in the stadium in the Bronx on Thursday, September 6. This is the rumored “big announcement” the club teased when they sent out the release on Roger Waters’ a few weeks ago. I had guessed, and hoped for, Bruce Springsteen, but music fans will just have to settle for Madonna instead. The pre-sale starts Monday at 10 a.m. right here. The top tickets — on-field seats right in front of the center field stage — will go for $359.50 each.

Madonna, though, isn’t the only person taking her talents to Yankee Stadium this summer. According to a report on Big Apple Soccer, the House that George Built could host a July or August soccer friendly between Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Based on the Euro Cup slate and the Yanks’ schedule, Big Apple Soccer believes the most likely dates for a game are July 25 or August 11 or 12, but the various parties are still hammering out the details. The last Yankee Stadium soccer match pitted the New York Cosmos against the Miami Toros way back on August 10, 1976.

Finally, the Yanks are proving what their haters already claim: that they stink. Few details exist about this news, but according to reports, the Yanks will be releasing two fragrances at a cocktail party on February 21. One will be called simply “New York Yankees” and the other “New York Yankees For Her.” If you’ve ever wanted to smell like Francisco Cervelli, now you can. Or something like that.