Flame War: Yankee fans merely average at best, worldwide

So as the entirety of non-Yankees fans falls into deeper hatred of the Bronx Bombe…ugh, I bring you a response to this thing written a few weeks ago by a “journalist.”

Mike Lupica, a poor excuse for a sports writer, is a douche? There are no real facts presented, just vague observations about how “…no fans have ever supported a baseball team, the most famous team in this world, the way Yankee fans support theirs.”

He even calls them the best fans in the world…it’s not so much an article written by a journalist as it is a Yankee fan talking out of his ass for the NY Daily News. I’m not sure whether this raging crapstorm of an article is a stronger argument against Lupica or NY Daily News, but just to be safe, refrain from reading or associating with either of them. I am not a journalist and I have never taken a course in journalism, but if I were running a newspaper and someone tried to dupe me into thinking they had written a story I would chuck him out onto the street so quickly that a cliché would appear. Try and find something in that drivel that makes it appear that Lupica spent more than 5 minutes on this or even attempted to look up any information or facts or anything. You can’t. (Quick aside: I was in Barcelona during FC Barcelona’s trio of triumphs and the fans there went absolutely ballistic in the streets into the morning. In Europe the soccer leagues are the only mainstream leagues…the fans are insanely devoted).

So anyway, I decided to actually find some facts and see what could be concluded. I checked on attendance to Yankee games and found out that as the Yankees won more and their payroll went up then their attendance also rose. Weird. The same thing happens for like every other sports team. Could it be that the Yankees have just regular fans? Oh wait, Rudy Giuliani is a fan…Yankee fans are asswads (this may be a slight generalization).

rudy

I'm a prick!

Yankees’ Average attendance, Total, MLB Ave Total

Yankees’ Win-Loss Record through their years

Ok, so in ’95 the Yankees had a winning record (79-65)…and horrible attendance (23,521 per game)…BEST FANS!
’91 and ’92 they had horrible records (71-91; 76-86) and even worse attendance (23,009; 21,589)…BEST FANS!
From 2000 through 2008 their average attendance has slowly risen from 37k to 53k…all winning years and take a good guess as to what happened with payroll each of those years. UP.
In ’03 to ’04 average attendance jumped by 5k…A-Rod might have had something to do with that.

But there’s more. In my search for reason and logic I found an idiot posing as a statistician.

This guy theorizes that the Yankees spending hasn’t change all that much in comparison to the rest of baseball over the past so many years (article written in 2003). He pinpoints two seasons, ’77 and ’03 (ok, weird thing, he says Yankees were in the World Series in ’03 yet the article’s date is July 03), and uses them to ‘support’ his theory.

1977: NYY payroll $3,474,325 out of a total league payroll of $23,854,375
NYY had 14.56% of league payroll

2003: NYY payroll $149,710,995 out of a total league payroll of $952,938,250
NYY had 15.71% of league payroll

He cites “no big difference.”

He overlooks: 26 teams in ’77 in comparison to 30 teams in ’03. HUGE FREAKIN’ DIFFERENCE.
The Yanks had a greater percentage of league payroll despite the fact that there were more teams and therefore more players (i.e. A larger percentage of a larger pot).

So, what happens now? I check on ’09.

2009: NYY payroll $208,097,414 out of a total league payroll of $2,648,026,529
NYY had 12.72% of league payroll

Further numbers:

’77: Average payroll: 917,476………..NYY payroll is 3.79 times larger than average
’03: Average payroll: 31,764,608…….NYY payroll is 4.71 times larger
’09: Average payroll: 88,267,551…….NYY payroll is 2.35 times larger

Interesting…the rest of baseball has been playing catch-up the past few years. Not to mention the Yankees have been spending like George W. Bush forever.
So…just some theories now…between the Yanks over-spending success and massive, unwarranted contracts that followed (Boras) everyone is getting rich. Question is, who started it? Did A-Rod’s Boras-scripted contract to the Rangers do it…or did the Yankees rushing at every big-name free agent do it? Dice-K, Vernon Wells, the Seattle Mariners team (esp. Carlos Silva), the New York Mets team (esp. Oliver Perez), Barry Zito, and all the other overpaid MLBers would like to thank whomever you are.

