It is the best-known sporting franchise in the world. No, not the Maitland Blacks Rugby Union Club, but the New York Yankees.
And we have it on exceptional authority they will be the next Major League Baseball team to grace the SCG when baseball returns to Sydney in 2018.
The double header to open the MLB season between the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in late March was a resounding success.
Negotiations fired up with other teams straight away, and the word is SCG Trust chief executive Jamie Barkley is poised to sign a deal with the famed Yankees midway through this year.
Can you imagine it? The Yankees? The ball club which featured Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and countless hilarious Seinfeld moments with owner George Steinbrenner and George Costanza on the hallowed turf of the SCG?
For some, it evokes memories of the day Sir Donald Bradman and Ruth met in 1932 when they sat next to each other at a baseball match in New York.
“I’ll try this cricket business,” the legendary Ruth reportedly said to Sir Donald. “Maybe it’s my game. Now why don’t you put on a Yankee uniform and see what you can do against our style of pitching? Maybe baseball is your game?”
Naturally, the Trust is very tight-lipped about discussions with the Yankees, and did not want to comment or elaborate when contacted.
But we’re already hearing possible opponents could be another iconic franchise: the Oakland Athletics, who featured in Moneyball.
The Royal Easter no-show
Not many people say no to Russell Crowe, unless they are Wills and Kate.
We told you in this space last month that the Noah star had invited the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to his private suite for the Good Friday clash between his beloved Bunnies and the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
But our palace sources – and, no, not the Beach Palace at Coogee – tell us the royal couple will be at Sydney Olympic Park in the morning for the Royal Easter Show, meaning they won’t be there at night for the footy.
A word of warning for those heading out on Friday night, and for the big Easter Monday clash at ANZ Stadium between the Eels and Tigers: with more than 125,000 people heading to the area each day, you are best to take public transport unless you have a secured car park.
Ire of the Tigers
It’s been a special week for Tigers fans.
Barry O’Farrell resigns as NSW Premier after failing to remember a bottle of expensive plonk sent to him by former Wests Tigers deputy chairman Nick Di Girolamo, who is up to his eyeballs in an ICAC inquiry over his dealings with the Obeid family.
Captain Robbie Farah has busted his elbow and could miss the Origin opener for NSW.
Thankfully, their footy side is winning games, but for how much longer will they be doing so before the faithful at Campbelltown?
By the sounds of it, Tigers chief executive Grant Mayer wants them out of there.
Mayer surprised hard-working hacks at half-time during the win over the Cowboys when he came into the press box to announce the paltry crowd figure of 6456.
Take it from someone who knows, crowd figures are never delivered as soon as half-time, and they are never delivered from an enthusiastic boss of the club.
According to several reporters, Mayer seemed delighted at the small crowd figure, before delivering this quote: “It is a last throw of the dice for Campbelltown to come and show they support their club. Then we will have to reassess whether we continue to run games here at a loss.”
He was referring to the next fixture at Campbelltown Sportsground in May.
It was very aggressive rhetoric at best, and certainly feeds the belief from the Western Suburbs side of the joint venture they are not wanted and this is very much a Balmain club. Which is strange, given how little that side of the marriage has tipped in during recent years.
The Tigers are suffering an identity crisis in much the same way the ill-fated Northern Eagles did before North Sydney were discarded and the Manly club was reborn into a powerhouse.
We’ll give Mayer – a smart operator, it must be said – his due. Playing at Campbelltown costs the club a bucketload.
Suit and sour at the NRL
To steal a line from Queen: bop-bop-bop … another one bites the dust.
The NRL lost another high-profile suit this week when chief financial officer Mark Wilson resigned after just six months in the post.
We’re told his reason was that he just didn’t have any passion for the job, which conflicts with his quote from October last year when he first signed on.
“It’s exciting to join the NRL at a time when rugby league has so many opportunities,” Wilson said then.
Longmire now under pressure
Do not believe for a second that life at the Swannies is altogether peachy.
