Yankees fans rep themselves as some of the most baseball savvy and loyal fans in all of pro sports.
However, these days, they’re just front-runners and star-chasers like everybody else.
It’s easy to stay loyal to a dynasty that lasted almost two decades and gave you five World Series rings and a plethora of dope Hall of Famers to sweat. This year, injuries have decimated the Yankees usually star-studded lineup, sidelining a bunch of guys with All-Star résumés.
After holding down first place for a minute in May with lone star Robinson Cano and a group of patchwork journeymen, the Yanks have lost five of six and dropped to fourth place in the AL East.
Yankees brass is selling this “It’s going to take a team” philosophy, but one camera shot of a less-than-packed Yankees Stadium shows how the people feel.
According to the New York Times, through 41 home games this season, the Yankees have drawn nearly 106,000 fewer fans than at this point a year ago; a 6.1 percent drop that is almost twice as large as the overall decline in baseball.
That’s not a good look for the MLB’s long-standing attendance giant, and it screams a message from the fans of, “we’re not feeling this product.” It’s easy for Yankees management, with help from some hating media, to frame the Yankees demise as an A-Rod, PED chain reaction.
Truth is, Yankees management is to blame for this fiasco and the “old” Yankees way died with George Steinbrenner’s genius and dedication to making his team the best show on the planet — not just the richest.
When you don’t have those captivating, household names — even if you are as competitive as the Yankees have been this season — people just aren’t as interested. Baseball is all about the connection to the players, and many fans have lost their connection to the Yankees. Especially the folks who watch just to see the Bronx Bombers lose.
Fans that see Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and the like as championship products of the Yankees unlimited free agent cash stash, find no joy in hating rookie Zoilo Almonte, journeyman Lyle Overbay or broken down Vernon Wells.
Not much fun in rooting for them, either, unless you’re a ride-or-die fan — and those cats are dropping faster than Lil Wayne mixtapes in the mid-2000s.
The Times article also mentions the Yankees’ TV ratings, which are low-rider dipping, too. Through June 25, the ratings on the YES Network were down 40 percent to 2.52 from 4.17 at this point last season, and from 4.08, 4.50 and 4.72 in the three previous seasons, with each rating point this year representing 73,843 households.
It’s just backwards. Yankees financial success has always been built around dropping chips on immortal players whose celebrity are amongst the most visible in sports.
Regardless of the long-term plan GM Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner Boys have cooked up, nobody is feeling it and the numbers reflect that.