Another quick lesson: Ideally all teams would operate at the league average payroll. Doesn’t happen. Slightly less than ideal: The top spending team and bottom spending team average out to league average…and 2 & 29, 3 & 28, etc.

’09 average: $88,267,551

#1 NYY 208,097,414 + #30 PIT 25,197,000 =/2= 116,647,207
#2 NYM 145,367,987 + #29 FLA 35,774,000 =/2= 90,570,993.5
#8 PHI 111,209,046 + #23 MIN 67,634,766 =/2= 89,421,906

Granted, Pittsburgh’s owners are apparently unrelenting dickwads (which should help), but that total is way beyond the league average. Heck, pretend the Yankees are two teams, divide by two, and…at $104,048,707 they are still way beyond the average. Other quick notes: The Marlins are massive overachievers and the Mets and Astros shouldn’t be spending that much for how bad they are.

Also, the Yankees currently have 12 players signed through next season…at a total cost of $166.3 million. The top paid 10 take up about $165mil of that. Think about it, 10 players already making more than any other team will spend next season.

Who wants to pay over $1,000 for a Yank seat? Yankees fans are amazing! …ly dumb. At the beginning of the season the best seats were going for $2,625 for individual games and $2,500 season. That’s a $202,500 season ticket. In a game where there is such a huge supply (of seating and games) that is called economic stupidity. Fortunately they lowered those to $1,500. Still an assload at $121,500.

custom_1236889176876_Nice_seats_01

Cost: an arm and two legs.

And now, the bandwagon grows.

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Nick Swisher, 29, Will Be Best Remembered for His Relatively High .OBP

Police approached Joe Blanton quietly as the pitcher put out his hands to be cuffed. He didn’t say anything, he just let the officers lead him off the field and push his head down as they ducked into the dug-out. Meanwhile, Sgt. Thomas Patterson pulled a sheet over the victim’s faux-hawked head. 46,000 witnesses looked on.

“I’m sure we’ll uncover more about the relationship between the two as time goes on,” said Sgt. Patterson. “But, yes, we do think it was premeditated. We’ll continue to investigate.” He looked glumly towards the batters box, stained with a three inch patch of pin-striped blood. “It’s such a shame to see a guy with such a high on base percentage go like that. I mean, his average was terrible, but he sure knew how to walk.”

Nick Swisher, RF, Yankees, aged just 29, leaves behind a career .245 avg in 6 seasons in the majors though with decent power numbers and a good on base percentage. Joe Girardi, Yankees Manager, said that Swisher was one of the best number 7 hitters he ever knew. “And I knew a lot of them,” Girardi said.

Authorities are still unsure of what caused Blanton to throw the fatal pitch, though they suspect that the dispute was from their days together on Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics, a team that patched together a mediocre offense that walked a lot, combining statistical analysis with breathtaking boredom.

Swisher, Blanton

Nick Swisher is best remembered for acting like an ass at every available opportunity

In the photograph above, Swisher (right) looks on in sheer oblivion. Joe Blanton is pictured on the left, cold and calculating. “He would scare you, ya know?” said Phillies’ third baseman, Pedro Feliz.

Though police are certain that Blanton acted alone, there is reason to suspect the existence of an accomplice, perhaps pictured here thrusting his hand towards Nick Swisher’s crotch.

However, other theories abound.

“I suspect Ruiz,” said Ron Hudson, a Phillies fan. “Last night, in Game 3, Swisher bowled into Ruiz with his knee up. I think he told Blanton to throw that pitch.”

Others disagree. “Nick was acting like an ass on second base last night when he got that double. He was also acting like an ass when he got that home-run. He was also acting like he batted higher than .249 this season when he acted like an ass after flying out late in the game,” said a Yankees player, alias “A-Rod”. “I don’t know. Anyone could have been in on it.”

As authorities investigate the murder, fans will ponder his .114 batting average in the post season up to Game 3. He’ll also be remembered for his wit.

“The way things have been going, to pull off a win like this gives us momentum and confidence,” said Swisher during the regular season after a win. “The way it happened was cool.”

