SBD/September 26, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
The Yankees last night announced that they would offer a free ticket to a '14 regular-season game, "excluding opening day and Old-Timers’ Day, to anyone who held a ticket to Tuesday night’s game" following the trouble with the Mariano Rivera bobblehead doll giveaway, according to David Waldstein of the N.Y. TIMES. The dolls "did not arrive until almost 15 minutes before the first pitch because of transportation problems." The team then "improvised by keeping the gates closed for an additional 30 minutes while they printed up 18,000 vouchers," but the distribution of the dolls in exchange for the vouchers "did not go smoothly" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/26). Yankees COO Lonn Trost in a statement said, "We take (Tuesday) night’s event seriously, and to apologize to our fans and express our loyalty to them, we are inviting all ticket holders from (Tuesday) night’s game back." In N.Y., Dan Martin reports Bellevue, Wash.-based bobblehead maker Alexander Global Promotions officials "did not return messages seeking their comments" on the matter. Rivera said of how long people waited for his bobblehead, "It’s amazing. They showed a view from the outside, and my God, there were a thousand people there. Amazing." Police officers at Yankee Stadium said that they were "just grateful angry crowds didn’t turn violent" (N.Y. POST, 9/26). In Newark, Brendan Prunty writes, "The bobblehead kerfuffle has a resolution" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/26).
RIVERA'S REACTION: In N.Y., Peter Botte reports Rivera, when initially asked about the incident, declined comment, saying such things are "not my field or territory." However, when he was "asked kiddingly whether he was in charge of bobblehead distribution, a smiling Rivera cracked: 'No, I wasn’t. If I was, it would’ve been done.'" Rivera "quickly clarified that he understood the reasons for the delays, but Rivera admitted he personally did seek an explanation for what happened after hearing on the YES broadcast during the game that so many fans were angered and inconvenienced by the snafu" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/26). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Needleman & Barbarisi write, "Bobblehead management has become something of an issue with popular teams." The Dodgers in April "issued a rule limiting the number of bobbleheads given away at games to one per ticket holder to deter hoarders -- and to help ensure that the fans actually stick around for the action" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/26).
YOU GOTTA LAUGH: CBS' David Letterman mentioned the bobblehead issue during his monologue last night and said, "What they did, at the last minute they had some old Chuck Knoblauch bobblehead dolls. They put Mariano Rivera’s number on the Chuck Knoblauch dolls, and everything was fine. It all worked out” (“Late Show,” CBS, 9/25).
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino "balked yesterday" at intervening in a proposed $7.3M deal between the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Red Sox for air rights over Lansdowne Street and game-day concessions on Yawkey Way, "as the state Inspector General’s office said it would review the deal and an independent watchdog group called it 'financially irresponsible,'" according to Goodison & Graham of the BOSTON HERALD. Menino said, "Why should I? It’s a good deal." The Boston Finance Commission, in a letter to Menino dated Tuesday, called for him "to take action, saying the deal made public late Friday and set for a BRA vote today -- wasn’t reached via a transparent, public process and could 'shackle generations of Bostonians to an agreement that over time will prove to be financially irresponsible.'" The Red Sox deal includes $2.47M for air rights over Lansdowne Street for Green Monster seats and $4.87M "to shut down part of Yawkey Way during city-licensed ball park events" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/26). Menino spokesperson Dot Joyce accused BFC Exec Dir Matthew Cahill of "trying to make headlines" and reiterated the mayor "would not intervene" to stop the BRA. Cahill said the BRA is attempting to "give away rights to a public street without reasonable public notice, without public advertisement, and without utilizing a public process." In Boston, Callum Borchers notes there were "no public hearings about the deal, though the board will vote during a public meeting." BRA Communications Dir Susan Elsbree yesterday said that the agency "has attempted to explain the rationale behind the deal to the Finance Commission but has been unable to set up a meeting with Cahill since he wrote the letter to Menino" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).
MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke last night during the Leafs Nation Season Preview event at Air Canada Centre told about 2,000 Maple Leafs season-ticket holders and other fans about "the new culture he promises to create," according to San Grewal of the TORONTO STAR. The evening’s theme was "accountability." The contrast between what the Kings mean to L.A. and what the Leafs mean to Toronto "clearly isn’t lost on Leiweke, who talked about the two playoff games he came to watch here during last season’s heartbreaking series" with the Bruins. He said, "What I saw those two nights blew me away -- it created a passion and a fear. I want (staff) to feel the pressure of 20,000 fans." Leiweke made it clear that "accountability to Leafs Nation begins with honest, open communication, something he hopes to achieve through the annual fan night as well as a yearly report that will be produced for fans." He said, "We don’t spin here anymore, we don’t spin ... we’re not going to knee-jerk with the media." Leiweke also told fans that they will "now be able to use or sell back their pre-season tickets" (TORONTO STAR, 9/26).
The Reds drew 26,223 fans for yesterday afternoon's game against the Mets, pushing their season attendance "to a Great American Ball Park record 2,371,103," which passed the "old record of 2,355,259 set in the stadium’s inaugural season of 2003," according to Steve Watkins of the CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER. The Reds still have three home games this weekend against the Pirates to raise the ballpark record, "but they won’t be able to break" the all-time franchise attendance record of 2,629,708 set in '76 during the "heyday of the Big Red Machine." The Reds rank 16th in MLB attendance with an average of 30,854. The team will finish "with only 80 home dates," but still should "end up near 2.5 million and averaging more than 30,000 fans" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/25). However, Reds LF Ryan Ludwick said, "Coming over here, I heard about how big a baseball town this is. We’ve put a winning ballclub out there. This is a good team. When we went to Pittsburgh, they had an advantage. (Fans) were loud. A playoff atmosphere." Ludwick said that he "had an epiphany of sorts" yesterday when, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, he "heard a woman in the fifth row behind the home dugout, loudly taking the fans to task." The woman reportedly said, “We have a great team and our fans f------ suck." Ludwick said that a "Mets player raised similar issues Tuesday night." The player supposedly said, “You guys are in the middle of a pennant race and no one’s here. What’s going on?" Ludwick: “I might be calling (fans) out. But I’m calling them out in a positive way. We want loud and energetic. It’s like a natural Red Bull. We need every positive aspect we can to keep this thing going" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/26).
Rockies fans yesterday for the final home game before the retirement of 1B Todd Helton "lined up [at] about 2 p.m. for Rockpile tickets, and 35,000 in the sellout crowd received Helton bobbleheads," according to Troy Renck of the DENVER POST. Helton before the game was presented a framed picture "provided by the Rockies ticket office." By the fifth inning, he had "been given a paint horse, high-fived Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in the dugout, hit a home run and a sacrifice fly, belted his 592nd double, knocked in three runs, and received four standing ovations and one curtain call." Helton's No. 17 was "painted in purple outside the first- and third-base lines and mowed into the center-field grass." The bases had "decals honoring Helton -- a purple square with 17 in black." Rockies Owner, Chair & CEO Dick Monfort said, "We will absolutely retire his number. We just have to decide when" (DENVER POST, 9/26). In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes Helton is not only "the face of the franchise," he is the "face of baseball in Colorado" (DENVER POST, 9/26). Renck notes Helton "blurted 'Wow!'" when the team presented him with a horse -- named A Tru Bustamove -- as a gift. The "idea for the gift" was Monfort's. Helton, during recent floods on his property, had "a few hours when he thought his daughter's horse had perished." It was "the only one on the ranch, so Monfort decided another horse would make a good going-away present." Only eight people in the Rockies organization "knew of the gift and were sworn to secrecy" (DENVERPOST.com, 9/26).