Shockingly, Bill Plashcke’s take on the L.A. Magazine story about Yasiel Puig misses the point

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On the one hand, kudos to Bill Plaschke for reading the story about Yasiel Puig from Jesse Katz and L.A. Magazine and acknowledging that maybe there’s a little bit more to Puig than his failure to hit the cutoff man.

On the other hand, it’s interesting that, given all of the harrowing details of Puig’s passage to the United States and the personal threats that he was subjected to along the way, Plaschke makes a point to repeatedly talk about it in terms of how all of that could threaten Dodger Stadium, Dodgers fans and other Dodgers players:

Now that Puig is a multi-millionaire, are the smugglers still involved, and could that involvement one day lead to Dodger Stadium? . . . Could there be revenge involved, and could that one day lead to Dodger Stadium? . . .  Since security issues are best kept secure, the Dodgers are just probably being responsible in not acknowledging what they are doing to protect Puig and everyone — fans and players included — around him . . . One can only hope this season the added security remains, both on the field and in the stands, particularly when Puig is standing alone in right field.

I guess it’s nice that he included threats to Puig himself at the end there. I mean, it’s not all about the danger Plaschke believes Puig represents to law abiding Dodgers fans and teammates.

Of course, more broadly, Plaschke misses the point. While, yes, some danger to Puig is something to be concerned about given what he’s gone through, there was no suggestion in either the L.A. Magazine story or in the history of other Cuban players in the United States that violence and acts of terrorism at the ballpark are a specific concern, let alone any that pose a threat to fans. Rather, it’s about how the player himself had to experience some crazy and scary things and how that both shapes him and shapes others who have to go through that ordeal.

But, of course, to some people, Puig will always be a problem rather than a person, and the basic humanity of the guy at question will be secondary to the dissatisfaction or threat he presents to others, legitimate or otherwise.

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.