Last week, on the same day as my trip to the Museum of the City of New York, I trekked a little bit further north to the South Bronx. Rare are the days when I find myself at Yankee Stadium without the intention of going to the game, but that’s just what happened on Thursday.
It had been a while since I had checked out the stadium construction progress, and I thought that a vacation day when I’m already most of the way to the Bronx would be perfect. A short ride from 103rd St. dropped me off at that 161st St.-Yankee Stadium stop where I was greeted with a stadium looking much further along than it had been at the end of September when I last went to a Yankee game. With my trusty camera, I snapped a whole bunch of photos, and the slideshow is below.
But first, some highlights. All links open in new windows.
- The new stadium really looms over the subway stop. The edge of the stadium is only a few yards from the downtown 4 platform.
- With the front entrace façade in place, it seems as though the new stadium will be visually appealing from the outside.
- The old park next to the old stadium is being converted into a parking lot with a green space on top.
- The Old and the New face off.
- It certainly appears that Citifield is much further along than New Yankee Stadium is.
And now the slideshow. The next update on the photos probably won’t be until April now, and I expect a lot of progress in the meantime. I’ll miss the old stadium when it’s gone.
It’s new stadium day on RAB. I’ve got a post of photos from the construction site set to hit later this afternoon at 2 p.m., but first, let’s delve into the ever-popular realm of taxpayer-funded subsidies for Major League Baseball’s richest team.
At the end of November, I looked at how the city is being bilked out of money for the Metro-North station, and it’s no secret that taxpayers are picking up more than their fair share of construction considering initial reports that the Yankees were willing to pay for much of the stadium costs. And of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve looked at parking. We know that it may cost as much as $25 to park at the new stadium. But today’s story is all kinds of special.
Via Juan Gonzalez at The Daily News comes word that taxpayers are going to fund Yankee employee parking at the new stadium. Say what?
The Yankees and hundreds of their VIPs will get free valet parking for the next 40 years, courtesy of New York taxpayers.
The startling revelation of yet another subsidy for the richest team in baseball is buried deep in the fine print of a $237 million tax-exempt bond offering that city officials quietly issued the week before Christmas.
The documents say a $70 million state subsidy for parking improvements for the new Yankee Stadium (slated to open next year) has been earmarked for a new 660-car valet parking garage where virtually all the spaces will be reserved for the free, year-round use of the Yankees and their VIPs.
But wait, there’s more: The total cost of the parking lot project is now $80 million over budget, and the Yankees will receive a total of 600 free spaces for team personnel cars, 120 gameday spaces for private cars of city cops – who could take the subway )Ed. Note: Or they could drive. We have nothing against the cops at RAB.) – and another 130 spots for days without games reserved for, as Gonazlez writes, “city vehicles on ‘official business.’”
While most taxpayers in the City won’t really feel the effects of this hit, fans of the Yankees are in for sticker shock as well. Parking at the new stadium will cost $29 in 2010 and could reach the $35 level by 2014. At this point, people coming to the new stadium just should take the subway or Metro-North. It’s much easier and cheaper to park and ride somewhere than it will be to drive to the South Bronx come 2009.
The city probably won’t recoup the projected $3.2 million in annual parking lot rents until 2014 and even then, Gonzalez and his sources estimate that parking may have to reach around $40 for the lots to realize their full earnings potential. Nothing can really halt this public fleecing right now, but we should hold public figures accountable for deals that harm taxpayers.
Update: I missed the Juan Gonzalez companion piece this morning. The company building the parking lots at Yankee Stadium has a track record of defaulting on payments. In a nutshell, this means that New York taxpayers could be out another few hundred million dollars if the Community Initiatives Development Corporation keeps up its stellar payment track record.
According to a report in the New York Post, Jim Leyritz was driving with a suspended license when he got into a fatal accident last week. According to DMV records, Leyritz’s Florida license was suspended in New York at the end of November because he failed to respond to a summons. This suspension could add up to a year to any prison sentence Leyritz receives if found guilty. · (10) ·
In what is turning into a soap opera to rival Gossip Girls, John Harper checked in with Scott Boras and A-Rod last week. The two, he writes, are still in a fight, and Scott Boras isn’t too happy about it.
