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Fortunately, it’s December so nothing bad will happen immediately except the hot stove league grinds to a halt.

The wheeling and dealing has been fun with the lowly Texas Rangers (60-102 in 2021) going hog-wild and spending \$500 million dollars on a new double play combination of Corey Seager of the Dodgers and Marcus Semien of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Dallas-Fort Worth TV market is the fifth biggest in the country according to Nielsen, and the Rangers have a new stadium to show off, so it makes sense for them to try hard to win more.

The players’ union wants to ease restrictions owners have placed on themselves to keep each other from competing too hard. So the owners have locked out the players (rather than the players go on strike).

Success in baseball has been pretty dispersed to big cities and small cities, although the performance of the huge market Los Angeles Dodgers over the last five years is potentially a worrisome harbinger that teams that are rich and smart could eventually come to dominate. Still, the Dodgers won only one World Series in those five years and are likely to emerge somewhat diminished from free agent defections this offseason like shortstop Corey Seager to the Rangers and rented hurler Max Scherzer to the Mets.

Would it be really all that bad if teams with more potential fans, like the Texas Rangers, NY Mets, and LA Angels, do better on average than teams with inevitably fewer fans, like the Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays?

From a utilitarian greatest-good-for-the-greatest-number basis, big market teams winning more often is better.

If a team with 10 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s a billion utils of happiness produced. If a team with 4 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s only 400 million utils.

You could argue that if everybody else in the country roots for a small market team and they beat a big market team in the World Series, like, say, the Kansas City Royals over the New York Mets in 2015, that makes up for the regular season. But does a brief bout of national attention for a week in late October make up for the 162 game regular season? Perhaps, but I doubt if the math works out.

I mean, Tampa Bay can’t draw fans even when they have a terrific team, like lately. (Florida teams have the problem that because their state is the main home of spring training, many Florida baseball fans have favorite teams from the North. E.g., Grandpa started rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers when he lived in Vero Beach, so now you root for the L.A. Dodgers rather than Tampa Bay or Miami.)

Here’t the fantastic view from the top deck in Pittsburgh during the Andrew McCutcheon Era.

In other baseball scraps left over, I read David Halberstam’s 1989 bestseller The Summer of ’49 about the 1949 pennant race between Joe DiMaggio’s New York Yankees and Ted Williams’ Boston Red Sox.

Halberstam was a famous journalist (The Best and the Brightest) and managed to arrange interesting interviews with every surviving participant, except DiMaggio. But Joe was always most interesting viewed through other people’s eyes, so he emerges as the most memorable figure in the book.

Joe’s little brother Dom DiMaggio, a brilliant man who went on to have a second career as an industrial tycoon, might be the most insightful interviewee. A small man to begin with, he still lost about 15 pounds over the course of the season, and that apparently was pretty normal.

Ballplayers at this time had some curious tough guy customs. For example, even if you felt like you needed a candy bar for some extra energy in the late innings, you never ate during a game, or the other players would deride you as weak. Even stranger, although you played in heavy woolen uniforms (baseball uniforms needed to be thick to withstand sliding) through the dog days of summer, you never ever drank water during a game.

 
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  1. If a team with 10 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s a billion utils of happiness produced. If a team with 4 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s only 400 million utils.

    Oh ya gotta love that! Problem is, it leaves out the wider, national joy that could be held by fans across the country. Teams have fans in outlying areas that don’t have their own franchises. I remember when, in Colorado, it was common for a bar in Boulder, for example, to have Chicago Cubs games on the screen — because Colorado, and the entire Rocky Mountain region, did not have a team!

    Economists always oversimplify.

    Anyway, who cares? MLB has become Home Run Derby, a contest between OCD pitchers and Babe Ruth wannabees. Fielding, the essence of baseball play, has disappeared and is taken for granted as simply a procedure to be ignored. MLB is dead (but one wonders where all that money is coming from. Who is watching? Who is paying? Why?)

    • Replies: @Ganderson
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Buzz, I’ve been watching baseball for nigh unto 60 years, and you’re right, the modern game is hard to watch. People still go- dunno what attendance was last year, although I don’t think a season coming out of the covid madness is a fair test. A couple things I do notice on those increasingly rare occasions that I attend live MLB, are that 1) most people don’t really watch the game- it’s as if a ballpark is a giant multi-themed restaurant with a ball game going on in the background. and 2) the attitude of the people putting on the event is that the game itself can’t hold anyone’s interest, so you have to have a whole bunch of crap going on to keep people engaged. Also, given how much tickets cost, what % of a typical MLB crowd got free tix, from work or somone/where else?

    I see pro sports as a bubble, and i think it, (along with higher ed) is due to pop.

    And Steve: Bill James eviscerated The Summer of ‘49 in one of his annuals- I couldn’t find the review, but it’s title was something like “The Summer of ‘49, or was it ‘48, no wait it was VINCE DiMaggio…” . I did find this article ( not by James himself) on James’ website about another of Halberstam’s books, October, 1964:

    https://www.billjamesonline.com/why_david_halberstam_committed_more_errors_than_lou_brock/

    And, while I’m at it, Dom DiMaggio was a terrific player- his reputation as a ball player was hurt by being Joe’s and Vince’s little brother, but he was at what I like to call the Kent Hrbek level- just below HOF status, but a very good player indeed. And his post baseball life was even more successful- he’s up there with Dr. Frank Ryan in terms of post big league career accomplishment.

    , @Mike Tre
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Expansion has killed quality of competition and hurt the small markets more it seems.

    Imagine if the "big 4" leagues retracted to 20 teams per league. The quality of play would rise greatly, but somebody would lose out on some short term profit and we can't have that.

  2. “From a utilitarian greatest-good-for-the-greatest-number basis, big market teams winning more often is better.” is an awfully self-serving argument for a Dodger fan to make. Last year’s playoffs included many teams that spent more than \$170M: NYY, BOS, LAD, CHW, HOU, STL. Oddly enough, SF only spent \$158M, but they’re historically big spenders. Money clearly helps.

