Greed That Never Sleeps: Dissecting the Yankees’ New Ticket Policy

“As the Yankees are continuously striving to implement technological advances to provide our fans with a ticketing experience that is unparalleled, convenient, safe and secure, the Yankees are excited to announce, as a complement to traditional hard stock paper tickets, the availability of mobile ticketing for the 2016 baseball season. Print-at-home paper tickets (PDFs) are being discontinued so as to further combat fraud and counterfeiting of tickets associated with print-at-home paper tickets (PDFs). In addition to traditional hard stock paper tickets, the Yankees will be offering the opportunity for fans to receive mobile tickets on a fan’s Smartphone.

Mobile ticketing is a completely voluntary, opt-in feature. All season ticket licensees and group ticket buyers will automatically receive traditional hard stock paper tickets. For fans purchasing individual game tickets online at yankees.com, Ticketmaster.com, or via Ticketmaster telephone, you will have the option of receiving traditional hard stock paper tickets or mobile tickets at the time of initial purchase. Fans purchasing individual game tickets at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office or at Yankees Clubhouse Shops will receive only traditional hard stock paper tickets (and will not have an option to receive mobile tickets or the option to convert their tickets to mobile tickets). Print-at-home paper tickets (PDFs) will no longer be available.”

What you just read is the New York Yankees’ brand new ticketing policy.  To sum it up, they are no longer going to accept print-at-home tickets in order to fight ticketing fraud.  Sounds great, right?  Well, it’s actually not about fraud at all.  Instead, it’s about the ongoing war between the Yankees and StubHub, the company they divorced in 2012 to sign a deal with TicketMaster.

Ticket resellers on StubHub can price a ticket for literally any amount they want.  This is fantastic for fans because they can get on the website an hour before a game and pick up some decent seats for $15 apiece.

On the other hand, TicketMaster sets these things called “price floors” that do not allow resellers to sell tickets for lower than face value.  If this sounds familiar, it’s because the New York Attorney General recently published a thorough report on the company and their shady practices (such as selling thousands of tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The River Tour 2016’ before tickets were even on sale.)

Here’s the Yankee’s chief operating officer Lonn Trost on the matter (via Newsday.com), “It’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and [another] fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it’s frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount. And quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”  Trost actually just said that someone who buys Yankees tickets in a secondary market is too low class to enjoy nice seating and would bother their rich fans.

My advice, save your money, Yankees fans.  Better yet, make the trip to Queens.  The team there is actually pretty good.

No Halo in Hall of Fame Heaven

andersonI promise that not every other article will be about Hall of Fame snubs (however, we do have 2 more lined up that are Hall of Fame related).  Today I make the case for the greatest Angel of all-time, Garret Anderson.

After an impressive 17 year career that featured 2,529 hits, 522 doubles, 1,365 RBI and 8 consecutive seasons with 150+ games played, Garret Anderson received one Hall of Fame vote.  Honestly, it was one more than I thought he was going to get.  Still, I’d like to see him enshrined in Cooperstown.

Growing up an Angels fan, it was hard not to love Garret.  He was the model of consistency and played the game “the right way”.  I felt comfortable about our chances of winning each day knowing #16 was going to be out in left field.

As mentioned earlier, Anderson is the greatest Angel of all-time.  Well, that is until Mike Trout shatters all of his records with both hands tied behind his back (that’s the only way to make it fair at this point).  As of now, Garret is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, at-bats, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, extra-bases, runs and RBIs.  He also made it to 3 All-Star Games (including 2003 when he won the All-Star Game MVP and Home Run Derby, a feat only matched by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.)  and won 2 Silver Sluggers towards the end of the ‘Steroid Era’.

However, it will be for Game 7 of the 2002 World Series that Anderson will be most remembered.  At-bat with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning of a 1-1 game, Garret ripped a double down the right field line that scored all 3 runners.  With young stud John Lackey on the mound, that’s all the Angels would need to secure their first and only World Series title in franchise history.

trinity

However, there are two big knocks against Garret’s career: 1) due to the likes of Troy Glaus and Vladimir Guerrero, he was never really considered to be the best player on the team and 2) he had zero plate discipline.  You know how Vladimir Guerrero swung at almost everything?  Well Garret swung at literally everything.  In his 17 year career he only averaged a measly 25 walks per season.  This led to Garret owning a slightly above average .324 on-base percentage.  (This is also a common knock against Ichiro, however, he is a Hall of Fame lock.)

