New York Yankees News/Rumors: How important are the New York Yankees to Major League Baseball?

The question was, how important are the New York Yankees to Major League Baseball. Let’s start off with the answer, very important. The New York Yankees are the only Global sports giant that is known and followed worldwide. Interest falls off significantly when you mention any other baseball team. The Yankee franchise generates a huge amount of money for New York and its family, the Steinbrenners.

But it goes far beyond that. Everywhere the Yankees travel to, the dollars follow. When the New York Yankees play at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida, the crowd’s size under the dome nearly doubles. The Tampa Bay Rays have an average home crowd of 14K; when the New York Yankees come to town, that increases to 20K or more for as many days as the series lasts. This is big for the Tampa economy, the Rays, and their concessions. This also applies to anywhere the Yankees play, although to a lesser degree.

As far as New York City is concerned, game day is big for the New York economy, particularly the Bronx neighborhood restaurants, bars, and shops. The average Yankee Stadium attendance in 2019 was 42K on average for every game. Many of those thousands stay at local hotels, visit bars and eat in restaurants along with buying loads of team memorabilia. In 2018 the Yankees generated $11.9 million for the city of New York for just the opening day game.

The New York Yankees have a huge payroll, and because of that, they pay an MLB luxury tax, that contributes a share of their revenue to an MLB pot that then distributes that evenly to every major league team nationwide. That pot paid out $118 million to teams across baseball.

Another good example of how important the New York Yankees is to baseball is in generating television revenue. The Yankees have their own broadcasting ability, with the YES Network the most successful regional sports broadcasting company in all of the sports. But it goes beyond that. For instance, the latest World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles was the least-watched World Series in history, generating fewer broadcasting dollars.

The most-watched World Series in the past fifteen years was the 2009 World Series. Why, because the New York Yankees faced the Philadelphia Phillies. In that series, nearly 20 million viewers watch the games. This year the average viewership was just over 9.5 million per game. The previous low was 12 million for 2012 in the Detroit San Francisco World Series.

So what is the record for viewership in a World Series? It was again a New York Yankee series, this one the 1978 series with the Dodgers. An average of 44 million viewed those games, and a deciding game six generated the largest television audience for any baseball game, 51 million.

The bottom line is that when the New York Yankees are involved in anything, including the World Series, everybody wins! The New York Yankees are the most important team in Major League Baseball.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

 

MLB News: Dr. Fauci and Commissioner Manfred on the COVID crisis

After the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies game was canceled yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Rob Manfred have both spoken out on the coronavirus outbreak that has affected the Miami Marlins who had their game with Baltimore canceled as well.  The Marlins over the weekend had 14 staff, including two crew test positive for the coronavirus.  Both the Phillies and the Marlins have been tested, and results have yet to be released.

Dr. Fauci on Good Morning America this morning talked about the virus outbreak. Fauci is the leading infectious disease expert in the country.

“Major League Baseball — the players, the owners, the managers — have put a lot of effort into getting together and putting protocols that we feel would work,” Fauci said. “It’s very unfortunate what happened with the Miami (Marlins).”

On the MLB Network baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred had this to say:

“Obviously, we don’t want any player to get exposed. It’s not a positive thing.” “But I don’t see it as a nightmare. … We think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”

“If the testing results are acceptable, the Marlins will resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday against the Orioles,” Manfred said.

Manfred said there are factors that would force MLB to alter plans.

“A team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive would be an issue that we would have to address and have to think about making a change,” he said. “Whether that was shutting down a part of the season, the whole season, that depends on the circumstances. Same thing with respect to league-wide. You get to a certain point league-wide where it does become a health threat, and we certainly would shut down at that point.”

The Nationals will face the Marlins over the weekend in Miami, and Nationals manager Davey Martinez is scared.  Martinez could be considered a person at high risk with existing conditions.  He missed time last season with heart issues.

“I’m going to be honest with you: I’m scared,” Martinez said. “My level of concern went from about an eight to a 12. I mean this thing really hits home now. … I got guys in our clubhouse that are really concerned, as well.”

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees await the test results of the Philadelphia Phillies so that they can decide on a path forward that may include having one or two doubleheaders at Yankee Stadium to get in the four-game series before the face the Boston Red Sox.

Joel Sherman
@Joelsherman1
Heard the #Yankees are leaving Philadelphia early this afternoon to head back to NY. They are going to practice at Yankee Stadium tonight
9:54 AM · Jul 28, 2020
Considering the fatigue factor, the Yankees will have to consider if playing one or two doubleheaders is advisable, or if one or two games will be made upon off days, which there are a precious few, or to tack one of the games onto the end of the season.  Future rescheduling problems will have to come under consideration as they are bound to happen as the season progresses.

 

MLB Analysis: A look across the shortened 2020 Baseball Season, who will win?

