Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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If You Build it...
2006-01-19 06:51
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Creaking forward?

Comments
2006-01-19 07:10:49
1.   joejoejoe
This isn't funny money we are talking about and people have other priorities for their tax dollars. The WTC site is still nothing. Let's break ground there before we start tearing down ballparks to build...smaller ballparks. Are state healthcare and pension costs flat or growing? Any surplus funding for ballparks is an illusion until budget growth is controlled and NY is nowhere close.

MAYBE a dual use Jets/Mets stadium gets built in Queens but there isn't money for all this nonsense in the Bronx. It's still hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars however you slice it and the people don't want it. Knocking down the most famous stadium in the US, eliminating park land, spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars to build a smaller ballpark that benefits NJ and CT fans more than NY is a complete joke. If it's such a wonderful idea put it on a statewide referendum where it will be defeated by 50 points. A pox on all new stadiums that use any public money.

2006-01-19 07:14:54
2.   debris
When I last visited the Big Ballyard in the Bronx, I was located in the last row of section 30. Right behind me was an opening from which I could peer out and see Coogan's Bluff and the site where the Polo Grounds once had stood. Still I had a pretty good view of the ballfield and had no trouble identifying each of the 17 visiting runners as they scampered across the plate. I wonder just how far from the plate will be the last row of the upper deck in the new Stadium? Do I hear Allentown, anyone?

On another related note: every once in a while I hear someone refer to the Los Angeles club of the National League as the Bums. NOTE WELL: THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS ARE NOT THE BUMS!!! The New Yankee Stadium may well be called Yankee Stadium, but it will never, ever be "The Big Ballyard in the Bronx."

2006-01-19 07:16:02
3.   debris
"A pox on all new stadiums that use any public money."

And, likewise, a pox on all those municipalities who allow themselves to be blackmailed by zillionaires.

2006-01-19 08:24:49
4.   Sliced Bread
By the time "The House That Damon? Built" is open, the construction costs will have hit $2-billion dollars, give or take a dozen mill. Woo hoo! I can't wait until a day with my sons at the shiny, new ballpark costs more than two days at Disney World (lodging included).

This all might go down (or up, depending on your perspective) a lot sooner out of necessity, as Yankee Stadium will probably collapse the day Bob Sheppard finally retires. Sadly, that day is looming.

2006-01-19 08:32:27
5.   JL25and3
Great idea. Spend a few hundred million of our money, destroy a much-used community park, replace a ballpark that's beloved, more than adequate, and packed every day - all for the sole benefit of corporate boxholders. What's not to like?
2006-01-19 08:46:00
6.   Shawn Clap
Ugh, those drawings of the "New Yankees Stadium".

Looks like Ebbets Field & Busch Stadium had a retarded baby!

2006-01-19 09:12:04
7.   brockdc
Sliced Bread,

Something tells me that father-son days at The Stadium will be going the way of the Furby.

2006-01-19 10:03:55
8.   wsporter
I guess it had to happen, someday. I'd rather they find a way to spruce the old place up one more time. I feel like an old friend is getting the chair and he's out of appeals. The place where my grandfather used to take me is going to disappear. There's nothing I can do but mark it down as progress, hold my nose and move on. That doesn't mean I have to like it though.

I think it should be asked and fairly: if, after all these years, they can keep the Sistine Chapel running and up to snuff with all that it's got in it why can they do the same with a ball yard that's only a baby in comparison? I hope those corporate creatures in the luxury boxes appreciate what they're getting and what was lost to give it to them. Something about hell freezing over comes to mind though and so does this great Bill Veck quote "I have discovered in twenty years of moving around a ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats."

2006-01-19 11:02:30
9.   Rob Gee
Haven't seen a discussion here, but Molina in Pinstripes (http://tinyurl.com/9hm9z) is a great idea, esp. on a one or two year deal, but alas one I don't see Cash (with all that cash) making.

