As spiraling construction costs and a weak economy have sent the price tag on the new Yankee Stadium soaring, the Yankees have been seeking some $350 million in tax exempt bonds beyond what they’ve already secured for the stadium. New York State politicians, however, are growing increasingly leery of the richest sports franchise’s continual cries of poverty.
This conflict came to something of a head earlier this week when city officials and Yankee club reps squared off with New York State Assembly Representative Richard Brodsky (Dem. – Westchester)and his Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions.
As Mark Gianotto reported in The Sun, Brodsky is big opponent of any further bonds at tax-payer expense for the stadium construction efforts:
At a hearing before the Assembly’s Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions in Lower Manhattan yesterday, the committee’s chairman, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester, said the city’s Industrial Development Agency committed a “fundamental public policy breakdown” by ignoring the baseball team’s potential revenue streams and ticket prices when determining if public funding was necessary for the new stadium. In the process, Mr. Brodsky said, the city bypassed more worthy projects.
But Brodsky’s critique is only icing on the cake. As Juan Gonzalez wrote in the Daily News on Wednesday, the Yankees can cash in on a whole bunch of incentives including one that would allow them to operate 25 pushcart vendors if they don’t get 600 parking spots. Gonzalez writes about more of the deception uncovered prior to this week’s Assembly hearing:
According to other documents IDA released to Brodsky, Mayor Bloomberg and former Gov. George Pataki greatly exaggerated the number of permanent jobs the new Yankee stadium will produce.
At the groundbreaking in August 2006, Bloomberg announced that the new stadium would “result in about 1,000 permanent jobs.” The actual job figures the Yankees submitted in their application to the IDA told a far different story.
They show the Yankees had only 104 full-time permanent employees in 2005. Included in that total were all team executives, ballplayers, office workers and maintenance personnel. Barely half were city residents. The number of full-time permanent jobs, the Yankees projected, would increase to 140 by 2009, the year the new stadium will open. That’s a gain of just 36 permanent jobs.
The Yankees have reported part-time jobs as well even though employees for those jobs largely come from outside of New York City. This is yet another example of the city’s willingness to look the other way for the Yankees while allowing other services — education and transportation come to mind — to fall by the wayside. While I know a lot of Yankee fans don’t care about this issue or would rather see the city placate the team, as I’ve written before, the Good Government New Yorker in me would prefer to see the city take advantage of their potential tax revenues. The Yankees were never going to leave, and this stadium simply acts as an unnecessary gift.
Our local politicians, however, aren’t the only ones looking into stadium subsidies. As Keith Herbert and Michael Frazier reported earlier this week, the feds are looking into it too. The IRS is looking to close a few tax loopholes that allow corporations to exploit tax-exempt bonds while a House subcommittee plans to ask the Treasury Department why these exemptions are granted in the first place.
No matter what, it seems that the ostentatious Yankee Stadium plans will finally convince the government to crack down on public subsidies of sports complexes. This is a move that’s probably coming twenty years too late as most sports economists have been urging these changes for the duration of the stadium boom. But, hey, better late than never.
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Sometimes, I hate being right.
Five days ago, after Darrell Rasner and the Yanks lost a tough game to the Mets, I threw up a red flag concerning Rasner’s performance. Sure, he had limited the Mets to two earned runs in five innings, but he allowed far too many baserunners to expect future success. Similar to Sidney Ponson’s poor performance against the Rangers after a good outing against the Mets, Rasner’s start was just as discouraging on Friday.
Rasner again lasted five innings and again gave up way too many baserunners. This time, the Red Sox made him pay, and when the dust settled – sadly, an oft-used proverb on RAB these days – Rasner had allowed six earned runs on 10 hits and three walks.
For Darrell and the Yanks, this is nothing. He was a terrible 1-5 with a 6.47 ERA and a whopping 1.81 WHIP in June. His one July start – yesterday’s – was worse.
At this point, the fourth-place Yanks can limp into the All Star break without another Rasner start. They plan to hand the ball off to the equally ineffective Sidney Ponson on Wednesday with Pettitte set to start twice before the break. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves.
