Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News (and one of the newest additions to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame on Friday) has the latest on the Yankee Stadium funding scheme. Congress, he reports, is looking at the valuation the city and team put on the land for the new Stadium. A few representatives charge that the Yanks and New York may have overvalued the land to float more bonds than they should have.
A Congressional committee has launched a probe into whether the city and Yankees wildly inflated the value of the site for the team’s new stadium to float nearly $1 billion in tax-free bonds. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) last week demanded “specific documents and reports” that could show the city claimed the land beneath the new Yankee stadium was worth nearly seven times its true value.
The massive switcheroo allowed the city to sell $941 million in bonds for the stadium, which must by law be linked to a site’s actual value. That means taxpayers are getting rooked because bondholders avoid paying tax on the interest they earn – and it could jeopardize the financing of the whole project.
Kucinich, who heads the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is zeroing in on dramatically different estimates the city offered for the stadium land – one of $275 per square foot and another of just $45. A hearing is set for September. “There’s no way vacant land in the Bronx is worth $275 a square foot,” said a veteran city assessor, who asked not to be identified.
According to one survey — that conducted by the city — the parkland in the Bronx was worth $204 million or $275 per square foot. But in other documents, the Parks Document said the land was worth $45 per square foot. With unnamed Finance Department officials alleging something akin to fraud, this story could get interesting.
In the end, odds are that nothing will come of this. The new stadium is nearly finished; the old one is destined for the wrecking ball in a few months; and nothing short of an act of God is really going to stop that now. However, as more and more information has come to light, it seems clear that taxpaying New Yorkers got a raw deal on the Stadium. I’ll be curious to read the book on the history of this project that someone will write in a few years. I can’t imagine the Yanks will come out in a positive light.
Phil Hughes’ return to game action after missing three months with a fractured rib is going to have to wait one more day because today’s Gulf Coast League game was postponed due to rain. I’m guessing they’ll just push him back to tomorrow, and push Carl Pavano’s scheduled rehab appearance back to Wednesday, assuming he doesn’t give himself a concussion brushing his teeth first.
I apologize if I gave you a heart attack with the title.
Update (2:00): Nevermind, looks like he’s going to make the 35 minute trip with the High-A Tampa Yanks and pitch tonight in Lakeland instead. The rain is supposed to let up a little later tonight.
Update (2:25): Scratch that. Both Hughes & Pavano will pitch tomorrow for Low-A Charleston. · (51) ·
Tyler Kepner has an amusing piece up about one of the newest Yankees. Xavier Nady’s wife just gave birth to the couple’s first child about two weeks ago. The son’s name is Xavier Nady, making him the seventh consecutive male in the Nady family to carry the name. That’s a long dynasty. · (27) ·
According to Kat O’Brien, the Mariners must think the Yankees are complete and utter fools. A few days after acquiring Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for pennies on the dollar, the Mariners are holding back on dealing all of Jarrod Washburn’s contract to the Yanks because they want Hank Steinbrenner to step in and demand the Yanks acquire the starter. Clearly, the Mariners have not been paying attention. While Hanks is adept at running his mouth, all his words do are garner headlines. No moves or signings have been consummated or rushed after Hank issues his diatribes. It’s actually rather effective, and the Mariners are deluding themselves if they feel Hank is going to cause a sea change in thinking over Jarrod Washburn. MLBTR speculates that the M’s want Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera. · (115) ·
Allow me to quote myself from six days ago:
Every time Sidney Ponson takes the mound, I half expect that to happen, and one night, it will. It may not be his next start which happens to fall against — gulp — the Red Sox, but it will come. Tonight, Ponson managed to win yet another game for the Yanks. He went 5.2 innings and allowed his customary 11 base runners. Somehow, he has to keep up that 1.94 WHIP.
Somehow, indeed. Last night, in a losing effort against the Red Sox, Ponson managed to put 11 runners in 4 innings for a WHIP of 2.75. While the portly Aruban lasted three outs longer than I predicted he would, seven of those 11 runners scored, and the Yanks wouldn’t be able to overcome that deficit.
Since joining the Yankees, we’ve seen a lot of the same out of Sidney Ponson. He’s thrown 26.2 innings with a 6.08 ERA. He’s allowed 39 hits and has both walked and struck out 11. His WHIP is 1.88. Stick a fork in him, folks, because he’s done. I can’t really see him making his next start against the Los Angeles Angels this week.
In Toronto, Jarrod Washburn strengthened the Mariners’ position with a solid outing, and as Sunday’s game unfolded, I couldn’t help but imagine how things may have turned out differently had the Mariners been more willing to consummate what seems like an inevitable trade. But Washburn or not, someone — Ian Kennedy, Al Aceves — has to replace Sidney Ponson. He’s just not doing the job.
* * *
In the end, I can’t, outside of my condemnation of Ponson, be too critical of the Yanks. Jon Lester has the team’s number, and he pitched a brilliant game. The Yanks, since the All Star Break, are now 8-1, and they sit three behind Tampa in the AL East and two behind Boston in the Wild Card. There’s a lot of baseball left, and the Yanks are a better team today than they were three days ago.