Fact is:
1) I'm terrified of Posada going down for any length of time.
2) Posada would benefit from the twice weekly DH slot (or even better: one rest and two DH).
3) Posada as DH those days is better than Crosby or Phillips.
4) Stinett should not play more than once a week.
5) If #2 or #3 then #4 is not possible.
6) Our bench right now is: Crosby, Phillips, Stinett, and Cairo.

Molina, but only on the short contract he's said to be considering, makes too much sense.

2006-01-19 11:05:09
10.   strangeluck
"And, likewise, a pox on all those municipalities who allow themselves to be blackmailed by zillionaires."

What I don't understand is how the Yankees could be blackmailing the city. Why can't the city or state government summon up the balls to tell Steinbrenner that he's got to pay taxes just like everyone else? What's the boss going to do, threaten to move from the richest media market in the world?

2006-01-19 11:24:08
11.   Cliff Corcoran
Rob: Forget Molina. Piazza is a more productive solution to the issues you present.
2006-01-19 11:35:58
12.   standuptriple
I agree, the use of public funds for a stadium is misguided. Having seen the Giants do just that should have set the example, but sadly it hasn't. And Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T is a beautiful venue, not only for baseball, but even concerts and the occasional college football game/monster truck rally.
Granted the space was ideal for redevelopment and real estate in NY is slightly more uber-ridiculous but I can't comprehend teams not getting their investment back on a stadium, especially when they're willing to commit for 35-40 years anyways. Ugh, I could go on and on.
I too, am saddened that games are being priced out of range of the average knowledgable fan. Baseball used to be a sanctuary, now it's a place to be seen on TV and/or close a deal. Can we get Bob Sheppard to just kick them all out like Jesus did to the vendors at the tabernacle?
2006-01-19 11:42:10
13.   Sliced Bread
I like the idea of a short-term parking deal for Molina in the Bronx. The only thing I'm certain of with respect to Kelly Stinnett is the mention of his name always makes me yawn. (Yawn) see what he did to me there?
I'm surprised Molina and Piazza are still available. It also still bugs me that the Yanks tossed the switch-hitting 21 year old catcher Dioner Navarro into the Randy Johnson-Javy Vazquez deal. I don't know how Navarro's developing defensively, but he hit .273 with a .354 OBP in 50 games last, and would've been an inexpensive, homegrown option for '06- certainly more attractive that Stinnett (yawn).
2006-01-19 11:51:45
14.   Sliced Bread
Cliff, I agree Pizzazza still has pop, and it would certainly be novel to see him playing home games another side of the Triboro, but having to adjust to the sight of him and Damon in pinstripes would just jam the keyboard of my Yankee-loving psyche. I would remain frozen in shock until at least mid-August, unable to control/alt/delete myself back into a state of consciousness.
2006-01-19 12:05:38
15.   Rob Gee
Cliff -

You're probably right, I'm just afraid of the price. Molina would come cheaper and is a much better backstop. In a second catcher role, I'd prefer one that upgrades D with less pop than vice-versa. And to be honest, Piazza's trendlines show he may not produce much more than Phillips this year.

And Sliced, the Navarro inclusion is really what got me started on the "Cashman's a bum" thinking. No one else in the organization made that trade. There might have been pressure to do so, but Cash OK'ed the final pieces. Including Navarro was horrible esp. considering Jorge is headed for a big crash (see trendlines) if not major time out. And there's no plan in place for his replacement. If you keep plugging holes, you're in for a poorly constructed dike.

2006-01-19 12:06:30
16.   The Mick 536
The last time I attended a game, I sat in the last seat in the last row in the upper right field stands. I could barely see the field. Jose Contreras warmed up before the game in the bullpen throwing to a catcher as a groudskeeper held a mop instead of a bat making believe he was the hitter. It cost me $20. I had to leave my backpack at the bowling lanes. I didn't dare buy a botlle of water or a beer. It was too far to walk to the bathroom. The seat was so uncomfortable that I had to stand to avoind cramps. Vowed never to return.

The new stadium is a boondoggle. Just another reason to listen to the radio, even though they have Sterling and Suzzzzz.

