Saturday, March 04, 2006

Position # 6: Why the Yankees won't move

Many people are concerned that if Yankee Management doesn’t get its way, the team will move elsewhere. They frequently cite the move of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants to support their fears. They forget that these events took place some fifty years ago.

In the 1950's, television was in its infancy and only a few people owned television sets. Other than photos in newspapers, people only saw their baseball teams if they went to the ballpark. Thus, the identification of a team with a place only existed in the eyes of the handful of people that actually saw the teams. Today, with television sets in every household and nationally broadcast games, a team’s identification with a city or part of a city becomes welded in the eyes of millions of people. This identification is further enhanced by the fact that the Yankees appeared on national television in so many World Series. How would the following sound to any baseball fan: the Hartford Yankees or the Dallas Yankees? It just wouldn’t work. The well established image of the Bronx Bombers, etc. would forever be shattered and revenues would drop. Yankee Management is certainly aware of this and would never make such a risky move.

There is also no other place to which the Yankees can move. For years the Yankees have threatened to move to New Jersey or to the West Side. New Jersey, however, is not a realistic option since the New Jersey Turnpike determines access to the Meadowlands and is one of the most congested highways in the U.S. These problems are far worse during rush hours when most weekday games start. In fact, both the Devils and Nets, despite championship or near championship seasons, have been plagued by low attendance because of the access factor. Both teams are planning to leave the Meadowlands for more transit friendly facilities in Newark and in Downtown Brooklyn. The Yankees would simply risk losing a large number of fans from Westchester, Long Island and even New York City.

The West Side of Manhattan is also not an option. In 1998, a Department of City Planning study demonstrated that a baseball stadium on the West Side would cause such heavy traffic problems that it simply could not be built there.

In summary, one can conclude that the Yankees will not move despite any bluffing to the contrary.

With David Gratt, Friends of Yankee Stadium


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