Holy temple of awesome

Larry Dubrow was lucky enough to get a tour of The New Yankee Stadium as a potential “Premium Offering” seating buyer. Suffice it to say, he was blown away:

About 13 seconds later, after we proceeded into the so-called Great Hall, I started mentally filling out a Bank of America job application. Holy temple of awesome. Big (around 1.6 times the square footage of its predecessor, even with a few thousand fewer seats).

Shiny (lotsa glass and chrome). Bright (the old Yankee Stadium, mystique-y and aura-tastic as it may have been, was perpetually caked in grime). If this is the future of the stadium experience, I humbly request to be teleported to next April. You can have your quaint ivy walls and forbidding monsters of green; me, I’ll take the laser beam turbo rocket ship.

Now, it sounds like Larry is slogging thru a modest means, like most of us. I am guessing that while he was ga-ga over the tour, the new amenities, seeing the clubhouse, the field, etc., the real kicker came via email the next day. And you know what, I could not agree more.

Alas, I returned to my computer on Monday morning to find an e-mail awaiting me from my guide. The note contained the usual pleasantries and directed me to an attached file for more information. It was there that the Yankees dropped the hammer: the seats cost $550. That’s per ticket per game, not per month or per season. For a 20-game plan, that’s 22 grand for a pair.

I love my team irrationally. I love attending ball games. I don’t love them that much.

Continue reading Holy temple of awesome

To invest or re-invest

If you were a community-conscious owner of a team, would you rather invest, say, $30 million in a free agent superstar for your club or re-invest that money in the community in the form of 50 new ballfields around your larger metropolitan area?

If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, does that seem a little weird to you?” Jamie McCourt asked in an interview at the Evergreen Recreation Center in East Los Angeles. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out. We’re really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We’re really trying to understand, would they rather have the 50 fields?”

How would YOU feel if the ownership if your favorite team decided to forego that splash signing and chose rather to commence construction on that many ballfields, including one in your neighborhood? (Check the poll to the left to vote!)

Continue reading To invest or re-invest

It's due to the Domino Effect

Ben Shpigel wonders aloud if the fact that the economy is in the crapper is the reason for the relatively quiet free agent signing period so far. Ben notes the “Domino Effect” but also dismisses it.

Player agents and front-office executives often speak of the domino effect that occurs after the premium free agent at his position makes a decision. For instance, as soon as Sabathia, the most coveted starting pitcher, chooses where he will play for the next six or so years, interest in the other top starters – A. J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Ben Sheets – should sort itself out.

He goes on to speak about that while the biggest fish (Sabathia, Teixeira) will get theirs, maybe the economy will jump up and bite some of the other guys. I disagree, to a point. Once Sabathia lands, the dominoes will tumble quickly. If the Yanks are left watching Sabathia take the podium in Anaheim, you can bet that they will step up their offers and interest in ALL of the best remaining pitchers, plus Teixeira. And I’d expect it to happen pretty quickly.

Let’s say that Sabathia signs somewhere the week after Thanksgiving. The rest of those big ticket pitchers (Lowe, Burnett, Sheets) plus Teixeira will be signed before we take Christmas break. That’s not the economy, stupid (nothing personal, Ben!). That’s the Domino Effect.

Sure, the economy will shrink the deals offered to the lower level free agents, but the best guys will still do just fine once the first –very large– domino comes a’tumblin’ down.

Continue reading It's due to the Domino Effect

Shysterball on the move

I’ve made it clear many times how helpful and thoughtful Craig “Shysterball” Calcaterra has been to me since I launched this blog 11 months ago. I had toyed with the idea of doing something like this for a while but would always find an excuse. Then, by chance, I saw a chat from Rob Neyer that asked him which blogs he liked to read and one he mentioned was Shysterball. Once I saw what Craig did, how he did it while holding down a busy full-time career, and making it look both easy and fun….I decided to take the leap.

Except that he makes it look much easier than it really is. And that’s a tribute to his talents.

I probably owe most of my readership to Shysterball in one way or another. For that, I am grateful. That you guys keep coming back is more meaningful than you can imagine.

So now, Craig is moving on from the lonely, independent blogosphere to the higher rent district known as The Hardball Times. I couldn’t be happier for him. Craig had his “And That Happened” daily recap picked up by Studes & Co. at THT last season, so this is only an extension of an already successful relationship. Craig’s off-beat, witty and astute voice will ring loudly in the super-analytical realm of THT. Success is inevitable.

I wish them all the luck in the world. Continue reading Shysterball on the move

Baseball in Ottawa

Read this, because I said so. Also, because Pete Toms wrote it and it’s damn good. My New Yorker point of view doesn’t allow me to know that some of these things exist. Yeah, I need to get out more.


Is the upcoming 17th consecutive season of professional baseball in Ottawa also the last? Many factors will determine whether professional baseball continues to be played here, including support, municipal politics, the local pro sports landscape, real estate and CanAm League fortunes.

Pete also had this excellent post at The Biz of Baseball about the Rule IV draft that’s worth reading if you feel like learning something. If today’s not that day, bookmark it and get back to it when you’re feeling brainy. A taste:

The past two drafts have seen a trend of small and mid market franchises outspending many larger market franchises. The Rays and Nationals ranked #2 and #5 in dollars spent on signing bonuses in the 07 draft with the Royals and Rangers also in the top 10. The 08 draft saw an increase in this behaviour with the Royals, Rays and Pirates all in the top 4 along with the Giants, Brewers, Rangers, Twins and Indians all in the top 10.

Note: Pete and “brevity” do not belong in the same sentence. Clearly, Pete and Joe Pos came from the same school. Continue reading Baseball in Ottawa

Grading the nine digit deals

There’s a solid review of all of the $100+ million deals done by SI.com today. Here are only the grades; you’ll have to check out the link for the full review:

  • Kevin Brown, Overall grade: C-
  • Ken Griffey Jr., Overall grade: D+
  • Alex Rodriguez, Overall grade (first contract): C; Overall grade (second contract): Incomplete
  • Manny Ramirez, Overall grade: A-
  • Mike Hampton, Overall grade: F
  • Jason Giambi, Overall grade: D+
  • Todd Helton, Overall grade: C
  • Albert Pujols, Overall grade: A
  • Carlos Beltran, Overall grade: B-
  • Vernon Wells, Overall grade: C
  • Alfonso Soriano, Overall grade: B-
  • Barry Zito, Overall grade: F
  • Carlos Lee, Overall grade: C
  • Miguel Cabrera, Overall Grade: Incomplete
  • Johan Santana, Overall grade: Incomplete

Maybe it’s me, but I forgot how many guys were given contracts this size. I flat out forgot about Wells, Lee, and even Soriano, to a lesser degree.

Continue reading Grading the nine digit deals