APRIL 13, 2004
Bonds, Bowa, Clemens & RSN Nomads
By Steve Lombardi, NetShrine.com

In a column published on April 11, 2004, Houston wrote that the Phillies will "choke" this season as "[Phillies Manager] Larry Bowa does not know how to treat his players with respect.  These are grown men playing this game, and it's about time he realizes that.  He has a little man's complex that constantly has players hating him and talking behind his back.  Until they get rid of this sideshow, the Phillies will not reach their full potential.”

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bowa’s response to Houston's remarks was "The only thing I'll say is, you see he's not playing baseball.  Everybody can't be wrong."

While Bowa has a point, until the Phillies start winning some games this season, Houston’s comments cannot be totally dismissed.  

In the article, Paul Kane, director of marketing for Games Away Tours in Boston, was quoting as saying “It impacts us, it impacts everyone, dramatically.  We've allocated 50 per game, but if a group of six or seven came to us, we'd have to put two here, two there. Last year, we had groups of 80 to 100 together.  I don't feel you're going to see the number of people going to Yankee Stadium that you used to. I bet there were 5,000 Red Sox fans a game there last year.''

As someone who went to Yankee Stadium last year when New York played Boston, I can attest to the number of Red Sox fans attending the games I saw in the Bronx.  On September 5, 2003, when I was at that Yankee game, it was a full house - probably around 55-56,000.  And, at least 5,000 of them were Sox fans.  Boston dominated New York that night, and late in the game, after many Yankees fans left, Boston’s Lou Merloni got a double, and the chant of "Looooooooooou" nearly filled the Stadium.  I've never seen/heard that before - the "visiting fans" taking over the Stadium.

In the Herald feature, Jason Zillo, who is the assistant director of media relations for the Yankees, was quoted as saying "We're trying to look out for the best interest of our fan base.  We wanted to give the little people a chance to see the games.'' 

While I believe Zillo’s statement to be full of hot air – have you seen the prices of a ticket to a Yankee game? What “little people” are paying those prices? – I do agree with this approach by New York.  With all the heightened emotions between Sox and Yankees fans following the 2003 ALCS, think of the security issues around pockets of 80 to 100 Red Sox fans sitting in Yankee Stadium this year.  Boston plays in New York nine times this season.  One of those nine games, if not more, could have a fan riot in the stands.

The Red Sox (in the article) said they have no such ban on group sales at Fenway Park for their Yankees games scheduled.  However, given the scarcity of non-season tickets available for Fenway, in effect, they do not have the same issue as Yankee Stadium.

Steve Lombardi is the Creator & Curator of NetShrine.com.  Scrawling On The Scorecard appears regularly during the baseball season and sporadically during the off-season.  Steve can be contacted at sots@netshrine.com

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