Sunday, July 20, 2008

 

Just to Clear Something: The Mets and Phillies Are NOT Rivals

There seems to be something of a misconception going on. Someone got the crazy idea that the Mets and Phillies are rivals. Most of us truthfully can give two hoots about the Phillies. Most of us have nothing against the city of Philadelphia, nor its people. If the Mets lose the NL East, the Phillies might as well win it.

Most Mets fans feel the same way (there are exceptions of course). So Philadelphia Phillie fans, please hate us. Just know the hatred is not mutual.

Personally, I've only disliked two baseball teams in my life... the Atlanta Braves from about 1999-2002 and the New York Yankees from 2001-present.

Some may say that my hatred of the Yankees is greater than my like for the Mets.

I will never feel that way about the Phillies.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

 

Something Brooklyn Dodger and New York Giant fans can agree on

Shot Heard Round The World, a favorite documentary on HBO, about the Bobby Thomson home run of the same name featured many memorable quotations. But my favorites came from CNN's Larry King. A Dodger fan, King flung many truths about the adored Yankees.

I read an article from the New York Times' Gordon White, in which he idolizes about Yankee Stadium, "In 1943 men wore jacket and tie when they went to a ball game while women wore dresses or a skirt and blouse."

The article reminded me of King's most memorable lines. I paraphrase "the ushers at Yankee Stadium wore mittens. You felt like you had to wear a suit and tie. Yankee Stadium is for tourists".

It still rings true today.... Yankee Stadium is for tourists. Today, ushers don't even exist at 161st in the Bronx.

For all the glory of the stadium off Jerome Ave., I'll take my orange shirt, suspenders wearing ushers. If you get what I'm saying.

 

Only chance at 4 million

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080718/FREE/713591992/1084/information

Yea.....

"With the Mets set to move into Citi Field next year, the team is aggressively hawking ticket plans for the final 28 home games, promising fans priority in purchasing full season packages in the new stadium. Because Citi Field will have a capacity of only 45,000, this year could be the only time Mets attendance ever hits 4 million."

The stupidity of limiting spacing in the city of New York continues.... apparently Wilpon didn't get the message that not only are the Mets not the Brooklyn Dodgers, but they aren't the Phillies either (see Citizens Bank).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

 

Can I Ask One Question?

How is it fair that a player on a team that has no chance at making the playoffs could have surrendered the winning run that will force a team from his own league to have a disadvantage come the World Series?

I'm talking of course about Aaron Cook who nearly gave up the tie for the NL at last night's All Star Game.

This fact is more upsetting considering that the New York Mets, who actually a chance at the playoffs, did not have their ACE pitcher on the NL roster. Johan Santana has a better ERA, more strikeouts, and a lower WHIP than Cook.

More later, but the fact that the All Star Game "counts" is ridiculous... at least in the current format for choosing All Stars.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

 

Bob DuPuy Marlins/Indians comparison is misleading

I love fellow Dartmouthians, but Bob DuPuy (COO of MLB) is misleading folks with his comparison of the Indians/Marlins television ratings to attendance ratio.

"Cleveland was like that back before they got their new ballpark. Cleveland was a good baseball market. They had great TV ratings and they didn't draw flies, and when the new ballpark came they sold out for four years" (http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/baseball/story/606076.html).

First, the Indians absolutely stunk up the joint when they played at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. They hadn't finished in first place since 1954 (when lost the World Series to the NY Giants, thank you very much)! The Marlins on other hand have won two world series in the past 15 years. Further, they are dead last in the Majors right now in attendance despite being a game and half out of first place.

Second, the Indians move to Jacobs Field happened to coincide with the Indians.... get this, I know this is amazing... winning baseball games!!!! In fact, in 1994 (the year of the strike), the Indians were playing their best baseball in ages at 19 games over 500. They won the American League Championship in '95 and '97 and made the playoffs all the way through '99.

And wouldn't you know it, when the Indians started losing ballgames, their attendance dropped. They are currently 8th in the American League and 21st in the Major Leagues.

Hardly a success story...

I should say that there are reasons to believe that the Miami market is a good market for baseball. The TV ratings for one. Its high population for two.

But reasons exist for the opposite view.

DuPuy points out "[t]hey will be going against the traffic and they are going to know the game is going to start at 7 o'clock and they're going to know the game is going to be over and there's not going to be a rain delay, and there are going to be restaurants around there, and we're hoping it will induce people to come to the ballpark".

