Empty seats? Team choking? This time it’s NOT Atlanta

National Anthem, Yankee Stadium, ALCS Game 1. Note the unpacked pews. (AP photo)

National Anthem, Yankee Stadium, 2012 ALCS Game 1. Note the unpacked pews. (AP photo)

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!!!!)

A-Rod checks the stands for friendly faces. (AP photo)

A-Rod checks the stands for friendly faces. (AP photo)

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

179 comments Add your comment

Spyro

October 18th, 2012
9:30 am

*{jj}*

October 18th, 2012
9:33 am

Looks like Braves?

*{jj}*

October 18th, 2012
9:33 am

From the past

MatthewH

October 18th, 2012
9:43 am

Yes,yes, yes. I, too, have noticed the empty seats with glee. It is also interesting that the New Yourk media use the example of the Yankees as best fanbase. Surprisingly, the Mets are never mentioned.
Also, to that ESPN Ney York writer, I would ask. What happened to the other team that collapsed that DID hire a new manager? Hmmm?

MatthewH

October 18th, 2012
9:45 am

Should’ve taken typing in High-school

atlvol55

October 18th, 2012
9:45 am

ZING….Bradley you are coming strong today!

Spartacus

October 18th, 2012
9:47 am

No bigger bandwagon fans than New Yorkers!!!!

Jason

October 18th, 2012
9:48 am

That scratched me right where I itch. Kind of like when I was at Turner field and the debris started raining down during the Wild Card game. Yes, the behavior was boorish and juvenile. But a part of me liked it – don’t tell me we don’t care about baseball. Don’t tell me we’re not a baseball town. In the immortal words of Chris Rock, “I’m not saying they should’ve done it…but I UNDERSTAND.”

P.S. And on a per capita basis – given the NY metropolitan area’s enormous population – NY looks even worse. Twenty million people and you can’t fill a stadium? For shame…

Mark Bradley

October 18th, 2012
9:49 am

Kudos, Spyro.

Ryder

October 18th, 2012
9:50 am

The difference, MB, will be that in New York they will still do whatever is necessary to win championships and make moves to create that championship culture, even if it means trading A-Rod. In Atlanta, it will be more of the same old mentality of hoping that Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman will grow into top notch players but not do what is needed to get to the next level.

St. Louis has shown that until you create a championship culture teams like Atlanta will always be a step behind.

zgoldatl

October 18th, 2012
9:51 am

Amen Bradley. I hope Mr Parker reads this

zgoldatl

October 18th, 2012
9:52 am

Maybe you can forward it to him?

Athens born, exiled in South Dakota

October 18th, 2012
9:52 am

I was so proud of our fan base for littering the field during the playoff game …It was a universal cry by a suffering fan base that WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH! I have never seen a more laid back non passionate fan base then our ATL one, it was so nice to see a glimpse of the passion that this city could have.

MatthewH

October 18th, 2012
9:53 am

And another thing (because I am bitter about this). I have a few friends who are Boston fans and they like to get on me about empty seats and how Fenway “never has that”. What they fail to mention is that Fenway’s capacity is 37,400 while Turner Field is 50,096. I believe we could fill up a 38,000 seat stadium with no problem.
Just for comparision, Yankee Stadium’s capacity is 50,291.

Athens born, exiled in South Dakota

October 18th, 2012
9:55 am

right on Matthew ..its the same with the Phillies stadium.

Vanakatherock

October 18th, 2012
9:57 am

Mark, why don’t you buzz ol’ Rob Parker of ESPN and see what he has to say about it, now?

Mark Bradley

October 18th, 2012
9:58 am

Really? You mean win championships like the Knicks? (Last title: 1973.) The Jets? (Last title: January 1969.) The Mets? (Last title: 1986.) The Rangers? (Last title: 1994.) The Giants? (OK, no argument there.)

And let’s note that the Yankees, for all their spending, have won it all once since 2000. I credit the Yankees for trying, but when you say they’ll “do whatever is necessary” … they don’t do what’s necessary every year, do they?

Athens born, exiled in South Dakota

October 18th, 2012
10:00 am

So true Mark, the Yankee’s are like bad Gamblers …they throw soooo much money into the machines and hope if they spend enough, they will win something.

Jason

October 18th, 2012
10:02 am

You are killing it today, Mr. Bradley.

SimpleDawg

October 18th, 2012
10:07 am

Why pick on A-Rod for ‘hitting’ on a pretty girl in the stands? He’s just trying to improve his ‘average’…. Besides, he may ’score’…..something the Spankee Yankees seem to be struggling with this series.

…..and he needs a hug after being demoted.