This Scheduling Is Bogus, Man

Baseball players spend the entire season playing in strings of consecutive games with little rest. Then, when they get to the postseason, they get pampered. Needless to say, for a trip that takes less than 2 hours (assuming both teams spend the night in the ballpark), the players require a rest day of travel for their suddenly puny bodies.

Of course, the longer things get drawn out, the more attention MLB gets, which means dollar dollar bills y’all.

Dollar Shirt

The New Uniform of MLB Employees

I have an equally ambitious plan for the remaining WS games. Understandably, the next two games will be played at CBP to even things out. Then…

Game 5 – November 26th. 5pm ET. PNC Park, Pittsburgh. Everyone can be thankful that for once this quite nice ballpark will get to host a World Series Game for the first and possibly only time in it’s existence (at least the Nats and Royals try to form good teams).

PNC Park

Just one game, guys! I promise I won't let you down!

Get your food coma on at the ballpark! Move over NFL, baseball has bigger games to display.

Game 6 – December 25th. 5pm ET. Citifield, NY. Christmas present for the Mets…kind of. It will be a welcome discount on Yankee concessions and ticket prices. Also the beer is important. Apparently Yankee Stadium has a “Beers of the World” stand that sells Heineken, Beck’s, Stella, and other unimpressive mass-produced brews. If you’re uber-retarded you can pay $9 for PBR.

PBR Sucks

Don't call me stingy, that's a $27 Christmas present.

Meanwhile over at Citifield there is one concession stand that has a better selection than all of Yankee Stadium, not to mention the other micro brews you can find at other concessions. Note: I hear CBP has a damn fine selection of brews also.

Game 7 – December 31st. 11pm ET. The Vacant Lot next to the house I grew up in, Long Island. This’ll be an interesting one considering the fact that it’s not entirely a ballpark. Lighting may play a heavy role since it’ll mainly come from those dull orange streetlights. I recommend using neon green tennis balls (from experience) and pro ballplayers should be able to rocket those things at least a neighborhood or two away. The pitcher’s mound is actually lower than the rest of the field since a house used to exist there, so that may make things…awesome? Second base will have to share time with traffic on the street, but since it will be around midnight there won’t be too many vehicles futzing with Jeter’s fielding. I’m pretty sure there will be no stealing of second, so this’ll be a righty-heavy pitching game. The outfield will be across the street on the neighbor’s downhill front lawn. There are actually a lot fewer trees and bushes there, so instead of a miniature forest it is now a playable obstacle course. Get your tickets now, since seating is practically non-existent. BYOB.

Photo Booth

The Photographer's Booth

Additionally, all games are mandatory. None of this first-to-four-wins nancy-boy business.

Hey Everybody, the Yankees have a new tradition!

The New York Times has broken the news that the Yankees have a new tradition. Regardless of the definition of “tradition”, and blind to the fact that the coverage of this World Series is reaching inane heights, the New York Times goes on to describe this previously unknown “tradition” to its online audience that got bored 3 paragraphs into reading about a bombing in Pakistan.

This “new” tradition that is called, “pieing,” which the author is delighted is in the dictionary (“And yes, word fans, the Oxford English Dictionary recognizes the noun “pieing,” just as it recognizes the verb “to pie.” – NYtimes.com) was brought to the Yankees this year by some genius named AJ Burnett. It’s a “creamy slap in the face” that is employed when a teammate hits a walk-off. You can almost hear Jorge Posada sitting in the dug-out around a hastily crafted fire grunting, “Boom him in the face” while he leans on a tree-trunk that is used as a club. But, it doesn’t stop there. The catch is that it is shaving cream, not whip-cream, and now the Yankees are doing it, despite the fact that the article begrudgingly accepts that yes, several other teams have been doing it for years. But hey, it’s now happening in the House that Ruth Built Next to the House that Ruth Built, so already, it’s beyond mythic.

Below you will see a victim of “pieing.”

Pieing

Notice the “reach-around” employed to make sure that he takes as much cream to the face as possible.

Jim Bouton, the foil for this article, doesn’t like it one bit.

“In my day, they had more creative ways to sort of celebrate,” said Mr. Bouton, 70. “Pieing would have been silly, kids’ stuff. We would put a live snake in a guy’s underwear. That is something that real men would do. This is silly stuff, you know what I mean? It’s kid stuff. The guys today, they’re inexperienced.”