    Why even have small market teams if there isn’t a good chance for them to win? Parity is one of the best things baseball has going for it, unlike basketball which is driven by Player-GMs deciding in the offseason to make a large market team a champion.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
    @CobraTalk

    The umps (MLB) killed off Tampa with their calls in the ALD this year. As deliberate a choosing of markets ever, in favor of Boston this year.

  3. Would it be really all that bad if teams with more potential fans, like the Texas Rangers, NY Mets, and LA Angels, do better on average than teams with inevitably fewer fans, like the Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays?

    The most wildly successful professional sports league, the National Football League, says no.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    @ScarletNumber

    Based on the way the quote was phrased, the NFL would say yes, as they want all of their teams to be successful at some point.

    Replies: @Ron Mexico

  4. @ScarletNumber

    Would it be really all that bad if teams with more potential fans, like the Texas Rangers, NY Mets, and LA Angels, do better on average than teams with inevitably fewer fans, like the Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays?
     
    The most wildly successful professional sports league, the National Football League, says no.

    Replies: @ScarletNumber

    Based on the way the quote was phrased, the NFL would say yes, as they want all of their teams to be successful at some point.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    @ScarletNumber

    My impression is that the NFL doesn't care if the Detroit Lions are successful or not.

    Replies: @Joe Joe

  5. @ScarletNumber
    @ScarletNumber

    Based on the way the quote was phrased, the NFL would say yes, as they want all of their teams to be successful at some point.

    Replies: @Ron Mexico

    My impression is that the NFL doesn’t care if the Detroit Lions are successful or not.

    • Replies: @Joe Joe
    @Ron Mexico

    why should the NFL care about the Lions when even the Lions don't seem to care about the Lions, LOL

  6. I just want to thank the good Lord for making me a Cardinals fan.
    Fuck the cubs.
    Fuck Boston moar.

  7. “Ballplayers at this time had some curious tough guy customs. For example, even if you felt like you needed a candy bar for some extra energy in the late innings, you never ate during a game, or the other players would deride you as weak. Even stranger, although you played in heavy woolen uniforms (baseball uniforms needed to be thick to withstand sliding) through the dog days of summer, you never ever drank water during a game.”

    To be fair, players could catch a smoke break during a game. HOF NY 1B Lou Gehrig was notorious for smoking a cigarette between innings. A few times HOF NY CF Joe DiMaggio joined him. For most publicity photos, Gehrig never allowed himself to be photographed smoking since he believed it would be a bad influence on children. Many photos exist, but were released after his death.

    Would also mention that each MLB dugout did have a water cooler. The idea that they never used it between innings suggests that some of the players were pulling Halberstam’s leg, and that he gullibly believed them.

    Unfortuntely, some of the players did have that BS streak in them, (BS-ing isn’t a late 20th, early 21st Century technique, Steve), and journalists like Halberstam usually either gullibly believed it hook, line, and sinker, or simply went along with it for public consumption.

    • Thanks: Tony massey
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi


    To be fair, players could catch a smoke break during a game.
     
    Ruth would visit the bar across from Comiskey Park between games of a doubleheader.
    , @Ganderson
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    See my comment below. (or is it above?)

    If Bill James is to be believed Halberstam’s leg was pulled early and often. Sorta kinda a Gell -Mann effect as regards Halberstam’s other books.

  8. The MLB would benefit from having a relegation system like European soccer leagues do. Create a top league with 24 teams, the bottom two every year get sent down to Triple A, and the top two Triple A teams move up to the majors. The third worst Major League team has to play a playoff series against the third best Triple A team to see who gets relegated. That would create a lot more drama towards the end of a long season and give the owners of bad clubs more motivation to field a decent product.

    With any luck the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs will one day move up to dominate the Majors.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Relegation and promotion is, without doubt, a vastly superior system for managing a sports league. If adopted here, it might even manage to kick the props out from under the ridiculous and money-wasting organized idiocy known as college sportsball.

    , @njguy73
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Good luck getting the Players Association to agree to that.

    , @Bragadocious
    @Peter Akuleyev

    It wouldn't work because the average minor league park holds around 5000 to 10,000 people, far below MLB requirements. I guess in Britain, relegation works because there are no venue standards, which leads to facilities like this which would be ridiculous for a top-tier soccer league.

    https://www.wdsa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/PloughLane2.jpg

    Replies: @Half Canadian

  9. Steve, Shaunessy and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe insist baseball’s biggest problem is ‘analytics baseball’, with the endless pitcher changes (plus allowing batters to step out of the box to adjust gloves and spit and scratch their nuts after every pitch) producing 3.5-5 hour games which are driving young fans out because they simply will not watch baseball under current rules and protocols. Throw all THAT into the hopper with late night playoffs and World Series games their seed corn, young non-fans have no interest.

    During their lockout, seems to me, having read about all this throughout the season and beyond, it would make sense for them to consider all this. One would think TV and advertisers would consider this too because the length and sheer boredom of analytics applied to regular season games make the broadcast an excruciating morass of commercials no one not brain dead can sit through. That is, no one is watching their commercials. I can reliably hit a Redsox game 3 hours in, first view, and catch innings 7-9. And even THAT is excruciating. And with all this, the biggest issue is a lockout?

    Steve, you’re a baseball fan. Thoughts?

    • Replies: @Pericles
    @Jim Christian

    I'm not Steve but my impression is the game stretches out when there are more hits and/or runs scored (logically enough). Pitching changes have recently been reduced by making each pitcher face at least three batters, I think. I'd say most games I've seen are between 3 and 4 hours. Though double headers are apparently seven innings now.

    Extra innings are beyond my patience. Even the gimmickry of putting batters on base after a while has not helped.

    Perhaps they should use the rule that the team that leads the game by 10, wins without playing out the rest. From what I've seen it doesn't affect all that many games though.

    Replies: @ganderson

    , @Hernan Pizzaro del Blanco
    @Jim Christian

    Agree. The problem with baseball is the pace of play combined with far fewer balls in play.

    Back in 2005 MLB recorded 45,000 hits and 30,000 Strikeouts. In 2019 there were just 40,000 hits and 42,000 strikeouts making baseball difficult to watch as the games have also gotten longer with less action since 25% of plate appearances now end with the batter striking out.

    They need to shorten the time between pitches , eliminate the shift and deaden the ball further.

