When the Yankees don’t make the playoffs and finish in third place, someone has to take the fall. So how about the rookie third base coach who showed a tendency to get runners thrown out at the plate? Mark Feinsand reports that the Yanks are considering replacing Bobby Meachem with Luis Sojo. Despite the Yanks’ offensive woes this year, Kevin Long’s job appears to be safe. · (33) ·
James Barron has written one of the most morbidly interesting stories about the impending destruction of Yankee Stadium that I’ve read so far. In today’s Times, Barron looks at the fate of those who have spread the ashes of their deceased loved ones in the House that Ruth Built. Some relatives are sad about the loss of a final resting place while others have some remaining ashes that will become a part of the new stadium. All in all, it’s one slightly disturbing and entirely fascinating article. · (6) ·
While Americans are focused on the plummeting global economy these days, the world of sports is no exception. With two new stadiums on the way in New York, questions about about the state of baseball economics. The numbers — at least for the Yanks and Mets — are pretty encouraging.
From Danielle Sessa, Bloomberg News’ sports writer, comes a tale about the Yankees’ new luxury boxes. The team has just seven unsold boxes at the $600,000 price point. She reports:
The New York Yankees have seven luxury suites priced at $600,000 a season left for sale at their new stadium and the club isn’t concerned that the economic crisis will hamper its ability to sell them, chief operating officer Lonn Trost said.
The $1.3 billion ballpark has 47 luxury suites, though the Yankees aren’t selling all of them. Some will be held for corporate sponsors, Trost said today.
Suites priced at $850,000 to $650,000 are already sold out and for a minimum of five years, Trost said. He declined to comment on how many suites in total were sold.
Across town, the Mets have sold out their 49 new boxes but at a price point of just $500,000. It doesn’t take an economics major to know that the Yankees have already made more on luxury box sales than the Mets with seven boxes remaining unsold. Even in a bad economy, the Yankees manage to come out ahead.
For those of you with a few hundred grand lying around, the new suites come equipped with state-of-the-art luxuries. Much as the suites do in the Meadowlands, the new Yankee Stadium suites will come with indoor and outdoor seating as well as HDTVs and private bathrooms.
In other economic news, MSNBC calculated that the Yanks spent the most per win of any Major League team. The team’s 89 wins cost $2.5 million each. While Tampa — at $451,759 per win — was the most economical team, the Yanks probably earned back more for their wins than any team drawing just over 22,200 per game.
Chad Billingsley and Brett Myers are set to square off in an afternoon affair. I’m not quite sure why the Phillies and Dodgers should draw the day game. After all, it’s 1:35 on a Friday in Los Angeles, and therefore, no Dodgers fans can really watch this game. Meanwhile, you have the biggest West Coast market and second-largest media market in the nation playing a team from the East Coast’s second most populous city. This should really be the night game. For this one, you’ve got your usual storylines. Manny Ramirez is hitting .500 in the playoffs while the rest of the Dodgers are hitting .213. The Phillies have scored most of their runs via the long ball. Can these trends continue? All this and more at 4:37 p.m. · (30) ·
Q: How do you win a political race in Massachusetts?
A: Accuse your opponent of being a Yankees fan.
No, I don’t intend this to inspire political debate at a baseball blog. I just thought it was an interesting article on a slow, slow Friday (until 4:30, that is). It appears that in the Massachusetts Senatorial race, incumbent John Kerry — remember him? — has accused his opponent, Jeff Beatty, of rooting for the Yankees. It stems from an issue in Beatty’s past, where he was photographed wearing a Yankees hat while in Grenada. He was injured while rescuing U.S. hostages, and the hat was supposedly put on his head to keep bandages in place. Whatever the story, it’s kind of funny/sad to see a political race in MA come down to the Yankees. · (39) ·
I’m really torn about Joe Torre’s Dodgers this year. On the one hand, I feel bad for Torre. The Steinbrenners didn’t handle his exit very well last year, and this playoff berth is a bid middle finger to the October-less Yankees. On the other, Torre didn’t impress me in his post-dismissal press conference, and I thought that the Yanks should have moved on after the failures of 2004 when Torre’s managerial flaws were laid out for all to see.
