Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Bomber Launching Pad
Many pundits have criticized the New Yankee Stadium for it being a Homer Haven. Buster Olney, and his ESPN colleuge Peter Gammons, as well as Matthew Wallace of Newsday have all criticized the park as being "a joke", "ridiculous" , and saying the Stadium is "on steroids."
I take a differing opinion on the matter. Let's go back in time to the 1990s The strike has just begun and a young boy is asking his father why the ball players are not going to be finishing the season. The father explains to him the players no longer play for the love of the game but the love of the fame and fortune. Fast forward four years later and baseballs were flying out of the ball parks, specifically in St. Louis and the South side of Chicago.
The home run saved baseball in the nineties, and sure maybe it was cheap but it brought fans back into the stands. Now as we end the current decade, baseball is struggling at the gate for a different reason. Families no longer can afford the high prices during one of the worst economic times in decades. The billion dollar investment of New Yankee Stadium currently in its inaugural year, is struggling to fill its seats.
The ones behind home plate are hurting the most. They are between 500 and 2,500 dollars a piece. Not only are they empty but during every pitch the audience watching at home can see they are empty. Which is more of a joke empty seats at the brand new Yankee Stadium or home run balls flying out at an alarming pace?
This is exactly what the marketing team for the Yankees need. I hate to use the word gimmick but the number of baseballs leaving the park, specifically right field, is something to attract the fans. What event in baseball brings more fans to their feet than the home run? This park has them going out at a record pace. I can see the advertisments now, bring your kids to New Yankee Stadium to experience the building of new history as the best home run hitters crank balls out at an alarming rate. When a team employs Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixiera maybe someone can best Bonds' mark. Not to mention the Yankees have a potent and powerful lineup filled with lefty hitters, switch hitters, and righties who can hit opposite field. Its a perfect storm for the home run.
It may be my selfish love of the home run ball but I welcome the number of balls flying out of the stands. I am sure there will be modifications done to cut down on the wind carrying balls out to right field but for the time being enjoy the possibilty of every flyball going opposite field off Derek Jeter's bat being a home run for the Yankee captain.