Opening Day rained out, makeup game tomorrow

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Looks like we have to wait one more day for Opening Day. This afternoon’s game has already been postponed due to the inclement weather in New York, the Yankees announced. The game will be made up tomorrow at 1pm ET. The schedule for the pregame ceremonies and all that is exactly the same, just one day later.

The Yankees were last rained out on Opening Day back in 2008, and hey, this is the reason they have the off-day following Opening Day each year. Fans with tickets to today’s game can either use them tomorrow, or exchange them for another game this season. The rainout is a bummer, but at least the game was called early.

On the pitching side, the rainout means Masahiro Tanaka will have to make his second start of the season on normal rest this Sunday, and we know the Yankees don’t like that. They could always pull Ivan Nova out of the bullpen — or call someone up from Triple-A Scranton — to make a spot start and give Tanaka that extra rest. We’ll see.

Well, we’ve waited almost six months for meaningful Yankees baseball. What’s one more day? /sobs

TiqIQ: The Yankees new ticketing policy is certainly good for the team. Could it also be good for fans?

The following is from Jesse Lawrence of TiqIQ.

When the Yankees announced that they’d be eliminating print-at-home tickets entirely last month, the media jumped on the story as the latest example of greed in big sports. Beyond the click-driving headlines, however, the real story is as much about the shift toward mobile buying as it is a dollar grab. It’s also a change that has the potential to benefit consumers in meaningful ways.

In full disclosure, my company, TiqIQ, has a horse in this race. In fact, we have two. In the pursuit of providing fans full market transparency, we analyze and sell tickets from primary platforms like Ticketmaster, Eventbrite and Spectra, as well as from the secondary market. Our secondary market includes feeds directly from brokers as well as other sources, including the Yankees Ticket Exchange. Over the last five years, that focus on both sides of the marketplace has given us a unique perspective across thousands of events and millions of tickets.  While each league and event has it’s own unique primary-secondary dynamic, on the whole we’ve found that the primary and secondary markets have the best deals roughly in equal measure. For the Yankees, and most of baseball, however, it’s a slightly different picture.

Last year none of the 30 Major League teams sold out of their season.  While the Yankees ranked 4th in the league attendance, they only filled up Yankee stadium at 80% of capacity over the course of the season. For baseball, that’s like hitting .300, but it still equates to about 10,000 unsold tickets…for every game.  This compares to the approximately 5,000 secondary market tickets available for each Yankees home game. For the 2015 season, we analyzed 51 games, one-month ahead of the game.  We looked at games that we felt were a representative sample of all demand profiles across four price categories—100s, 200s, 300s and 400s. The data showed that, overall, primary was cheaper 59.5% of the time. For 300 level seats, primary was cheaper in 39 of the 51 games. For 100-level seats, the Secondary market had a better deal 51% of the time. The full analysis with 2015 and 2016 can be viewed here.

For this season, we’re again tracking the difference between the primary and secondary market for Yankees tickets across 51 games. This year, we expanded to five price tiers for some more granularity. So far, the secondary market has a slight edge, and is cheaper 53% the time. For higher demand games against teams like the Red Sox, Mets, Giants and Dodgers, though, primary has the better deal in almost twice as often as the secondary market. For the two Red Sox Series we tracked, primary has a better deal 89% of time. That will likely change as the events get closer in date, as the secondary market almost always drops in the days and week leading up to the event. May is a good example of that, as the primary market is cheaper only 36% of the time. For young and old ticket buyers alike, however, that’s not information that is or has been readily accessible in the buying process.  A search in Google for ‘Yankees Tickets’ returns 16 results on the coveted first page of results. The Yankees or Major League Baseball power six of those sites. Simple math says that the team is completely absent from more than half of the ticket buying options in at least one prominent buying ecosystem.  In the context of apps, the picture is even worse for teams. A search for ‘Yankees tickets’ in Apple’s app store returns 9 results, eight of which have nothing to do with the team itself or their primary inventory.

