If only we could be a fly on the wall in the halls of the Yankees power structure, as the “fully operational Death Star” is no doubt buzzing with activity. After all, the arch-rival Red Sox just won their fourth World Series title in 15 years. One would hope that the front office would stop at nothing to make sure the Bombers prevent Boston from repeating in 2019.
Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a whole lot of evidence of that. What we’ve seen looks an awful lot like the club doubling down on the austerity plan. So with tongue planted firmly in cheek, here are some New Year’s resolution suggestions for Yankees management, which are designed to address some nagging issues that might be on their minds.
1. Sell naming rights to Yankee Stadium
Most MLB teams have jumped on the stadium naming rights bandwagon, with precious few holdouts remaining. Among them are the defending World Series champion Red Sox, the two-time defending NL champion Dodgers, the Royals, the Cardinals, and the 108-year curse-breaking Cubs. That quintet of teams combined to make nine trips to the Fall Classic since the Yankees’ last appearance in 2009. Perhaps it’s time for the Bombers to make a change, you know, to break up the bad juju.
Note to Randy Levine: contact the Thrifty car rental company first. That way, the ballpark can be renamed “The Thrifty Yankees Stadium,” in keeping with the new organizational priorities. If Thrifty isn’t willing to pay for naming rights, see if they’ll take on Ellsbury’s contract instead.
2. Put cardboard cut-outs of people in the Moat Seats
Billions of people around the world will tune in to watch their first “Thrifty” Yankees game sometime in the near future. Unfortunately, they might deduce that no one can afford to sit behind home plate because the seats are empty. That problem can easily be solved by putting cardboard cut-outs of people there. It must be famous people, though. Lonn Trost already made it known that regular folks aren’t welcome in the Moat Seats.
3. Get a gaming license for the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar
A constant source of complaints from unappreciative fans since the new stadium opened, the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar is in dire need of a grand makeover. Perhaps getting a gaming license and installing scores of slot machines will make fans forget what an eyesore that awful monstrosity is in center field.
4. Start using courtesy runners again
Seriously, courtesy runners were actually used in MLB games until a rule change in 1950 outlawed them. In light of the continued mishaps involving Yankees pitchers running the bases, it’s high time to bring courtesy runners back into vogue. The rule would have to be changed again, but the Yankees have undoubtedly made a lot of friends among MLB owners, since their austerity program is helping to hold down the growth of player salaries.
As a bonus, such a rule change could go a long way toward pacifying the Manny Machado skeptics. A replacement-level courtesy runner could be standing by, waiting to run really hard out of the box, just in case Machado hits a grounder into the shortstop hole.
5. Hire the Boston guy who figured out that Sevy was tipping his pitches
Perhaps the guy from Boston who figured out that Severino was tipping his pitches can figure out how to teach him to stop doing it. The Yankees apparently were aware also, for half the season, but couldn’t solve the problem. Note to Levine: See if the guy will work as an unpaid intern, you know, for austerity reasons.
6. Revoke ESPN’s press pass
Revoking ESPN’s press pass could prevent the network from reporting on the Yankees’ food service health violations. Refusing to play on Sunday Night Baseball in protest might be a good idea, too. Just think, flying out after midnight and arriving in the destination city at 6:00 am would be a thing of the past. How many Monday games have the Yankees lost over the years due to their rigorous Sunday Night Baseball schedule?
7. Commit more deeply to austerity
Slot machines and stadium naming rights are just the beginning. A further commitment to austerity is needed. That means more revenue streams, a tighter belt, and a more aggressive rebrand campaign. Here are some ideas:
- Fine players when they don’t homer, like Willie Mays Hays doing push-ups when he popped up in Major League.
- Install vending machines in the clubhouse. (Thanks, Moneyball.)
- Sell advertising on the uniforms. Imagine “Thrifty Yankees” emblazoned across the chest (instead of the interlocking NY). Catchy, huh? If Thrifty isn’t interested, try Budget or Dollar.
- Bill visiting free agents for the privilege of seeing themselves on the scoreboard in pinstripes.
- Change Brian Cashman’s outgoing voice mail greeting to the following: “Press one if you are willing to accept lower pay to play for the Yankees. Otherwise, please hang up.”
- Hire all three Yankees fans who bought into the austerity program to be social media influencers. (Naturally, they would work as unpaid interns.)
- Stop using the phrase “27-time World Series champion Yankees.” Start using “40% hometown discount Yankees.”
- Inform players who want salary bumps that they can instead save a bunch of money by switching to Geico.
- Investigate the feasibility of using bicycles for road trips. If that doesn’t work out, try RVs to save money on airfare and hotels.
- Convince the league to revive the Deadball Era. Why waste money using a new ball for every pitch when one per season will do? (Dye the rawhide fluorescent orange to allay safety concerns.)
- Get the old, donated Highlander uniforms back from the New York penal system.
- Ask the city controllers to provide a tax abatement if Hal moors his yacht in the Harlem River. Threaten to move the team to New Jersey if they say no.
Fun stuff, huh? I actually have a much better idea. How about the Yankees give their loyal fans a late Christmas present by signing both Machado and Bryce Harper? The Yankees heading into the 2019 season as a modern day Murderer’s Row sounds like a great resolution to me. Happy New Year, everyone!