Saturday, May 24, 2008

Take me out of the ballgame

Larry Brooks, now writing columns on the Yankees when in the good ol' days of the early 2000s he might have been at the Stanley Cup Final, today in the Post has an update on the potential of an NHL game at Yankee Stadium.

Larry's article is fact-filled and unbiased.

So is the following:

The New York Islanders, and only the New York Islanders, started the process of looking into the possibility of having a hockey game at Yankee Stadium. This process started more than a year before the first word was ever written about it in the press. It began before there were plans for the Penguins and Sabres to play an outdoor game in Buffalo.

The initial reaction of everyone else in the National Hockey League? A roaring, bordering on snickering, chorus of Aerosmith's "Dream On." Their issue wasn't about the Islanders being part of the game. It was naysayers - the ones who didn't put in the effort to dream big and then try to make it happen - tsk-tsking, "The Yankees will never allow a hockey game at Yankee Stadium."

Meetings between the Islanders and Yankees went deep enough that an all-hands-on-deck session with several executives from each team met at Yankee Stadium. This meeting, held a little more than two years ago, was hosted by Yankees COO Lonn Trost, quoted in today's article in the Post.

I was at the meeting. I was blown away by Trost's sincerity and the commitment of the Yankees staff to see the hockey game become a reality. As a lifelong Yankees fan, I walked into it wondering if real progress could be made. I walked out of it three hours later saying to myself, "Holy crap, we're gonna play a frickin' hockey game at the cathedral in the Bronx."

It was always understood the Rangers would be part of the game.

And still, the reaction of everyone else in the game? It wasn't, "Hey, slow down. The Islanders don't have the right to move this process along." It was more along the lines of, "C'mon boys, stop it. You're killin' us. Ain't gonna happen."

I could take this a lot farther, but that will have to do for now. Probably took it too far already. In time I'd imagine the rest will come out elsewhere.

Bottom line: if anyone really believes Bruins-Rangers over Islanders-Rangers is a significant ratings difference-maker, I can't help you there. But anyone with an ounce of fairness and decency in their soul knows the New York Islanders should be part of any NHL event at Yankee Stadium.


Don said...


I think the league is trying to foment dissent between the Rangers and Bruins. Let's face it - there's a healthy amount of dislike between the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Jets and Patriots (not that the Mets or Giants are particularly well-loved in Beantown). Rangers/Bruins? Not so much, at least not anymore. Once realignment put the Rangers in the Patrick and the Bruins in the Adams, the two teams have been more like ships passing in the night as opposed to firing cannons at each other.

But NBC doesn't see that. They see another chapter in the New York/Boston rivalry, with games staged at NY/Boston Rivalry Central: Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. They see ratings points and marketing dollars that may not actually be there come 1/1/09.

I'm not sure if I read this in the Post or saw it as a suggestion on Islandermania, but a double-header pitting the Isles against the Devils in the nightcap seems like a somewhat acceptable bone to be thrown at the Isles for doing all the legwork after the Heritage Classic.

New York Islander Fan Central said...

All I can say is I blogged on this and have a suggestion for everyone.

Contact Mayor Bloomberg and request if the New York Islanders are not involved in this game the city should not approve any construction/winterization of the current Yankee Stadium and deny Cablevision and the NBC Dick Ebersol/Sam Flood agenda.

I put a direct link on my blog to contact the mayor's office. His station owns Islander radio rights and the former deputy mayor (Dan Doctoroff) was a minority owner of this team. Spread the word, if there are only a few weeks left folks have to get involved now.

Mayor Bloomberg's office receives a few thousand e-mails from New York Islander fans all over New York demanding the Islanders play in this game or no city approval be given he will be more than happy to deny the outdoor game after Cablevision has taken tax exemption money they no longer need and ruined the West Side Stadium/Olympics along with Sheldon Silver's relationship with Msg.

My guess is Mr Bloomberg will not give Mr Dolan the time of day and did not even bet with the city of Buffalo during last seasons playoffs after Mr Suozzi bet with Buffalo on the Isles series.

Mr Botta has been correct in how badly our team needs this and has constantly pointed out the Isles did the groundwork for years and have earned the right to participate. The exposure could force the politicians to approve the hub and get a little pride going for the local team among the politicans who are influenced by voters.

It's critical if there is a game here the Islanders participate for too many reasons to list.

Thanks for reading.

Michael Isserlis said...

the league wants to gain exposure by having 2 mediocre teams play in the "winter classic" not once, but twice?! no one cares about bruins/ranger$.. at least islanders v. ranger$ is a rivalry and the game will be fantastic! plus you can have to different teams play the following year instead of force feeding us this bs ranger/bruins series..

however the NHL does what the NHL wants, regardless of doing whats best for the game or pleasing existing fans. all they care about is the fringe fans with no respect to the die hards