A lot of these folks go to bed by 10pm..... I know these old folks... I'm related to them.

If they aren't going to come out for a winning team, why would they even with a new stadium? Yes, I know no rain.... but really, is that the only problem?

Friday, July 11, 2008

 

What About Other Cities? - Portland, San Antonio, Las Vegas, and Charlotte?

An esteemed friend of mine argued against an earlier post and mentioned the cities of San Antonio, Las Vegas, and Charlotte for an MLB team.

The city of Portland is often pointed out, and Red Sox great Johnny Pesky is a big proponent of another team in the Northwest. The first big positive is that the anti-trust exemption for the Seattle Mariners doesn't go into Oregon (heck it doesn't come close). The second big positive is that they would only have to share the market with the Portland Trail Blazers.

A look at the population shows somewhere between 2.1 and 2.5 million live in the area depending on what you count as the metropolitan area.

Three to maybe five markets have populations of the same size or smaller... Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh. Only Milwaukee ranks in the top half of the average attendance throughout the league.... which makes sense considering the fine team they have assembled. When Montreal moved to Washington, their move was into a metropolitan area that was a little less than twice as large (when cutting it in half to account for Baltimore).

San Antonio was spoken about with the Marlins in 2006, but Loria rejected a late ultimatum from the city. San Antonio already has a major league franchise with the Spurs. In terms of population, its metropolitan area is under 2 million.

Las Vegas is one city I feel would be AWFUL for a Major League Baseball team. And it can be summed up in one word: gambling. The population is at about 1.9 million with a growth of about 33% since 2000.

Charlotte is often a name thrown around during 2006 as well. It has about 2.3 million and has two major league franchises (Bobcats and Panthers). It has grown at a 20% clip since 2000 (better than both Portland and San Antonio who are in the mid 10's).

From a pure number game, it is probably a tie between Portland and Charlotte. Charlotte has greater growth, while Portland has only one major league team.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

 

Three Major League teams New York City Market

Here's a short post with more to follow:

I'm one full nostalgia, but I'm also a serious student of baseball and numbers.

Depending on what definition you use, Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) or Combined Statistical Areas, the NYC metro area has around 18 million or 22 million people.

Chicago under the most generous estimate has less than 10 million folks in its metropolitan area*.

Los Angeles has a little less than 13 million to around 17.6 million people depending on the definition.

Washington/Baltimore has just over 8 million with the most generous definition.

You might ask what all four of these places have in common? Well the answer should be obvious. All four have two Major League Baseball teams in their areas.

Personally, I think it is quite odd that a market three times the size of the Washington/Baltimore market has the same number of teams...

More numbers to crunch on, the Yankees and Mets are one and two in attendance. The Dodgers and Angels are three and six. Cubs and White Sox are seven and eighteen. The Nationals and Orioles are fifteen and twenty two.

These numbers have been pretty consistent over the past three years with dips for the latter two and movement by a spot of two Mets, Angels, and Dodgers.

The Mets movement up on attendance lists in the past five years can be correlated to their signing of Pedro Martinez (connecting with the Hispanic market) and the willingness to spend money.

The Yankees have always been near the top.... as have the Dodgers. The Angels have been at the top since their 2002 World Series run.

What does this mean?

Well, simple as it may seem, put a good ball club on the field with recognizable stars in a market with people that will spend money, and you will have good attendance.

But let us take a step back a minute...

Let's look at the pure business side of things.

According to Forbes (who know business pretty well), the Yankees and Mets are both ranked as worth more than all the Major League franchises (even Boston, though they come close in a close second). And no this isn't one year fling... the Yankees have been worth the most since '02 and the Mets two or three since '02.

And this year, the Dodgers and Angels are both ranked in the top six.

In 2006, the good folks at bizjournals did a nice little study on expansion (not surprisingly the LA market ranked one because of a lack of a football team). What did they find? Oh simple... the number one market for baseball expansion was Northern New Jersey. The only other market... you guessed it Southern Cal.

What does this all mean? And what about Portland.... and Charlotte (it's Nate Silvers favorite place for expansion) later.

Links:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/attendance
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_United_States_Combined_Statistical_Areas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_United_States_Core_Based_Statistical_Areas
http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=126
http://www.bizjournals.com/edit_special/36.html

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

 

Over 100,000

No, that isn't some number of the war.


