Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The YES Network needs Masahiro Tanaka even more than the Yankees

It looks as though Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka will hit America after all, giving Shallow (Pockets) Hal one last shot at a stud pitcher in 2014. But it's not just the Yankees who will be breathless in pursuit of Tanaka: The YES Network is about to collide with its bitter rival, Time-Warner Cable, over subscriber fees in metro NYC, and without a prime Yankee attraction, there could be blood on the contracts. Hal's blood.

A 10-year deal between YES and TWC ends sometime in January, and the Yankees don't exactly look like a team worth $3.20 per month, which is what NYC cable subscribers pay for the Yankees. (If it were a tax, the Tea Party would launch a revolution; why do they let monopolistic corporations get away with this?)  Last year, YES ratings plummeted with the Lyle Overbay-Travis Hafner led Bombers, and the need for big name attractions is probably the real reason why the Yankees went after their fifth and sixth outfielders - Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran - when they saw Robbie heading for the door.

But now, a gaggle of rich MLB teams will court Tanaka, and that includes the LA Dodgers - who have more money than God, and who haven't overpaid for anyone this winter - and the Redsocks, seeking to establish their franchise as the Gold Standard. If either jump into the fray, Hal's $189 million budget goes out the window. (A key question is whether the new deal with Japanese players counts toward the luxury taxes; an early version of the agreement said it didn't, but that provision might have been revised.) Without Tanaka - assuming he's any good - the Yankees could be NYC's Number 2 team by June - (they were last summer, when the Mets swept them.) And Time Warner - which absolutely hate-hate-hates Rupert Murdoch (now 49 percent owner of YES) - might dig in and refuse to go along with whatever hikes in fees the YES Network demand. Blackouts have been happening lately. This would be a brutal one - or... maybe not.

Think of this scenario: It's April 10, with YES and Time Warner bitterly deadlocked. The fans of New York City are seething, having missed opening day on YES. But A-Rod is banned, Jeter just strained a hammy, and Teixeira is day to day, forcing the Yankees to bring back Lyle Overbay. The infield is Overbay, Dean Anna, Brendan Ryan and Kelly Johnson. The outfield has Vernon Wells. Our best pitcher is David Phelps. The Yankees are in fourth place, with a record of 4 and 7. Which would you want to be: YES or Time Warner? Do you think the fans of New York would revolt over not being able to watch the Yankees? 


KD said...

We will always have The Master's sonorous, golden tones and our rich imaginations should YES disappear from our HD TVs.

JM said...

Everything you say is true, but how the hell did Syracuse beat out Buffalo for worst weather? Did money exchange hands? Were the judges unaware of the 'lake effect'? Is Hal using his influence to get back at Duque and the city he calls home?

Call Geraldo Rivera. This demands investigation.

el duque said...

Funny you should say that, because Syracuse has kicked Buffalo's ass for the last eight years in the annual Golden Snowball competition, generating the most snowfall in upstate New York. It's not even close. That Buffalo receives all the free publicity has been a bone in our craw for a long time.

We are number one. And that's why this website is so adamant about speaking the unquenchable truth. When you live in the worst city in America, you're never afraid to speak out against Cashman or Steinbrenner or their henchmen, because there's nothing they can do to you that will beat what winter already does.

KD said...

Listen. I grew up in Buffalo. I know Buffalo. And you, Syracuse, are no Buffalo!!

Oswego. Oswego HAS to be worst.

el duque said...

Leave Oswego out of this. It's not a large enough city to qualify.

Read the Golden Snowball reports, baby. It's all Syracuse. You thought Buffalo was worst? You've been living a lie.

JM said...

Wherefore art thou, Watertown?

Leinstery said...

This is a non issue. Sterling is the voice of the New York Yankees, not Michael Kay.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we Cablevision customers, including those of us in the Bronx missed the entire inaugural season of the YES network.