Following up on deMause’s note about empty seats in Shea, Bob Raissman wonders how a less-than-capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium is going to look to the viewers at home:
Ticket talk triggered a memory from long ago – Sept. 22, 1966. The Yankees would finish in 10th place that season and on that day, 413 fans squeezed their way into Yankee Stadium, which at the time had a seating capacity of 65,000. The legendary Red Barber was at the WPIX-TV microphone. He instructed the director of the telecast to have PIX’s cameras pan the empty Stadium. “I don’t know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium,” Barber reported. “And this crowd is the story, not the game.”
Shortly after the ’66 season ended, Barber was fired by the astute suits from CBS who owned the team and were in the process of driving it into the ground.
All this is not to suggest games in the new Yankee Stadium will ever be that sparsely attended, but it certainly looks like some locations “downstairs” may not be totally occupied.
What would patches of emptiness mean in terms of how the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network covers the games? Would the Bombers’ inability to sell out their new palace be bad for the organization’s image and brand?
Personally, I hope that YES tries to go all Pravda with this should it come to pass. We’re in an age now where that kind of propaganda is impossible to pull off and YES messing with the images or the Yankees messing with the official attendance figures would provide a fabulous opportunity for the elevnty-jillion Yankees’ bloggers out there to make them look silly. If there are shenanigans, we’ll know about as soon as it happens.
All of this presupposes, of course, that the Yankees will have trouble filling the house. And while there are signs out there that such is the case, I can’t help but think that the tickets will ultimately be sold and used. Now, whether they’re sold at the prices for which the Yankees have been offering them is another thing altogether, but I don’t foresee tons of empty seats in the joint.