5/16/15, "Yankees’ Road Show Isn’t Pulling in Fans the Way It Has in the Past,
" NY Times, Billy Witz (5/17 print ed., pg. SP5, NY edition), Kansas City, Mo.
"Michael Pineda seemed on the
verge of wiggling out of a
jam Friday night, when the Royals’ Omar Infante belted a 1-2 pitch into
the left-center gap in the sixth inning. His race to third base was
accompanied by an unusual road soundtrack for the Yankees
this season — an energetic roar from a near-capacity crowd.
Yankees may be baseball’s
marquee franchise, with their record 27 World
Series championships, a rich history and a fan base that has tentacles
reaching every pocket of the country.
seem to be several contributing factors for the drop. With the
retirements of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera in the last two seasons,
the Yankees lost two widely popular and respected figures who were the
last links to their dynastic years. Jeter’s jersey was highest-selling
jersey in baseball over the second half of last season.
“People would come just to see them,” Yankees pitcher C. C. Sabathia said.
have also missed the playoffs the last two seasons, and despite their
despite their strong start, they were widely viewed as a team in
transition, one with too many veterans past their prime serving as
placeholders until prospects were ready.
Rodriguez’s return from a yearlong suspension might have provided the
Yankees with a villainous character on the road. But unlike Barry Bonds
in the early 2000s, Rodriguez is no longer such a dominant player that
he is an attraction unto himself.
Still, the decline is jarring.
would surprise anyone,” Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. “They
still have a really good team, regardless of Jeter being gone. They’ve
got some guys that can definitely play baseball, and that’s all you can
ask as a fan.”
figures can be somewhat tricky, since they generally reflect tickets
sold or distributed, not the actual numbers of fans in the seats.
Yankees have seen a negligible dip in their early-season home
attendance, fewer than 1,000 total fans through the same number of games
(17) from last year.
Friday, the Rockies had the fewest wins in baseball, but of their 19
games away from home, they had played five games against the Los Angeles
Dodgers, who led baseball in home attendance, and three against the
Giants, who were third.
atmosphere for the most recent series at Tampa Bay was particularly
abysmal. The Yankees, because there are so many transplanted New Yorkers
in the area, which is also their spring training site, have enjoyed
solid support there. But the four-game series drew 44,937 fans in all —
fewer than the Yankees played before at home on opening day.
Adam Warren said he prefers to pitch at night, when the crowds are
typically bigger and more boisterous. But most Yankees said it did not
matter. And with so many recent newcomers from places like Arizona (Didi
Gregorius), Miami (Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones) and San Diego
(Chase Headley), some players are not accustomed to regularly playing
before large audiences.
“We try to concentrate on the things we can control,” outfielder Carlos Beltran said. “All those things we don’t think about.”
the moment, that would include getting their offense going and winning
games. The Yankees lost their fourth game in a row Friday night, a
season high, before winning Saturday, 5-1.
there was a consolation on Friday, at least they lost in an engaging
environment. The fans in Kansas City have taken to their team, which
came close to winning the World Series. The Royals’ home attendance is
up more than 10,000 per game since last season, by far the biggest jump
night. Baseball season. Fireworks,” Sabathia said Friday night. “That’s
what it’s about. If we start playing well, if we start winning, people