Real men would stick reptiles down each other’s trousers. You can almost hear Mr. Bouton going on, “Back in my day we didn’t only pie the player, but their families too, in the middle of the night. Yessir, rounded them up and pied them into a ditch. These kids ain’t got no backbone.”

An expert weighs in:

“baseball historian John Thorn drew a distinction between what he considers pranks like snakes in underwear and rituals like postgame pieing — and, he added, the pie in the face is a new phenomenon, as these things go. “I don’t remember this happening 20 years ago,” he said. Pieing, he added, was a product of “the age of irony.”

Good thing he said something. Before I just assumed pieing was the product of vastly overpaid man-children who are treated like Mona Lisas. Now I can relegate all of that to “age of irony”, which also made “Rick Rolling” popular.

Conclusion: “pieing” is not new, nor a “tradition,” the Yankees are over covered, and the media is way too in love with those billion dollar boys in pinstripe blue. Like Mr. Thorn says: “It makes our heroic players seem like regular guys, and we like them to have 90 seconds of insipid postgame interview capped by the pricking of the gonfalon bubble.”

Prick those gonfalon bubbles, mates.

The Tensi… – oh, who am I kidding – Depression Mounts

Mets fan? Yes.
Watching the World Series? I suppose.
Is this the worst thing ever? Since ’96 and ’99? Quite possibly.

Do I appease my Long Island friends and ‘root’ for the Yanks or appease my blogmates and ‘root’ for the Phils. Theoretically I could root for the Mets, but that’s just insane (mostly all still injured).

sad mr met

Money
Yanks: Payroll that dwarfs everything…including Ryan Howard’s desire for Subway Subs. The Steinbrenner family could buy me my own island…they would be jerks about it, but they could do it.
Phils: $8 mill less and they would be half of the Yanks. They play in Citizen’s Bank Park…nope, banks no longer have any money.
Winner: Yanks – They would overpay me despite the fact that I’m a scrawny white guy with poor vision. $200,000 a year would be pretty sweet.

Ballpark
Yanks: I went to the previous Yankee Stadium once. Hideki Irabu sucked and they lost 16-5. I don’t know what the new place is like besides ridiculously overpriced in all areas. I hear you have to pay for oxygen. Also, naming a stadium after your team is kind of boring; no identity is formed because you already know who plays there.
Phils: CBP. Nice place. Huge upgrade over the Vet. Cozy place. Great views from any seat. Affordable. Is this one obvious yet?
Winner: Phils – It’s a great park.

Looks
Yanks: Jeter – Herpes? A-Rod – Frosted Tips. Posada – He looks like a two-handled cup. Matsui – Ugliest thing since…Godzilla. Sabathia – Linebacker? The Rest – They’re all men.
Phils: Howard – Slimmed down…and besides his annoying affiliation with Jared this is very positive. Werth – Looks kind of like an alien. Utley – Ok, actually pretty hot. Feliz – Phils’ Matsui. Lidge – A man of Herodotus! Hamels – Needs a haircut. The Rest – I’m seriously not gay.
Winner: My girlfriend. I really do have one.

Talent
The Mets have more talent in their injured everywheres than both of these teams together….right?
Winner: Everybody loses. Except the World Series winner.

Luck
Yanks: I will go out on a limb here and say when you buy everything there isn’t much need for luck. And when several very obviously blown calls go your way over the course of several games…luck leaves the equation and you can start positing other theories.
Phils: Over the past two seasons the new Big Red Machine has managed to push through with no major injuries to any big player. Sure, some players have missed time, but no starting fielder not playing catcher has played less than 133 games. This season, Ibanez was the low at 134, but no one else played less than 155. In ’08 they had 4 starters with 30 or more starts. This season, the main reason they failed to hit that goal again was because they had to move healthy starters to bullpen duty for trade acquisitions. When Pedro is using the old “I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years” line (Mets fans know this one well) and it turns out to be true there is something afoot (the truth?). Perhaps there was some magic in those old red hats they wore.
Winner: Yanks. Who have also managed to remain eerily healthy. Matsui showed up for 142 games…and he looks like he’s 50…a real ugly 50.