Yesterday, before the Dodgers lost to Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and the Phillies 3-2, Harvey Aarton chatted with the Dodgers’ skipper who feels satisfied with his team’s playoff appearance. Torre was careful to avoid the word vindicated no matter how often Aarton pressed him on it.
Larry Bowa, meanwhile, was the attack dog to Torre’s green tea persona. “I know Joe is never going to admit it, but I think it means a lot to him to be at this stage right now,” said Larry Bowa. “You keep reading that, well, he should have gone to the playoffs because of your payroll in New York. But they had the same payroll this year and they didn’t get in.”
I get where Bowa is coming from. I get where Torre is coming from. And I certainly get why the tabloids are proclaiming the playoffs Yankee fans’ worst nightmare. But it’s a false storyline. Through July 31, the Dodgers were a .500 team, hanging two back behind an underperforming Diamondbacks club. After Manny Ramirez arrived, the team went 30-24 and earned a playoff berth with a record five games worse than the Yankees’.
Maybe it was the presence of Joe Torre in LA. But the 84 wins are his team’s lowest full-season total since he skippered the 1992 Cardinals to an 83-win, third-place finish. I think, on the other hand, that Manny probably played a bigger role in the end that Torre did.
Now don’t get me wrong; I loved Joe Torre while he was in the Bronx. I wish him well during the playoffs, and I don’t begrudge him his playoff spot. I certainly don’t have nightmares about him. I do think it was time for him to leave New York. All good things must end, and Joe Torre’s tenure in the Bronx was no exception.
AzFL Peoria (6-4 win over Pheonix)
Austin Jackson: 0 for 4 - grounded into your garden variety 1-6-5-3-4-3 double play
Juan Miranda: 4 for 4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI – he destroys this league
Kevin Russo: 0 for 1, 1 K – pinch hit late for the Reds’ Justin Turner
HWB Waikiki (4-0 loss to Waikiki in 7 innings) I give up, no friggin’ idea why they’re only playing 7 innings
Damon Sublett: 0 for 3, 1 K – first hitless game since coming to the islands
Andrew Brackman: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 3-3 GB/FB - only 38 of 77 pitches were strikes (49.4%) … in his chat today, Keith Law offered this up: “Brackman is pitching in Hawaii now, also with his old velocity and a good breaking ball, but with the usual command issues for a guy that recently off surgery” … so don’t freak out about the walks, it’s normal for a guy this far out from TJ
Frankie Cervelli & Carlos Mendoza will be suiting up for Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason. High-A Tampa manager Luis Sojo will manage the team, and old pal Ramiro Mendoza will work out of the bullpen.
Caribbean League rosters are slowly trickling in, I’ll keep you updated where guys are playing.
Both League Championship Series this year are a lesson in player development. The Dodgers flat-out dominated the Cubs using a lineup featuring four homegrown players and a pitching staff again centered around in-house arms. The Phils are built very much in the same way, with five homegrown position players starting for them, as well as staff co-aces Cole Hamels & Brett Myers.
Don’t even get me started with the Rays and Red Sox. Stay the course, built from within. Looks where it gets you.
Just a quick roster note, the Dodgers removed ex-closer Takashi Saito from the playoff roster and replaced him with lights out lefty reliever Hong-Chih Kuo. Saito’s status was questionable because of ongoing elbow troubles, and Kuo (who had a ridiculous season) gives them a third southpaw in the pen (Kershaw & Beimel are the others) to battle Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
First pitch is scheduled for 8:22pm; Joe Buck & Tim McCarver have the call on FOX. Talk it up here.
1. Rafael Furcal, SS
2. Andre Ethier, RF
3. Manny Ramirez, LF
4. Russ Martin, C
5. James Loney, 1B
6. Matt Kemp, CF
7. Casey Blake, 3B
8. Blake DeWitt, 2B
9. Derek Lowe, P (14-11, 3.24)
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Jayson Werth, RF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Cole Hamels, P (14-10, 3.09)