Game Notes: I no longer wonder why Richie Sexson was released by the Mariners. Whenever Joe Girardi wants to bat Jason Giambi against a lefty instead of this abomination of a player, count me in…Dan Giese threw an effective four innings, but don’t let those results full you. He had a 0-12 GB-FB ratio. I wouldn’t be too keen on seeing him make a start…Derek Jeter has now hit into 15 double plays this season and 36 since the start of 2007.
Brian Foley from The College Baseball Blog made the trip down to Chatham yesterday to take in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, so make sure to check out his write-up here. As you can see, there was a small army of scouts in attendance.
Triple-A Scranton (10-5 loss to Rochester)
Bernie Castro: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing)
Alberto Gonzalez: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 2 K – SLG .322 this year between AAA and the bigs
Matt Carson & Cody Ransom: both 0 for 4 – Carson K’ed twice … Ransom K’ed all 4 times & missed a catch for an error
Ben Broussard & Nick Green: both 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 K – Broussard doubled … Nick Green ripped a 3-R homer off a pretty decent pitcher
JD Closser: 1 for 4, 1 K
Chris Basak: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Al Aceves: 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2-9 GB/FB – 51 of 74 pitches were strikes (68.9%)
JB Cox: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 4-1 GB/FB – only 21 of 41 pitches were strikes (51.2%)
Steven White: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Props go out to Jamal for the title. ESPN Sunday Night games usually means Joe Morgan’s incoherent rants and constant reminders that as a HOF second baseman, he’s smarter than everyone else. However tonight is a special night, because Morgan will be up in Cooperstown at the HOF induction ceremony, and filling in for him is the man that once traded for Mo Vaughn and the $59,666,668 left on his contract, Steve “the Yankees need a set-up man” Phillips. What a way to end the weekend.
On the field, the Yanks are straight rollin’. They’ve won eight in a row and 13 of their last 16. The pitching staff leads baseball with a 1.56 ERA since the break, and they’re fifth in baseball with a .858 team OPS. After being 5.5 GB of the Wildcard just two weeks ago, a win tonight will move them into the lead by percentage points over the Sox.
The Yanks went out like wimps the last time they faced Lester, but things were different then. The team was in the middle of losing 10 out of 15, and they didn’t have X. Nady and a molten hot Robbie Cano adding depth to the lineup. Plus the Yanks just own the Sox in the second half, they’re 19-7 against them after the All-Star break since 2005.
The Rays already lost, so they’ve got a chance to gain some serious ground with a win. Besides, sweeps in Fenway are just awesome.
1. Damon, DH – .211-.318-.263 since coming off the DL
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B – Happy 33rd Birthday, now put one onto the Mass Pike
5. X, LF
6. Cano, 2B – leads the AL in OPS since the break
7. Dick Lock Sexy, 1B
8. Melky, CF
9. Molina, C
And on the mound, Sidney “2.33 ERA on the road” Ponson.
Notes: The Yanks are undefeated during the Richie Sexson era … the pitching staff has an unreal 83-18 K/BB ratio since the All-Star Break … Edwar Ramirez is five days away from having a hitless July … Jarrod Washburn was damn good today, but the Yanks didn’t have anyone there to watch him … the Organizational Depth Chart has been updated to reflect all the recent moves … did you know that Bronson Arroyo is the 12th highest paid SP in baseball? Yikes … we play today, we win today, das it
Update (7:35): They’re saying there will be a slight delay, but they should be able to start within 15 minutes of the scheduled start time. I’ll believe it when I see it. Thankfully The Simpsons is on at 8.
Word on the street is that Manny Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox may be heading for a divorce, and today, Jack Curry checks in on the whole twisted situation. If Manny is exiled from the Red Sox, as Dan Shaughnessy feels he will be, he’s bound to become a free agent this off-season and would be an intriguing option for the outfield for a couple of seasons. The Yanks could do worse if they wanted to keep the spot warm until Austin Jackson is ready for prime time. · (133) ·
This afternoon, a few big figures in the history of New York baseball will find their ways into the Hall of Fame. Walter O’Malley, the scourge of Brooklyn, will earn his Cooperstown plaque today, and Richard Sandomir writes about the connection between O’Malley and new inductee and former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Many New Yorkers still resent O’Malley’s role in moving the Dodgers out of Brooklyn. Outside of New York, some columnists feel that Goose Gossage doesn’t deserve a place in the Hall. And Chris Lamb writes about how a racial slur in the late 1930s may have set baseball on a path toward history. · (20) ·
Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star writes about the Yanks’ supposed interest in Brian Bannister. He believes that the Yanks could swap Melky Cabrera for Bannister. This would be a trade of two below-average players making no money and wouldn’t serve to make either team better. Brian Bannister, in fact, is probably not an upgrade over Darrell Rasner. If this story contains more than just idle musings, I’d be surprised.
Update on Jarrod Washburn (1:15 p.m.): The game is underway in Toronto, and Jarrod Washburn is on the mound for the Mariners. It seems as though trade talks aren’t as close to completion as has been reported. If Washburn were anywhere close to being dealt, he wouldn’t be pitching today. · (125) ·