Harper notes that many in the New York media believed the whole opt-out/opt-in saga was orchestrated by Boras and A-Rod for some reason, but in reality, it seems that Boras really did make a mistake. While he’s still
rolling in money enjoying his commission, Boras doesn’t like being on the outside of A-Rod’s life looking in. Harper writes:
Baseball insiders insist the hard feelings on A-Rod’s part toward Boras are genuine, that in taking over the negotiations himself he accused his agent of betrayal by misleading him about the level of interest from the Yankees. Likewise, they say that Boras is reeling from the ego blow A-Rod dealt him by telling the world on “60 Minutes” he’s not even speaking to his agent these days.
“Yeah, (Boras) made his commission,” a prominent agent said this week, “but, come on, do you know how much money he has? With Boras it’s all about being king of the jungle, the most powerful agent and the toughest negotiator in the game.
“He loves being the guy that everyone in baseball fears. He wouldn’t for a minute concoct a plan that would diminish his reputation. His image as a god to the players is too important to him. A-Rod might not be the most popular guy in the game, but don’t think he didn’t do some serious damage to Boras’ image. He basically called the guy a lying weasel on national TV. Nobody in the business is shedding any tears for Boras, believe me, but he took a serious hit.”
It’s no secret that Scott Boras wants to shape the economics of baseball in his own image. The rich would dole out more money and get all the good players while the have-nots linger in baseball purgatory — now known as Kansas City and Pittsburgh. This A-Rod debacle won’t be the end of Boras, and it’s doubtful that another agent will step up and fill the shoes seemingly left empty by Boras’ failures. But for now, Scott Boras is licking his wounds and trying to recover from a very rare and very high-profile misstep.
Via MLB Trade Rumors comes the news that the Yankees have their eyes — and checkbook — on 21-year-old Iranian-Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Darvis, according to East Windup Chronicle, is already one of the most dominant pitchers in the NPB and could command upwards of $12 million a year from a Major League team. Darvish will pitch for Japan at the 2008 Olympics — the last featuring baseball as an Olympic Sport — and the Nippon Ham Fighters could post him following the 2008 season. While the reports of the Yankees’ interest seem rather speculative, Darvish would be an intriguing pickup to say the least. · (20) ·
Let’s continue debating points made by other people today. After Joe’s excellent rebuttal of a Warren Goldstein piece on baseball history, I want to look at something more current and something near and dear to our hearts: Johan Santana.
The Big Market Teams (BMT) are low-balling the Twins with offers that won’t include another star player (like Jose Reyes or Robinson Cano) or two-top shelf prospects (like Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester). This is a travesty.
Now, we can debit the merits of trading Robinson Cano as much as we’d like. In fact, some of you have beaten this one into ground. But the fact is that no one is lowballing the Twins.
As we’ve said over and over again, the Twins are, in effect, trading away one year of Johan Santana — his final before his potentially hits free agency — and the exclusive negotiating rights to a contract extension. The Twins, when they give up Santana, will lose just one year of his services, and nothing more. So that’s how the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets are viewing this trade.
What would you give up for one year of Johan Santana? From the Yankees’ perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to give up multiple years of multiple cost-controlled younger players in this deal. So in the end, it’s not really a lowball offer as much as it is a market correction. Had the Twins signed Santana to a low contract extension and they tried to trade him right away, the discussion would be different. But the reality is that the Twins are losing just one year of Santana if they trade him now, and that’s all that other teams are considering in putting together trade proposals.
Meanwhile, if the reports are accurate. The Yankees were willing to hand over a rather substantial package of prospects at one point. I don’t think any deal centered around Phil Hughes and involving other players is a low-ball offer, but that just might be my Yankee bias speaking.
Caught this post on the Huffington Post this morning, written by historian and basbeall fan Warren Goldstein. He’s been writing a lot about steroids and the Mitchell Report lately, and today talks about — well, I’m not sure what he’s talking about. I can’t tell if the inclusion of many Yankees and few Red Sox means poetic justice to Goldstein, but that was my first thought.
Anyway, he blames the Yankees for a lot of things:
During that time it’s been New York, and the Yankees, who’ve led the U.S. economic powerhouse, and built the most successful and lucrative franchise in the history of American sports. Whose screw-up opened the door to free agency? Who built the most gigantic payroll in the game, all the while complaining about “high-priced free agents”? And which sports town trains the most scrutiny on its teams, from all kinds of media? In which city do athletes most worry about the “pressure” of the hometown media and fans? In which city team is winning a pennant and losing the World Series considered a deep failure? And on which team do we have the most evidence of widespread steroid use–and I love this, given the economic parallels–and distribution?
