Rutgers wants to have another game at Yankee Stadium, but it shouldn't
I’ve been complimentary of Chris Ash and the job that he’s done at Rutgers.
From his joint satellite camp with Ohio State to his “Jersey Strong” marketing campaign, Ash has said and done a lot of things right so far.
But I don’t get his latest idea.
Ash and newly hired athletic director Pat Hobbs were on hand to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, and they talked about the possibility of a future game at the venue.
“(The Yankees) want to work more closely with us,” Hobbs told NJ.com. “We want to look at maybe bringing a game here and announcing that sometime down the road. I guess the Yankees see Rutgers is starting to move forward and is a good story so they want to be part of it, too.”
Ash was also in agreement about the possibility of that idea.
“They kind of explained the configuration of the stadium for a football game and it looked like it would be a really neat set-up,” Ash said. “It looks like from the suite anyway, if you were in cold weather in the fall or in December, that would be a pretty good place to watch a game.”
Rutgers, of course, played three games at the new Yankee Stadium and was supposed to play there against Army in 2015, but that was moved to Michie Stadium.
The difference with that game was that it was a non-conference tilt. Potentially giving up a conference B1G home game or scheduling a marquee non-conference game doesn’t make much sense.
Scarlet Knights fans already shared their strong opposition to another game at Yankee Stadium back in 2014. In doing so, they made a lot of good points.
- Yankee Stadium takes away Rutgers’ home-field advantage
- The playing surface leaves players susceptible to serious injury
- It’s not an easy trip for home fans to make
- The good seats (at any baseball stadium) are few and far between
- Attendance would be poor for a “neutral site” game
I rarely say this, but the angry commenters are exactly right. Sure, Rutgers would have a chance to cater to a place where there are plenty of Rutgers grads. When the Scarlet Knights joined the B1G in 2014, getting into the New York City market was a big part of that.
But unless Jim Delany is going to cut Rutgers a steep check for dipping into his coveted TV market, there’s no reason for Rutgers to head to the Bronx.
Isn’t Ash all about “Jersey Strong?” Doesn’t saying to the fans, ‘Hey, we’re giving one of your home games to the big city,’ dilute that message a bit? Ash wants to establish tradition and a brand in Jersey, both for fan support and recruiting.
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He already took a lot of the principles that he learned at Ohio State and applied them to Rutgers. You know who doesn’t fork over a home game to play an unnecessary neutral site game? Ohio State.
After Ash’s comments, some might speculate that he wouldn’t mind playing Ohio State at Yankee Stadium in 2017. The only way that situation would ever be worth it is if the Buckeyes also agreed to host Rutgers at a place like Great American Ballpark in 2018.
That’s not happening.
One could argue that a team like Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State would bring in a visiting crowd that would offset the mediocre attendance figures. Perhaps a non-conference team with a wide alumni base like Notre Dame could help fill the seats.
That’s a bad use of a home game if you ask me.
Playing at Yankee Stadium might sound like a cool idea in theory and it’d be an easy marketing pitch. But Rutgers has been there, done that, and the fans have spoken.
Ash would be wise to listen to them on this one.