First Pitch: The International Market

June, 17, 2013
6/17/13
9:46
AM ET
The Yankees return to start a nine-game homestand Tuesday. In the first two games, they will face this year's rookie sensation, Cuban Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After four games with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees finish with three games against the Texas Rangers, who have 2012 rookie hotshot Yu Darvish.

[+] EnlargeYasiel Puig
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsDodgers rookie Yasiel Puig should generate excitement at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
For both Puig and Darvish, the Yankees basically sat out the bidding.

They had logical reasoning for not going after either. There was little known about Puig and Yankees GM Brian Cashman did not want to spend his resources on such a gamble. The Yankees liked Darvish, but the predictability factor led them to sign the not-as-exciting Hiroki Kuroda, who is just as effective and much more cost-efficient.

In '13, despite their injuries and offseason defections, the Yankees (38-31) have contended. Still, attendance is down around 4,000 fans per game compared to end of last year. Schools are now being let out and the weather is nicer, so all the built-in excuses about attendance are vanishing.

Which leads me to this question: Is this team exciting enough for you?

The adage is if you win, fans will come. But the Yankees have been so good for so long and their ticket prices are so high, you have to wonder if fans want a little more. Or if the excitement of a Puig or a Darvish would bring more fannies to the seats.

These Yankees are appealing in the sense they are overachieving, but they don't have dynamic stories and, so far, fewer fans are coming to the games.

UP NOW: Wallace Matthews on the Yankees ending their five-game losing streak. Mark Simon on Mariano Rivera vs. Albert Pujols.

ON DECK: I will have all your off-day coverage as the Don Mattingly and the Dodgers come to town for two games, beginning Tuesday.

IN THE HOLE: Upcoming pitching matchups: Phil Hughes (3-5, 4.89) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 2.85) on Tuesday night; Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.78) vs. TBA on Wednesday.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are the Yankees exciting enough for you to put down big money to head to the Bronx?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .276
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 54
RB. Gardner 76
OPSB. Gardner .791
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135