We keep hearing about a divided camp run straight down Buddy Franklin lines, and caught in the middle of it is coach John Longmire.
The Swans play last year’s grand finalists Fremantle at the SCG on Saturday afternoon.
If they lose again – as many expect – the coach’s tenure will start coming into sharper focus.
New Randwick a triumph, except for a few teething problems
The first day of The Championships was a resounding success, despite the rubbish weather, although talkback callers to Sky Sports Radio on Monday morning reported many areas of the new Royal Randwick grandstand were lacking, with long queues for drinks, food and gambling.
We’re hoping officials have rectified that heading into day two, which features the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
As an indication of how far this race has come, only a few years ago prominent owner John Singleton flagged the idea that Reg Reagan (AKA Matthew Johns) could collect the winner’s trophy in a KB suit if his horse Tuesday Joy won the race.
This year, Singo has Dear Demi.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be among the faithful, hoping to find a winner.
“Thank you, Carlton Football Club – my performance at the ‘G is now not the worst. Zero out of three is bad. – ‘Meatloaf’, US.” – This letter to a Melbourne newspaper following Carlton’s three consecutive defeats at the MCG is 24-carat gold.
Said Bubba Watson, who won his second US Masters this week: “I play golf because I love it. I love the game, I want to grow the game. The game has brought me everything I have ever owned in my life.” Must be using different clubs to this column and the rest of us godforsaken hackers.
When little referees go to referee school, wanting to be a big referee, let’s assume the first thing they are taught is blowing the whistle to start and finish each half. In the space of two weeks, the NRL refs have forgotten that not-so-minor law. On Monday night, it cost the Dragons two points.
It’s a big weekend for … the Roosters. The defending premiers will attempt to snap a three-match losing streak when they play the Sharks in the Shire on Saturday night. Time for some of their big names to, er, play better.
It’s an even bigger weekend for … those who own or train or ride horsies in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on the final day of The Championships on Saturday. The time-honoured 2000-metre race is worth $4 million. That is serious drinking silver, even for those who only own a toenail of the winner.
Q&A with NICK PHIPPS
We speak to the Waratahs halfback before Saturday night’s Super Rugby match against the Bulls at Allianz Stadium.
You’ve been out at the Easter Show, yes?
I’m an ambassador for the Royal Flying Doctor Service because my parents and sister are from the country. [Phipps spent time growing up in Cunnamulla in outback Queensland.] I’ve been involved for three years now.
I follow you on Twitter – you’ve been watching the wood chopping?
Yes. I saw a bloke getting into a pie straight after. That’s what sport’s about, isn’t it? None of these protein shakes. This big bopper had the biggest gut in the world, chowing down on a pie after competing. It was awesome.
He might’ve been bulking.
He was carbo loading.
Can you also explain what The Pentagon is?
It is the North Bondi house that we live in: me, Jono Lance, Bernie Foley, Michael Hodge and another mate of ours from uni. We just call it The Pentagon, for no reason really. We like to give it a bit of press on Twitter.
What happens in The Pentagon?
It’s a bit hard to say… There is nothing better than living with a bunch of mates you’re tight with. When you have a bad day on the field, you come home and you’ve got our mate from uni who’s good for an off-site opinion.
What’s happening with Izzy? Is he talking like a chain smoker with that throat of his?
No, his voice is fine. He was very loud at the back at training the other day, that’s for sure.
I heard your coach, Michael Cheika, on the Big Sports Breakfast this week insisting he was not an angry man, despite breaking doors and allegedly abusing South African cameramen. Is this true?
He is actually quite a funny bloke. He can be very funny at times in serious meetings. People only see those things on the outside, breaking doors and telling cameramen to “go away”. To us, it just shows how passionate he is for us to do well.
And what about the Bulls?
It’s pretty much a must-win for us. After this game, everyone has their bye. If we get the win, we’ll be one or two points behind the Brumbies up the top, which will be perfect.