  10. I had season tickets for the Phillies for a few years until the strike in ‘94. Their 93 NL Championship season was a ton of fun to follow for a young man. The strike killed my interest in baseball and started my dissociation from professional sports entirely. A pox on all their houses was my attitude then and it remains so today. I can’t imagine spending any of my rapidly dwindling minutes watching grown men play children’s games.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    @JMcG

    The 93 Phillies, I envy you. The most entertaining team in my lifetime. Curt Schilling deserves a spot in The Hall.

  11. @Peter Akuleyev
    The MLB would benefit from having a relegation system like European soccer leagues do. Create a top league with 24 teams, the bottom two every year get sent down to Triple A, and the top two Triple A teams move up to the majors. The third worst Major League team has to play a playoff series against the third best Triple A team to see who gets relegated. That would create a lot more drama towards the end of a long season and give the owners of bad clubs more motivation to field a decent product.

    With any luck the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs will one day move up to dominate the Majors.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein, @njguy73, @Bragadocious

    Relegation and promotion is, without doubt, a vastly superior system for managing a sports league. If adopted here, it might even manage to kick the props out from under the ridiculous and money-wasting organized idiocy known as college sportsball.

  12. @CobraTalk
    "From a utilitarian greatest-good-for-the-greatest-number basis, big market teams winning more often is better." is an awfully self-serving argument for a Dodger fan to make. Last year's playoffs included many teams that spent more than $170M: NYY, BOS, LAD, CHW, HOU, STL. Oddly enough, SF only spent $158M, but they're historically big spenders. Money clearly helps.

    Why even have small market teams if there isn't a good chance for them to win? Parity is one of the best things baseball has going for it, unlike basketball which is driven by Player-GMs deciding in the offseason to make a large market team a champion.

    Replies: @Jim Christian

    The umps (MLB) killed off Tampa with their calls in the ALD this year. As deliberate a choosing of markets ever, in favor of Boston this year.

  13. Would it be really all that bad if teams with more potential fans, like the Texas Rangers, NY Mets, and LA Angels, do better on average than teams with inevitably fewer fans, like the Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays?

    Spoken like a true Dodgers fan.

    • Agree: Tony massey
  14. This offseason has been fun so far and it kind of looks like the wheel of fortune has turned a bit. It will be interesting to see how the Mets and Rangers do. Houston’s AL West looks a lot more competitive than it has been the last couple of years.

    Attendance numbers for 2021: https://www.espn.com/mlb/attendance

    The NY Yankees were only number 8 and Atlanta and St Louis among others beat them. Oakland (who had a fairly good season) and Miami had even worse numbers than Tampa Bay. The bottom feeding Rangers had better attendance than World Series contenders Houston.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Pericles

    This was the first regular season that the new Texas Rangers stadium was open to fans. The 2020 World Series was held there, and the interior looked terrific. However, I don't recall any shots of the exterior, which looks like a big disposable aluminum pan you cook a turkey in:

    https://images.foxtv.com/static.fox4news.com/www.fox4news.com/content/uploads/2020/04/1280/720/V_DOOCY_-GLOBE-LIFE-FIELD-6P_00.00.24.09.png?ve=1&tl=1

    How much are Yankee Stadium tickets? It is a huge stadium by contemporary standards. My son went to the last game Derek Jeter played in Yankee Stadium (of course he got a basehit in his final at bat, he's Derek Jeter) for $15. But I imagine the best seats are outlandishly expensive.

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Reg Cæsar, @slumber_j, @I, Libertine, @Fred C Dobbs

  15. @Peter Akuleyev
    The MLB would benefit from having a relegation system like European soccer leagues do. Create a top league with 24 teams, the bottom two every year get sent down to Triple A, and the top two Triple A teams move up to the majors. The third worst Major League team has to play a playoff series against the third best Triple A team to see who gets relegated. That would create a lot more drama towards the end of a long season and give the owners of bad clubs more motivation to field a decent product.

    With any luck the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs will one day move up to dominate the Majors.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein, @njguy73, @Bragadocious

    Good luck getting the Players Association to agree to that.

  16. It’s a crime that the great historic franchise of the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing in one of the top three ballparks in MLB, has an owner with zero interest in building a championship team. In a sports-crazed town no less!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Chriscom

    The view from the top grandstand in Pittsburgh is fantastic:

    https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/fP9OH6AA91Z1IHYIFZC9JYQCGW8=/0x0:1280x826/2420x1613/filters:focal(532x349:736x553):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/66079222/image00000007.0.jpeg

    , @Brutusale
    @Chriscom

    That sports-crazed town which just saw the owner of the Boston Red $ox buy its hockey team with the loose change from his desk drawer?

    Replies: @Jim Christian

  17. The last collective bargaining agreement hosed the players. I would support a salary floor and getting rid of Chris Bryant type time in majors manipulation.

    Players also want a slice of MLB’s streaming platform since that creates a ton of revenue outside of baseball for the owners. I doubt they get that.

    A big problem is all pitchers are encouraged to throw 100 mph to get to the bigs then wreck their arms before free agency. Then replaced by younger guys who throw 101 mph who will wreck their arms even faster, but at a lower salary.

    • Replies: @Prester John
    @Hodag

    MLB needs to be welcomed into the 21st century with a salary cap similar to what the other three major sports have. The players association complaint that the players will suffer has always been nothing more than a canard. The players in the other three leagues have had no such problem. What MLB players (and people like Scott Boros) are afraid of is the sight of the caboose of the gravy train heading off into the sunset.

    Replies: @JMcG

  18. @Pericles
    This offseason has been fun so far and it kind of looks like the wheel of fortune has turned a bit. It will be interesting to see how the Mets and Rangers do. Houston's AL West looks a lot more competitive than it has been the last couple of years.

    Attendance numbers for 2021: https://www.espn.com/mlb/attendance

    The NY Yankees were only number 8 and Atlanta and St Louis among others beat them. Oakland (who had a fairly good season) and Miami had even worse numbers than Tampa Bay. The bottom feeding Rangers had better attendance than World Series contenders Houston.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    This was the first regular season that the new Texas Rangers stadium was open to fans. The 2020 World Series was held there, and the interior looked terrific. However, I don’t recall any shots of the exterior, which looks like a big disposable aluminum pan you cook a turkey in:

    How much are Yankee Stadium tickets? It is a huge stadium by contemporary standards. My son went to the last game Derek Jeter played in Yankee Stadium (of course he got a basehit in his final at bat, he’s Derek Jeter) for \$15. But I imagine the best seats are outlandishly expensive.