Over the last two decades years, that kind of under-representation in the market has been driven by a combination of bad technology and bad business decisions. Sixteen years after Stubhub was founded, that may be beginning to change. Last week, Ticketmaster launched their checkout into another app for the first time. Their partner, Bands in Town, has between five and ten million app installs in Google Play alone and ranks second for a search on ‘music tickets’ in the App store. In the months and years to come, this distributed model will find it’s way into sports. From a marketplace perspective, that could be a very good thing for buyers, as it has the opportunity to reduce purchase friction for the 40% of primary inventory that goes unsold every year.

Over the last five years at TiqIQ, we’ve seen traffic go from 70% desktop to 70% mobile and app. It’s a trend that is only picking up velocity and when the marketplace speaks that loudly, businesses have no choice but to respond.  As they did in 2013 with their secondary ticket exchange, the Yankees have responded first and loudly in an effort to move things away from the status quo. They’ll suffer first-mover criticism, but others will follow their lead. Regardless of those lashings, the Boss would surely take some pleasure in knowing that the rival Red Sox are launching their own ticket exchange this season, three years after the Yankees did the same.

Regardless of the pace at which teams move, in the long run, it seems to be only a matter of when and how, not if, they’ll regain control of their ticket buying ecosystem. The recent dismissal of Stubhub’s lawsuit against Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors is further evidence of that inevitability. As that happens, it’s critical that teams don’t abuse their rediscovered power. If managed properly, though, the Yankees decision and the shift it represents may usher in a much-needed simplification of the ticket market. In addition to the opportunity for a more complete view of the marketplace, it also has the potential to turn ticketing into something it’s hasn’t been since the Cubs last won a world series: a product that works well enough for fans to give it almost no thought at all.

Yankees officially set 2016 Opening Day roster

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Tomorrow afternoon — weather permitting — the Yankees will open the 2016 regular season against the same team and in the same place their 2015 season ended: at Yankee Stadium against the Astros. Opening Day is just another game in the grand scheme of things, but it absolutely has symbolic value, and besides, everyone wants to start the new year with a win.

Earlier today the Yankees officially announced their Opening Day roster. The deadline to file the roster with MLB was 12pm ET this afternoon. The Opening Day roster offers no surprises. There were no last minute trades or waiver claims. Nothing like that. The roster is exactly as expected following all the roster moves over the last week or two. Here is the club’s Opening Day roster:

CATCHERS (2)
C Brian McCann
C Austin Romine (No. 27)

INFIELDERS (6)
UTIL Dustin Ackley
2B Starlin Castro
SS Didi Gregorius
3B Chase Headley
1B Mark Teixeira
IF Ronald Torreyes (No. 17)

OUTFIELDERS (4)
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Brett Gardner
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
OF Aaron Hicks (No. 31)

DESIGNATED HITTERS (1)
DH Alex Rodriguez

STARTERS (5)
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
RHP Michael Pineda
LHP CC Sabathia
RHP Luis Severino
RHP Masahiro Tanaka

RELIEVERS (7)
RHP Johnny Barbato (No. 26)
RHP Dellin Betances
RHP Luis Cessa (No. 85)
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Ivan Nova
LHP Chasen Shreve
RHP Kirby Yates (No. 39)

MISCELLANY (4)
1B Greg Bird (15-day DL retroactive to March 25th, shoulder surgery)
LHP Aroldis Chapman (restricted list, 30-game suspension)
RHP Bryan Mitchell (15-day DL retroactive to March 31st, broken toe)
OF Mason Williams (15-day DL retroactive to March 25th, shoulder surgery)

Romine beat out Gary Sanchez and I guess Carlos Corporan for the backup catcher’s job. Torreyes beat out Pete Kozma and Rob Refsnyder for the backup infielder’s job, and Sabathia beat out Nova for the fifth starter’s spot. Barbato, Cessa, and Yates beat out a small army of relievers for spots on the Opening Day roster. They’re on the shuttle though; they could be send down for a fresh arm in short order.

Tanaka will start his second straight Opening Day tomorrow — Sabathia started six straight Opening Days prior to last year — and be followed in the rotation by Pineda, Eovaldi, Severino, and Sabathia in that order. Miller is going to pitch through the chip fracture in his right wrist, which is both admirable and awesome. After spending all winter talking about the team’s super-bullpen, the Yankees were dangerously close to starting the season with only one of their three elite relievers.

