Can the Yankees maintain their popularity?
July, 17, 2014
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsWhen the Core Four is history, will Yankees fans be prepared for a letdown?I wrote a story about why Mets fans stick with their team even though the Amazin's have been poorly run for so long. The Yankees, while not perfect, have been humming for more than two decades now.
Yes, it all started with the Core Four, plus Bernie, but the Yankees have run a smooth business that continues to fuel their huge spending and have made enough smart decisions to allow their fans to believe making the playoffs is an expectation, not a goal.
Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances pitch, and they want to see as many more magical moments as Derek Jeter can squeeze out, but beyond that, they are not that entertained. It doesn't help that the Yankees are 47 up and 47 down, failing to hit in the clutch and in serious danger of missing the postseason for the second consecutive year.
That said, they are still pretty popular this season, which is probably goosed by Jeter and Tanaka.
• YES sent out a release today saying ratings are up 24 percent after taking a dive during 2013's injury plagued season. The Yankees are averaging 283,000 viewers in New York, which is up from last season's 228,000. However, in 2012, they were averaging 370,000 viewers before the All-Star break.
But what happens next year and beyond? It seems pretty proven that fans do not fall in love as easily or as quickly with big-time free-agent signings as they do with their own, homegrown players. Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte almost felt like family. With the Alex Rodriguezes, Mark Teixeiras, Jacoby Ellsburys and on and on, the bond is not as great.
Combine that with a pretty unexciting brand of baseball, and it is hard to see how the Yankees hold onto their popularity going forward. But things can change quickly.
Imagine if the Yankees had been able to sign draft pick Gerrit Cole in 2008 or Mike Trout in 2009 -- whom they really wanted to drop past the Angels to them.
Neither happened, of course, and now the Yankees are getting ready to say goodbye to Jeter, Tanaka might need surgery and there may not be any Bombers baseball in October. It makes you wonder: For the Yankees to regain the heights of their popularity again, do they have to first endure some lean years?
Question: Are you as interested in the Yankees as you used to be?