I will admit, my longing for Garret Anderson to make the Hall of Fame is rooted in my fandom, but come on, literally no one enshrined in Cooperstown is wearing an Angels’ hat.  That might change next year with Vladimir Guerrero who is a likely first ballot Hall of Famer and is deciding between the Angels and the Expos.  If not, we’re going to have to wait another 20 some years for Mike Trout, assuming he doesn’t leave for somewhere like New York or Philadelphia (which he definitely will.)  Ugh.

Boston’s $90 Million Mistake

panda

Look at this picture.  Does this man look like an athlete to you?  More importantly, does this man look like a $90 million athlete?  Well, somehow, he is.  Before we talk about that, let’s go back a few years.

Pablo Sandoval, affectionately known as “Kung Fu Panda”, has always been big.  Standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing 267 pounds, Sandoval burst onto the scene in 2009 with the San Francisco Giants.  That season he provided an incredible .330/.387/.556 slash line with 25 homers and 44 doubles while finishing 7th in the National League MVP voting, making him a Bay Area fan favorite.

In 2010, the Giants would go on to win the World Series (their first of 3 in a 5 year stretch), however, it was largely without the help of Sandoval.  The Panda produced a pedestrian .268/.323/.409 with only 13 long-balls, 63 RBI and 34 doubles while upping his weight to 278 pounds.

Worried about his health, the Giants implemented an offseason weight-loss program entitled “Operation Panda”.  The goal was to get him into better playing shape in hopes that it would increase his production for the 2011 season.  It worked. Pablo lost 30 pounds and hit .315/.357/.552 with 23 homers and made his first All-Star Game.  He would have set career highs in almost every category, however, he was forced to miss 41 games to a broken hamate bone in his right hand.

Picking up where he left off, Sandoval was on an absolute tear to start the 2012 campaign.  In the first month of the season he broke the Giants’ franchise record for consecutive games with a hit to start a season (20).  His luck ran out there.  He broke his left hamate bone in May which forced him to sit out for a month.  In late July, he injured his left hamstring, forcing him out another month.  At the end of the season, Sandoval ultimately proved he was healthy by hitting 3 home runs in Game 1 of the World Series, helping him to become the 2012 World Series MVP.

“Operation Panda” was then thrown away.  Towards the end of a mediocre 2013 season, Sandoval’s weight became an issue yet again.  Encouraged by the front office, Sandoval shed a few pounds before the 2014 season, although it didn’t really help.  He hit an ice-cold .165 to start off the season and proceeded to ask the Giants for a 5 year, $100 million extension.  Thus, starting the end of his career with the Giants.

Despite playing in 16 more games, Sandoval’s 2014 numbers were nearly identical to 2013.  16 homers, 73 RBI and a .279 average, Sandoval was your middle-of-the-road third baseman.  Refusing to take a hometown discount, the Giants did not put up much of a fight to resign the now free agent (and no one else did either).  Due to a weak free agent market for third baseman (Chase Headley was the next best available), Sandoval was able to secure a $90 million deal over 5 years with the Boston Red Sox.

Unlike the Giants, Boston said they did not care what Sandoval did with his body as long as he produced great numbers.  Well, he didn’t.  Panda started the season overweight and was an absolute disaster, both at the plate and on the field.  Hitting a terrible .245/.292/.366 with only 10 home runs and drawing a measly 25 walks, Sandoval quickly fell out of favor with the Boston loyal (checking Instagram while using the bathroom during a game didn’t help…) and he found himself benched.

We have finally made it to the incredible picture posted up top.  Weighing in at what looks to be 300 pounds, Pablo has started off the season on a terrible note.  The man is obviously in the worst shape of his career and is now causing friction within the organization.

It is going to be a fun year following this, unless, of course, you’re a Boston fan.  If only the Red Sox had taken my advice.

When the Promise Is Broken: The Cautionary Tale of Jenrry Mejia

mejia

Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program states that if a player tests positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs once, he is automatically suspended for 80 games.  A second suspension sits you out for 162 games, a whole season, and 183 days without pay.  A very unlikely third positive test sees a player permanently suspended from Major League Baseball.  But then again, no one could be stupid enough to keep using PEDs after they’ve been suspended twice, right?

