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A bit more on the third-team-in-New York thing

Dec 30, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT

SI’s Tim Marchman is the one who got the lets-put-a-third-team-in-New York stuff going the other day. The followup posts on the subject by myself and others led to two primary objections: (1) it’ll never happen because Hal Steinbrenner and Fred Wilpon won’t let it happen; and (2) it won’t work, because the Yankees are too entrenched.

Marchman takes on those objections here, and does a pretty good job of it. My view: if it never happens it’ll because the lack of will from the Commissioner’s office, not the objections of the New York teams. Marchman’s right: everyone has their price. All it takes is someone — or 28 or 29 other someones — willing to pay it.

But I’d go with north Jersey over Brooklyn, Tim. Just my gut feeling.

  1. DSFC - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    Here’s what doesn’t make sense to me – a team that moves to NY to be the third banana is more than likely a franchise that is already struggling. How likely is it that a bad team, moving to a market with the marquee team in MLB as well as a well-established, fairly successful second banana, will be able to build a fanbase? Who’s going to switch their allegiences from the Yankees to a loser? The third team might pull a few disgruntled Mets fans if the team continues to struggle, but assuming that the Yankees remain the Yankees and the Mets field a competitive squad, a third team is going to be an afterthought. They might cut into Yankee and Mets revenue slightly, at least initially, but unless the team is a winner no one’s going to hitch their wagon to it.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:15 AM

    as one who grew up in Northern NJ, teams not named the NY Giants (and NY Jets) suffer from a major lack of identity and home field advantage.
    The Meadowlands is an island in the midst of not much. You can’t take the train there (alienates NYC). Only buses (which are awful). Westchester residents need to cross a bridge (GWB or TZ). Long Islanders would need to cross two, or tunnels. They do it for the Jets, but that’s a Sunday game, not a Tuesday night affair. Rocklanders can drive, but it’s a long one. The lack of a train stop is a dealbreaker for many. Maybe that’d be part of a proposal. The new MetroNorth stop at Yankee Stadium is a wonderful thing for me. No more driving and parking.
    And even those from NJ face the same issue: the lack of things to do, see, experience around a stadium. Sure they are building this Xanadu shopping behemoth (or is it in bankruptcy?), but it’s not the same feeling you get when going to Yankee Stadium, or even Citifield.
    Remember when the Devils won the Stanley Cup and had their parade in the parking lot? Seriously, is there anything more depressing than driving laps in a parking lot paved above swampland?
    Brooklyn, on the other hand, is commutable by train for NYC, LI. A bit longer for Westchester and NJ. But there’s surrounding infrastructure to support the team, in theory.

  3. Chipmaker - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    A strong, solid fan game-going experience at a more affordable price, and the patience to build up a fan base over a generation. The Yankees weren’t drawing 4 million in the 1970s. Get lucky with one genuine superstar who can claim a share of the post-Jeter media spotlight, and the fans will come. And stay.

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    Ask the New Jersey Devils. They moved into the market in 1982. A market that by all rights should have been dominated by the long-established Rangers and the Islanders, who were in the middle of a four Stanley Cup championship run.
    Price the seats a bit lower than the Yankees do, provide plenty of parking and easy-in, easy-out access, market yourself as the fan-friendly alternative to U.S. Steel and the Incompetent Mets and then, at least after a while, begin to win some games. It could work.

  5. YankeesfanLen - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    I do like Marchman’s last paragraph, the populist theme of make enough to go around for everyone hits the right note.
    North Jersey might well be the place, since even the Nets can’t get into Brooklyn. So there’s the WHERE.
    WHO- could possibly put together a partnership to get this done? You’re talking 2.5B with no help from two on-the-verge-overtaxed-already states, so it’s money cash on the barrelhead.
    WHAT- league would it be? Last time it was NL but it took the whole state of California at the time to absorb the refugees. And AL is “short” a team. GWB series for 18 games per season. Universe winning 120 games a season?
    WHEN- Good luck and Godspeed with this. Xanadu (in beautiful downtown Secaucus is 6 years overdue and not yet with a sign of being open. And they had a decade head start. Mix MLB politics with NJ (or NY) politics and you’re looking at 2027.
    HOW- Don’t know, unless in 2014 Bloomsberg, tired of politics, becomes Rudy………..oops, he’s a Yankees fan.
    Never mind, it’s just something to ponder other than the Mets weird machinations.

  6. DSFC - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    Craig, that’s a perfectly valid point. Still…..the Devils’ success is due to the fact that they were far and away the best team in the market for a prolonged period of time (much as it kills me as a Ranger fan to admit it). The Yankees aren’t the NY Rangers. The Rangers have a large and passionate fan base…..but they don’t win much, and never have won much. The Devils morphed into a powerhouse in the late ’90s when both the Rangers and the Islanders were garbage – it was kind of the perfect storm for them. If the overall point is to sap some of the Yankees’ (and to a lesser extent, the Mets’) competitive advantage, then yes, that would probably happen at least a little bit. But building a robust franchise in the shadow of the 800 pound gorilla would be awfully difficult and would require a good bit of luck.

  7. ditmars1929 - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    But..but…if we don’t get a third team, then our douche bag mayor won’t be able to use our unemployment checks to build a new stadium!!!
    Also, DSFC, New York City could easily support a third team. This city is baseball crazy. We even have two minor league teams (Staten Island Yankees, Brooklyn Cyclones) that sell out every game. A third MLB team should be able to draw a fanbase, especially if they play in Brooklyn to satisfy that borough’s inferiority complex. Also, every Met fan I know, and I know quite a few, tell me they are “emotionally uninvolved” with the Mets anymore.