El Bravo

October 18th, 2012
10:10 am

A-Rod didn’t need to send that note. Everybody has his number during the postseason…

tc

October 18th, 2012
10:12 am

This always ticks me off. It was the same with the trash throwing after the wild card shame. “Atlanta should be embarrassed….we can’t have this.” If it happens in Boston, New York, or Philly people say, “that’s what you get from a passionate fanbase…those fans are crazy…Har Har Har….gotta love them.” It is not limited to sports either. The south has this stereotype of being racist and backwards and always in need of being put in our place and criticized. Listen to some African American players who played in Boston and what they have been called from the stands and on the street. Sick of the double standard. Good job Mark you finally pissed me off in a good way.

D man

October 18th, 2012
10:18 am

LOL great artical Mark. I don’t like the New York bias in the sports world. I’m always happy to see the Yankers lose…

Steve

October 18th, 2012
10:22 am

Regarding Atlanta’s playoff attendance problems, the last three playoff games here (2 in 2010 and 1 this year) were as packed as can be. NY has no excuse with the amount of people who live there, easy access to the stadium, and having a new stadium. During the regular season, Atlanta’s attendance would be much higher if the stadium was in a different location. I would guess that 80% of the people who attend games are from Buckhead, north. Hopefully if/when we get a new stadium way down the road it will be built on the northside. Maybe the old Ford plant area at 285/85?

JacketFanMarcus

October 18th, 2012
10:25 am

Old school people and writers just want to “hate” on Atlanta.

It’s easy and lazy to say Atlanta is the “worst sports” town. While Atlanta was going through some growing pains with its team in the 70’s and 80’s, since then, Atlanta has been a solid sports city…

Joey

October 18th, 2012
10:29 am

Mark, I read back when the new Yankee Stadium opened, regular-season tickets for those seats between the dugouts were $2500 each.

They hardly ever are full, and in this economy, it’s easy to see why.

Tami

October 18th, 2012
10:29 am

What goes around, eventually comes around!!! LOL

And, I LOVE TC’s comment!!!

Josh

October 18th, 2012
10:33 am

Good article. I wish this perspective would get more national attention. However, you also make a good point that we ARE a strange sports city. But in the end WINNING always fixes everything. If the Yankees were winning, seats would be filled. If the Braves had more of a culture of winning the big games, the seats would be filled. It’s just the way of sports.

Josh

October 18th, 2012
10:34 am

Well played El Bravo. Well played.

Sonny Clusters

October 18th, 2012
10:43 am

And how do the Yankees react to sloppy play and indifference? What do they do with a batter that is selfish? What do they do when again and again the player fails to put the ball in play when all they need is contact? Are there differences in how their organization handles it and how it is handled by the Braves organization? Are the fans in NY more demanding? The media? These are all good questions. Now, we don’t like the Yankees even a little bit but we know they expect to win and usually do. When they don’t it is not okay with everybody. They get mad. We think maybe the Braves need to get mad – especially if the Cards win the pennant again. Especially so if it happens again this year. Get mad and do something about it. What we are reading is that Uggla is probably going to be back at second base and he could get hot at any time. Hahahahahaha!

*{jj}*

October 18th, 2012
10:48 am

Yankees become the Braves..Bleacher report by Kevin Kaduk.

Guranteed trip to the post season that are guranteed to end early. Home playoff games that don’t come close to sell out. Andruw Jones hanging out in clubhouse.
Yes, the New York Yankees have some how MORPHED into an Atlanta Brave for the new generation, A Franchise that makes disappointment as much a part of its fall as Halloween.

How true….Thanks Mark for great report..This time of year fans want all the info they can get about Braves.

Rimfire

October 18th, 2012
10:53 am

NY blows! Anything they say about the South is tainted, because they have to live there. I would never trade!

Dejay

October 18th, 2012
10:53 am

The fact that this went on in NYC without any fanfare hardly surprises me. You, I, and anyone on this board all know that if there were more than 300 empty seats in the stands of Turner Field for that wild card game, they would still be talking about it on First Take, PTI, Sportscenter, and every other sports show in America.

Here’s the bottom line; the national media has had a hard-on for Atlanta ever since winning the bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympics back in 1990. Before then, this was considered as another hick town with a few hot spots in Buckhead and three lousy sports teams who should’ve been playing elsewhere. Many national (and international) media folks felt as if our fair town didn’t ‘belong’ in the category of hosting such an event and have been riding us ever since.

Hear a Yankee fan tell it and he’ll say that they didn’t show because the team hasn’t shown the passion to win it all as in years past; couldn’t we say the same thing about a squad that hasn’t been in the LCS since 2001? Hear a Sixer fan tell it and he’ll say that they don’t pack the arena because they dropped Iverson and they haven’t won anything worth mentioning since; couldn’t we say the same thing in regards to the Hawks and how they treated Dominique Wilkins many years ago? Hear a Cub fan tell it and he’ll say that the team is inept with bad management and that’s why they stopped showing up when they were 20+ under .500; couldn’t we say the exact same thing when the Thrashers were in town?

