There is a great article posted on 'The Biz of Baseball' this morning summarizing the state of the New York Yankees' organization.
The headline asks 'Organization in Transition or Study in Baseball Mismanagement?'
I think we all know that there have been plenty of mistakes made in the post-George Steinbrenner era -- both on and off the field. Yeah, plenty were made during the reign of The Boss, too. But things are different now.
Most likely, in one way or another all of us who live and die with the Yankees have privately asked the same question posed by The Biz of Baseball.
Here is a little bit of the story.
In the midst of chaos and despair, an iconic American sports institution’s delusional business strategies have embodied the essence of avarice. To many, the New York Yankees are the epitome of royalty in a culture where athletes are deified and hailed for their extraordinary accomplishments in sporting arenas of competition. However, they have been criticized vociferously by pundits, politicians, baseball fans and the media for their elitist behaviors and disingenuous relationship with customers from a tax bracket whose median household income falls in line with the national average. It is the opinion of some that the New York Yankees cannot and will not relate to the daily financial struggles of the common citizen. In periods of unrest, a baseball game is a well needed escape from the hardships of life. While the Yankees have built an exquisite architectural masterpiece in the middle of one of the poorest Congressional districts in the country, they have conveniently alienated generations of middle class families who have played just as important of a role in the franchise’s storied history as any ball player who has donned the pinstripes. ...
There is no denying that the New York Yankees have had an awkward and inauspicious beginning to the post George Steinbrenner era both on and off the field. Whether it is selling grossly overpriced stadium memorabilia to the masses or engaging in a war of words with the commissioner of Major League Soccer, the new leaders of the Yankees have already encountered countless obstacles. While the new ball park is extraordinary and surprisingly captures the essence of the old Yankee Stadium, the pricing model is flawed and needs substantial revision to reflect the current market conditions. The Yankees’ overtly aggressive pursuit of the white collar audience is alarming since this type of customer is quickly becoming extinct. What’s even more disheartening is that the throngs of fiscally challenged Yankee fans have to actively survey the secondary ticket market for affordability instead of desired seat locations. Season ticket holders are now starting to feel the pinch of the prices at the new ball park and they are expeditiously liquidating their ticket inventories at discounts. To put it simply, customers are paying premium prices for a pedestrian product. The constant dependence on the free agent market has been a detriment to the organization. Even though the Yankees have spent almost a half a billion dollars on three ball players this past offseason, they are still mired in mediocrity and struggling with the implementation of cutting edge ideas regarding player development. Fans are paying prices fitting for a team like the 1998 Yankees. Instead, they are receiving the 2008 version.
You get the idea that the piece is lengthy, and a little dry. It is, however, a thought-provoking read and worth the time if you're concerned -- as I am -- about the future of the greatest franchise in sports.