  8. Shawn - Dec 30, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    It should be noted this is not a new idea: it has been floated for some 20 years, that I know of. It’s a good idea, too. Either northern Jersey or Brooklyn could work as a site. It’s true the site of the Meadowlands probably isn’t the best place for a baseball park, but there are other places in Jersey.

  9. Pat - Dec 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    Considering that it took over a decade each and multiple billions of dollars to build the new Stadiums for the two NY franchises, what team has the resources and the time needed to build a new stadium in the tri-state area that would be as big of a draw as either the new Yankee Shopping mall or Citizens Field? And let’s not forget that it would take years for a new team to carve out a niche in an area of the country whose fans are as passionate as NY baseball fans.

  10. bh0673 - Dec 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    I think what alot of people are missing in this is there are alot of sports fans out there with no affiliation to any baseball team, who are not Yankee or Met fans and would support a Major League Team. I saw it first hand when the Lakewood Blue Claws came into existence and was surprised about how to many people this was their first experience with any type of professional baseball team.
    Look at what the Trenton Thunder, Somerset Patriots, Newark Bears, Atlantic City Surf and the Blu Claws draw, if anything a MLB team in NJ would hurt the minor league teams before it hurt the Major League Teams. I do agree the Yankees and Mets would look to block any additional team, but I think if anything it may create additional fans not take from the other two teams. As I said yesterday I am a full season ticket holder with the Yankees and would never change teams, I have been a Yankee fan for over 40 years but it would be nice to see another team they could play against even if it were an interleague game only. There is enough money and there are enough people in the New York, New Jersey area to financially support a team. There are also alot of people that will not drive into New York or take a train for many different reasons. Finally NJ was one of the locations that was mentioned when they were looking to move the Expo’s as being able to support a team. Will it happen, probably not but I think alot of teams that currently play elsewhere that would do better in NJ then where they are now.

  11. YankeeAddict - Dec 30, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    The only way this would work is if the Giants or the Dodgers returned.

  12. Howie B. - Dec 30, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    My proposal – build the New York Excelsiors a new stadium on Governor’s Island.
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=governor%27s+island&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hl=en&hq=Governors+Island&hnear=Governors+Island,+New+York,+NY+11231&ll=40.684901,-74.015322&spn=0.013896,0.027595&t=h&z=15
    Its right in between lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn wharf. It would be the most interesting stadium in all of sports. You’d get stunning views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. You could have ferries and possibly even a footbridge from Brooklyn, rejuvenating the wharf area. You could have additional ferries running from New Jersey and Staten Island. You might even be able to build a subway line from the Battery Park station, so people in Manhattan could get there in one stop (call it the X Train). Since it would be so close to Wall St., you shouldn’t have problems getting money for financing, or selling out the luxury suites. You wouldn’t be stepping on the toes of the Bronx or Queens.
    Basically, you could establish a completely new identity for a new team right away.

  13. Zac - Dec 30, 2009 at 2:34 PM

    Like DSFC and Jason say, the Giants and Devils are a bit of an anomaly. The devils were excellent for a long time, and I don’t actually know anyone from New York who roots for them over the Rangers or Islanders. And there are no Non-New Jersey alternatives for people who want to go to a football game – not that football games are comparable, anyway, being the big once a week spectacles people don’t mind getting up early for and driving a long way to. Planning on getting many people going down to the Meadowlands after work for a weekday ballgame? Who, exactly, would the New Jersey Baseballers fanbase be? People from upstate who are already obsessed with the Yanks? People from Long Island who would have to drive through the city to get to New Jersey? People from the city who really, really don’t want to go to New Jersey?
    Howie’s idea is a pipe dream, but it’s also one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever heard.

  14. ditmars1929 - Dec 30, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    Howie, a nice idea but clearly you don’t live in NYC. Governor’s Island would be very very impractical. Not the idea itself, just what it would take to get it done.
    First of all, that island is one of the most valuable pieces of unused real estate in NYC. No way would they turn it into a seasonal ballpark. Most NYers would like to see it turned into a research institute, a new college for higher learning, or anything else that has a year long presence that gives back to the community. Although, of course, there are many who dream of a gambling casino mecca.
    Second, getting anything built in NYC takes eons (unless we’re building stadiums for muti-billionaire sports owners who should be using their own money). A subway to Governor’s Island??? They’ve been trying to build a much-needed Second Avenue subway in Manhattan for over 50 years with little progress, although it’s finally been started (estimated time of completion – 15 years assuming consistent funding). And with the red tape that is NYC politics in action, I think 49 of those years were spent deciding if a good idea should be executed. You seem to think that a subway tunnel (one that goes under water too) is just a quaint little exercise involving ten guys with shovels. It’s not that easy, and costs a fortune.
    A foot bridge from Brooklyn? Good luck on that one.
    Lastly, just because the island is physically close to Wall Street, that doesn’t mean Wall Street would fund it.
    An impractical idea, but, Howie, I do like the way you think. If it was do-able, I bet it would be an awesome stadium and experience.

  15. Howie B. - Dec 30, 2009 at 3:02 PM

    Actually, I’m a transplanted NYer, and I am more than fully aware how completely impractical this is! About 15 years ago during a job interview, unknowingly with the Deputy Parks Commissioner, I threw out this idea for a new Yankee Stadium (I called the new subway line the Y-Train then). He completely loved the idea and told me that his department was responsible for figuring out what to do with the island (I believe it was still held by the Coast Guard – my memory is foggy on this – and the dredging costs alone inhibited many forms of development). We talked for a long time about how impractical it was, but that it was intriguing. Coda: I got the job offer, but took a different one.
    I still think my idea isn’t that much more unlikely than getting a third team in NY!

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