Quick hits: Hanson's debut, Halladay's 10th win

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– Tommy Hanson didn’t allow a hit over the first 3 1/3 innings
of his major league debut against the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, but
he gave up seven runs — six of them earned — including three home
runs — two of them by Ryan Braun — after that. The strapping
right-hander fanned five and walked one over six innings and thanks to
a three-run eighth inning by the Braves, he was taken off the hook.

– Roy Halladay became the first pitcher in baseball to reach 10 wins
against the Royals on Sunday. He struck out six in a complete game
shutout and now has a 2.52 ERA to go along with a stingy 1.02 WHIP.

– In an excellent piece
by Tim Kurkjian for ESPN.com, we learn that Princeton graduate Ross
Ohlendorf wrote his thesis on the top 100 picks from the 1989 to 1993
Amateur drafts to determine the value of the picks. He found that on
average, the player brought twice the return.

– Mariano Rivera would have preferred to pitch to Evan Longoria
instead of intentionally walking him on Saturday, but he got him to
ground out to secure his 13th save in a 4-3 comeback win over the Rays on Sunday. The Yankees plated three in the eighth inning to push ahead.

– Livan Hernandez hurled seven scoreless innings
in a 7-0 win over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon. With the win, he
moved to 5-1 with a surprising 3.88 ERA through 11 starts this season.

– Clete Thomas connected for an eighth-inning go-ahead grand slam — the first of his career– in a 9-6 win over the Angels on Sunday.

– According to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, the Indians have yet to decide
if they will be buyers or sellers mode as the trade deadline
approaches. The Indians currently find themselves seven games behind
the first-place Tigers.

– And finally, D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin put the kibosh on fireworks at Nationals Park.

The Yankees attendance and revenue is down, but it makes sense

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There’s a long article in the New York Times today noting that the Yankees attendance is down and that, based on financial figures released as part of their stadium bond disclosures, ticket and suite revenues through last season have fallen by $166 million since the end of 2009.

There is a lot of talk in the article about the exciting young team the Yankees have put together and how much they’ve won so far in the early going. And there is a lot of talk about marketing and demographics — Hal Steinbrenner talks about baseball’s “millennial problem” — but the story of the Yankees’ box office issues, such as they are, is pretty straightforward.

All teams suffer attendance and revenue decline when they play poorly. While the Yankees have not been bad for a long, long time, that’s a somewhat relative thing. They Yankees have sold themselves and sold their fans on the idea that nothing short of a championship is acceptable, so missing the playoffs for three of the past four years is bad for them. Fans don’t want to go see a bad team, be it Yankees fans, Rays fans, Royals fans or whoever.

Despite the recent lack of success, the Yankees have still, perversely, continued to price their tickets, concessions, parking and everything else as though they’re the only game in town. When demand falls and prices remain super high, fewer people are buying your product. Even if you’re the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are good this year. What’s more, they’re good in that exciting way that only young promising players bursting out onto the scene can deliver. It’s a wonderful thing for marketing and stuff, but even under the best of circumstances, ticket sales tend to lag on field success, often by as much as a year. Go back and look at World Series winning teams — especially the surprise winners — and you’ll see that it’s the year after on-field success when the real attendance bumps happen. I expect, if the Yankees continue to play well, their gate will get really nice by the end of the summer, but I suspect we’ll also see a more dramatic bump next year.

Taken all together, this is a dog-bites-man story. The Yankees are not some transcendent institution, immune from market forces. They’re just one of 30 Major League Baseball teams competing against other entertainments for a finite amount of the public’s money and attention. Nothin’ to see here.

David Price had a rocky rehab start last night

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Red Sox starter David Price has been rehabbing a left elbow injury since early March. Last night he made his latest rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket. It didn’t go well.

Price allowed six runs — three earned — on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings, requiring 89 pitches to do it. His velocity was good, but otherwise it was a night to forget. This was supposed to be Price’s last rehab start before returning to the Sox’ big league rotation, but one wonders if he’s ready for it.

Price didn’t talk to the media after the game, but Pawtucket’s manager said he was “upbeat” and “felt good.” For his part, John Farrell, upon hearing about the outing, said this:

“There’s no announcement at this point. We’ve got to sit with him and talk about what’s best for him, best for us as we move forward.”

The Sox could really use Price back in the rotation given their injury problems, but rushing him back if he’s not ready is certainly not ideal.

Stay tuned.