Insert New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia.  Once one of the most promising prospects in the game, Mejia has found himself permanently suspended from Major League Baseball.  His first suspension came on April 11, 2015 when he tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug stanozolol.  Fast forward to July 28 of the same year, and Mejia was handed down a second suspension, this time for stanozolol and Boldenone, a drug that increases muscle mass and was once common in horse racing.  Due to these suspensions, Mejia was slated to miss the Mets’ first 99 games of the 2016 season.  Despite this, the Mets resigned him to a one-year deal, thinking he would be nice help out of the bullpen come midseason.  It turns out the Mets should have been helping him instead, because on February 12 of this year, Mejia has been suspended a third and final time by the MLB, becoming the first player to be permanently banned on Major League Baseball’s new drug policy.  The culprit, yet again, was Boldenone.

However, it is not guaranteed that we have seen the last of Jenrry Mejia.  Under the current drug policy, Mejia can apply for reinstatement in one year, something he plans on doing.  While extremely unlikely, it is possible that Mejia could be back in organized baseball in 2018.

Signed as an international free agent in 2007, Mejia was supposed to go down in history as one of the all-time great relievers.  Thought by many to be the next Mariano Rivera, Mejia is now going down in baseball history, just not in the way he wanted.

No Love for the Glove: Edmonds No Longer Eligible for the Hall

edmonds pic

Lost in Ken Griffey, Jr.’s record breaking vote and the continued debate on steroids, Jim Edmonds fell off the Hall of Fame ballot rather quietly.  Receiving only 11 of 440 possible votes, Edmonds fell 11 votes short of the 5% threshold that is required to stay on the ballot for next year.  Not many people noticed, but those that did were stunned.  Jim Edmonds, an 8-time Gold Glove winner, is a one-and-done guy while Sammy Sosa, a notorious juicer, is still on the ballot after 4 years?  That doesn’t seem right.

Right now you might be saying, “Only 11 out of 440 baseball writers voted for him, do you actually think he belongs in the Hall of Fame?”  My short answer is, no, I don’t think Jim Edmonds is a Hall of Famer.  When I released my rule-breaking Hall of Fame vote on Twitter, something I will address in a later article, I left Edmonds off.  He’s very close, but to me, Edmonds is one of those guys who belongs in the Hall of “Very Good” and not the Hall of Fame.  However, I do believe he should have been in serious consideration.  Here are a few reasons why:

The Catches:

When you first think of Jim Edmonds, you think the jaw-dropping, acrobatic catches.  The argument can certainly be made that Edmonds is the most exciting defender in recent baseball memory.  He won 8 Gold Gloves in a 9 year span and made one of the most iconic catches in MLB history.  If you have some time to kill, search “Jim Edmonds catches” on YouTube.  You’ll get lost for hours, look at the clock, and realize it’s 4 in the morning and you wanted to go to bed 6 hours ago.  I would know because it’s happening to me right now.

The Numbers:

I won’t go into a statistical overload (like I did in my Fred McGriff article) because the Twitter account @JimEdmondsHOF has already done that for me (check it out, it’s fascinating).  Still, here are some charts to whet your appetite:

edmondsedmonds2edmonds3

 

The 2004 NLCS:

The 2004 MLB Postseason is remembered for the Red Sox hoisting their first World Series trophy since 1918.  However, we should not forget Edmonds’ outstanding performance in the 2004 NLCS.  Edmonds showed throughout his career that he had a flair for the dramatic and, against the Houston Astros, it was on full display.  Edmonds put up a .292/.357/.625 slash line with 2 home runs, one of them being the iconic Game 6, 12th inning walk-off home run to stave off elimination and force a Game 7.  And what does Jim Edmonds do in that Game 7?  Well he makes a patented Jim Edmonds diving catch to save two runs from scoring.  The Cardinals went on to win Game 7 and earn the right to lose to the Red Sox in the World Series.

 

Is Jim Edmonds a Hall of Famer?  No, but he certainly deserved better.

 

Do you think “Jimmy Baseball” belongs in the Hall of Fame? Sound off in the comments section!

My Baseball Experience

figgins

Ever since I was a little boy, baseball has been my true love.  I grew up going to Salem Avalanche games and watching/idolizing players like Chone Figgins, Choo Freeman and Matt Holliday among many others.  I was absolutely terrible with a bat in my hand so, thankfully, I was able to live vicariously through them.

In 2003, I opened a pack of baseball cards and received my first Major League Chone Figgins card (pictured above).  That’s when I learned he had been traded to the Angels and, thus, I became an Angels fan.

The release of MVP Baseball 2005 on GameCube only strengthened my love for the game and that Angels team.  That 2005 team still holds a very special place in my heart. Chone Figgins, Big Bad Vlad Guerrero, Garret Anderson, K-Rod, two-thirds of the Molina brothers…

I digress.  In 2014 I took a minimum wage job selling concessions with the Salem Red Sox (formerly the Avalanche).  It’s not a glamorous job but I loved it because I got to work for a baseball team.  Walking into a baseball stadium every day is the best job there is.

