Friday, March 19, 2021

Thanks to Covid, the 2021 Yankees will know what it's like to be Marlins, which begs a question: Is it time to call the cards on Florida baseball?

Cuoashman works the phones.
Yesterday, Gov. Grope - our Andrew Cuomo, scion of NY Tough, NY Horny, NY Grabby, NY Stacked and NY Lovin' - announced that the Yankees and Mets can play 2021 home games at 20 percent of stadium capacities. That could change if the pandemic re-explodes. (Lookin' at you, Texas! ) 

At least through April, the Yankees - with a stadium capacity of 50,291 - can accept 10,058.2 fans per game. 

The Mets - with a 45,000 capacity at Citi Field - can host 8,492.

Thus, the Covid nightmare means the Yankees will learn what it's like to play for the Miami Marlins. 

Check out the MLB home attendance figures from 2019, the last time counts didn't include cardboard cutouts. That year, the Marlins drew an average of 10,016 - that's 275 less than the Yankees will be allowed this year.

(Note: Yank tickets will be sold in "pods," a social distancing that will make it harder for fans to fight. That said, the fights - masked v bare face? - should be more entertaining. In the past, the heftier fan had a clear advantage. Pressed together, she could drive her opponent's skull into a seatback or cupholder. Now, with more room, the petite brawler can duck and weave. Karens, watch out!)  

Considering the rule changes that MLB is already pondering, I believe it's time for baseball to address the Florida Failure. The numbers don't lie. Florida just doesn't work.

You could say argue the wretched 2019 Marlins - (third worst team in baseball, behind Detroit and Baltimore) - brought the sparse crowds onto themselves. But year after year, the Devil Rays of Tampa contend. If not for the jarring techno cacophony - sound effects that drive Suzyn Waldman to tears - the team would occupy a Tropicana Dome of Silence worthy of Maxwell Smart. And this year, with the Covid cloud still haunting indoor events, the Rays must breathe each other's air. That's going to hobble the numbers. If a bear shits in the forest, and no one watches, does it stink? 

Listen: As a summer sport, baseball has flopped in Florida. The reason: It's too frickin' hot, and domed baseball stadiums cannot save it. In 50 years, assuming baseball is around - considering the nut cakes who run it, that's no guarantee - historians will look back on indoor games and shake their antennae. Did fans really accept 20-foot bounces and fly balls lost in the rafters?

But but BUT... there is hope for Florida baseball. The wily Canadians in Toronto may have hacked the code. The Jays will play early season games in their Dunedin camp, then come north when the Covid coast is clear - and nights are warm. 

Keep in mind that Toronto plays in a retractable dome, so arctic conditions are not a factor. But this pilot move - predicated on U.S.-Canadian border requirements - makes sense. The fact is, several MLB teams should play a month or two in Florida/Arizona - then get the hell out, when the 100-degree dust-clouds hit. Think about delightful, pastoral summers in Buffalo, Rochester, Rochester - you know, cities that battle for the Golden Snowball.  

This idea has critics. For example, Clint Frazier yesterday expressed concern about playing in Dunedin, which has no upper deck for his homers to land in. Also, it could be rough out there for the Gold Glove candidate. Said Red Thunder:

Just like other stadiums, they all have their things you have to work around whether it's sometimes the sun sets in left field and the left fielders getting crushed by the sun...

Crushed by the sun? Hmm. Doesn't sound hopeful.

Maybe all this doesn't matter. If Don Mattingly saves the Marlins, and Tampa finds the next Hank Aaron in Randy Arozarena - (who is hitting just .217 this spring, ha!) - maybe everything will come together for the two franchises. And, certainly, the Yankees can never play spring games in Tampa: That two-bit town ain't big enough for the both of us. 

But for now, we're about to experience what it's like to be the Marlins. Weird times, eh?


JM said...

I remember the golden age of Yankee emptiness during the late 60s. Filed box seats were cheap and available on game days. The stands were so empty, you could hear the on-field chatter and the slap of ball against glove. There were no lines for anything. Beer vendors came around so frequently, you barely had time to finish one before ordering another.

It wasn't bad. The team was lousy but the experience was stress-free and fun.

Not that I'll venture up to the Stadium during these days of the pandemic. But if anyone has the guts and desire, I bet you'll enjoy it.

Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside said...

Can we also agree that Queens Baseball doesn’t work either?

Anonymous said...

Under Governor Grope's new COVID policies for Yankee Stadium is ballin' in the stall still allowed?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but this one just gets under my skin:

beg the question
phrase of beg
(of a fact or action) raise a question or point that has not been dealt with; invite an obvious question.
"some definitions of mental illness beg the question of what constitutes normal behavior"
assume the truth of an argument or proposition to be proved, without arguing it.


HoraceClarke66 said...

I think we're being unfair to those poor Floridians (as if that keeps me up nights. But still!).

How is it possible that teams in a state chock full of the most baseball-crazy ethnics in the world can't make a go of it?

The answer is, I think, that neither squad has had consistently committed, well-funded ownership.

If you look back at the attendance numbers, both Miami and Tampa Bay have been on upswings at times as the teams contended, breaking the 2-million mark, etc.

But then, their terrible owners always sell off the team stars, and go back to demanding taxpayer billions for new ballparks. It's ridiculous. The MLB cartel ought to see to it that they end up in the hands of Mr. Moneybags willing and ready to shell out much of their own cash and build a steady contender.

Of course, so should we Yankees fans!