    • Replies: @Ganderson
    @Steve Sailer

    Wow that’s ugly! Is it permanently domed? Designed by Frank Gehry?

    Replies: @Fred C Dobbs

    , @Reg Cæsar
    @Steve Sailer

    So the least round of all ballparks is named Globe Life? Whose idea of a joke is that?

    It looks like a big-box store, or a mall.

    , @slumber_j
    @Steve Sailer

    How time flies! Seems like only yesterday that George W. Bush was grifting the previous ballpark into existence.

    , @I, Libertine
    @Steve Sailer

    If you tune to middle a Yankees home game, you may get the impression that they draw like the Marlins. The seats behind home plate - visible from the center field camera now utilized for almost every pitch of every televised game in North America - are mostly empty. Then, when you get camera angles that let you see the crowd as whole, you'll see that they get plenty of paying customers -just not behind the plate.

    The reason is that these "Legend Seats" come with breathtaking prices. They are rarely sold on a single basis. The Yankees have one year plans, four year plans, ten year plans, etc. They cost on the order of $400 to $700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan. But food and soft drinks are free!

    The Yankees don't care - there's plenty of room elsewhere in the building for people of descending levels of affluence. An excuse one hears from them about this apparent emptiness is that many of the Legends buyers prefer to watch the game on the screen of a swanky restaurant reserved behind the seats for them. Sure.

    Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard, @james wilson, @kaganovitch

    , @Fred C Dobbs
    @Steve Sailer

    "......the new Texas Rangers stadium...."

    My first response was "What? They already had a "new(er) stadium" followed by "ohh yeah....that's right." I'm not the fan I used to, obviously. I'm the kind of guy who thinks Petco is "pretty new" (it opened for the 2004 season).

    Off-hand I'd guess only Centennial Olympic Stadium/Turner Field had a (slightly) shorter lifespan, though that's pretty understandable - a Venn diagram union of "baseball fans" and "south-of-downtown Atlanta" would be a microscopic sliver, despite the bellyaching I've read at HuffPo, etc. on the topic.

    Replies: @Anon

  19. @Hodag
    The last collective bargaining agreement hosed the players. I would support a salary floor and getting rid of Chris Bryant type time in majors manipulation.

    Players also want a slice of MLB's streaming platform since that creates a ton of revenue outside of baseball for the owners. I doubt they get that.

    A big problem is all pitchers are encouraged to throw 100 mph to get to the bigs then wreck their arms before free agency. Then replaced by younger guys who throw 101 mph who will wreck their arms even faster, but at a lower salary.

    Replies: @Prester John

    MLB needs to be welcomed into the 21st century with a salary cap similar to what the other three major sports have. The players association complaint that the players will suffer has always been nothing more than a canard. The players in the other three leagues have had no such problem. What MLB players (and people like Scott Boros) are afraid of is the sight of the caboose of the gravy train heading off into the sunset.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Prester John

    How about a profit cap to go along with it?

  20. “(Florida teams have the problem that because their state is the main home of spring training, many Florida baseball fans have favorite teams from the North. E.g., Grandpa started rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers when he lived in Vero Beach, so now you root for the L.A. Dodgers rather than Tampa Bay or Miami.)”

    I don’t doubt this is an issue, but a bigger one is that most Floridians come from outside of Florida, or their parents did, with MLB loyalties already. The biggest crowds the Rays draw are for Red Sox and Yankees games because of so many NYers and Northeasterners who have moved/retired there.

    Plus if you look at all of the North American sports leagues, the most popular teams tend to be the ones that have been around forever, with generations of loyalty baked in, even when the cities they come from aren’t that big (e.g., the Packers/Steelers in the NFL, the NHL Original Six). When a new franchise opens up, they have a long road ahead of them to convince local fans who chose a different team as kids to switch loyalties.

  21. Why you troll us? Utils? I was under the impression you cared about baseball. I don’t, but it pains me to read this nonsense that ignores the quality of play.

    I’ve played pickup with people who think blowouts are fun if you’re on the right side, but I can’t say I regard them as fully human.

  22. @Prester John
    @Hodag

    MLB needs to be welcomed into the 21st century with a salary cap similar to what the other three major sports have. The players association complaint that the players will suffer has always been nothing more than a canard. The players in the other three leagues have had no such problem. What MLB players (and people like Scott Boros) are afraid of is the sight of the caboose of the gravy train heading off into the sunset.

    Replies: @JMcG

    How about a profit cap to go along with it?

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  23. @Chriscom
    It's a crime that the great historic franchise of the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing in one of the top three ballparks in MLB, has an owner with zero interest in building a championship team. In a sports-crazed town no less!

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Brutusale

    The view from the top grandstand in Pittsburgh is fantastic:

  24. @Buzz Mohawk

    If a team with 10 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s a billion utils of happiness produced. If a team with 4 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s only 400 million utils.
     
    Oh ya gotta love that! Problem is, it leaves out the wider, national joy that could be held by fans across the country. Teams have fans in outlying areas that don't have their own franchises. I remember when, in Colorado, it was common for a bar in Boulder, for example, to have Chicago Cubs games on the screen -- because Colorado, and the entire Rocky Mountain region, did not have a team!

    Economists always oversimplify.

    Anyway, who cares? MLB has become Home Run Derby, a contest between OCD pitchers and Babe Ruth wannabees. Fielding, the essence of baseball play, has disappeared and is taken for granted as simply a procedure to be ignored. MLB is dead (but one wonders where all that money is coming from. Who is watching? Who is paying? Why?)