2006-01-19 12:13:33
17.   BobbyBaseBall
Re: Molina and Piazza

I heard Michael Kay talking about this a few weeks back with some expert analyst(I think it might've been Buster Olney). Kay brought up that he was surprised the Yanks havent gone after Piazza or Molina for backup C or DH to try to negate the bonus Jorge's due after catching 60 something games. The "expert" said something to the effect of: The Yankees wouldn't do something like that to upset such a homegrown cornerstone of thier team and, in turn, have an adverse effect on the club-house (read: Jeter, Bernie, Mo).

2006-01-19 12:17:07
18.   JL25and3
Piazza would probably help, Molina is less likely. The bigger issue, though, is that any 34-year-old catcher (not named Fisk or Boone) is on borrowed time. The Yankees will discover one day that Posada is done as a catcher, and that day could come at any time. Having traded Navarro, they simply have no idea at all where their next catcher might come from. And the free-agent market is always a lousy way to find a catcher, as this year demonstrates.
2006-01-19 12:34:48
19.   Rob Gee
Thanks Bobby for the insight.

Jorge shouldn't not catch because of his contract. He shouldn't catch because: a) he's a catcher in the downpahse of his career. There's a very good chance he's headed for a major injury and/or loss of production (check trendlines). A true second catcher protects us in case of the former and helps ameliorate the latter. Jorge catching 4 times a week works out to about 100 games, DH twice a week = 40 games, and rest/PH for 20 games. That's about where he should be. It damn well shouldn't happen with Stinnett aboard. And the steaming train heading right for us is the major injury. Who's Cash's trade chip then and what are our options? Dare say, it doesn't look good.

If we really need to give Cash a chance, wsport, now it is it. The long-term planning missing from the last 8 off-seasons is similarly missing in this one.

2006-01-19 13:22:54
20.   KJC
// if they can keep the Sistine Chapel running ... //

The Sistine Chapel was built with enough luxury boxes to begin with. Plus, it's got a dome!

2006-01-19 13:30:33
21.   Sliced Bread
Wouldn't you love to retrieve the "black box" voice recorder from the moment the decision to deal Navarro was made?

I imagine the transcript would look something like this:

Stick (on phone in NY): You guys realize the kid's a switch-hitting catcher, right?

Tampa Toadie #1 (on phone in Schmuckingham Palace): Navarro's bi-sexual? They love that sort of thing out in La-La-Land. Let's get this deal done now.

Cashman (on phone in NY): Uh, switch-hitter means he bats from both sides of the plate. Not a lot of catchers can do that.

Tampa Toadie #2: (snickers) Both sides of the plate (snickers) Good one, Cash!

Stick: Maybe we should hold on to Navarro for, you know, the future, at least for insurance. Who knows how much tread Jorgie has left?

Tampa Toadie #1: Tread? What are we selling frickin' tires around here, Stick, or winning championships? Is this uh, GoodYear or Great Year, Cashman? The boss wants a great year. The boss wants Randy Johnson now.

Tampa Toadie #2: NOW!

Cashman: Listen, we all want Johnson, but I have to agree with Gene about Navarro, fellas. I think maybe we could hold on to him, you know, present another option...

Tampa Toadie #1: The future is now, Cash. George loves the kid as much as anybody but the fact is, Navarro's just a catcher, a catcher who goes both ways from what you're telling me now.

Tampa Toadie #2: (snicker) Both ways! (snicker)

Tampa Toadie #1: Plus, he's only 21 years old. Randy Johnson is 42, which makes him almost twice as old as the kid, and, what, three times as experienced?

Cashman and Stick (in unison): Huh?

Tampa Toadie #2: Okay, great meeting, guys. Make this happen, Cash. Call me when it's done. (click)

2006-01-19 13:51:49
22.   standuptriple
Is there a petition or something to replace Suzzzz? Is she that well-loved in NYC? Does she do favors for George when he's in town? I only get Yankee games on XM and I'm scared I might slip into a comatose-slumber while driving.
2006-01-19 14:06:51
23.   Simone
Usually I am totally against publically funded stadiums, but the Yankees are paying for most of this stadium. The fact is that the current Yankee Stadium is a dump. The Yankees need a new stadium to increase revenues. If NYC doesn't support the Yankees when they are paying for most of the stadium, then Steinbrenner will be looking for a city that will eventually.
2006-01-19 16:11:12
24.   Rob Gee
I was with you Sliced until creative writing began...