Chapman will return on May 9th, in the 31st game of the season. Bird is done for the season, Mitchell will miss a minimum of three months, and I’m not quite sure how long Williams will be sidelined. He’s been hitting and throwing at Tampa, so I assume his return is weeks away, not months. Chapman’s suspension means the Yankees have an open 40-man roster spot. Bird and Mitchell are 60-day DL candidates whenever more spots are needed.

Okay, that was entirely too many words about an Opening Day roster with zero surprises. Hooray for baseball being back. Go team.

Sunday Open Thread

Happy Opening Day, everyone. Well, tomorrow is the real Opening Day as far as I’m concerned. Not only because of the Yankees, but because most teams open their season that day. There are three regular season games on the schedule today (and one exhibition game, wtf?), so I’m posting the open thread a little earlier than usual. Here’s the day’s baseball schedule:

  • Cardinals at Pirates (Wainwright vs. Liriano): 1pm ET on ESPN
  • Blue Jays at Rays (Stroman vs. Archer): 4pm ET on ESPN2
  • Mets at Royals (Harvey vs. Volquez): 8:30pm ET on ESPN

Nice little slate of games there, I’d say. The Royals are going to raise their World Series banner prior to tonight’s game. They’ll hand out their rings before the second game of the series. Making the Mets sit through two ceremonies? That’s a power move.

Aside from baseball, both the Knicks and Nets are playing today as well. So talk about those games or anything else right here. Enjoy the fake Opening Day, folks.

The Crookeds and the Straights

“You got to take the crookeds with the straights.” Few lines can more accurately sum up the course of a baseball season than this one. Opening Day for the Yankees is just one sleep away and so our tired, baseball-starved feet finally rest at the variously crooked and straight path that is the 162-game marathon of a Major League season. Just like the 30 teams, each individual player will have his own crooked and straight moments to form the mosaic of his season. Hopefully for the Yankees’ players, there are more straights than crookeds. Let’s take a look at those possibilities for the place that’s a big question for the Yanks: the mound

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Middle Relief

I’ll take this as a group instead of going player-by-player, since the same thing applies to just about all of them. Here lies the boom and bust potential of the team. If they can preserve the leads that the starters–not always likely to go deep–can hand to them, they can help overcome the iffiness of the rotation and hand things off to the definitively solid back end of the bullpen. If not, they make the back end of the bullpen almost meaningless. The faces in here will change throughout the year, but the job remains the same: just get the outs when your name is called.

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)
(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Ivan Nova

I touched on his relief potential earlier in the year, and I’ll stick to my story here. The straight side of things is that Nova becomes Adam Warren. The crooked is that he continues being Ivan Nova, a pitcher whose only new trick is inconsistency in a new role. Ironically, going crooked instead of straight may be Nova’s best shot; like I wrote back in late January, if he focuses on his sinker and his curve, he may turn out alright as a reliever.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Andrew Miller & Dellin Betances

This is the place where the Yankees are mostly likely to have things go straight. Miller and Betances–along with Aroldis Chapman–are the safest bets of any Yankee players to be their elite selves this year. If things go crooked, it’s because Miller’s newly injured wrist isn’t holding up or Betances’ innings catch up to him. Luckily, the Yankees are crooked-proof here thanks to the three-headed monster they’ve assembled that will be hard to defeat; they’ve got insurance for insurance.

CC Sabathia

The straight path for CC is a lot more crooked than it is for others. There is not likely to be a return to dominance or even a return to goodness. All we’ve got to hope for here is a straight shot from April to October that includes health. Sabathia is going to be the fifth starter and all he needs to do is perform like one.

