Gray Lady's Richard Sandomir, the YES Network lost "a staggering" 111,000 viewers per game last season, mainly because people at home were being offered the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Railriders. Viewership tumbled by 31 percent, and since 2007, it's become the LESS Network. We are the "666 Park Avenue" of teams. Says Sandomir:
A look at Yankees viewership since 2007 shows a troubling trend that did
not start with this year’s disappointing finish. There were 454,000
viewers six years ago, but 210,000 — nearly half — have since departed.
This is the worst thing that has ever happened. Seriously. Somewhere, Michael Kay must be belching Cheerios out his nose.
Since it opened in 2002, YES has allowed the Yankees to bathe in extra cash - free money! - and buy players. Now, it could become the millstone around our necks.
Fear of bad ratings - W.B. Mason needs to sell post-its - could become the reason we cannot justify a simple rebuilding year - and change our ways of growing a winner.
Already, a loud bloggerial chorus is calling for the Yankees to run out and sign Matt Garza, Dan Haren, Dopey Dildox, et al - and to start trading prospects for the likes of Chase Headley. (These voices have soured on certain kids, whom they've never seen play.) Thus, we will continue to break down along the shoulder of the road, while younger teams whiz by.
The Yankee fan base will accept a rebuilding year. But it won't watch YES's slobbery, dull, lifeless TV presentations. The growing tension between Kay and Paul O'Neill is not exactly Carrie and Brody. Therein lies the rub. Or the remote.
Because of YES, we could become the franchise that never can rebuild. That's a bad thing to be, because the rules of MLB have changed. Our 2013 collapse didn't happen because a couple starters suffered rogue injuries. It happened because we fielded an entire lineup of old and breakable players. Our management style must change. We cannot buy our way out of this. We need a year to rebuild. Will YES let us?