Yankees: Small Crowds Equals Small Vision By The Front Office

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees registered a shock of epic proportions when they realized that, despite fielding a competitive and winning team, no one is attending their games. Duh, hello!

The Yankees, to their credit, manage to put a competitive and entertaining team on the field every season. And this season, in particular, they’ve managed to do it in spades. But no one who tunes into a game on YES, or anywhere else, can escape the “blueness” of empty seats at Yankee Stadium.

According to NJ.com, the paid attendance at Monday night’s game against the Blue Jays was a paltry 25,566 fans.

"This was a new low at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, and the smallest crowd for a Yankees home game since they drew 10,732 on Sept. 20, 2004 game at the old Yankee Stadium. The previous low at the current ballpark was 27,532 for a Sept. 9, 2015 game against Toronto."

Now, keep in mind that we are talking about paid attendance, which is far different than people sitting in seats. And if you looked at the pans of the Stadium by YES cameras, for example, on foul balls hit into the seats, you were sure to see the abyss of empty seats.

And I’m surprised that the Yankees haven’t figured out a way (yet) to CGI computer graphics on our screens to give an “alternate view” of what is now becoming all too common and what our lying eyes tell us, which is that the Yankees have priced themselves out of the market for the average, everyday fan.

Got An Extra 400 Bucks?

The Yankees boldly advertise that you can purchase a ticket to a game for as little as $10. That’s true, and it’s a good deal for a Little League team or a Girl Scout Troop with eyes that are still good enough to see from the nosebleed seats in the far reaches of the upper deck.

But if you want to bring a date to a game from across the river in New Jersey, here’s a tally of the hit your wallet will take. For a “good” seat, and I understand that’s relative, figure $100 per ticket. For the privilege of entering the Bronx, you’ll pay $17 one-way to cross the George Washington Bridge.

For parking, you have several choices. You can try to find a spot on Jerome Avenue or one of the side streets for free, rolling the dice as to whether or not your vehicle will still be there by the end of the game. Or, you can pay $20 and walk a half-mile from one of the adjacent lots. Or, you can go in style to impress your date by parking in a garage across the street from the stadium for $30-$40.

Add in a couple of beers, hot dogs, nachos, water each, and a bag of peanuts, and you’ve easily dropped another $100. In round numbers then, you’ve spent $400 for three hours of entertainment. Bringing your spouse and two kids, double that.

A System Based On Greed

But that’s only part of the problem the Yankees have. You see the real problem on every pitch from the centerfield camera and all that blue where tickets have been bought and paid for over the winter by law firms, brokerage houses, and corporations. These folks have that $400 and more; they just choose to stay home or go elsewhere that night.

The Yankees, though, tried to fix that problem when they entered into a partnership with the only legalized system of extortion in America, StubHub. In this win-win except for you ReSale Market, you can enter a bidding war to purchase one of these seats that the owner is “trading in.”

So, for a seat that typically costs around $350, you can snatch it up for $300. Unless, of course, it’s the Red Sox in town or Derek Jeter Night when that same seat will cost you $1500, or more.

Enough. You get the point.

It’s The Yankees Move – They Could Try This

The Yankees need to decide if they want to collect all that is due from the owners of these empty seats and leave it at that, or do they want to see a full house for each and every game?

Assuming they would prefer the latter, why couldn’t the Yankees do something like this?

Take that same $350 seat that’s turned in for resale by StubHub and offer it to “the public” for $100. Then, take the balance of $200, putting it into a charity fund to be divvied up at the end of the season. The ticket owners get the donation deduction on their taxes, the Yankees get a full house, and we get to see what the spin looks like on a splitter delivered by Masahiro Tanaka.

With monies left over, the Yankees could easily purchase bats, gloves, balls, and uniforms for every Little League team in the Bronx as an example.Th e numbers are variable and would need to be worked out among all parties.

The empty seat problem has been brewing for a number of years. The only difference is that it’s finally been “noticed” by the Yankees because they had no other choice when the media came to them. They can get creative, or they can kick the can down the road like Joe Girardi did, telling NJ.Com:

"“It’s a Monday night, school’s in,” manager Joe Girardi said after his post-game news conference. “I think our crowds have been great. I think the fans have been great and it’s a Monday night.”"

We’ll see if the story continues to have “legs”. Hopefully, it does and the Yankees front office is forced to act. It’s your move, Hal.