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Mike Tre

    Buzz, I’ve been watching baseball for nigh unto 60 years, and you’re right, the modern game is hard to watch. People still go- dunno what attendance was last year, although I don’t think a season coming out of the covid madness is a fair test. A couple things I do notice on those increasingly rare occasions that I attend live MLB, are that 1) most people don’t really watch the game- it’s as if a ballpark is a giant multi-themed restaurant with a ball game going on in the background. and 2) the attitude of the people putting on the event is that the game itself can’t hold anyone’s interest, so you have to have a whole bunch of crap going on to keep people engaged. Also, given how much tickets cost, what % of a typical MLB crowd got free tix, from work or somone/where else?

    I see pro sports as a bubble, and i think it, (along with higher ed) is due to pop.

    And Steve: Bill James eviscerated The Summer of ‘49 in one of his annuals- I couldn’t find the review, but it’s title was something like “The Summer of ‘49, or was it ‘48, no wait it was VINCE DiMaggio…” . I did find this article ( not by James himself) on James’ website about another of Halberstam’s books, October, 1964:

    https://www.billjamesonline.com/why_david_halberstam_committed_more_errors_than_lou_brock/

    And, while I’m at it, Dom DiMaggio was a terrific player- his reputation as a ball player was hurt by being Joe’s and Vince’s little brother, but he was at what I like to call the Kent Hrbek level- just below HOF status, but a very good player indeed. And his post baseball life was even more successful- he’s up there with Dr. Frank Ryan in terms of post big league career accomplishment.

  25. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "Ballplayers at this time had some curious tough guy customs. For example, even if you felt like you needed a candy bar for some extra energy in the late innings, you never ate during a game, or the other players would deride you as weak. Even stranger, although you played in heavy woolen uniforms (baseball uniforms needed to be thick to withstand sliding) through the dog days of summer, you never ever drank water during a game."

    To be fair, players could catch a smoke break during a game. HOF NY 1B Lou Gehrig was notorious for smoking a cigarette between innings. A few times HOF NY CF Joe DiMaggio joined him. For most publicity photos, Gehrig never allowed himself to be photographed smoking since he believed it would be a bad influence on children. Many photos exist, but were released after his death.

    Would also mention that each MLB dugout did have a water cooler. The idea that they never used it between innings suggests that some of the players were pulling Halberstam's leg, and that he gullibly believed them.

    Unfortuntely, some of the players did have that BS streak in them, (BS-ing isn't a late 20th, early 21st Century technique, Steve), and journalists like Halberstam usually either gullibly believed it hook, line, and sinker, or simply went along with it for public consumption.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Ganderson

    To be fair, players could catch a smoke break during a game.

    Ruth would visit the bar across from Comiskey Park between games of a doubleheader.

  26. @Steve Sailer
    @Pericles

    This was the first regular season that the new Texas Rangers stadium was open to fans. The 2020 World Series was held there, and the interior looked terrific. However, I don't recall any shots of the exterior, which looks like a big disposable aluminum pan you cook a turkey in:

    https://images.foxtv.com/static.fox4news.com/www.fox4news.com/content/uploads/2020/04/1280/720/V_DOOCY_-GLOBE-LIFE-FIELD-6P_00.00.24.09.png?ve=1&tl=1

    How much are Yankee Stadium tickets? It is a huge stadium by contemporary standards. My son went to the last game Derek Jeter played in Yankee Stadium (of course he got a basehit in his final at bat, he's Derek Jeter) for $15. But I imagine the best seats are outlandishly expensive.

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Reg Cæsar, @slumber_j, @I, Libertine, @Fred C Dobbs

    Wow that’s ugly! Is it permanently domed? Designed by Frank Gehry?

    • Replies: @Fred C Dobbs
    @Ganderson

    1. Re-tractable.
    2. No, but perhaps an acolyte. My first impression was "Ohhhh..so that's where they park the 747s for maintenance!"

    Less jarring than US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings. Supposedly it was to invoke a traditional "Viking raiding ship" of 1000 years ago. I think it looks like a Geometry midterm from Hell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Bank_Stadium#/media/File:U.S._Bank_Stadium.jpg

    Replies: @ganderson, @ganderson, @Ganderson

  27. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "Ballplayers at this time had some curious tough guy customs. For example, even if you felt like you needed a candy bar for some extra energy in the late innings, you never ate during a game, or the other players would deride you as weak. Even stranger, although you played in heavy woolen uniforms (baseball uniforms needed to be thick to withstand sliding) through the dog days of summer, you never ever drank water during a game."

    To be fair, players could catch a smoke break during a game. HOF NY 1B Lou Gehrig was notorious for smoking a cigarette between innings. A few times HOF NY CF Joe DiMaggio joined him. For most publicity photos, Gehrig never allowed himself to be photographed smoking since he believed it would be a bad influence on children. Many photos exist, but were released after his death.

    Would also mention that each MLB dugout did have a water cooler. The idea that they never used it between innings suggests that some of the players were pulling Halberstam's leg, and that he gullibly believed them.

    Unfortuntely, some of the players did have that BS streak in them, (BS-ing isn't a late 20th, early 21st Century technique, Steve), and journalists like Halberstam usually either gullibly believed it hook, line, and sinker, or simply went along with it for public consumption.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar, @Ganderson

    See my comment below. (or is it above?)

    If Bill James is to be believed Halberstam’s leg was pulled early and often. Sorta kinda a Gell -Mann effect as regards Halberstam’s other books.

  28. How about a profit cap to go along with it?

    A. Who’s making a profit?

    B. Profit is the customers’ fault. Blame them. Punish them.

    How would you apply a cap to the number of paying fans? Freedom of association is at play. The Premier League pulls it off with half a dozen clubs in London (as big as the next half-dozen cities combined) any given season. But that league is built through promotion from the lower divisions. Not gonna happen here!

    Greater LA, by the way, has a third the population of all England.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    @Reg Cæsar

    Reg, I was being arch. I don’t really care about any of it, but it’s funny that people want to limit the income of the millionaires, but not that of the billionaires. Like I said, a pox on all their houses.

  29. I knew this was a Steve column (vdare has James Fulford on the masthead).

    Another consideration in the greatest happiness greatest number analysis is the ‘nation’ fandom of teams. Example, Dallas, Raiders, even Vikings seem to have fans outside the home of the team around the country.

    This is huge in hockey for teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens who fill up American rinks, Florida and other southern venues especially with their fans on visits from their team.

