SBD/May 18, 2017/Franchises

Steinbrenner Not Concerned About Early Attendance Drop At Yankee Stadium

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One game this season drew the smallest Yankee Stadium crowd in 12 years
Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner is unconcerned about an early drop in attendance of more than 4,000 per game that is currently the second worst in the league. He said, “Every April, with the weather and kids in school, is difficult.” However, he added, "Fans are really starting to enjoy the enhancements to the stadium we did, and they’re clearly excited about this team. It’s starting to pick up. We’re starting to see individual game sales pick up, and that’s usually an indication of (increased interest).” Steinbrenner also said the club’s early success this season has not changed his intent to build around young talent. With the Yankees' accelerated return to serious playoff contention, Steinbrenner said the team could be a buyer at the July non-waiver trade deadline, but it will not come at the expense of an emerging youth movement that has helped redefine the franchise. “We’ve been pretty consistent about not trading away the young talent the last three to four years,” Steinbrenner said. He remains intent on getting the Yankees below the league’s luxury tax threshold, and next year presents his best opportunity in years when nearly $60M in contracts to players including P CC Sabathia, DH Matt Holliday and retired 3B Alex Rodriguez come off the books. The tax threshold for ’18 is $197M. “Clearly there’s a very good chance of (getting below the tax threshold), and at the same time still have a significant amount of money to spend where we feel we need to spend it,” he said (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). Steinbrenner added, "We do have a significant amount of money coming off at the end of this year and as we always do, we're going to take as much as we can and put it back into the club. We will be active in the free agent market. I can assure you. To what to degree and what areas, that remains to be seen" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 5/18).

READY, WILLING AND ABLE: Steinbrenner said that Rodriguez had "fulfilled everything" asked of him since retiring last August. Rodriguez, who is working for Fox and will make his in-booth debut as a game analyst tonight for the Yankees' game at the Royals, is "officially an advisor" to Steinbrenner (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/18). Steinbrenner on Rodriguez: “He’s always asking, ‘What do you need me for, what can I do?’ He has been down to Tampa several times, not including spring training. He’s been great working with the young kids” (NEWSDAY, 5/18).
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