Well, this sounds familiar. Empty seats at postseason games. Team not hitting in the clutch.
Talking about the Atlanta Braves, right?
Wait. One more clue.
Superstar flirting with women from the dugout during an extra-inning game.
OK, not the Atlanta Braves. (At least so far as we know.)
Answer is: The New York Yankees.
Pardon me for being provincial, but how long have we Atlantans been told, often by New York-based media types, that we’re a lousy sports city because we don’t — or at least didn’t; the Braves’ wild-card game was sold out — pack the house for playoff games and that our team pretty much stinks anyway because it won Only One World Series and that hard-bitten New Yorkers would Never Stand For That Sort Of Thing and that All Any Yankee Cares About Is Winning? Pretty much every day for the past 15 years, right? Well, here’s where we get to say …
Heh, heh, heh.
The Bronx Bombers’ postseason run, even conceding that they won their Division Series against Baltimore, has thus far bombed. The new Yankee Stadium has been conspicuously unfilled for both ALDS and ALCS games. The team that finished second in baseball in runs scored has mustered five runs in 30 innings — four of the five coming in one inning — against Detroit, which has seized a 3-0 lead. Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher, identified in a Sports Illustrated poll of players as the two biggest phonies in the sport, have been benched for not hitting, and the als0-not-hitting Curtis Granderson wasn’t in the lineup for Wednesday’s rained-out Game 4. (And Robinson Cano, now considered the Yankees’ best player, just broke a record-setting 0-for-29 postseason drought.)
But back to A-Rod. The ever-diligent New York Post reported the following:
After being replaced in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, the highest-paid Yankee openly flirted with a pair of pretty women two rows behind the dugout — even sending them a ball bearing a note asking for their phone numbers, a witness told the Post.
Talk about watchdog reporting! But the Post didn’t stop there. It discovered that one of the women was, wouldn’t you know, a bikini model named Kyna Treacy. (Who has taken to Twitter to correct the Post. Tweeted Treacy: “Ha I am 27 not 33!!!!“)
We should also note that the Post suggested A-Rod’s shamelessness apparently knows some bounds. A Post source said: “The flirtation stopped once Derek Jeter got hurt.”
Nobody anywhere should wish any ill on Jeter, the classiest Yankee since DiMaggio. But I’m sure those New York voices who chastise our Atlanta sports sensibilities will hold themselves to a higher standard and rip Big Apple fans for not caring and the team for not performing. I’m sure the firing of manager Joe Girardi will be demanded by every New York pundit. After all, it was a writer for ESPN New York who, back in January, penned these deathless lines:
Sadly, there always seemed to be empty seats at Turner Field when the Braves were in the playoffs as well. You still have to wonder how fans got tired of the Braves winning. They had the best pitching staff in Major League Baseball for a decade and won a World Series back in the ’90s. Fans should not have missed a pitch during that run.
Worse is the lack of passion the fans showed after an epic Braves collapse this season. Looking like a shoo-in most of the season, the Braves, who were 8½ games up in the National League wild-card race to start September, gave up their postseason spot on the last night of the season … Heads should have rolled. Instead, Braves first-year manager Fredi Gonzalez wasn’t under fire from the fan base and will be back this coming season. Again, most probably didn’t even notice.
I’m not here to offer a blanket defense of Atlanta. Our teams haven’t won very big very often. Our attendance figures haven’t always been the best. We are a strange sports city. But what gets me is the New York-centric declaration that This Could Never Happen Here. Yet there it is — underwhelming crowds, underperforming team and a Big Name who apparently has better things to do than watch a game.
Pardon me for being provincial, but this is pretty darn funny.
By Mark Bradley