Tabloids
Yanks: NYC…NYY…A-Rod…Jeter…that’s like a daily newspaper right there.
Phils: If a Phil does something it probably gets second status to a Yank scoop…unless you punch your wife in public. Although if Howard smashes Subway Jared’s face in then I will wholeheartedly root for the Phils.
Winner: Yanks – But this is a really stupid category to win.

Former Mets
Yanks: I was sad when the Mets traded Xavier Nady to the Pirates, but at least we got Oliver Perez. The Mets almost signed A-Rod, but some random agent (yes, Boras) convinced him to take more money instead of signing for the preferred team…Reyes softened that blow by missing large amounts of time because his hamstrings suck. Finally, the Mets, in a scouting move that was quite unlike them, snatched A.J. Burnett up in the 8th round of the ’95 draft. Before he could appear for them, Mets management made amends for actually picking a good pitcher and traded him to Florida in a deal where Leiter became a familiar face. Leiter, who won a WS with the Marlins in ’97 (against Lee and Sabathia’s former employers, the Indians), helped the Mets almost do that (against the Yanks), while Burnett, who never helped the Mets win anything, won a WS with the Marlins in ’03 (against the Yanks). Stupidly weird, right?
Phils: Well, there’s Pedro. Part of me hates him for all his failings as a Met and part of me wants him to do well because he was an absolutely brilliant pitcher (at least his first Met season wasn’t a washout). Chan Ho Park made one start for the Mets where he absolutely blew it. I saw that game. One game was enough for Park, but this past season they kept giving Redding and Parnell starts. Miguel Cairo, who isn’t on the WS roster, spent an unspectacular season with the Mets, sandwiched between two Yank seasons.
Winner: The Mets! It’s like we’re really there!

Being the Yankees
Yanks: …are the Yankees.
Phils: …are not a bunch of overpaid tax-evading twits.
Winner: The Bush White House. Spending tons of money with repeated letdowns and the very occasional success…who else does this?

Recap
Yanks have the money, Phils have the park, I have a girlfriend, Everybody can suck it, Yanks are slightly mysteriously luckier than the Phils, Everybody wants to read about Yankee players waggling their dicks at assorted women, The Mets had players that are now former Mets, 2000-2008 was a letdown.

Final Winner: Barack Obama! Is there anything he can’t do!

Who I Will Root For: Being a Mets fan I have to remain true to my roots. The NHL’s NY Islanders will help me stay in the losing groove.

What’s that, espn? Aces are important?

ESPN’s position as vanguard of in-depth baseball analysis continues with their latest gem: a top-10 list of players who are important in this upcoming World Series.

Baseball’s tea leaves being more subtle and multilayered than other professional sports, ESPN did not leave this important piece of prophecy to one writer. No, this gem of a post was composed by “many of ESPN’s baseball writers, analysts and contributors.”  Some of the key points:

  • Important player #1: Cliff Lee.  Reason: “Lee is the Phillies’ Game 1 starter; he would also likely start Game 5.”
  • Important player #2: CC Sabathia.  Reason: “Sabathia will start Game 1 for the Yankees and could start Games 4 and 7 if Joe Girardi chooses to [start him].”

Other important players ESPN wants the world to keep an eye on: Alex Rodriguez!  Ryan Howard!  And wait, Mariano Rivera!?!?

Thank you, ESPN, for reminding us that the most important players in this World Series are the best players on each team, particularly the ones who will play the most.  We had not considered this.

Perhaps ESPN is trying to educate those people who will confused the World Series with the World Series of Poker, and want to know who the Phil Iveys and Phil Hellmuths are.  Covering the top end so thoroughly, I thought I’d identify the bottom 5 least-important players to this World Series.   Note that the World Series rosters have not been released yet, but ESPN didn’t wait for them, so neither are we.