The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers

The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the significant teams to watch during this 2020 shortened baseball season.  The MLB season still relies on the coronavirus allowing it to come to a conclusion.

Let’s take a look at why the Dodgers and Yankees are the MLB teams to watch.  Before the coronavirus took over the direction of baseball, the New York Yankees seemed to be a sure fit for getting to the postseason and most likely winning it all and getting their 28th World Championship.  The Yankees still seem to be the favorites, but they may not run away with it like in a regular season.

The Los Angles Dodgers have a potent lineup, and that was before they acquired the Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts.  With the universal DH this year, the Dodgers get to add another big bat to that lineup.  The Dodgers also have a great pitching rotation.  David Price now a Dodger could return to the pitcher he was with the Rays now that he is facing mostly National League hitters.  So It’s a win-win for the Dodgers who was the best National League team last year even though they didn’t get to the World Series.

The New York Yankees won 103 games last year while getting the award for the most injured players in baseball.  This year it will be hard to come close to that number of injuries. With the tremendous bench, the Yankees even if they do have some injuries it shouldn’t be that much of an issue.

The big plus for the MLB Yankees is that their strong pitching rotation is greatly enhanced by the acquisition of one of the best pitchers in the game, Gerrit Cole, to lead off that rotation of James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and apparently Jordan Montgomery. But if any of those fail, the Yankees have plenty of backup options in Jonathan Loaisiga, Clarke Schmidt, Mike King, and even Dievi Garcia.  And that’s not to mention the best bullpen in baseball.

Which of these teams makes it all the way will end up being for two reasons.  One is that they didn’t have any long slumps of poor play and who ended up with the best bench players and bullpen.  Advantage Yankees.  But if they face each other in the World Series it will be a toss-up as to takes home the ring.

A look at the Houston Astros and other team’s chances

For the Houston Astros, it will be a double-edged sword. At least for this shortened season and with no fans in the stands, the Astros will not have to deal with boos, name-calling, and having beer cans thrown at them for their cheating ways.

The Houston Astros last year had arguably the best pitching rotation in baseball.  This year the Astros have lost their best postseason pitcher in Gerrit cole, and back in March, Justin Verlander had groin surgery. When spring training starts anew next week, he will start to throw off the mound and won’t be available to go deep into games for some time.  The Astros still have a potent lineup but will need help from their not so good bullpen.  The Astros will not come even close to the success they had last year. They probably won’t have any hidden camera help either.

The Angels and the Nationals who have had recent MLB seasons with very slow starts, won’t have that luxury in a drastically shortened season.  Unfortunately for fans of the Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Marlins, Pirates, Rockies, and Padres, you might as well hang it up because your teams will go nowhere.

Teams that could give the Dodgers and Yankees a run for their money are the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Dodgers will have to watch out for the Atlanta Braves, the Cardinals and the Diamondbacks.

I will admit I am going out on a limb in making these predictions as this will be a season like no one has ever seen before.  In only 60 games, anything can happen.  How the coronavirus effects different teams will also be telling. Whatever team in the three geographic divisions who get to the top, they will have to get off to a quick start, maintain it, and not be affected by the physical and emotional issues caused by the coronavirus.

The Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins, or the Milwaukee Brewers could be the surprise break out teams of the shortened season.

After the first month of games, predictions will be a lot clearer.

MLB News: Players Union Rejects MLB owners plan, the follow up details

New York Yankees

New York Yankees and MLB fans everywhere continue to wait for a baseball season. Late last night, I reported on the breaking news of the MLBPA’s (players Union) rejection of the latest MLB owner’s proposal to start a baseball season.  This is the followup with all the details of that rejection.

For the past three weeks, different plans have been floated about to have a 2020 baseball season. Originally back in March, the players agreed to a 50% pay cut based on a season that would only play 82 games.  Basically a plan to pay by the game.  Health issues were mostly resolved by a 67-page health initiative detailing how players would be protected during a shortened season.  That left money as the primary stumbling block to getting a season started with the owners demanding more pay cuts. Thursday night the Players union had a conference call with 100 players.  The result is that the players are now more reinforced than ever on not taking any additional pay cuts.

“We want to play. We always have,” said Cardinals pitcher Andrew Miller, a member of the MLBPA’s eight-man executive subcommittee. “We also won’t lose sight of our principles and rights. Players are engaged like I’ve never seen before. Every day through this, each of those factors is reinforced. We hope to be on the field as soon as possible.”

The executive director of the MLBPA is ex-Yankee Tony Clark. Clark has been in constant negotiations with MLB and the owners to get a deal done that protects his players and with as few changes to the original March agreement as possible. Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Atlantic were privy to the conference call and are responsible for the player quotations included herein.

“In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement Thursday night. “But we cannot do this alone.

