ALCS secondary ticket prices on the decline

Our partners at TiqIQ comes an update on ALCS ticket prices. As the graph above shows, over the last five days, prices for the tickets at Yankee Stadium have gone down significantly.

I believe we’re seeing the impact of a long series coupled with what I call the A.J. Effect and the reality of a weekday day game. I’m surprised that the Cliff Lee/Andy Pettitte tickets are showing such a decline, but I know Yankee fans aren’t keen on seeing A.J. throw a pivotal Game 4. With Game 5’s 4:00 p.m. start time, too many fans with tickets can’t take off from work.

As always, we have plenty of seats at RAB Tickets. Check it out if you’re trying to get to the Stadium.

Open Thread: Back Home

He's going to his left, they must have given Derek a head start. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The end result of the first two games of the ALCS definitely favors the Yankees, though the starting pitching they received makes it feel like quite the opposite. For all intents and purposes, it’s a best-of-five series now, and the first three games will be played in Yankee Stadium. Regardless of who’s pitching when, that’s not a bad situation for the Yanks to be in at all.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the night. Game Two of the NLCS (Oswalt vs. Sanchez) starts at 8:00pm ET on FOX, and the late NFL game has the Colts at the Redskins (8:20pm, NBC). Talk about whatever, just be cool.

Freddy Schuman, long-time stadium stalwart, passes away

Since 1988, Freddy Schuman, better known as Freddy Sez to Yankee fans, has traipsed around Yankee Stadium with his homemade signs urging on the Yanks to win. The familiar ping of a spoon hitting his pan fills the air, and as it grows louder, fans know that their chance to bang the pan is just around the corner.

Unfortunately, though, Freddy has made his last sign. The Daily News is reporting that Freddy has passed away today. Chuck Frantz, Schuman’s long-time friend, has conveyed the bad news to the paper and confirmed that Schuman suffered a heart attackthis afternoon.

Through thick and thin, Freddy came to the Yankee games at the old stadium in the Bronx. He would shuffle around the ballpark, and fans would stop to take pictures with Freddy. His pan and spoon are now in Cooperstown. “This is what keeps me going,” he said to Times reporter Manny Fernandez back in 2006. “This is why I’m doing it. Probably if I stopped, I’d probably be buried already.”

The 2006 piece is chock full of stories about Freddy. The Upper West Sider lost his eye in a stickball accident at age 9 and his teeth because he owned a candy store. The constant banging he endured as the holder of the pan left him hard of hearing, but he did it for love of the game. The Yanks even flew him out to Arizona for Game 7 of the 2001 World Series to serve as the team’s good luck charm. “If Freddy isn’t there with his pan,” Rudy Giuiliani once said, “it doesn’t feel right. It feels like there’s something missing.”

When the new stadium opened, Freddy at first had a tough time getting in, but the Yankees eventually found tickets for him. He hadn’t been as loud a presence at the new stadium, and his health, never strong in the first place, seemed to be failing him lately. He was 85 at the time of the his death.

After the jump, watch a short documentary on Freddy Sez from No Mas. [Read more…]

Yanks to stop homophobic crowd chants

A 1999 book by Dean Chadwin, called Those Damn Yankees: The Secret Life of America’s Greatest Franchise, introduced the world to the dark underbelly of Yankee fans at the height of the club’s late-1990s dynasty. Using the Yanks as his storytelling device, Chadwin explored the problems inherent in baseball economics, the way the team used its influence to secure the promise of a new stadium from then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani and of course, the way Yankee fans are utterly ruthless in their taunting. For those who attend the games and follow the team, the short tome didn’t break new ground, but Chadwin’s writing highlighting some of the more uncomfortable aspects of Yankee Stadium.

As a highlight of the book, Chadwin goes inside the bleachers. Then holding court in Section 39, the Bleacher Creature at Yankee Stadium was — and still is — ruthless. Those who wear the colors of an opposing team into that section can be prepared for nine innings of taunts. One part, though, garnered headlines. Chadwin explored the homophobic nature of the taunts, and in the middle of the book, he republished the Creature’s version of Y.M.C.A. The chorus replaces the Village People’s line with “Why are you gay?” and the rest of the verse isn’t much better. It’s laid out on page 45 of the book for all to see.

When the book came out, the media focused a bit on this version of the song but eventually let the issue drop. Recently, though, with a rash of high-profile anti-gay incidents and a video from the bleachers on YouTube, the bleachers’ version of this song came under fire. Gay rights activists were up in arms over the song, and the Yankees quickly responded. Security guards, the team said, would no longer tolerate this version of the song.

GLAAD issued a statement on this little brouhaha. “We reached out to the Yankees, and were extremely pleased with their reaction. Yankees spokesperson Alice McGillion told us ‘the Yankees have zero tolerance for this and any kind of abuse.’ She said that security in the bleacher sections of the stadium will warn fans, before Y.M.C.A. is played, that any type of homophobic abuse ‘will not be tolerated’ and she assured us that any fans who take part in this ugly bullying will be ejected from the game.”