Following yesterday’s game, the Yanks lost more ground and their All Star left fielder. They’re in fourth place, percentage points behind the Orioles, six behind Boston and nine behind a Tampa team that never loses anymore. Darrell Rasner isn’t the problem, but he’s not the solution. I don’t know what is right now.
1. Damon, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Posada, DH
7. Cano, 2B
8. Melky, CF
9. Molina, C
Notes: Billy Traber’s back, and although no corresponding move have been made, it seems that LaTroy Hawkins’ time is finally up … blogging will be light today around these parts, enjoy the holiday.
The Yankees have now been carrying three catchers on their 25-man roster for nearly a month, and during that stretch, third catcher extraordinaire Chad Moeller is a whopping 1 for 4 with 5 plate appearances. Clearly, then, to our uniformed eyes, the Yanks are wasting a valuable roster spot. But perhaps not. According to a notebook piece in Newsday, the Yanks seem to be hedging their bets with Posada’s injured shoulder. The Rangers stole four times in four tries on Tuesday, and Brian Cashman’s quote is rather telling.
“We’re staying with three catchers for a reason, because we’re still evaluating how he’s coming through this. I’ve seen some good throws and I’ve seen some times when he’s not throwing well. He’s not feeling any pain, he’s doing his work. Every day is a test and we see how he comes through those tests,” the Yanks’ GM said. · (5) ·
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I don’t have too much to say about tonight’s game. I’m out of town this weekend, and once the Sox were up 4-0, I had no desire to hear John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman bemoan another Yankee loss at the hands of the Red Sox.
When I checked the game a short while ago, I was dismayed but not shocked to see a 7-0 final. The Yanks, one night removed from their best offensive outburst of the year, couldn’t put anything together against Jon Lester. Andy Pettitte coudln’t recover from a first-inning Derek Jeter error.
When the dust settled, the Yanks’ pen turned in another fine effort, but it was far too late to impact the game. Another day, another loss from the consistently inconsistent Bombers. I can’t wait for Friday’s marquee Josh Beckett-Darrell Rasner match-up.
Double-A Trenton manager Tony Franklin said that Jose Tabata’s hamstring issue is “fairly severe” according to Mike Ashmore. With just about two months left in the season, it might be best for the Yanks and Tabata just to pack it up, get 100% healthy, and come back to Trenton ready to go next year. Remember, at age 19 the kid should still be in Low-A ball. Hard to call this a setback when you factor that in.
Triple-A Scranton‘s game was suspended due to rain after the second inning. IPK gave up a solo job in two otherwise uneventful innings of work. I’m guessing they’ll finish this one up when Lehigh Valley comes back to town in two weeks. I’ll update the stats then.
Double-A Trenton (4-0 win over Portland)
Ramiro Pena & Chris Malec: both 1 for 4 – Malec doubled, scored a run, drove in another & K’ed
Colin Curtis & Austin Jackson: both 2 for 4 – Curtis drove in a run … Ajax scored one
James Cooper & Edwar Gonzalez: both 2 for 3 – Cooper drew a walk & drove in a run … Edwar doubled & scored a run
PJ Pilittere & Cody Ehlers: both 0 for 4, 1 K
Jason Jones: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 5-9 GB/FB - he really should still in AAA
Mark Melancon: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1-3 GB/FB
Never though you’d hear a Yankee fan say that, did you?
Fresh off a heartbreaking three game sweep in an absolutely electric Tropicana Field, the Red Sox limp into town having lost their last five games by a total of six runs. They’re 4-8 in their last twelve, and are just a Chad Qualls meltdown away from being 3-9. The Yanks haven’t been much better, going 5-7 in their last twelve, but they’re just a Mariano Rivera hiccup from being a passable 6-6. Of course everyone is looking up to Rays this season.
Boston has taken three of five against the Yanks this season, winning two of three in the Fens before splitting a two game set in the Bronx. That was back in mid-April. Before David Ortiz hurt his wrist, before Joba moved to the rotation, before Manny put up a .544 OPS in his last 17 games (and physically abused a 60-yr old team official), and before Robbie Cano hit for a .956 OPS in his last 16 contests.
