When it comes to the economics of baseball, conversations tend to begin and end in New York. The Yankees — and, to a lesser extent, the Mets — hold the blue-chip market captive and command hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues each year. While teams such as the Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers and Cubs can attempt to compete, the potential will always be greater in New York.
To that end, the Yankees have always been Public Enemy No. 1 and everyone’s best friend. They are frowned upon for spending exorbitant sums of money on free agents, but through baseball’s current revenue sharing system, they are funding many of their top competitors year after year. It’s a double-edged sword, and while lately, Bud Selig and the owners have kept the anti-Yankee rhetoric to a minimum, nothing would please the powers-that-be more than a decrease in the power of the Yankees.
To that end, then, the recent news that the new Yankee Stadium would push the Bombers’ revenue streams to stratospheric heights probably isn’t welcome news around the Commissioner’s Office. The rich are getting richer, and while the poor will piggy-back their way to more money, the name of the game these days is equality.
Enter Maury Brown. In a recent piece, Brown brings up the dreaded E word. That’s right; it’s time to talk expansion. As Brown notes, the only major baseball move since 1998 when the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks started play was the relocation of the Expos to Washington, D.C. This is the second longest stretch of stability in baseball since the Marlins and Rockies broke a 16-year hiatus on expansion.
As the other major sports leagues have all expanded more recently than baseball and with attendance booming, might the big wigs be itching to extend their reach? Perhaps so, but with an unstable U.S. economy and Mark Cuban nearly ready to close on the Cubs, baseball may not have the luxury to expand any time soon. But Brown ponders the available markets, and his number one destination is something of a tease to those of us living in the New York Metropolitan Area.
Brown recommends Northern New Jersey as the number one destination without a team that could support one. Drawing on the estimated 21 million people who live in the megalopolis that stretches from Philadelphia to the New York suburbs, this vast media market could easily support another team. There are, of course, the typical catches: The Yankees, Mets and Phillies would have to be compensated a prohibitive amount to waive their territorial rights over New Jersey. There is no stadium that could adequately house a Major League team. Transit options to any potential stadium site are dicey at best.
But I have to wonder if this is a path Major League Baseball could pursue in an effort to decrease the financial clout of the Yankees. A third team in the New York media market would draw fans and TV viewers away from the Yankees. While the Yanks would continue to profit at obscenely high margins, they would have to do so knowing that the local competition won’t roll over and die or play in another league, as the case may be with the Mets.
Brooklynites — I among them — yearn for the arrival of a Major League team in our borough. The day the Dodgers left is still a bitter one for fans from that generation. But what if the key to baseball’s economic inequalities lies not within the five boroughs but across the Hudson River in New Jersey? It won’t happen any time soon, but it’s a very distinct possibility.
MLB.com draft guru Jonathan Mayo has posted a small update on the status of the 11 first round picks that remain unsigned, four of which are represented by Boras. He notes that both Gerrit Cole (1st round) and Jeremy Bleich (sandwich round) are expected to sign with the Yanks, however second rounder Scott Bittle is not. A routine physical showed significant wear and tear on the righty’s throwing shoulder about a month ago, leading to an breakdown in contract negotiations. If Bittle doesn’t sign, the Yanks will receive a compensation pick following the second round of next year’s draft. Bleich is the only unsigned sandwich pick now that the Giants locked up Conor Gillaspie.
Update (1:20pm): Pending Pinstripes had a chance to sit down and chat with the recently signed Brett Marshall. Check it out. (can you tell the kid just got out of high school, or what?) · (18) ·
Back in the day, prior to the mid-1970s renovation of Yankee Stadium, support poles dotted the stadium, and it was possible to find a seat with a view of a pole and not the field. Today, the worst sight lines in the Stadium are found in the Upper Deck down the lines where the Tier juts out too far and blocks the view of the left- or right-field corners. That’s small beans compared with the problems in Fenway. In an amusing piece, Home Run Derby takes a look at some of the worst seats in the house. It sure must be nice to sit right behind the foul pole in Shea Stadium. Literally. (Hat tip to YFSF) · (2) ·
While we’re always a bit a skeptical of unsourced according-to’s around here, Buster Olney has some comforting words on Joba this morning. According to the tireless ESPN scribe as reported both on TV and in this article, a source said that “[Dr. James] Andrews told the Yankees he doesn’t believe Chamberlain’s injury is a long-term problem.” While rotator cuff tendinitis is not good news by a long stretch, as more information hits about Joba’s injury, the more comforted I am that this is not going to lead to long-term DL trip for Chamberlain.