The Yanks’ decision to put an end to this practice is, in my opinion, about a decade too late, but while the club turned a blind eye to this practice, so too did anyone who covered the team. I’ve known about this chant for years and never wrote about it. Team beat writers or sports columnists could have chosen to attack this song instead of moralizing for the umpteenth time about steroids. But they didn’t. Homophobia has no place in sports, and while the Yanks should be applauded for vowing to stop it, albeit years too late, at their stadium, fans should not remain silent about it either.

Girardi: ‘We believe in A.J.’

When CC Sabathia lasted just four innings and threw only 93 pitches on Friday, many speculated that the Yanks would take advantage of this short outing to bring him back on three days’ rest and thus skip A.J. Burnett‘s scheduled start. Yanks’ manager Joe Girardi said today that A.J. Burnett would indeed be getting the ball for Tuesday’s Game 4 start. “I know its been a tough year for him, at times,” the skipper said. “But we believe in A.J.” The Yankees also said they believe in Santa Claus, leprechauns, the Easter Bunny, Big Foot, the Tooth Fairy and diet Dr. Pepper with no calories that tastes just as good as the original.

As Jack Curry noted, the Yanks’ decision to go with A.J. is more about the team’s unwillingness to use Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte on short rest. Considering Hughes’ innings limit and Pettitte’s fragility — he is just four starts removed from a two-month stint on the DL — the Yanks wanted to line up their pitchers to go on full rest. This move also speaks to one of the reasons why Phil Hughes threw yesterday’s game: The Yanks would prefer to line up Pettitte for a potential Game 7 with CC available in the pen. So Andy goes tomorrow, followed by A.J., followed by CC. And so it goes.

Laird homers in Phoenix loss

These Arizona Fall League night games are killing me. I can’t remember them ever playing this many, at least not this easy in the season. Anyway, let’s get you caught up on the last few days, plus the action from Latin America …

Phoenix Desert Dogs (11-4 loss to Scottsdale on Friday)
Austin Romine, DH: 1 for 4, 3 K
Brandon Laird, LF: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K – I suspect he’ll have a few more games like this considering the extreme offensive run environment
George Kontos: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K – 17 of 26 pitches were strikes (65.4%) … hey, at least he struck out the side

Phoenix Desert Dogs (10-4 loss to Surprise on Saturday)
Jose Pirela, 2B: 0 for 4, 1 BB, 2 K

There are no games on the schedule for today. Keith Law got a look at Craig Heyer the other day and wrote up a little blurb, but you need an Insider subscription to read it. Here’s the important stuff…

Heyer throws a heavy fastball at 90-92 from a slot just below 3/4, generating a lot of groundballs, and he works quickly to try to keep hitters off balance. His slider was fringy at 83-84 with a tendency to get long and sweepy, which can be a problem for pitchers with lower arm slots, but if he can tighten that up he’s a valuable relief prospect, but would need a third pitch to use against lefties if he’s going to end up a starter.

Heyer is an extreme strike thrower, walking just 14 batters unintentionally in 164.1 IP over the last two seasons (0.77 BB/9), so it’s good to get a pair of eyes on him and confirm that there’s actual potential here. He’s not particularly young, 25 next month, but the Yanks’ 2007 22nd rounder has put himself on the prospect map over the last two years. Good for him.

And now for the other winter leagues…

Mexican Winter League
Justin Christian: 4 G, 5 for 18, 1 RBI, 2 SB (.278/.278/.278)
Walt Ibarra: 4 G, 5 for 16, 5 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 SB (.313/.389/.375)
Francisco Gil: 2 G, 1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP (36.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP)
Eric Wordekemper: 2 G, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (20.25 ERA, 2.25 WHIP)

Venezuelan Winter League
Jose Gil: 4 G, 8 for 16, 4 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 K (.500/.500/.875)
Luis Nunez: 2 G, 2 for 7, 1 R (.286/.286/.286)
Marcos Vechionacci: 5 G, 3 for 16, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (.188/.235/.250)
Josh Schmidt: 1 G, 1 GS, 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Edwar Gonzalez, Juan Marcano, Emerson Landoni, Eduardo Sosa, and Jesus Montero are all playing in the VWL as well, but have yet to appear in a game. The Dominican Winter League rosters aren’t out yet, but they will be soon. The season starts on Friday. Same deal with the Puerto Rican League as well, season starts the same day and everything.

Football Open Thread

The Giants are playing the Lions (1pm ET), the Jets are in the Denver (4pm ET). If you’re a Cablevision subscriber, you’re out of luck with the Giants. Still no resolution between them and FOX. Bastards. Chat about any of all of the games here.