Jon Lester takes to the mound having been rocked for 6 runs in 5 innings his time out, but he money before that, posting a 2.13 ERA in his previous 72 IP. That’s especially impressive considered he’s coming back from, you know, shoulder tightness in June 2004.
Thaaaaa Yankees’ lineup!
1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. The Power of the ‘Stache, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robbie Cano, 2B
8. Wilson Betemit, 1B – .333-.391-.524 since last Wednesday
9. Melky Cabrera, CF – .083 OPS since July 27th
On the mound, he of the 1.00 ERA & 0.96 WHIP since June 6th, Andy Pettitte.
Notes: Matsui’s knee isn’t getting better, and he’ll likely be out until the All-Star Break, at this point you have to assume that whatever the Yanks get out of him the rest of the season is gravy … Derek Jeter’s next homer will be the 200th of his career, this season he’s averaged one homer every 78 at-bats, and it’s been 65 ABs since his last jack … there figures to be lots of comments with the Sox in town, so please review our Commenting Guidelines.
Are you ready to rumble?
For those of you whiling away this July 3 afternoon looking for a Yankee fix, Barry Bloom, MLB.com’s national reporter, totally has you covered. He sat down for a very extensive chat with Hal Steinbrenner this week, and the resulting article is a tour de force on the everything from the new stadium to the state of Yankee economics to their approach to free agents in what may be relatively leaner times for the Yankees. It’s a good, long read for a holiday eve, and it delves extensively into an issue surrounding the new stadium that we’re tackling this weekend. · (13) ·
Just like every other year, the 2008 July 2nd International Free Agent Signing Period was dominated by the Yankees, Red Sox and Mariners, baseball’s international superpowers.
Wait, no it wasn’t. In a surprising turn of events, the fiscally challenged A’s and Padres dominated the market, dropping nearly $10M combined on some of the very best players available. Oakland, as you already know, landed the top prize in Michel Inoa, while the Pads used their brand spankin’ new, $8.5M state-of-the-art Dominican academy to land five of the ten best ranked players, including three of the top six. Paul DePodesta is giddy, and rightfully so. (By the way, how awesome is that DePo blog? I wish the Yanks had something like that set up)
The Yanks, always a major factor on the international scene, have had five signings confirmed: shortstops Giancarlo Arias & Anderson Felix (both from the Dominican Republic), outfielders Yeico (15 minutes could save you 15% on your international free agents … okay, that was lame) Calderon (DR) & Ramon Flores (Venezuela), and catcher Jackson Valera (VZ). Saber Scouting says these players were “fringe seven figure talents” who apparently agreed to below market deals between $500,000 and $900,000.
It’s hard to blame the Yanks for focusing on hitters because they are generally safer bets than pitchers (especially when they’re that young), plus they have a nice track record of developing position players from the international scene, especially recently (Alfonso Soriano, Robbie Cano, Juan Rivera & Dioner Navarro come to mind). Flores appears to be the best prospect of the lot, ranking the 12th best Latino Prospect by ESPN. Here’s what they had to say about him:
Flores is a fast runner and an excellent defensive outfielder. This left-handed hitter has good mechanics at the plate, great control of the bat and power to the alleys. He can easily add 25 pounds to his frame (6-0, 160) and gain more power in the process.
Baseball America backs up that report and said he was likely to receive a bonus upwards of $800,000 (subscriber only). He was born in 1992. I feel ridiculously old.
The top overall prospect from the 2006 International Signing Period was Jesus Montero, and we all know what he’s up too. The best player the Yanks signed last year was outfielder Kelvin DeLeon, who is having himself an excellent season in the Dominican Summer League. The best pitcher they signed last year was Arodys “don’t call me Luis” Vizcaino, who has been brilliant with the Rookie level GCL Yanks (sample size warnings obviously apply). Hopefully all of these players continue to develop and be successful.