  30. @Steve Sailer
    @Pericles

    This was the first regular season that the new Texas Rangers stadium was open to fans. The 2020 World Series was held there, and the interior looked terrific. However, I don't recall any shots of the exterior, which looks like a big disposable aluminum pan you cook a turkey in:

    https://images.foxtv.com/static.fox4news.com/www.fox4news.com/content/uploads/2020/04/1280/720/V_DOOCY_-GLOBE-LIFE-FIELD-6P_00.00.24.09.png?ve=1&tl=1

    How much are Yankee Stadium tickets? It is a huge stadium by contemporary standards. My son went to the last game Derek Jeter played in Yankee Stadium (of course he got a basehit in his final at bat, he's Derek Jeter) for $15. But I imagine the best seats are outlandishly expensive.

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Reg Cæsar, @slumber_j, @I, Libertine, @Fred C Dobbs

    So the least round of all ballparks is named Globe Life? Whose idea of a joke is that?

    It looks like a big-box store, or a mall.

  31. If a team with 10 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s a billion utils of happiness produced. If a team with 4 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s only 400 million utils.

    By this logic the greatest thing in the world would be a Tampa Bay Bucs New England Patriots Super Bowl.

    I curse this logic. The the_fix_is_in_dot_net guy says it’s practically a done deal. If you care about any remnant decency in the universe you have little choice now but to root for:

    anybody-but-Tampa-Bay
    &
    anybody-but-New-England.

  32. @Steve Sailer
    @Pericles

    This was the first regular season that the new Texas Rangers stadium was open to fans. The 2020 World Series was held there, and the interior looked terrific. However, I don't recall any shots of the exterior, which looks like a big disposable aluminum pan you cook a turkey in:

    https://images.foxtv.com/static.fox4news.com/www.fox4news.com/content/uploads/2020/04/1280/720/V_DOOCY_-GLOBE-LIFE-FIELD-6P_00.00.24.09.png?ve=1&tl=1

    How much are Yankee Stadium tickets? It is a huge stadium by contemporary standards. My son went to the last game Derek Jeter played in Yankee Stadium (of course he got a basehit in his final at bat, he's Derek Jeter) for $15. But I imagine the best seats are outlandishly expensive.

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Reg Cæsar, @slumber_j, @I, Libertine, @Fred C Dobbs

    How time flies! Seems like only yesterday that George W. Bush was grifting the previous ballpark into existence.

    • LOL: JMcG
  33. @Peter Akuleyev
    The MLB would benefit from having a relegation system like European soccer leagues do. Create a top league with 24 teams, the bottom two every year get sent down to Triple A, and the top two Triple A teams move up to the majors. The third worst Major League team has to play a playoff series against the third best Triple A team to see who gets relegated. That would create a lot more drama towards the end of a long season and give the owners of bad clubs more motivation to field a decent product.

    With any luck the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs will one day move up to dominate the Majors.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein, @njguy73, @Bragadocious

    It wouldn’t work because the average minor league park holds around 5000 to 10,000 people, far below MLB requirements. I guess in Britain, relegation works because there are no venue standards, which leads to facilities like this which would be ridiculous for a top-tier soccer league.

    • Replies: @Half Canadian
    @Bragadocious

    There would be a transition period that would be difficult, but at the end of the day, it would create more interesting motives in sports.
    Sports in Europe are very much capitalistic, while in the US, they are very socialist.

  34. @Jim Christian
    Steve, Shaunessy and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe insist baseball's biggest problem is 'analytics baseball', with the endless pitcher changes (plus allowing batters to step out of the box to adjust gloves and spit and scratch their nuts after every pitch) producing 3.5-5 hour games which are driving young fans out because they simply will not watch baseball under current rules and protocols. Throw all THAT into the hopper with late night playoffs and World Series games their seed corn, young non-fans have no interest.

    During their lockout, seems to me, having read about all this throughout the season and beyond, it would make sense for them to consider all this. One would think TV and advertisers would consider this too because the length and sheer boredom of analytics applied to regular season games make the broadcast an excruciating morass of commercials no one not brain dead can sit through. That is, no one is watching their commercials. I can reliably hit a Redsox game 3 hours in, first view, and catch innings 7-9. And even THAT is excruciating. And with all this, the biggest issue is a lockout?

    Steve, you're a baseball fan. Thoughts?

    Replies: @Pericles, @Hernan Pizzaro del Blanco

    I’m not Steve but my impression is the game stretches out when there are more hits and/or runs scored (logically enough). Pitching changes have recently been reduced by making each pitcher face at least three batters, I think. I’d say most games I’ve seen are between 3 and 4 hours. Though double headers are apparently seven innings now.

    Extra innings are beyond my patience. Even the gimmickry of putting batters on base after a while has not helped.

    Perhaps they should use the rule that the team that leads the game by 10, wins without playing out the rest. From what I’ve seen it doesn’t affect all that many games though.

    • Replies: @ganderson
    @Pericles

    The 10-9 Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, the famous Bill Mazeroski game, was played in 2:36

    Replies: @Pericles

  35. @Buzz Mohawk

    If a team with 10 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s a billion utils of happiness produced. If a team with 4 million fans wins 100 games in a season, that’s only 400 million utils.
     
    Oh ya gotta love that! Problem is, it leaves out the wider, national joy that could be held by fans across the country. Teams have fans in outlying areas that don't have their own franchises. I remember when, in Colorado, it was common for a bar in Boulder, for example, to have Chicago Cubs games on the screen -- because Colorado, and the entire Rocky Mountain region, did not have a team!

    Economists always oversimplify.

    Anyway, who cares? MLB has become Home Run Derby, a contest between OCD pitchers and Babe Ruth wannabees. Fielding, the essence of baseball play, has disappeared and is taken for granted as simply a procedure to be ignored. MLB is dead (but one wonders where all that money is coming from. Who is watching? Who is paying? Why?)

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Mike Tre

    Expansion has killed quality of competition and hurt the small markets more it seems.

    Imagine if the “big 4” leagues retracted to 20 teams per league. The quality of play would rise greatly, but somebody would lose out on some short term profit and we can’t have that.