Look, it’s mighty easy for some jabrone from NYC or Boston to talk tough about passionate fans when they have championship rings falling out of their pockets and reams of ticker-tape still attached to back of their cars. Try being a Hawks fan who never seen his team play in a conference finals before. Try being a Braves fan who had to watch one team after another celebrate on the pitching mound and splash champagne in the visiting locker room every year they make the playoffs. Try being a hockey fan who had to watch not one, but two NHL teams leave for reasons well beyond their control. And try being a Falcons fan who had to listen to one ‘expert’ after another gloss on about them winning in the playoffs first before they should be taken seriously. If the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, or Patriots were 6-0 right now, they’d already be talking about running the table. It wouldn’t be a matter of if they make it the Super Bowl; it would be a matter of how many touchdowns would they beat the sacrificial lamb who opposes them in the Super Bowl.

Anyway, I’m getting off my soapbox. I have work to do…

Athens born, exiled in South Dakota

October 18th, 2012
10:57 am

Dejay,

That was awesome. Couldn’t of said it better.

Blake

October 18th, 2012
11:00 am

Outrageous ticket prices fit somewhere in this puzzle. If they want to fill stadiums, maybe MLB needs to look at prices.

Heisenberg

October 18th, 2012
11:02 am

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

How did that work out for the other team in same division as Yankees that also blew a larger WC lead than Braves?

*{jj}*

October 18th, 2012
11:02 am

Dejay good read..The “I have to work” now remark and end..glad you not one of the 42 million without a job.

Trashy

October 18th, 2012
11:05 am

Mark, God Bless you for writing this article, damn Yankees.

Heisenberg

October 18th, 2012
11:14 am

Why Braves should not pursue Josh Hamilton (or sign Bourn to bloated contract).
Exhibit A: Alex Rodriguez. Still with 5 years and $114M owed at age 37.
Exhibit B: Albert Pujols & Angels are watching playoffs on TV and in 3 more years they will regret this signing.
Exhibit C: Carl Crawford.
Exhibit D: Jose Reyes. Really turned the Marlins into a contender….not.
Exhibit E: Jason Werth. Moderately productive but Nats did not miss him while he was injured and would move him if they could.
Exhibit F: Prince Fielder. Moderately productive but Tigers season turned around only when their pitching improved and in 3 more years they will regret this signing.

*{jj}*

October 18th, 2012
11:21 am

NNY-Tigers game today at 4:07 on TBS

*{jj}*

October 18th, 2012
11:23 am

Heisenberg

October 18th, 2012
11:25 am

Why Braves should not pursue Zack Grienke:
Exhibit A: Derek Lowe.
Exhibit B: AJ Burnett. Had some success with another team after fleecing Yankees.
Exhibit C: Carl Pavano. Had some success with another team after fleecing Yankees.
Exhibit D: John Lackey. Made DLowe look good before missing entire 2012 season.
Exhibit E: CJ Wilson. Moderately productive but watching playoffs on TV.
Exhibit F: Cliff Lee. Phils already regret this as they tried to move him after waiver deadline.

Mark Bradley

October 18th, 2012
11:28 am

Let me be clear about something: I have great respect for the Yankees. (I have less respect for the Mets.) But the Yankees are not the only baseball team in the world, no matter how it might seem, and they don’t always win. And they make bad personnel decisions, same as every other team. The difference is, the Yankees can outspend their mistakes. An NFL team can’t do that. An NBA team can’t do that. A smaller-market baseball team can’t do that.

Look at their (usual) lineup, and you’ll find two homegrown players — Jeter and Cano. Look at the Braves in 2012 and you’d find six (Uggla and Bourn being the exceptions).

Hillbilly D

October 18th, 2012
11:32 am

You’re not supposed to take pleasure in other’s misfortune but I think it’s okay in this instance. Nothing is quite so enjoyable as watching that pack of smug, self-important, navel gazers, that make up the Evil Empire, go down. Icing on the cake is that they have to pay A-Rod for 5 more years.

*{jj}*

October 18th, 2012
11:33 am

Agree Mark..and I’d keep the homegrown as long as possible.

NCBravesFan

October 18th, 2012
11:33 am

I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning! Well done, Mr. Bradley.

JS

October 18th, 2012
11:33 am

Another good article, Mr. Bradley. I was just saying the same thing yesterday about the Yankees reminding me of the Braves not hitting in the post-season. Didn’t realize how similar they are in the other areas, however, until this article!

Tumbledown

October 18th, 2012
11:37 am

Mark, I agree wholeheartedly with your article and comments.

Hillbilly D

October 18th, 2012
11:41 am

Hopefully if/when we get a new stadium way down the road it will be built on the northside. Maybe the old Ford plant area at 285/85?

The Ford plant was at Hapeville.

Heisenberg

October 18th, 2012
11:43 am

That was a GM plant at 285/85. Not sure what is going on with it but good location with direct access to Marta. No shuttle buses needed.