Monday, December 23, 2013

The Yankee Stadium Experience: Special Events

PART EIGHT: Special Events at Yankee Stadium

Where is the Pope-Mobile?
The Old Yankee Stadium hosted some very special events: from three Papal visits to the Stadium to hold mass for the Catholic Church (the last being in 2008) to Nelson Mandela addressing a large crowd stating "You know who I am, I am a Yankee" in 1990 during a concert featuring Tracy Chapman.
The Best Wear Pinstripes
Several high profile college football games were also played in the stadium with the first being October 23, 1923 featuring Syracuse and Pittsburgh.  The score that day was just like a baseball score, 3-0 in favor of the Orangemen. Notre Dame and Army frequented the Stadium playing 24 and 38 games, respectively, with games between the two annually from 1925 through 1946.  The 1925 game was famous for the "Win One for the Gipper" speech given by the legendary Knute Rockne at halftime.
Rud-y! Rud-y! Rud-y! Oh Wait...
Many of you probably didn't know that there were several incarnations of the New York Yankees professional football team that attempted to take root in New York in the early 40's but that ultimately failed.  However, the game known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played" occurred at Yankee Stadium in 1958 in the form of the NFL Championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.  With 7 seconds left Johnny Unitas led his team to a game-tying field goal and eventually a 23-17 win in overtime.  The game single-handedly elevated the league as a professional sport in the eyes of the public.

Several international futball (soccer) games were hosted in the old Stadium as well mostly in the 1950s and 1960s most notably featuring teams such as Totenham, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Santos of Brazil (with the famous Pele'), Real Madrid, Juventus, and A.C. Milan.  International friendlies were also held at the Stadium including the U.S. National Team facing Israel in 1968.
"I am the greatest!"
Perhaps the most famous soccer played in the Stadium revolved around the New York Cosmos who played their home matches there between 1971 and 1976.  In 1976, Pele' himself came to the Cosmos and thrilled the city as he was known as the "King of Football" throughout the world.  That year also saw England defeat Italy 3-2 as part of the Bicentennial Cup Tournament.  Kind of ironic that England won in 1976 as opposed to their huge loss in 1776 that everyone was celebrating that day ('Merica!).

"Rocky Marciano?....He kicked Joe Louis' Ass"
But of all of the events held (not baseball-related), the most famous could have been the boxing matches.  Boxing "back in the day" was the real deal...everyone knew who the Heavyweight Champ was and most kids knew how to box.
The most famous boxing event ever held at Yankee Stadium was perhaps the rematch between Joe Louis and Germany's Max Schmeling on June 22, 1938.  Joe Louis knocked Hitler's "superior" fighter out in the first round.  The only other match that could come close to that one was between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton on September 28, 1976. Ali won that match by unanimous decision.

Could have been you Cleveland...
Fast forward to the here and now and to the New Yankee Stadium.  You can still enjoy events such as that above, but they are more spread out and selective.  The amount of money made by Major League Baseball teams is insane compared to what owners made back in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and even the 80s.  Therefore, owners act less like promoters and more like businessmen.  Just think...The Boss purchased the Yankees from CBS for a reported $8.8 million dollars.  Today the franchise is worth $2.3 billion.

Here is a short list of the events that have been held in the New Stadium since 2009 and some of the upcoming events that you may find yourself wanting to attend:

April 25, 2009 - Joel Osteen held a prayer service at the Stadium as the first non-baseball event in the Stadium.

May 13, 2009 - New York University held their Graduation Ceremony featuring a key-note address by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

September 13-14, 2010 - Jay-Z (boooooo!) and Eminem held back-to-back concerts in front of sellout crowds at the Stadium as the first concert in the new digs.  B.o.B., 50 Cent, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, and Dr. Dre made appearances as well.  What a lineup!  I had a chance as a season-ticket holder to go to this but passed. Damn!

November 20, 2010 - Notre Dame and Army rekindled their historic rivalry although ND easily defeated the Knights 27-3.

December 30, 2010 - The first Pinstripe Bowl occurred between Syracuse and Kansas State.  The 'Cuse won 36-34.

July 15-16, 2011 - SIR Paul McCartney played the Stadium and had a special guest on the second night in Billy Joel.

September 14, 2011 - "The Big Four" of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, and Anthrax played in front of 41,762

July 6-7, 2012 - Roger Waters of Pink Floyd had over 62,000 in attendance for the 2 days.

July 22, 2012 - Chelsea and PSG played to a 1-1 tie in front of 38,202.

August 8, 2012 - Real Madrid beat A.C. Milan 5-1 in front of 49,474.

September 6 and 8, 2012 - Madonna played 2 sold out shows.  These shows sold out in under 20 minutes for close to 80,000 tickets in total.

May 25, 2013 - Manchester City defeated Chelsea 5-3 in front of 39,462.

June 11, 2013 - Spain defeated Ireland 2-0 in front of 39,368.

July 19-20, 2013 - Not to be outdone by Madonna...Justin Timberlake sold close to 90,000 tickets for his two shows.  Jay-Z made perhaps his last welcome appearance as well.
N'Sync sure looks different...


December 28, 2013 - the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl.

January 26, 2014 - New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils - Outside Hockey!

January 29, 2014 - New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders

I am sure you could get tickets to the 3 events above.  Just hope there isn't a blizzard.

White Sox May Be Targeting JR Murphy In Trade

According to Phil Rogers from the Chicago White Sox may be targeting the Yankees young catcher JR Murphy in a trade. The Sox have added some nice young pieces lately including Jose Abreu (26), Adam Eaton (25), and Matt Davidson (22) and now may be turning their attention to a back stop.

