Who cares about the on-field stuff. Yes, the Yanks might pull off a trade for Johan; they might then pick up a center-fielder off the free agent market to off-set their loss of Melky and every good outfield prospect in their farm system. Incidentally, Mike Cameron would be my first choice because he’ll be cheap. I also like Brad Wilkerson who can play all outfield positions and first. Aaron Rowand probably will be too expensive and I have mixed feelings about Andruw Jones. If Andy Pettitte doesn’t return, then I suggest picking up a pitcher like Bartolo Colon, Randy Wolf or Freddy Garcia. Regardless of Pettitte’s decision, I actually like the idea of Colon as a set-up guy but doubt he’d sign on for that role. But, again, who cares about these matters? We’re ignoring other more important changes that need to be made for the 2008 season. On-field play is just a small part of the rooting experience. If I were running the Yanks, I would execute the following off-the-field changes.
- Replace John Sterling-Suzyn Waldman radio play-by-play team with other human beings (preferably ones with voices. If they can’t talk, then a combination of morse code and sounds of the game might just work). Actually, this is the Yankees. We can get the best there is. Poach Vin Scully from the Dodgers. Offer him part ownership in the team if you have to.
- Get rid of in-booth television announcers. Every single one of them! Even Ken Singleton. Hire Tony Siragusa as on-field/sideline/stadium parking lot/on roof of stadium/in stadium restrooms/wandering FDR Drive reporter. This dawned on me yesterday as I watched the Giants game on Fox. Tony Siragusa, by virtue of his literal proximity to things, gives us amazing insight into those things. Who needs cameras with zoom lenses? Siragusa’s eagle-vision is enough. His panting screams into the microphone ensure that we, the audience, are at attention at all times. Now, imagine that translated into a baseball broadcast. Just as Tony can be found most times behind the goal posts during an NFL broadcast, his regular broadcasting position would be on the warning track in dead center. There would be no color commentator, no play-by-play guy. Tony would be all these things and more! He would constantly be on the move, whether to avoid interfering in a play in center, or making his way around the stadium. Tony would mix Gonzo journalism with sports reporting in real time.
- Raise the prices of the most expensive seats in the Stadium. Make bleacher and upperdeck seats free. Increase the class divide. Embrace the city’s diversity. Everybody wins. Seriously, this is the last year at Yankee Stadium, and it would be nice if management made a real effort at reaching out to families who want to experience it for the last time. For a family of 4 or 5, the cost of going to the game has become prohibitive. The Yanks should come up with a pricing scheme that makes it easier for these families to get to the Stadium. What that scheme should be is beyond me.
- It looks like A-Rod has finally earned the privilege of a Yankeeography. YES has to make this the Citizen Kane of Yankeeographies. My idea: Make his Yankeeography on-going every day. In other words, John Sterling, freed of his broadcasting duties, can follow A-Rod 24/7 with cameras and narrate a daily show about him."The silence between A-Rod and Jeter on the charter was palpable!" I know I never get enough A-Rod coverage. Give us what we want.
- Retire the YMCA groundscrew dance. Clearly, the workers are no longer into it. It’s a tradition, but tradition is the illusion of permanence. Things change in nature. Why not at Yankee Stadium? How about giving the fans what they want? I’m talking about Clarence Carter’s "Strokin’". Choreograph a dance based on that song!
- Play Pink Floyd’s "The Dark Side of the Moon" on the PA system throughout the game. This is crazy but I’ve done it before at my house while watching the game on a muted TV. It’s eerie, like each Yankee game is choreographed to this album. It works best when Kyle Farnsworth is in the game.
- Broadcast weekly Hank Steinbrenner fireside chats. When you have the gift of gab you have to use it.