JULY 20, 2004
Yankees Are Good For Baseball
By Steve Lombardi, NetShrine.com

Rather than go into a rant over the David Ortiz incident of July 16, 2004  - where (in a game against the Angels), after arguing a called third strike leading off the seventh inning and getting ejected from the game, Ortiz pushed his manager (Terry Francona) into home plate umpire Matt Hollowell, and then (from the dugout) threw two bats onto the field that just missed hitting umpires Mark Carlson and Bill Hohn - the scrawling on this scorecard is going to be on a positive topic.  (But, if Ortiz gets anything less than a 10 game suspension, be prepared for a future rant!)

This one is about how the New York Yankees are good for baseball.  How can this be?  The Evil Empire, with a team payroll higher than one-tenth of the gross national product of Bulgaria, is good for baseball?  The team steamrolling along with the best record in the league is good for baseball?  The team with the roster full of present and former all-stars is good for baseball?  George Steinbrenner's team is good for baseball?!?

Yes.  The New York Yankees are good for baseball.

How?  Take a look at the Yankees' first 14 road series this season.   Now, look at the attendance facts from those series:

Team NYY Visted)

Avg. Home Att.1

Avg. Att. v. NYY)

Avg Att. Not v. NYY1

% Inc. Due To NYY1

Devil Rays2

15,920 29,168 14,222 105


29,472 55,208 27,634 100


23,618 40,452 21,976 84


32,791 49,631 31,388 58


32,621 48,197 31,559 53


26,949 38,908 26,074 49


33,284 44,426 31,613 41


35,241 46,511 34,455 35


41,801 55,080 40,875 35

White Sox

24,145 30,739 23,651 30


41,722 43,737 41,582 5

Red Sox

35,089 35,056 35,093 0


31,155 42,290 30,184 40

1Based on games through July 19, 2004.  2Does not include the two games from March 2004 where NY "visited" Tampa Bay in Japan.

Think the owners of the Tampa Bay Devils get happy when the Yankees stop in?  Their attendance jumps up 105% (compared to when other teams visit them).  The Mets went "cha-ching!" when the Yankees came to Shea this year - the Yankees doubled their usual crowd.  The Tigers saw an 84% increase when the Bronx Bombers came to Motown.  The Rangers, Diamondbacks and A's experienced a sweet bump in their crowds - an increase of about one-half their non-Yankee games.  Baltimore, Seattle, Los Angeles, and the White Sox all also largely benefited from the Yankee ticket.

It is obvious that fans in cities outside New York want to see the Yankees.  The numbers to support this are overwhelming.  On average, the Yankees coming to town means a 40% increase in attendance.  Ladies and gentlemen, that's good for baseball.

Various outlets can complain all they want about the way the Yankees conduct their business; but, just as the proof of the pudding is the eating, the truth here is in the attendance numbers.  The Yankees generate interest in baseball and that interest generates money for the game.  It's not just themselves for whom the Yankees make money - they make it for the owners in Tampa, Detroit, Texas, Oakland, etc.

Every franchise that the Yankees travel to this season should send George Steinbrenner a "Thank You" card, a dozen roses, and, some chocolates after New York leaves town.  In the card, they should write "Please come back soon - and often.  We loved having you."

Consider this - the Yankees average bringing in over 42,000 fans to their road games.  No other team can touch averaging more than 39,000 in their road games.  Sixty percent of the teams in the majors average less than 30,000 fans drawn to their road games.  Factor in the record attendance at Yankee Stadium this season and it is head and shoulders clear that the Yankees are the team that people want to see this year.

George Steinbrenner, despite all the penalties that baseball has set up to prohibit his success, is still this year's goose that laid the golden egg.  And, every team in the league, as you read this, is feasting off an omelet stuffed with cash thanks to one of Big Stein's Grade A Extra Large Specials.

When you have a goose that can lay golden eggs, you should treat that goose well.  Baseball, are you listening?

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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