Home Runs and Pitching for the First Week
There still was that aura of the old Stadium that sits across the street. Though when the four games against Cleveland concluded Sunday, this the opening series of a new billion dollar Yankee Stadium, there were the questions of what fans and players think of their new digs. More so questions about the Yankees pitching and the 20 home runs hit that have made this an entertainment spectacular.A record number of home runs for the opening of a new ballpark in the modern Major League Baseball era. And by Monday the Yankees were doing their research as to why they may have built a new launching pad, and for now, a ballpark made for the hitter and not the pitcher.Not a way to start a new era of Yankees baseball in the Bronx, though home runs have always tagged them as “The Bronx Bombers.” And after Saturday’s 14-run second inning, the most runs allowed by the Yankees in an inning, manager Joe Girardi had other questions to answer.“We have to get him back to where he was,” he said about Chien-Ming Wang, the ace of a pitching staff off to a 0-3 start and ridiculous 34.50 ERA. A part of this Yankees season is the pitching with Wang, and the newest multi-millionaires CC Sabathia and A.J, Burnett.Supposedly the engineers are evaluating the wind patterns, and that right field home run launching pad. “It definitely does fly here as compared to the old stadium,” said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge when asked about the home run ball to that section of the new ballpark.You didn’t see a capacity house that was always a staple mark for the old Stadium the past few years. The corporate buyers, those behind home plate and the lower deck were conspicuously absent. Those that were there were not the average rabid Yankees fans, quiet and taking in the new scenery.They made more noise across the street on Opening Day Thursday, the hundred or so community activists protesting supposed broken promises of the Yankees organization about more community jobs, contracts and temporary parks. And by the time they left the Yankees did not stage their customary comeback.Not the comeback game Thursday that Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte used to have in the old ballpark, the mainstays of those great Yankees championships. Even the fans gave up hope. The mystique that always hovered around the old stadium wasn’t there as the Indians would score nine runs in the seventh inning.-They started to leave after the Yankees bullpen once again failed them in the early season. Even in that dreadful second inning Saturday, when Wang once again could not keep the ball down it wasn’t the same atmosphere of Yankees fans from the old ballpark.Girardi referred to Phil Coke, Jose Veras and Damaso Marte, all out of the pen that need to be more consistent. They weren’t last Thursday and pitching, like hitting can be a residual effect. But for a few days in the Bronx the effect was more bad than good.“Yeah but it was a part of history and a great day for a ballgame,” said Phil Newberger as he continued to take in the scenery exiting the Great Hall area of the ballpark on Opening Day. The Hall, like the many restaurants and museum, some of great amenities of a billion dollar ballpark that owner George Steinbrenner made a reality.The 6-6 start after Saturday’s fiasco, in a huge Yankees clubhouse, where players have the liberty of hiding from the media is similar to the start of last season in the old ballpark. “The ball carries more in the day than at night here,” said Johnny Damn about the home runs.No concern yet in the Bronx for these Yankees. Wang misses a start this weekend up in Boston due to the rainout Monday in the Bronx. And as Girardi said about his ace, “We have to get him right, and it was an interesting four days here,” referring to the home runs in the new billion dollar facility.The history, hopefully in due time will carry over.AS FOR CITI FIELD AND THE METS: There is no history of the New York Mets at their new home Cit Field. Only the trash cans around the ballpark provide some type of reminder that this is the home of the New York Mets with the NY Mets logo. The Ebbets Field look and Jackie Robinson Rotunda are reminders of the old Brooklyn Dodgers and not the current New York Mets.And the sense is ownership wants no history of the Mets in their new digs over in Flushing. One of their franchise pitchers, Dwight Gooden, decides to place his signature on a wall in one of the elaborate new restaurants at Citi Field. The Mets consider it graffiti and not history because it wasn’t authorized.Yet it is something fans have complained about in the past few days regarding the lack of history that Mets ownership failed to display at Citi Field. From this observer, it is more Ebbets Field and a new state of the art ballpark, and as much as Shea Stadium was a dump it is missed.Because Citi Field, as nice as it is, does not present an aura of the New York Mets or their finest moments. The sound system is better, the main scoreboard and out of town scoreboard out of view for fans sitting in the right or left field areasAnd something is wrong when it comes to the Mets media policy as it pertains to weekly media, such as this newspaper and Latino media outlets. Access to the home and visiting clubhouses are off limits to the weekly and Latino media and media credential distribution is limited if affiliations are not daily beat writers.Now with a dominant Latino roster, the most among Major League teams, one would tend to believe that the Mets would welcome coverage from Latino media personnel. And the new ballpark, built also with city taxpayer money, should be a part of legitimate weekly publications that cover sports.But the Mets organization, always playing second to the Yankees in this town, once again show their true colors by making a mockery of themselves by their unjustified policies. Then again one look at the product they have put on the field the past few years provides no further explanation.