Update 10:26: It seems my optimism may be an isolated feeling. Tyler Kepner is skeptical of these best-case reports, and other beat writers — well aware of the Yanks’ tendency to downplay injuries — are a bit wary as well. · (22) ·
Tonight’s Yankee game was remarkable for one reason: It was utterly unremarkable. The Yanks beat up a pitcher with terrible numbers; their starter held down the fort; the bullpen held the Rangers scoreless; and when all was said and done, the Yanks restored some order to a universe in chaos.
It had been, of course, a rough few days around the Bronx. With Joba’s injury and two losses that could have been wins on everyone’s minds, the Yankees needed a no-nonsense game like this. But it didn’t quite start out as it ended.
Early on, things looked a bit rough for the Yankees. Two innings into the game, Sidney Ponson had already put on five base runners, and only a play at the plate — in which the Yanks lost Ivan Rodriguez and the Rangers David Murphy — prevented Texas from breaking the game open. The collision was a clean play at the plate, but it could cost both teams nonetheless. Pudge is currently listed as day-to-day with a bruised knee. As the Yanks’ injury plagued season continues, he figures to miss a few games at a key stretch of the month but won’t need an MRI quite yet.
In the third, the Yanks quickly restored order though. The Yanks knocked out four hits to plate three runners and would never look back. They would later add runs on a Jason Giambi home run and a Derek Jeter double while Michael Young would homer in the fifth to bring Texas to within two. It would matter very little.
After that rough second inning, Ponson went 6.1 strong, allowing just a shade over one base runner per inning and striking out four. The bullpen would keep the Rangers in check the rest of the way, and Mariano Rivera would record the final three outs — two by the K — to emerge with his 27th save.
At some point, we’ll have to tackle the gaping holes in the rotation. At some point, we’ll have to figure out if Melky Cabrera has finally been permanently demoted to fourth outfielder status. But for tonight, we can revel in a crisp win and a remarkably unremarkable game, just the way it should be on an August evening in Texas.
The Yanks signed 6th round Brett Marshall to an $850,000 bonus, roughly $750,000 over slot. The prep RHP from Texas is arguably the second best prospect the Yanks selected behind top pick Gerrit Cole. (h/t to commentor Joe)
Triple-A Scranton (11-5 loss to Pawtucket)
Matt Carson: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB
Eric Duncan: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K – SLG by season, 2003-present: .473-.471-.408-.405-.389-.372 … that is an ugly trend
Shelley Duncan: 0 for 5, 1 K
Juan Miranda & Chris Basak: both 2 for 4 – Basak drove in a run
Cody Ransom: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
Ben Broussard: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – 1 for his last 11 following an 11 for 32 (.344) stretch
Chris Stewart: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 E (missed catch)
Al Aceves: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 4-1 GB/FB – 44 of 72 pitches were strikes (61.1%)
JB Cox: 1 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HB – only 11 of 31 pitches were strikes (35.5%)
Scott Patterson: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3-1 GB/FB - 26 of 36 pitches were strikes (72.2%) … allowed two runners he inherited from JB to score
Billy Traber: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Scott Strickland: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HB - Chad Jennings said he was pulled from the game following a visit to the mound by the trainer
Steven Jackson: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K – allowed all three runners he inherited from Strickland to score
According to Brian Cashman, Joba is hitting the DL with rotator cuff tendinitis. The Yanks’ youngster will sit for the next week in New York before beginning a throwing problem designed to strengthen the sore muscles in his arm. While there is no time table for his return, this diagnosis means Joba will be out for much of the remainder of the season.
This is, by and large, the best-case scenario. The Yanks don’t see any need for Joba to go under the knife, and they believe that rest coupled with a throwing program could be enough to bring the righty back to the mound before too long. However, there are a few warning signs, As Tyler Kepner notes, tendinitis could be symptomatic of a more serious injury as was the case when Jorge Posada faced a rotator cuff diagnosis in May. Coupled with yesterday’s quotes from Harlan Chamberlain, I’m optimistic but cautiously so concerning Joba. We may not see him again this year, but it seems as though things are far from dire. · (17) ·
1. Damon. CF – oh yeah, Melky’s totally being benched
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, DH
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Nady, LF
7. Cano, 2B
8. Pudge, C
9. Betemit, 3B
And on the mound, Sidney “will pitch for food” Ponson.
Notes: Sorry the site hasn’t been updated as much as usual lately; Ben’s on vacation, Joe’s in the middle of moving, and I’m rather swamped at work. It’ll be back to normal soon … all signs point to Ian Kennedy starting on Friday, and by Friday I mean Saturday … Chien-Ming Wang will remain on crutches for the foreseeable future … the Yanks had scouts attend Freddy Garcia’s so-so audition … Chad Moeller cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Scranton … Joba’s been placed on the DL, but that’s all we know so far; no news is good news, right?