Monday, October 10, 2011

Yankee Stadium: "The Moat" must go

Today on Facebook, we are launching a new page. Titled, "The Moat at Yankee Stadium is a Pathetic Embarrassment," its goal is to force the ownership and upper-management of the New York Yankees to do something about godawful select-seating at the new ballpark which has sucked the life out of the Stadium and has destroyed the greatest home-field advantage in baseball.

We are tired of seeing all of the empty "Moat" seats at Yankee Stadium, even during important post-season games. And please, don't tell us that "the seats are sold." We don't care if people that bought those seats are in luxury suites under the stands eating prime rib and watching the game on high-def flat screens. We want the Yankees front office to find a way to get people back into the seats for the games. We want our ballpark to look just like every other ballpark, with engaged and enthusiastic fans sitting behind the dugouts and behind home plate, cheering on the team.

Two suggestions:

1. The Yankees could have a special promotional "Moat Picture Day" at the Stadium early next season, where common-folk fans who actually know who Jesus Montero and Ivan Nova are can be photographed in "The Great Hall" prior to a game. Those photos could then be made into large, life-sized cardboard cutouts and placed into "The Moat" during other games. At least we might be able to fool some of the TV cameras and not be embarrassed every time the Yankees are on television.

2. This one might make more sense and be a lot more do-able: Simply turn the area of "The Moat" into a lower-level box seats area, the same as it was at the old Yankee Stadium and that same as it is every other stadium in Major League Baseball. Keep the prices high if you must, though we think $200 should be the maximum. Keep the waitresses, too, if you'd like. But get rid of the suites underneath "The Moat" and just make them concession stands. Create a reason for people to want to be in their seat. (For most fans, the fact that there is a New York Yankees baseball game taking place would be more than enough, but that's apparently not good enough for most of your clientele.) Also, open the area to foot traffic for the entire stadium before the games. Let kids walk down there during BP to try to get a closer look at the players. Don't make people feel ostracized and inferior. Fix the vile and elitist environment that you have created at the Stadium and, for God's sake, find a way to have people in their seats during the ballgame. Watch a Yankees/Red Sox game at Fenway Park - where you couldn't get another human being in there with a shoehorn -and try to replicate the atmosphere. And if you can't do that, simply get out a videotape of a game at the old Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees have the best fans in baseball and the largest fan-base. They are knowledgeable, passionate and loyal. We love the new stadium and we fill it with 45,000 people a night. But please do something about the pathetic and embarrassing "Moat." It's been three years now and the problem is not going away.

It is a disgrace.

Do you agree? If so, please "Like" our page on Facebook at:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bats - not arms - cost Yankees ALDS

By Alan K. Stout

The 2011 American League Divisional Series between the Yankees and Tigers ended last night, with the Yankees losing the decisive Game 5 by a score of 3-2 at Yankee Stadium. I blogged last week about how I felt the team was playing with "house money" in the post-season this year, because I really didn't feel as if they had enough starting pitching to battle through MLB's often brutal three-tier playoff tournament. I was not alone, as it seemed few people were picking the Yanks to win. But after watching the games, we now know the Yankees pitching was not the problem.

It was the bats that cost them the ALDS.

A-Rod hit .111.

Texiera hit .167.

Swisher hit . 211

That - more than anything - killed the Yankees.

The starting pitching really wasn't bad at all. The Yankees were in every game that they lost and, with the exception of Game 2 - when they were no-hit for six innings -they had plenty of chances. They left tons of men on base. They did not get the big hits. And they lost three games by a total of four runs.

Most of the blame falls on the 4-5-6 guys in the lineup. Overall, the Yanks hit .260 in the series and had 45 hits, which isn't bad for the playoffs and certainly not bad considering they got nothing from the heart of the order. Yet already, some of the idiots on sports-talk radio are saying that Girardi was "too tight" as he managed the team in Game 5 and implied that he managed with fear. Bullshit. The only reason he took Nova out in the second was because he got hurt. And while I did think he was a little bit quick in yanking Hughes, the only move he made that I didn't really feel good about was bringing in Sabathia. There was just something about CC's body language on the mound that didn't look right to me. He looked tired, and the one run he did cough up did come back to haunt the Yanks. But let's not get carried away and start piling on Joe Girardi. His starter gave up two runs in the first inning and then got hurt, and he still pieced together a game in which Detroit ended up with only one more run. If some of the big bats got a few hits, we'd be talking about what a brilliant job Girardi did in patching the game together.

Another easy and not-so-smart thing to do today is to start bitching about how the Yankees are "old." It's an easy cop-out after a tough loss, but it's an exaggeration. Go around the entire diamond in your mind, and you'll realize that we've got a guy at shortstop and a guy at third base that are in their mid-30s, but other than that, this is not really an old team. We also have an above average bullpen and some nice young talent on the roster. Other than trying to improve the starting rotation, there is no need to "blow the whole thing up." They need to keep Sabathia and try to get a strong No. 2. That's it. I also might consider letting Swisher walk, but I'm not sure what's out there on the market to replace him. He is a very good regular season player hitting in the six hole, but he seems to be very streaky and vanishes in October. Cashman needs to figure that one out.

One other thing I realized in watching the ALDS is that the Yankees, when facing another team's ace pitcher, never seem to win. Just once, it'd be nice to see the big thumpers smack somebody like Verlander around in a playoff game, but that never, ever seems to happen. And with the way the heart of the order hit in this series, it would be very hard to imagine them getting a couple of wins off of some of the other pitchers they would have faced in the ALCS or World Series. But ... we'll never know.

Again, it was the bats that cost the Yankees the ALDS, not the the arms. And while I'd usually say there are many reasons that a team loses a post-season series, and that it's usually just too difficult to nail it down to just one, I can do just that in this case. One reason. Three stats:

A-Rod - .111.

Texiera - .167.

Swisher - .211

Enough said.

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