I have since made it my goal to be a baseball lifer.  The dream is to work in some capacity for a Major League front office. It’s going to be quite the adventure. To quote  Adam the Woo, “Join me, shall you?”

Yet Another Fred McGriff, Hall of Fame Article

mcgriff

Every year there are hundreds upon hundreds of articles written about the latest MLB Hall of Fame vote and it seems like all of them are about what the Hall of Fame got wrong; this is one of those articles.

Fred McGriff, also known as ‘Crime Dog’, has been on the Hall of Fame ballot for 7 years and has never garnered more than 23.9% of the vote (2012).  With only 3 years remaining on the ballot, it seems safe to say that he will never be enshrined in Cooperstown; but should he be?

First, let’s look at some of McGriff’s career numbers: he boasted a slash line of .284/.377/.509, with 2,490 hits, 493 home runs, 1,550 RBI and 441 doubles.  Impressive numbers.  In his 50 career playoff games, Crime Dog was even better, hitting .303/.385/.532 with 10 home runs, 37 RBI and 11 doubles.  He also was the cleanup hitter for the 1995 World Series winning Atlanta Braves.

McGriff was one of the most feared hitters in baseball in the late ‘80s, early 90’s.  He led the Majors in intentional walks in 1991 (26) and was given a free base 23 times the following season.  On top of that, he had a phenomenal eye.  From his age 25-28 seasons he drew 90+ walks and repeated that performance at age 36.

With all of these incredible numbers, why is he not in the Hall of Fame? Well, it really comes down to three things: 1) the infamous 1994 strike shortened season, 2) despite being clean, he played during the ‘Steroid Era’ and 3) the Hall of Fame’s atrocious voting rules and crowded ballot (an article for another day).

1994 was a dark year for baseball fans.  The players went on strike after 114 games and there was no World Series to be played.  This played a huge role in deciding McGriff’s Hall of Fame fate.  As previously stated, McGriff hit 493 career home runs.  After playing in 113 of the Braves’ games that season, he hit a whopping 34 homers and drove in 94 runs.  If the season had played out in its entirety, McGriff would have been on pace for 49 homers, pushing him past the magic number of 500 career home runs.  Hitting 500 home runs basically guarantees a hitter that he will make the Hall of Fame unless he is tied to steroids, which McGriff was not.

Now I’ve heard the argument before, “You don’t know how he would have played the rest of the season.  He could go through a long slump, plus, he could have gotten hurt and ruined his career.”  True, but let’s take a closer look at those claims.

In the last 10 games before the strike, McGriff hit 7 home runs and had an astounding .421/.476/.1.026 slash line.  He was getting better and had a real chance at hitting 50+ home runs.

As for the injury claim, McGriff was one of the most durable players in baseball history.  From 1987-2002, McGriff averaged 146 games per year.  He was only placed on the Disabled List once in his career and that was his age 39 season.  Therefore, you can toss the injury probability right out of the window.

In recent years we are seeing very few people who played during the ‘Steroid Era’ garner Hall of Fame votes.  Clean players like Larry Walker and Jeff Kent would be Hall of Famers if they played during any other era, yet they have never received 20% of the vote.  The reason is that their numbers don’t stick out in the record books, ironic considering players like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa will never sniff the Hall of Fame because their numbers stuck out too much (due to PED use).

Had McGriff played in a different era he would already be in the Hall of Fame.  From 1988-1994 he lead the Majors with 242 Home Runs.  Second place was Barry Bonds, the greatest home run hitter of all-time, at 218.  For 7 seasons, McGriff was easily the best, most consistent power hitter in the game.  How is that not Hall of Fame worthy?

To top it all off, McGriff’s numbers dwarf those of Tony Perez, Frank Chance and Orlando Cepeda, all Hall of Famers, and are identical to Willie McCovey, a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1986.

Not voting Fred McGriff into the Hall of Fame?  That’s a crime, dog.

Welcome to the Occupation

Welcome to The Batter’s Eye! Here you will find hot, opinionated takes on a game I never played (unless MVP Baseball 2005 counts). I hope you enjoy my thoughts and chime in with some of your own. You can follow the blog on Twitter @BattersEyeBlog. Our first post will be coming shortly, until then, hang your collar up inside and prepare to listen to me…