Rather, tonight, July 8th, over 100,000 people bought tickets to see baseball in the city of New York.

At Shea Stadium, 48,887 fans purchased tickets, and at Yankee Stadium 53,089 fans purchase tickets.


Count me impressed but not surprised.

Monday, July 07, 2008

 

A Call to Action: Polo Grounds

My father was a huge New York Giants fan. He is a huge Bobby Thomson fan. I have pictures/autographs of Thomson lining my room both at home and at Dartmouth.

It is quite unpopular for a now 20 year old to admire the New York Giants. It isn't the hip thing to do. The Giants didn't represent a boro in the same way as the Dodgers... I mean what else did Brooklyn have? Coney Island? HA.

That said, as most of my friends know, I love to play in the Polo Grounds on MVP 2005 with its quirky but beautiful dimensions (less than 300 down the lines and about 500 to dead center). Heck, I did an essay on the Polo Grounds and its effect on immigrant life at the turn of the century.

I get mocked by some friends (Mr. Lieb and even you Mr. Birsh to an extent) for my refusal to attend games at Citi Field. Besides my ardent disapproval of the reduced seating capacity, I am offended by its almost shrine characteristic for Ebbets Field. It makes sense... Mets owner Fred Wilpon was a Dodger fan. That doesn't mean I have to stand for it however.

I was quite happy to see this editorial from the New York Daily News today:
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/07/06/2008-07-06_editorials_lets_go_teams.html

WE mustn't forget our history.... let's fix the steps.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

 

Which two teams have the top attendance in the Major Leagues?

Well one team isn't Boston... not surprising with the small confines of Fenway.

It isn't either of the Chicago teams..... in fact the White Sox are 18th.

And no it isn't one of the Los Angeles teams, the Dodgers are third however.

The answer is New York and............ New York. The Yankees are first and the Mets second. Separated by around 2,000 on average.... both teams are over 50,000 on average per the year.

By comparison, The Los Angeles Dodgers are only at about 45,000 on average per the year.... more than 5,000 behind the New York Mets.

As it may be known to some of you, both the Yankees and Mets are moving into new stadiums next season. What you may not know is that both stadiums will have less seating capacity than the current ballparks.

What may shock you is that both teams have a larger average attendance than the capacity of either of their new stadiums will allow.

Yes, that is correct, "Citi" (whatever crock of a name that is) Field will have about 5,000 less seats than the current average attendance at Shea Stadium.

While it is extraordinarily disappointing to know that fewer people will be allowed to watch live baseball in New York City, I also want to point out some other interesting facts.

First, if you were divide the combined average attendance of the Mets and Yankees and divided by three each team would still be in the top half of the average attendance in the Major Leagues!

Second, this is not just a one year phenomenon. The Yankees have finished number 1 in average attendance since 2003, and the Mets have finished in the top three for the past three seasons.

Third, the best team in the Majors (the Rays) has the fourth worst average attendance in the Majors with a little more than 20,000 people per game.

What conclusions can we draw from this??

Well that will come later.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

 

Another Version of Give Me a Break- Jerrold Nadler

I admire those who are willing to risk it all for political office. My feeling is no different toward Adam Sullivan (http://sullivanforcongress.net/) who is challenging Jerrold Nadler for Representative of New York's 8th District.

That said, I really do not and cannot understand why the devil any liberal group would give Sullivan the light of day. Besides having ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of winning, he is fighting an incumbent who is a heck of a Congressman. Hell, even Sullivan admits "I have for many years been proud to boast of my representative in Congress: the progressive causes he championed, his liberal voting record, his commitment to legislation that would improve the lives of his constituents."

But the issue of impeachment (which Nadler is against) is just way too much for him to deal with. Besides the point that impeachment has no chance of happening... and is in my opinion a distraction from other important issues (FISA (which Nadler voted against), Healthcare, the War in Iraq (which Nadler voted against), etc.), Bush is out of office in 6 months. What will impeachment accomplish?

Is this some sort of change? The hope we've been all waiting for? (/Snark).

The fact of the matter is that Sullivan challenge is not one that any self respecting liberal would take part in. Many other battles are of greater importance (expanding House and Senate majorities and of course an Obama victory). Why anyone would dare fund this citizen is beyond my own comprehension. It is a true waste of time.

These are the sort of challenges that give Democrats a bad name for orthodoxy.... and make them seem quite extreme.

So let Sullivan run... and even vote for him but please don't help him.

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