The Yankees are going all in once again for the 2014 season so second basemen Gordon Beckham could be attractive and an upgrade over Brian Roberts or whoever else we plan on throwing out there. Jeff Keppinger could also be a cheap option for third base as well as Alexei Ramirez for shortstop. The White Sox could also always blow it up and make John Danks available after a tough season but that may be a stretch admittedly.

Beckham still has two more years of arbitration and team control before becoming a free agent and would be an attractive option, even with his below average bat. Ramirez is expensive with $19.5 million remaining on the contract for 2014 and 2015 with a $10 million team option for 2016 which could be turned down without a buy out. Keppinger has two years left and $8.5 million left on his three year deal that he signed last year after the Yankees tried to acquire him because of his ability to play both second and third base. Keppinger is coming off of a terrible 2013 campaign but is also coming off a terrible shoulder injury so the Yankees could buy low and get a ton of production.

Danks is owed $42 million through 2016 and has been on the Yankees radar forever so could it finally come to fruition? He may have struggled for two seasons now but he may be better than anyone out there besides the top tier free agents that the Yankees have shown zero interest in and could be used to fill in the rotation. Below average or not he eats innings and has been decent and that may be the best the Yankees get this offseason without Masahiro Tanaka.

Yankees Interested In Grant Balfour Again

After Grant Balfour's two year deal with the Baltimore Orioles fell through due to concerns with Balfour's physical the Yankees are said to be interested in the right hander again. The Yankees had interest in Balfour before a shoulder abnormality popped up on the Orioles physical which led to the deal being thrown out. It is worth noting that two doctors have checked out Balfour since the deal was killed and they both say that he is perfectly healthy so I don't see this as a discount type of signing.

We all know I personally do not want Balfour. I think his fly balls and home runs were kept in check by the huge Oakland Coliseum and I think his home runs could double in Yankee Stadium. Also I want to give David Robertson a shot to close again so maybe that is clouding my judgement as well, who knows. If we can get him on a bargain and have him pitch the 8th I would jump for joy, if we got him for a deal and he pitched the 9th I would be okay with that too. This will be interesting to follow in the coming days so stay tuned...

Yankees Bring Back Matt Daley On Minor League Deal

I know more than one of our readers who comment on the site that will be made happy for Christmas knowing that Matt Daley is back with the New York Yankees on a minor league deal. The deal will likely come with an invitation to Spring Training, although that was not confirmed either way in the press release, after being non tendered just a month ago.

Daley is a Queens native, which always makes having him on the team fun for fans, and was the guy who replaced Mariano Rivera on his final outing of his career that September night in Yankee Stadium. Daley allowed two hits and zero walks with eight strike outs in six innings this season in the majors. Daley pitched to a 2.02 ERA in the minors in 2013 across three levels after coming back from shoulder surgery.

A Rod Suspension Could Come In "Very Early" January

The Alex Rodriguez suspension notification could come in "very early" January according to Bob Klapisch on Twitter. This could come just in time for a potential Masahiro Tanaka posting and would still give us a considerable amount of time to spend any potential money that we "gain" with any suspension. If you were reading earlier you read that I do not want A Rod suspended, just for the record, but I would like to know either way as early as possible.

Chicago Cubs Claim Yankees Brett Marshall On Waivers

The New York Yankees recently designated pitcher Brett Marshall for assignment to make room on the 40 man roster for Carlos Beltran and now Marshall has a new home. The Chicago Cubs claimed Marshall off of waivers and will stash him on their 40 man. The 23 year old right hander struggled mightily in AAA this season with the Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders and some thought that Marshall may even clear waivers and be returned to Scranton but no such luck. Good luck in Wrigley Mr. Marshall.

What I Want For Christmas: Alex Rodriguez

Christmas is just two days away and if you are a huge procrastinator you are in luck, I am here to tell you what I want for Christmas. I want Alex Rodriguez to be completely acquitted of his ties from Biogenesis and I want him on the field manning third base on Opening Day. A Rod is easily the best option we have at third base right now, including what is available on the free agent and trade markets, and is the best option for the team. A Rod's right handed power really balances out the lineup, makes him possibly the best 6th or 7th hitter in the league, and gives a big middle finger to Bud Selig which is always nice.

Is it realistic? Probably not. At best he gets a reduced suspension of 50 games, and hell I'd take that happily down from 211 games, but either way that makes the Yankees a better on the field product. Although if A Rod is acquitted or his suspension is reduced that really blows the lid on the Hal cap but in the immortal words of Mr. Brian Kenny "we're the Yankees dammit!"

Yankees Stadium Legacy: #99 Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is a five time American League home run champion and hit over 40 home runs in eight separate seasons in his career.  On 8/4/07 Alex became the youngest player in Major League history to hit his 500th home run and it happened at Yankees Stadium. Alex joined some elite company as he joined Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth as the only other two players to hit their 500th home run in Yankees uniforms.

99 more days until Opening Day.

Greedy Pinstripes Elf On A Shelf Supporting The Economy

Supporting single moms during Christmas one dollar at a time...

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/23

On this day in 2005 the New York Yankees introduced their clean shaven Johnny Damon to the fans and media at Yankee Stadium. Damon was one year removed from the cavemen 2004 World Series Boston Red Sox championship team and signed a four year deal worth $52 million.

On this day in 2008 the Yankees also signed first basemen Mark Teixeira to a eight year contract worth $180 million. Teixeira was coming off a season in which he posted a .308 batting average with 33 home runs and  121 RBI's. Teixeira joins recently signed AJ Burnett and CC Sabathia as big names the Yankees have signed this offseason.

On this day in 2009 Nick Johnson signed a one year deal worth $5.75 million to return to the New York Yankees. Johnson would come back to be the DH after Hideki Matsui was let walk to the Angels. Johnson was traded before the 2004 season for Javier Vazquez the first time.