I need look no further than this off-season to realize the last eight have been more Cash than we've been led to believe in all the spin this winter.

A few choices THIS year:
1) Filled bullpen with OPP rather than look within. Traded youngish possibly effective LOOGY for old mediocre LOOGY (Villone). There's not even a single slot for a youngster.

2) Signed marginal upgrade as back-up catcher rather than look to audition longer term solutions for soon-to-be (likely as soon as this season) very serious hole, nor one in the pipeline.

3) Signed OPP CF rather than bring in a legit longer-term option. Many were on the market, and we were left with the one that an idiot could have had if they stood long enough at the auction.

4) Resigned OF with no arm and rapidly diminshing skills to sentiment contract. Would be okay itself if the YOUNGEST OF wasn't 32. Fifth OF slot is filled by 29 yo AAAA player. No slot for a youngester nor even one in the pipeline.

5) Signed mediocre reserve IF as primary utility player. No slot for a youngster.

6) Annointed one youngester to back-up 1B/DH role with past history suggesting the manager won't play said player in that role.

If indeed Cashman is really in charge NOW, it's an even sadder fact - This off-season looks just like any other from the last eight years.

To recap:
1) Bullpen filled with OPP
2) No back-up plan at C
3) Another OPP in CF
4) Reserve OF slots show no signs of a plan or pipeline
5) Reserve IF slots show no signs of a plan or pipeline

Don't get me wrong - I love the Yanks - too bad the GM blows.

2006-01-19 16:59:30
25.   Nick from Washington Heights
Rob, in your system, Cash is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. You simultaneously criticize him for slotting Philips into a back-up position and filling the bullpen with OPP (when I'm the Yanks, I'm sometimes down with OPP as Tom Gordon would certainly have been characterized as such when we signed him-or was that a bad signing?). If Cash hadn't signed Dotel or Farnsworth, you say the Yanks could look at farm-hands like Henn, DeSalvo and Bean as set-up men. Yet, you accurately point out that Torre is a manager not prone to playing the youth (he doesn't engage the youth like ODB does: "I teach the truth to the youth, I say (hey youth)/Here's the truth." Just had to throw that hip-hop analogy to match yours. I think yours is more pertinent. Oh well.) Thus, the promotion of Philips is a silly move. It seems like nothing Cash can do relating to the youth will satisfy you.
2006-01-19 17:44:06
26.   Sliced Bread
You're right about my last post, Rob. Man, that sucked. Sometimes Sliced Bread gets stuck in the toaster and stinks up the joint. My bad.
2006-01-19 17:45:54
27.   wsporter
KJC, nice line but there are no Box Seats in the Sistine Chapel. Its SRO baby. Its got a really neat looking Monument Park though. As for the roof, well Rome already had an open air venue at the Coliseum, although it was something of a fixer upper even in the 1400's. Hey, maybe you're on to something.
2006-01-19 17:57:38
28.   Simone
ESPNews: Theo Epstein back with the Red Sox. I take back all my supportive comments when he was being attacked by members of the media and the Red Sox fan base. What a joke. What was all his self-righteous indignation about then? If clearly wasn't that bad working with Lucchino or whatever was going on in the Red Sox FO. At least, Cashman took a stand in his negotiations and didn't pretend to walk away.
2006-01-19 18:00:49
29.   wsporter
Maybe he needed a rest? You're really not surprised by this, are you?
2006-01-19 19:17:40
30.   wsporter
Wilson Picket passed away today. His "In The Midnight Hour" is one of the great Pop experiences of the last 50 years. It was covered many times probably best by Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music but no one ever came close to Wicked Wilson on that one. "Mustang Sally" was the first song I ever danced to with a girl with a touch of evil in my heart. Wilson Picket, even his name sounded cool.
2006-01-19 19:34:07
31.   Sliced Bread
So, Theo's "death" by autoerotic asphyxiation was also a hoax? Weird deal, jerkoff.
2006-01-19 22:38:43
32.   brockdc
Rob Gee,

Again, I agree with your assessment of Cash - to a point. What's preventing me from jumping completely on board is that any GM for the NY Yankees will have the precarious dilemma of having to appease not just George and the lackeys in Tampa but also the massive mainstream fan base. And, let's face it, mainstream Yankees fans we are not.