  36. @Steve Sailer
    @Pericles

    This was the first regular season that the new Texas Rangers stadium was open to fans. The 2020 World Series was held there, and the interior looked terrific. However, I don't recall any shots of the exterior, which looks like a big disposable aluminum pan you cook a turkey in:

    https://images.foxtv.com/static.fox4news.com/www.fox4news.com/content/uploads/2020/04/1280/720/V_DOOCY_-GLOBE-LIFE-FIELD-6P_00.00.24.09.png?ve=1&tl=1

    How much are Yankee Stadium tickets? It is a huge stadium by contemporary standards. My son went to the last game Derek Jeter played in Yankee Stadium (of course he got a basehit in his final at bat, he's Derek Jeter) for $15. But I imagine the best seats are outlandishly expensive.

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Reg Cæsar, @slumber_j, @I, Libertine, @Fred C Dobbs

    If you tune to middle a Yankees home game, you may get the impression that they draw like the Marlins. The seats behind home plate – visible from the center field camera now utilized for almost every pitch of every televised game in North America – are mostly empty. Then, when you get camera angles that let you see the crowd as whole, you’ll see that they get plenty of paying customers -just not behind the plate.

    The reason is that these “Legend Seats” come with breathtaking prices. They are rarely sold on a single basis. The Yankees have one year plans, four year plans, ten year plans, etc. They cost on the order of \$400 to \$700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan. But food and soft drinks are free!

    The Yankees don’t care – there’s plenty of room elsewhere in the building for people of descending levels of affluence. An excuse one hears from them about this apparent emptiness is that many of the Legends buyers prefer to watch the game on the screen of a swanky restaurant reserved behind the seats for them. Sure.

    • Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard
    @I, Libertine

    I was amazed at the number of empty seats visible in last week's Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants game in decent weather. The Eagles have a shot at the playoffs; the Giants are not good but not nearly as bad as the Jets and they won the game. I didn't record what the stub hub prices were but there was a buttload of fifty-seventy dollar seats unused. If those seats aren't sold general managers and whatnot get fired. I am sure they were sold. They probably are sold years in advance with thousands of people on the waiting list to get ripped off.

    Replies: @kaganovitch

    , @james wilson
    @I, Libertine

    Those seats are sold to corporations and passed out to clients who don't sit in them. Terrible optics.

    , @kaganovitch
    @I, Libertine

    They cost on the order of $400 to $700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan.

    Even though the fix is in for the Yankees, they don't get to play all their games at home. They only get 81 home games same as fly-over folk.

    Replies: @I, Libertine

  37. @Reg Cæsar

    How about a profit cap to go along with it?
     
    A. Who's making a profit?

    B. Profit is the customers' fault. Blame them. Punish them.

    How would you apply a cap to the number of paying fans? Freedom of association is at play. The Premier League pulls it off with half a dozen clubs in London (as big as the next half-dozen cities combined) any given season. But that league is built through promotion from the lower divisions. Not gonna happen here!

    Greater LA, by the way, has a third the population of all England.

    Replies: @JMcG

    Reg, I was being arch. I don’t really care about any of it, but it’s funny that people want to limit the income of the millionaires, but not that of the billionaires. Like I said, a pox on all their houses.

  38. At VDARE the author of this is James Fulford.

  39. @Steve Sailer
    @Pericles

    This was the first regular season that the new Texas Rangers stadium was open to fans. The 2020 World Series was held there, and the interior looked terrific. However, I don't recall any shots of the exterior, which looks like a big disposable aluminum pan you cook a turkey in:

    https://images.foxtv.com/static.fox4news.com/www.fox4news.com/content/uploads/2020/04/1280/720/V_DOOCY_-GLOBE-LIFE-FIELD-6P_00.00.24.09.png?ve=1&tl=1

    How much are Yankee Stadium tickets? It is a huge stadium by contemporary standards. My son went to the last game Derek Jeter played in Yankee Stadium (of course he got a basehit in his final at bat, he's Derek Jeter) for $15. But I imagine the best seats are outlandishly expensive.

    Replies: @Ganderson, @Reg Cæsar, @slumber_j, @I, Libertine, @Fred C Dobbs

    “……the new Texas Rangers stadium….”

    My first response was “What? They already had a “new(er) stadium” followed by “ohh yeah….that’s right.” I’m not the fan I used to, obviously. I’m the kind of guy who thinks Petco is “pretty new” (it opened for the 2004 season).

    Off-hand I’d guess only Centennial Olympic Stadium/Turner Field had a (slightly) shorter lifespan, though that’s pretty understandable – a Venn diagram union of “baseball fans” and “south-of-downtown Atlanta” would be a microscopic sliver, despite the bellyaching I’ve read at HuffPo, etc. on the topic.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Fred C Dobbs

    They built the new stadium because it was too damn hot at the old ballpark. I loved going to games there as long as it was the spring. After Memorial Day, first pitch temps would routinely be upper 90s, sometimes over 100 (hottest in MLB).

    They supposedly looked into adding a retractable roof on the old park, but the costs were not much lower than just building a new one.

    The old ballpark has been converted to a football stadium for local high school games (with the occasional college game mixed in).

  40. @Ganderson
    @Steve Sailer

    Wow that’s ugly! Is it permanently domed? Designed by Frank Gehry?

    Replies: @Fred C Dobbs

    1. Re-tractable.
    2. No, but perhaps an acolyte. My first impression was “Ohhhh..so that’s where they park the 747s for maintenance!”

    Less jarring than US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings. Supposedly it was to invoke a traditional “Viking raiding ship” of 1000 years ago. I think it looks like a Geometry midterm from Hell.

    • Replies: @ganderson
    @Fred C Dobbs

    You are correct about US Bank Stadium. Have the brain trust that run the Vikings figured out that the team has not been back to "the big game" since moving indoors? Maybe they can bring Bud back after they fire Zimmer.

