No, I don’t mean their strikeouts and their pathetic offensive production, although that’s a fair question too. What I means is that they are not coming close to selling out home playoff games, and that is just weird.
…Game 2 of the ALCS featured thousands of empty seats, like Game 1 before it, and like the do-or-die Game 5 of the ALDS, too. New Yorkers understand a fraud when they see it. They pay for expensive seats, drink overpriced beers, buy exorbitant merchandise and fund a $200 million joke, a team that for the second straight game couldn’t score a measly run off the Detroit Tigers’ Nos. 3 and 4 starting pitchers. These Yankees earned every last boo.
I think that’s a little harsh, but some of it does feel true. Including:
1) Everything about the Yankees costs too much.
2) The Yankees have really sucked in the playoffs, with the exception of—sigh—Derek Jeter and their pitching staff. Oh, and Raul Ibanez.
3) The new Yankee Stadium is a tragic mistake—efficient but charmless and, yes, soulless. It’s designed to make money, not win hearts.
But what explains the empty seats? It could be because Yankee fans have grown blase about the playoffs; though we don’t expect to win the World Series every year, we do expect to be in the playoffs.
And of course the obscenely priced tickets are a problem. How can you justify spending $500 to take your wife and kid to a playoff game (and that’ll get you so-so seats) when you can see A-Rod strike out four times in a row for free? And of course the suits who get tickets for free don’t show up half the time, and when they do, they’re usually gone after five innings.
And maybe there’s the fact that this is not a particularly lovable team. Take away Jeter and Nick Swisher and Ichiro and a few of the pitchers, and it’s hard to really like these guys. A-Rod just drives you up the wall, and Robinson Cano—well, it’s hard to love a player who doesn’t hustle to first base. Please, please, Yankees–don’t sign him to an eight-year contract.
Sigh—Jeter’s broken ankle really does depress me. I think, first of all, that it dooms the Yankees in this post-season. But more than that, it gives a hint of what the Yankees will look like after he’s retired, and that’s something I don’t really want to think about…