A good portion of the Yankee "faithful" are not faithful at all but fair-weather, consumer-driven yuppies who have nothing better to do than shmooze their clients and wear red Yankees caps when they go out to The Stadium.

The preponderance of these people wanna' see stars! They don't give a jack shit about the fact that Rags hurled a no-hitter on Independence Day '83 or that Mattingly bested Winnie for the batting title on the final day of the season in '84, or that Bobby Kelly was traded for Paul O'Neill, or that trading Colter Bean and Scott Proctor could possibly net Jason Michaels. They want to see a superstar at every single position and you better believe that Cash and everyone else in the Yankees management cadre knows that. So, in a big way, Cash is hamstrung.

Now, I'm not justifying the short-sighted array of transactions. But I also can't deny that Johnny Damon moves merchandise - more so than Jeremy Reed ever would.

2006-01-20 02:05:51
33.   Rob Gee
Nick - You're absolutely right about my flip-flopiness. I realized when I was writing that was in there, but it's a much harder problem to address because it goes right to the manager. I'm really not sure what the solution is. The point though is that there are other choices that Cash can make, and OPP, while having some role to play, need not be the ONLY choice. True an OPP replacement for Gordon was going to happen. But the other three slots didn't need to be as well.

True, Crosby and Phillips are the two counter examples. But here's the problem there: Torre has already shown that those guys can't be trusted with significant playing time. There are a few different roads you could take, esp. in the bullpen and at back-up catcher, but with regard to the Phillips and Crosby slots the options might include: a) giving Torre no other choice. Here having Tino around last year meant Phillips was a body filling up a roster spot. At least now, Torre has no other choice, until we see Bernie at 1B in May; b) Hoping Torre learned the error of his ways and has begun to trust a player. Crosby is the example here. But realize with the current roster, he'll only get playing time under Torre as a defensive replacement, if there's an injury, or on the days Shef plays DH. It doesn't look good for Bubba, esp. since Bernie will play the OF when he damn well shouldn't; c) Cycle in other young guys for these roles. Here's where creativity is essential. It ain't happening with Cash; d) get Torre involved in personnel decisions. I'm not sure the extent to which they ask Torre to evaluate guys prior to acquisition, but if he decided that he liked a guy, he might be more likely to play him. This option seems esp. appealing for the back-up catcher slot given Torre's history.

See, there are other choices Cash COULD make. The question is why he doesn't. Is it simply myopia? The bottomline is: the choices reflect the man. And in this off-season that man has shown himself to be a pretty crappy GM.

Sliced - Don't burn yourself too bad. I liked the creative bit. I just couldn't put myself in that room because there's no way Cash is pressured as to whom to trade away by Tampa guys. Look at it this way, Bossman is not saying get rid of Navarro. No doubt, he was saying "Get UNIT!". The fact that we gave up Navarro really hurts and shows how Podesta fleeced Cash during a time of need.

Brock - You are absolutely right but it works both ways too. Because much of the fan base is ignorant you can get away with some things, and Cash has the political capital to try them. Bringing in a Michaels or Reed or Rowand or Bradley, even as a 4th OF, would slide right by the causal observer. This would have also been a chance to audition guys as a replacement for Shef next year. Same to be said for reserving two bullpen slots for youngsters, even if you have to cycle through them until one sticks. Same thing with the back-up catcher role. Star power sells seats, no doubt. But a good GM recognizes and values the difference between OPP and upgrading the team. This GM seems to have lost that ability.

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