Baseball is booming. There is so much money in the game today, it’s not even funny. You can thank the bigger and more modern stadiums, the abundance of lucrative endorsements, and the historically great attendance numbers. Take a quick glance at B-Ref’s Highest Career Total & Single Season Salaries list, and you can’t help but feel some combination of jealousy, humor, disgust and confusion. $106,616,066 in career earnings for Shawn Green? How the hell did that happen? Ditto $78,860,000 for Matt Williams, $70,677,500 for Tim Salmon, and $65,743,750 for Kevin Appier.
It’s no secret that baseball is a well paying occupation, but just how well paying? You might be shocked.
The Yankee Stadium regular season swan song is sold out. Color me unsurprised:
The last regular season game at Yankee Stadium is sold out. Fans scooped up a few thousand tickets online in just 11 minutes Wednesday.
Scalpers quickly started hawking tickets for the historic Sept. 21 game against the Baltimore Orioles, with top seats going for a head-spinning $17,000 a pop. Even the cheapest bleachers seats at the House that Ruth Built were going for $165 online.
A Yankees spokesman said there just weren’t enough tickets for all the fans who want to see the last regular season game at the storied ballpark, which opened in 1923. “This day won’t happen ever again,” said Jason Zillo. “It’s going to be a celebration.”
It’s going to be a celebration that no one can attend because a bunch of suits spending a few thousand dollars on tickets are going to be there. According to the Yanks, over 75 percent of the available seats went to Season Ticket holders. Now’s the time to make friends with the Yankee season ticket holder in your life.
Meanwhile, how much would you pay to see the final game in the Stadium? If Tier Reserve seats are going for $200-$300, I think it’s well worth it to get to see that last game in person. Fans routinely pay that much for World Series tickets; why not something more unique than the World Series?
Yankee Stadium only gets torn down and closed once, and on Sept. 21, the Yanks will close out their regular season history on the south side of 161st St. The real game, though, is landing a ticket for that Sunday afternoon affair.
For some reason or another, Robinson Cano has developed a reputation as a “lazy” baseball player. Keeping in shape has seemingly been a struggle for him, and Larry Bowa, who left with Joe Torre to join the Dodgers, rode Cano hard last year to stay in shape. While Bowa is offering cross-country encouragements to Cano, I’m not too concerned. The Yanks have a staff of professionals and two men – Tony Pena and manager Joe Girardi – who aren’t afraid to make the team work. Robinson Cano will be just fine. · (7) ·
So I clearly stole this one from PeteAbe. But it’s too funny to pass up — some of you, I imagine, while reading Pete, didn’t click this link. But you should.
The whole thing is damn funny, and if I could I’d reprint the entire thing here. They do incorrectly cite Ken Rosenthal as being from Sports Illustrated, but I’ll let that one slide. Anyway, swallow your drink before reading this:
Despite only occurring once a year, the Yankees vs. Media game has spawned its share of memorable moments in past seasons, including Journal News beat writer Peter Abraham’s walk-off home run off Mike Mussina in 2004, Carl Pavano’s perfect game in 2005, and a bench-clearing brawl in 2006 that saw Gary Sheffield attack Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan and ESPN Page 2 pop-culture writer Bill Simmons, who lost four teeth and received a gaping head wound that needed 45 stitches to repair.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to knock out four of Bill Simmons’s teeth.
You know, today marks the one-year anniversary of River Ave. Blues. Well, technically it was yesterday. But we’ll just pretend that February 29th already happened and call it even, okay?
Back then, on February 20, 2007, this wasn’t quite the place to be. It was Ben, Mike, me, and a dozen or so readers from our previous endeavors. And I’ll admit, it was a little frustrating at first, seeing that no one was reading. We had all been fairly visible just a few days earlier. But we traded it all in for this.
So, as the venture capitalist who was promised the world but isn’t seeing a quick return on his heavy investment, I started to sweat a little. Yes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and all those other clichés about patience and hard work. But I’d been patient, and I’d worked hard. I started doing this in mid-2005, thrilled that I got 30 people a day to read me. Mike entered the game first thing in 2006, and I’m sure he had the same rush. Ben’s been doing this longer than both of us.
Slowly, the audience started building. We were getting six, seven comments on posts. People were engaging each other with well thought-out ideas. I started to get that excited feeling again. We were talking, and not only were people listening, they were interacting. Hell, I can’t tell you how many times I took an idea from the comments and developed it into a full post. And because of this interaction and give and take, we continued to grow.
I don’t want to launch into some braggardly rundown of our traffic numbers — they’re freely available at the bottom of the right sidebar, if you’re so inclined — but suffice it to say that we have more readers that I could ever have fathomed. Some participate, some just read. (Some click our ads, which is always appreciated). But whatever it is that the readers are doing, they’re blowing my mind. Why?
Because you don’t have to read this.