All Swings Considered asked many of its baseball writers, analysts and contributors who were on gchat at the moment to rank the players. Here are the results:

  1. Jerry Hairston Jr, bench, Yankees.  Why is he not important? He probably won’t play, unless Girardi decides to play him (<– analysis!).
  2. Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees.  Why is he not important? He’s the third catcher on the roster, probably.  And Girardi wouldn’t even use #2 catcher Jose Molina if Burnett wasn’t such a head case and baseball didn’t have its One Catching Molina Per Postseason Series rule.
  3. Mike Harkey, bullpen coach, Yankees.  Why is he not important? If at all possible, the Yankees will use only Mariano Rivera out of the bullpen.  Rivera does not need a bullpen coach.  If the Yankees are forced to use other relievers, Mike Harkey is not going to help.  Which brings us to:
  4. The Rest of the Yankees bullpen.  Why are they not important? The Yankees spent $1.073 billion dollars on 9 players, and none of them pitch in the bullpen.
  5. The Easter Bunny.  Why is he not important? Baseball prostituting itself to television contracts, combined with bad weather, mean there is only a 15% chance that the World Series lasts until next Easter.

Honorable mention: Kenji Johjima, Lynn Cheney, Roosevelt’s Face On Mount Rushmore.

Don’t Tread on Philly

Don't Tread on Philly

A common flag in colonial America. Go Phillief! (image by Eric Nielsen)

A Philadelphia Phillies versus New York Yankees World Series creates a lot of rivalry hype. We’ve heard talk about “Cheese-cake vs. Cheese-steak”, a “statue of liberty vs. the liberty bell,” “Wall St. vs. Broad St.” etc. Implicit in all of this naming is a class-war between New York and Philadelphia, where the Yankees represent money and glitz, while Philadelphia represents stagnation and grit. Obviously, this can’t only be about baseball – it’s a war between cities whose fans border each other (see this particularly dichotomous article from the Associated Press: Cheesecake versus Cheesesteak). The author, the famous Jim Litke, goes as far to make this about New Jersey:

“To most of the nation, this year’s World Series sounds like a lot of work just to find out where New Jersey’s loyalty really lies.”

As an avid New Jersey partionist, I find this level of rhetoric a bit myopic.

This is about more than the current Philadelphia versus the present New York. No, it’s much deeper than that.

This is about the roots of AMERICA.

On July 1st, 1776, as the Continental Congress sat in PHILADELPHIA, they pondered if they should declare independence, forever severing themselves from the crusty teat of jolly ol’ England. By the next day, most states had been won over, all except NEW YORK, which postponed their vote while the other twelve voted for the United States of America, and thus, freedom.

But NOT voting for the Declaration of Independence wasn’t enough for NEW YORK. During the Revolutionary War, Washington found himself withdrawing from the island, while the British forces took over their Tory stronghold.

My selectively edited paragraph from a Wikipedia article proves the treachery of New York, a harbinger of the baseball team to come: “New York City and Long Island (the British military and political base of operations in North America from 1776 to 1783) had a large concentration of Loyalists…” “Loyalists tended to be older, more likely merchants and wealthier” “Loyalist civilians… harassed… the Patriots.” And finally, perhaps a last straw in this historic rivalry: “Two Philadelphia residents were executed…”

You’d think that once the war was over, New York would recognize its historic blunder and support the fledgling democracy. Again, like a high school student at midnight, I will allow Wikipedia to do my talking for me:

After the evacuation of the British, New York, then the nation’s second largest city, was briefly the capital of the United States of America, with Congress meeting in Federal Hall starting in 1785. However, the city’s and state’s status within the new union under the United States Constitution written in 1787 was under question when the Governor George Clinton proved reluctant to submit state power to a strong national government, and was opposed to ratification. Some New York City businessmen proposed New York City secession as an alternative to join the union separately, but Alexander Hamilton and others argued persuasively in the Federalist Papers published in city newspapers for state ratification, which after much dispute finally passed in 1788.

As if it wasn’t enough to oppose the Declaration of Independence, New York also had to try to sink the Constitution. In 1790, one year into Washington’s presidency, and perhaps the nation’s first off-season free agency signing, the first president left “The Big Apple” by carriage in the middle of the night.

Philadelphia was again the nation’s capital.

So, when you think of Wednesday’s World Series rivalry, think not of “NJ turnpike’s” and “Amtrak” series. Think of the birth of this great country, and how New York did all it could to stifle it.

This is the series of Ben Franklin (and Ryan Howard) vs. Nobody.

ryan howard ben franklin edit

Ryan Howard (2006 Most Valuable Player) and Ben Franklin (1776 Most Valuable Patriot) - (image by Eric Nielsen)