The last couple weekends have featured multiple teams holding their offseason events where people can reach out and have fun with players and coaches on MLB teams. Teams such as the Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and so on do this to help their community and make fans for life. No one has left that event not feeling excited for the upcoming season. One team that does not do that, in the form we expect, is the New York Yankees. That needs to change in the 2019-2020 offseason.
Now to say the Yankees have never done that would be factually incorrect. In 2017, they did the Winter Warm-Up, which helped get the new young players out in the community to show off. Players such as Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, Chance Adams and Gleyber Torres made public appearances doing various events. This included Sanchez helping make sandwiches at Bullpen Deli across the street from the stadium. Some players served lunches to senior citizens at St. Malachy’s Church in Manhattan. These are excellent outreach things but underwhelming.
The Yankees have HOPE Week during the season. HOPE Week is one of the best things that the Yankees do, reaching out to charities by using players on the 25-man roster, coaches, et. al. to help causes. The Yankees send flowers and money to the widows of fallen police officers killed in the line of duty. However, the Yankees really need to invest in community outreach to the fans.
The city of New York alone is over eight million residents. The NY metropolitan area is over nineteen million residents. In those nineteen million, there are many fans of the Yankees from all different walks of life. People who live in local housing projects in New Brunswick, Newark, Jersey City and so on, some who live in the suburbs of New York from all directions, people who have the money to live in glorious mansions in the Hamptons, Alpine, Purchase, and so on. It is an extremely diverse crowd. The Yankees are not only a New York metro brand; they are a global brand. George Steinbrenner’s work made them a global brand around the world. People know the Yankees.
Unfortunately, at the same time, the Yankees have had a couple gaffes noting that they would rather have people with super money than the poor people. In February 2016, Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost admitted they want to keep the “riff-raff” out of the expensive seats. Prices are already expensive enough to get seats at Yankee Stadium. To hint that they do not want people who are poor to sit in seats meant for the wealthy is incredibly elitist. Unfortunately, Trost made similar comments seven years prior that are incredibly similar. It is without a doubt likely that in 2019, he has the same attitude.
This is a very different era compared to 1925. That year, 25,000 people came to Yankee Stadium on July 10 while the team was in St. Louis. That day, it was a meeting of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union locals 2, 9 and 22. 25,000 packed the stadium to discuss their leaders being ousted by the union. For those who are curious, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union is the one formed after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911. This is something that would probably not happen ever now. Col. Jacob Ruppert allowed it. Hal Steinbrenner allowing 25,000 union workers to gather in the stadium for a meeting would never happen now.
That said, the Yankees need to invest in the community. Not everyone in the area makes $150,000 or more a year. Everyone who wants to be a Yankee fan should have the same community access. The Yankees should not be the elitist club of baseball. That needs to change and change quickly.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.