This isn’t the old guard, where your choice is just among the writers in the daily papers. You can choose from dozens of outlets for your news and insights. Just check out all of the Yanks blogs listed at striketwo.net. And that’s not even all of them. I’ll go out on a limb and say you can get a reasonable level of coverage from at least 10 different Yankees blogs. Yet, for some reason, you come back here. And I can’t begin to tell you how cool a feeling that is.
Honestly, I wouldn’t want to do it the other way. Throughout college, I thought I wanted to be a sports journalist. What better profession could there be, I thought. You get to watch and write about sports.
Ah, to be young and naive again. Little did I realize at the time what being a beat reporter meant. Why would I want to hang around a bunch of people who clearly didn’t want me there? It was around the time I started asking that question that I started to think that there could be another way.
Of course, I had missed the boat by a few years. Things had been moving another way. Baseball blogs were a trend long before I jumped into the game. I’m just glad I realized the potential of this platform, and didn’t try to shun it as so many in the mainstream media have.
So we are here today to celebrate a year of working with you guys to create this community that I think is the best Yankees-related one on the web. We are here to celebrate open discourse and the exchange of ideas. Yes, we take stands on certain issues, but we’re always open to an debate — just as long as you’ve got your argument straight. Anyone who’s gotten into it in the comments can tell you, it can be a hell of a lot of fun.
We’re here today to celebrate many things. But most of all, we are here to celebrate our independence.
Hal Steinbrenner recently sat down with GQ reporter Nate Penn for his first interview in over 20 years. What comes out of it is a picture reminiscent, as Penn and later Cliff Corcoran at Bronx Banter noted, of Michael and Sonny Corleone from The Godfather.
- Hal became more involved when Steve Swindal left the picture. Hank joined him a few months later when it became clear that the younger Steinbrenner could use some help.
- He doesn’t hate the media: “Am I comfortable dealing with the media? Probably not as comfortable as Hank is. Definitely not as comfortable as my dad was. Have I had disagreements with them in the past, disagreed with things they’ve written and the reasons they wrote them? Yes, of course. But again, I understand what the deal is.”
- The brothers always assumed that Swindal would lead the team, and Hal wanted to be with his family. He’s happy with the way he’s balancing his duties now.
- George really did want to get rid of dental benefits in 2003, but Hal talked him out of it.
- Brian Cashman‘s job is not on the line over the Santana deal.
To me, the most important part of the interview is Hal’s understanding of the Yankees’ situation with regards to their young pitchers. “The Super Bowl this year was unbelievable, and the one thought I took away really has a lot to do with us this year, with these three young pitchers. Eli struggled a bit his first couple years. I think New York fans might realize now that if you give a young kid time, great things can happen,” he said.
There really is no better analogy. Now, I’m not saying that the Yanks’ pitchers are going to struggle, but good things come to those who wait. The Yanks can’t trade years of future success for instant gratification. Hal recognizes what the Yankees have in their young arms, and he won’t quickly surrender that advantage.
Meanwhile, in news that should warm the hearts of Yankee fans, the Steinbrenner sons are just as dedicated to winning as their dad has been, and the two don’t plan on selling the team anytime soon. Sounds good to me.
Here’s something of a surprise: When Johnny Damon left Spring Training last spring for what the Yanks called “personal reasons,” he almost retired, Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman reported today. “I was just exhausted …. Burnt out,” Damon said to Heyman. “[Retirement] definitely crossed my mind.” Damon, who is in better mental and physical shape this year, would have walked away from nearly $40 million. · (4) ·
Is it just me, or has the first few days of Spring Training set the expectations for the Yankees rather high? Sure, many of us can see through the media spin on the events of the past week or so. But even at that point, we’re seeing players do things, rather than just saying them. It’s a careful balance that the Yankees have executed perfectly so far. And I have to say, it has me more excited about this season than I have been in any year I can remember — though I’m fairly certain I say that every year.
First, we heard about the pitchers who showed up early. Joba, Phil, and IPK in particular were there before they required to, which is always reassuring. We also heard about Shelley Duncan showing up to work on his first base skills with Tino Martinez. And, Cap’n Jetes was there early, too. But he resides in Tampa, so it only makes sense for him to be around.
Then we heard about Brian Bruney losing weight. Good news, for sure. If anything, it shows that he’s at least a bit motivated. It’s certainly better than him showing up in the same physical shape as last year, and spouting off lines about his determination to make the team. PeteAbe also noted that Mike Mussina checked in lighter, which spoke to his off-season conditioning. We also heard about Kyle Farnsworth being less bulky, but then it was revealed that he dealt with a rather nasty staph infection last month.
A-Rod spoke to the media today and didn’t say anything too groundbreaking. Jose Canseco was simply wrong, but A-Rod, like every other Major Leaguer, still expects drug questions. He’s not talking to his agent Scott Boras, and he wants a World Series ring. Wake me up when a player says they don’t want a World Series ring; that would be some real news. · (9) ·