OK, quite a bit of news to get to. We’ll categorize it:
Baseball: Hal Steinbrenner said that there have not yet been negotiations with Andy Pettitte. But he expects that there will be. … Hal said the organization will be ready for the start of free agency on Friday. He would not reveal any details about payroll. “We’re going to do what we’ve always done and that’s field a team that can compete for the championship,” he said. … I asked him about getting personally involved with free agents and he said that he planned to, after stressing that Brian Cashman’s job is to negotiate the deal. But Steinbrenner expressed an interest in getting to know the key agents. Steinbrenner that as far as incorporating young players from the farm system goes, “the goal is balance.”
You sort of get the impression with Hal that he would rather he someplace else. He clearly doesn’t enjoy the media give-and-take or being the public face of ownership. But he understands his duty to his father and he’s doing his best to carry it out. He met with Cashman yesterday and will again today. Hal is clearly the guy shouldering the responsibilities.
The new Stadium: The team will start to move into their offices in mid January, the 16th or 23rd. Lonn Trost said that the Stadium is 12.5 days ahead of schedule and is now now built beyond the point of bad weather being a factor. In other words, everything now is being done inside. The last part of the field to get done is the mound, which will be built this weekend. … The Metro North Station is expected to be done by the third homestand. … The Yankees have seven suites they haven’t sold yet, which is a result of the slumping economy.
The new technology: The Cisco people are very sharp and gave a great presentation. The 1,100 flat screen, HD monitor around the Stadium can be individually programmed with real-time stats, traffic information, weather, etc. The entire Stadium will have high-speed wireless. The long-range plan is that once we’re all toting around smart phones, you can use that to access concessions stands, merchandise, get highlights, stats, chat, etc.
From my standpoint, it’s a great thing. I can envision this blog community incorporating a lot of that technology and the social networking aspects pulling in people at the Stadium. I’ll bet in a few years the Yankees will have an in-house blog to foster their own network.
The Cisco people stressed that the Yankees are way ahead of the curve with this stuff. No stadium in North America will be more advanced in terms of delivering video to fans. It’ll start in the suites and spread to the seats in time. There is $17 million worth of wiring and other hardware in the Stadium.
The other interesting feature they showed us was telepresence, a highly advanced video conference system. Not to do a commercial for Cisco here, but it was like you’re actually in the room with people across the country. The Yankees will use this to communicate between the Bronx and Tampa. They also plan to install it in Bronx libraries, schools and hospitals so players and team officials can talk directly to kids.
I’ll have some more later on, including some audio from Steinbrenner and Trost.