Masahiro Tanaka

The difference between crooked and straight matters most when it comes to Tanaka. Going straight, he can finally pitch a full season and be the ‘full time’ ace that injuries haven’t allowed him to be. Going crooked, he can finally prove a lot of amateur injury experts right and hurt his elbow for good. With so many question marks on the mound, it would be great for Tanaka to be the anchor we’ve all wanted him to be. He’s got frontline potential that obviously plays in the season, and would be great in the playoffs, especially paired with…

(Getty)
(Getty)

Nathan Eovaldi/Michael Pineda

Way back in November, I wrote about the mutual crossroads that Nasty Nate and Big Mike were about to approach; now they’ve arrived. The crooked part of the path sees their development stalling. The straight path sees Eovaldi continuing his second half surge and Pineda rediscovering his pre-Mother’s Day form. If you had to choose which one of these things if more likely, which would you? Because I have no idea. These two are a mystery, bigger even than…

Luis, you're No. 1. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Luis, you’re No. 1. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Luis Severino

Severino, no longer a rookie, will be counted on to take a step forward this season. Hopefully, that step is straight. We shouldn’t expect dominance and we shouldn’t expect him to meet his full potential already, but a straight step by Severino would boost the Yankees now and in the future. If he doesn’t step straight, though, he’s still young enough that he’s got time to correct his ‘gait.’ A crooked step by “Sevvy” might be bad for 2016, but luckily, it doesn’t mean the end of him.

It’s easy today to get overly emotional with each pitch, each play, each game–especially with the immediacy of social media. But we need to remember to try to stay calm. It’s a long road from here to November, and the path will be winding; we’ve got to take the crookeds with the straights.

Yankees trade Carlos Corporan to Rays for cash

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Earlier today the Yankees traded catcher Carlos Corporan to the Rays for cash, the team announced. It’s only the second trade ever between the two AL East rivals. The other trade was the Nick Green for cash blockbuster back in 2006. Remember the Nick Green game? Good times.

Corporan, 32, had a unique opt-out clause in his contract. Once the Yankees determined they were not going to add him to the 40-man roster, they had to email the other 29 teams and give them the chance to add Corporan to their 40-man. Apparently no one bit; Corporan was traded as a non-40-man player.

The Yankees signed Corporan over the winter and it appeared that, at the very least, he would be a veteran safety net behind Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez in the backup catcher competition. Joe Girardi largely dismissed Corporan as a backup catcher candidate this spring and the job eventually went to Romine.

With Corporan gone, either Sebastian Valle or Eddy Rodriguez will back up Sanchez at Triple-A Scranton. Valle spent all of last season at Double-A with the Pirates. E-Rod bounced between Double-A and Triple-A with the Yankees. Either way, Sanchez is the starter for the RailRiders. No doubt about it.

Open Thread: April 2nd Camp Notes

The Yankees and Marlins are playing another un-televised game this afternoon. The good news is this will be the last un-televised Yankees game until next spring. Following today’s game the team will head to New York, enjoy an off-day tomorrow, then begin the regular season Monday. Pretty cool. Today’s game begins at 1pm ET. Here’s the Gameday link so you can follow that way. Here are some quick notes from Miami:

  • Andrew Miller (wrist) will pitch an inning today. He’s been wearing a brace since getting hit with the line drive a few days ago, but he needs to get MLB approval before using it in a game. [Anthony Rieber, Ryan Hatch]
  • Joe Girardi confirmed Aaron Hicks will indeed be in the starting lineup against Dallas Keuchel on Opening Day. He hasn’t decided who will sit, however. My take: if Jacoby Ellsbury‘s wrist is still sore from that hit-by-pitch two weeks ago, even a little bit, sit him and give him the extra rest. If not, well, he’s probably the one who should sit anyway. [Hatch]
  • Chase Headley did not play last night and he is not playing today because he’s sick. It’s unclear if he’ll be back to full strength in time for Opening Day. [Rieber]
  • If you missed it late last night, Kirby Yates has reportedly won the final bullpen spot.

Here is the open thread for the rest of the day. MLB Network is showing live games all day: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays in Montreal (1pm ET), Giants vs. Athletics in Oakland (4pm ET), and Dodgers vs. Angels in Anaheim (8pm ET). All three local hockey teams are in action, plus you’ve got both Final Four games later tonight. Have at it.