Yeah, well, you’re going to have more evidence when the only two people to testify for the report were in New York. Had they nabbed a Boston trainer, you can be sure more Red Sox would have been on this list. But for a Yankee hater, that’s neither here nor there. Someone implicated some Yankees, and that’s good enough for them.
Notice the line I bolded, though. Uh, how did a Yankees screw-up lead to free agency? Anyone with a knowledge of baseball history knows that Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith opened the door to free agency when they didn’t sign their contracts for the 1975 season. An arbiter ruled that because they hadn’t signed contracts, they were not subject to the reserve clause, and thus granted free agency. McNally moved from Baltimore to Montreal, and Messersmith went from Los Angeles to Atlanta. Notice that the Yankees aren’t involved here.
Perhaps he’s referring to Catfish Hunter, whose incident occurred a year prior to McNally and Messersmith. The story is that A’s owner Charles Finley didn’t make an insurance payment on time, and Catfish had his contract voided. He then signed with the Yankees. So it was Finley’s screw-up there. The Yankees just took advantage of the situation.
Going back even further, we can tie the destruction of the reserve clause to Curt Flood’s Supreme Court case, which he ultimately lost. Thing is, Flood never played for the Yankees.
You’d think a historian would know all this, though…
Justin Snyder | UTIL
Snyder was born and raised in Lakeside, CA, a relatively small suburb north of San Diego. He attended El Capitan High School, where he starred as a three sport athlete. He lettered in baseball, football and soccer, and helped turn a mediocre baseball program into a Southern California powerhouse alongside future college teammates Jordan Abruzzo and Dustin Church. Snyder batted .407, was named First Team All-State, and helped the Vaqueros win their first California Interscholastic Federation Championship his junior season. He followed that up by hitting .470 as a senior, bringing El Capitan it’s second consecutive CIF Championship title. He again received All-State honors, but added All-American honors as well. Snyder went undrafted in 2004, and chose to attend The University of San Diego over San Diego State because of academics, even though Tony Gwynn’s alma mater recruited him more heavily.
Baseball news has slowed to a crawl these days, but you my have heard a little something about a football game being played tonight. I’m a Jets fan by trade, but I’m waiving my allegiance tonight so I can cheer on the G-Men as they attempt to foil the Patriots’ run at perfection. I can’t stand that no-talent ass clown known as Tom Brady, and in general I just hate all Boston area sports teams. The game is being broadcast simultaneously on CBS, NBC, MY9 and the NFL Network; discuss it here if you wish.
Go Giants! (Don’t fuck it up, Eli.) · (43) ·
On Friday, I dropped in a short post about the current exhibit on New York baseball history at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibit runs through Monday, and if you’re looking for something to do over the next few days, I strongly recommend it.
But for those of you in not in the New York area or with no free time this weekend, worry not: I snapped a whole bunch of pictures at the exhibit of some of what I thought to be the more interesting sights. At left is a photo from the 1950s of a group of kids posed outside of Yankee Stadium. It’s a great shot of the exterior of the stadium before the renovations in the 1970s robbed the Stadium of that history. The new stadium — I’ll post photos of that next week — restores an entryway reminiscent of the original Yankee Stadium.
But what else can you see at the exhibit? Take a look. All links open the images in new windows:
- Old Yearbooks: The 1957 Yearbook cost just 50 cents. The yearbooks nowadays cost $25.
- Sad days in New York baseball history: Ticket stubs from the final games at the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field. The exhibit focuses on the ten years during which the Giants, Yankee and Dodgers were the dominant forces in baseball, and it ends with the West Coast exodus of the Giants and Dodgers.
- In their spare time: Gil Hodges owned a bowling alley in Brooklyn, and Willie Mays would join in the Harlem stickball games.
- Slumpbusting: Hodges once wrote a letter to Ty Cobb asking him for hitting advice when mired in a slump.
- Old Seats: Perhaps you’d like to check out old seats from Yankee Stadium, Ebbets Field or The Polo Grounds.
- World Series memorabilia: How about a full set of ticket stubs from the 1955 World Series? A program from the 1956 World Series? Or a whole bunch of stuff from the 1947 World Series?
- Personal Favorites: And finally, we come to my two favorite items. The first is a sign from one of the Polo Grounds’ ticket booths. Check out the prices. That equates to about $14 today. And near and dear to me is the Polo Grounds subway sign. While the name has been erased, the station still exists. In fact, at 155th St. on the B and D, it’s on the way to Yankee Stadium.
If you can make it up to 103rd and Fifth for an hour or two tomorrow or Monday, check it out. The Glory Days of New York Baseball will be gone soon.