First, the owners wanted the players to take part in a revenue-sharing proposal that would reduced the owner’s losses due to having no fans in the stands and no concession sales.  The union saw this as a salary cap, which they have rejected since the 1970s.  This proposal was flatly rejected and was called by Clark as “dead on arrival.”  Since then, the owners have dropped that proposal, but requesting even further pay cuts that would see some of the highest-paid players taking a pay cut of as much as 75% with lesser paid players having their pay cut less.

The players rejected that by offering a plan that would allow them to be paid for a season of 114 games and go late into the fall.  The owners rejected that as they would lose even more money with a season that long. Almost as a threat, the owners came back with a proposal that would shorten the season to only 40-50 games with an expanded postseason.

“This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.”

“Earlier today we held a conference call of the association’s executive board and several other MLBPA player leaders,” Clark said. “The overwhelming consensus of the board is that players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

During the constant back and forth, the players union was relatively divided into what MLB was trying to do to get some kind of season going.  All players, to a varying degree, were split in what concessions to accept.  But with the stalemate of the negotiations and their belief that MLB is not working in good faith for a fair plan to have a baseball season, they are now more united than ever in not accepting any more pay cuts.

“Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field, Clark said.”

One player’s agent said that the aggressive behavior of the owners has only provided more resolve by the players to take a firm position.

“If they want to unilaterally impose this bastard season, then so be it,” the agent said. “And that will be what’s expected. By doing that, they are galvanizing the union. The problem here is distrust. If this was a marriage, it would be a divorce. The union has been attacked. The players don’t like it. “I’ve never seen a negotiation like this in anything in my life. ‘Negotiation’ is a very generous term. It’s like a spit-wad contest.”

With this new resolve not to take any further pay cuts, it appears that the MLB owners are going to have to make the next move if there is to be a major league baseball season.  They are going to have to cry uncle and meet the player’s demands.  Some owners have already said they are okay with no season at all. Ultimately MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the coronavirus will decide how many games there are and when they will start and end.  As the clock ticks and each day passes it seems less likely there will be a 2020 baseball season.

 

New York Yankees: Miguel Andujar could end up as trade bait in 2020

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

The New York Yankees could use Miguel Andujar as trade bait in 2020 if they need to.

When the Yankees plugged in Gio Urshula at third base in 2019, nobody expected him to finish the year with a .314 batting average, 21 homers, and 74 RBIs.

Urshela’s offensive production topped Miguel Andujar’s in 2018 when he posted a .297 batting average with 27 homers and 92 RBIs. The former Toronto Blue Jay saw his career take a massive turn last season, cementing himself as the Yankees’ starting third baseman for the future.

Trying to find a new position for Andujar to thrive in will be difficult, but manager Aaron Boone has attempted to stick him in left field, a defensive position that the young Dominican has never played in before.

“It was another good day for him out there. I don’t want to overstate it because they were two fairly easy plays, but talking about a sun field where there was a lot of wind,’’ Boone said several weeks ago in Miguel’s second outing in left field. “I am watching the pitcher and the batter and my eyes shift and [Andujar] is already on the move like he should be. I think he is reading the ball well out there and he is moving. So far it looks natural to him.’’

Andujar hasn’t been tested or challenged too much at the position, which may present a false hope before the regular season has even begun. Considering the New York Yankees do have Giancarlo Stanton, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, and Mike Tauchman as reserve options, and Miguel is far down the list. However, his offensive efficiency will be utilized moving forward, but it is possible he could represent trade bait if the Yankees need to fix a specific position. At the trade deadline, the Yankees could need support in the bullpen, etc., one that Andujar simply can’t fill. This would allow them to use his value differently, and while he does represent hope for the future, the Yankees haven’t won a World Series in over a decade, presenting the idea of a win-now mentality. Leveraging talent already on the team to bolster other groups with deficiencies might be a reality for them later on in the season.

 

New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka feels Astros cheated them out of World Series

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

After weeks of silence from the New York Yankees players, some have begun to speak out on the Houston Astros and their cheating scandal that resulted in their firing of their manager and general manager.

Last week was Chad Green, who expressed his displeasure with the Astros for taking such malicious actions in an attempt to reach the World Series, in which they did the past two seasons, winning one of them.

The usually reserved Masahiro Tanaka, starting pitcher for the Yankees, was also frustrated over their actions, agreeing that they were likely cheated out of a World Series appearance.

“I do feel that way, yeah,” Tanaka said.

Tanaka pitched in games 1 and 5 of the ALCS, throwing six innings of two-run ball. It is believed that the Astros were cheating during the most recent postseason, which makes it even more concerning for the players.

It’s expected that more Yankees players will begin to speak out on the matter. Still, with spring training starting soon, they’re focused on preparing for the season and mitigating any injury concerns.