If you tuned into YES’ coverage of the Yankees’ 9-7, 14-inning victory over the A’s yesterday, it was hard not to notice the game reached a conclusion in front of what seemed like more participants than spectators. Granted, not everyone can hang around for all 14 innings, but less than a week after opening for business, Yankee Stadium was no more occupied than McAfee Coliseum might’ve been for an early April matinee. In Wednesday’s New York Times, Ken Belson tackled the Yankees and Mets’ early attendance woes and dropped this tidbit at the very end of his item :

Randy Levine (above), the Yankees’ president, said last week that attendance at the second home game was proportionately ahead of last year’s pace. Levine also said that 80 to 85 percent of the Stadium’s 4,000 premium seats had been sold for the full season.

For next season, the Yankees plan to raise premium ticket prices 4 percent.

Chutzpah? Unmitigated greed? Or, as WNBC.com’s Josh Alper (of the late, great Feed blog) sees it, completely out of touch with reality.

You have to admire the Yankees at some level for their staunch refusal to play the public relations game. Empty seats that make Yankee Stadium look like Pittsburgh? We don’t care because we’re making money all the same. Widespread negative response to a Stadium and the amount it costs to visit? We’re raising prices.

On another level, though, that plan turns your stomach. The team’s owner has admitted some of the tickets are overpriced, which is a pretty clear sign that they’re overpriced, but Levine sees no reason to turn back. Either Levine knows something we don’t about where the economy is headed in the next few months, or he’s insane.

Here’s a vote for insane