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Steinbrenner Upset Over Attendance

May 14, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Yankees may have the best record in baseball, and George Steinbrenner still isn’t satisfied.

The Yankees drew a season-low 16,606 fans to Yankee Stadium for Tuesday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals, and the club’s owner is upset about the lack of support.

``Obviously, I am very disappointed,″ Steinbrenner said in a statement released Wednesday night. ``We have great fans and arguably one of the best teams in major league baseball. But we come home in the midst of one of the best starts in club history to the smallest crowd of the season. Something is wrong.″

Steinbrenner has repeatedly threatened to leave the Bronx when the team’s lease on the city-owned stadium expires after the 2002 season. He’s backed off on a threat to move the Yankees to New Jersey, but insists the team needs a new home.

Steinbrenner’s argument to move the Yankees was given a boost earlier this season when a 500-pound connecting joint fell before a game, just days before the ballpark’s 75th anniversary. It forced the club to postpone two home dates, move one game to Shea Stadium and flip-flop a series against Detroit.

``It’s hard to come to any conclusion other than the fact that we have an outmoded stadium in a location that people don’t want to go to see a game,″ Steinbrenner said. ``Sure, we’ll get some big crowds, but only if it’s a major event, like Boston or Baltimore, or a major promotion.

``But we’ve got 81 games and the fans just don’t come out on the weeknights like they do in other cities. We just played eight games on the road, in Kansas City, Texas and Minnesota and every crowd, except one, was bigger than our attendance here Tuesday.″

The small crowd came a day after a Royals-Yankees game was rained out, which capped a period of 12 straight days of rain in the New York area. The Royals have the second-worst record in the AL.

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