    , @ganderson
    @Fred C Dobbs

    US Bank Stadium (which, as you may remember, prevented the Twin Cities from becoming a "cold Omaha") is indeed hideous- and only a short drive from the even uglier Frank Gehry designed Wiseman Art Museum at the 'U'. Have the rocket scientists who run the Vikings seen that the club has not gone to the "big game" since they moved indoors? Maybe they can get Bud to come back after they fire Zimmer'

    , @Ganderson
    @Fred C Dobbs

    Double comment, sorry

    Replies: @kaganovitch

  41. @JMcG
    I had season tickets for the Phillies for a few years until the strike in ‘94. Their 93 NL Championship season was a ton of fun to follow for a young man. The strike killed my interest in baseball and started my dissociation from professional sports entirely. A pox on all their houses was my attitude then and it remains so today. I can’t imagine spending any of my rapidly dwindling minutes watching grown men play children’s games.

    Replies: @Ron Mexico

    The 93 Phillies, I envy you. The most entertaining team in my lifetime. Curt Schilling deserves a spot in The Hall.

    • Agree: JMcG
  42. A big part of the appeal of the NFL is the relative parity between teams. I grew up in a hardcore NFL fan extended family with retired NFL player relatives that I watched games with and that is one of the thing hardcore NFL fans will never shut up about. It’s why those fans will watch so many games, they feel most games are competitive enough to be interesting. Every fan gets a turn to have a good team once in a while, except Detroit Lions fans. The relative parity of the teams makes strategy and coaching more relevant. Play calls don’t matter when the Yankees are up 11-2 against the Brewers again. Brewers games were always the cheapest Yankee’s tickets too.

    Once, in the late 80’s, I got bleacher seats to a Saturday afternoon Brewer’s game. The infamous bleacher creatures forced a Brewers fan in a Brewer’s shirt to change into a drunk Yankees fan’s t-shirt. The Yankee fan who donated the t-shirt went shirtless there after, as did many of the bleacher’s regulars. Budweisers and Marlboro reds were consumed at a furious pace. Denizens of the bleachers unveiled a large bed sheet and spray paint banner proclaiming “Steinbrenner must go.” The atmosphere became very tense. A phalanx of dozens security goons entered the cage like bleacher area and escorted the banner holders out as the crowd shouted curses them and Steinbrenner.

    If you did not live through NYC in the 1980’s, you have never truly lived.

  43. @Fred C Dobbs
    @Ganderson

    1. Re-tractable.
    2. No, but perhaps an acolyte. My first impression was "Ohhhh..so that's where they park the 747s for maintenance!"

    Less jarring than US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings. Supposedly it was to invoke a traditional "Viking raiding ship" of 1000 years ago. I think it looks like a Geometry midterm from Hell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Bank_Stadium#/media/File:U.S._Bank_Stadium.jpg

    Replies: @ganderson, @ganderson, @Ganderson

    You are correct about US Bank Stadium. Have the brain trust that run the Vikings figured out that the team has not been back to “the big game” since moving indoors? Maybe they can bring Bud back after they fire Zimmer.

  44. @I, Libertine
    @Steve Sailer

    If you tune to middle a Yankees home game, you may get the impression that they draw like the Marlins. The seats behind home plate - visible from the center field camera now utilized for almost every pitch of every televised game in North America - are mostly empty. Then, when you get camera angles that let you see the crowd as whole, you'll see that they get plenty of paying customers -just not behind the plate.

    The reason is that these "Legend Seats" come with breathtaking prices. They are rarely sold on a single basis. The Yankees have one year plans, four year plans, ten year plans, etc. They cost on the order of $400 to $700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan. But food and soft drinks are free!

    The Yankees don't care - there's plenty of room elsewhere in the building for people of descending levels of affluence. An excuse one hears from them about this apparent emptiness is that many of the Legends buyers prefer to watch the game on the screen of a swanky restaurant reserved behind the seats for them. Sure.

    Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard, @james wilson, @kaganovitch

    I was amazed at the number of empty seats visible in last week’s Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants game in decent weather. The Eagles have a shot at the playoffs; the Giants are not good but not nearly as bad as the Jets and they won the game. I didn’t record what the stub hub prices were but there was a buttload of fifty-seventy dollar seats unused. If those seats aren’t sold general managers and whatnot get fired. I am sure they were sold. They probably are sold years in advance with thousands of people on the waiting list to get ripped off.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    @Emil Nikola Richard

    They probably are sold years in advance with 1000's of people on the waiting list to get ripped off

    Not only are they all sold in season ticket packages, the buyers are paying thousands in seat license fees for the privilege of getting hosed.

    Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard

  45. @Fred C Dobbs
    @Ganderson

    1. Re-tractable.
    2. No, but perhaps an acolyte. My first impression was "Ohhhh..so that's where they park the 747s for maintenance!"

    Less jarring than US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings. Supposedly it was to invoke a traditional "Viking raiding ship" of 1000 years ago. I think it looks like a Geometry midterm from Hell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Bank_Stadium#/media/File:U.S._Bank_Stadium.jpg

    Replies: @ganderson, @ganderson, @Ganderson

    US Bank Stadium (which, as you may remember, prevented the Twin Cities from becoming a “cold Omaha”) is indeed hideous- and only a short drive from the even uglier Frank Gehry designed Wiseman Art Museum at the ‘U’. Have the rocket scientists who run the Vikings seen that the club has not gone to the “big game” since they moved indoors? Maybe they can get Bud to come back after they fire Zimmer’

  46. @Pericles
    @Jim Christian

    I'm not Steve but my impression is the game stretches out when there are more hits and/or runs scored (logically enough). Pitching changes have recently been reduced by making each pitcher face at least three batters, I think. I'd say most games I've seen are between 3 and 4 hours. Though double headers are apparently seven innings now.

    Extra innings are beyond my patience. Even the gimmickry of putting batters on base after a while has not helped.

    Perhaps they should use the rule that the team that leads the game by 10, wins without playing out the rest. From what I've seen it doesn't affect all that many games though.

    Replies: @ganderson

    The 10-9 Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, the famous Bill Mazeroski game, was played in 2:36

    • Replies: @Pericles
    @ganderson

    It's not an exact theory, lol -- not even a regression as it happens. Counting the total number of pitches should at a guess yield a better estimate of game time, but I'll leave that investigation to the guys with the databases.

    NB: They have experimented a bit with a pitch clock too, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference.

  47. Anon[338] • Disclaimer says:
    @Fred C Dobbs
    @Steve Sailer

    "......the new Texas Rangers stadium...."

    My first response was "What? They already had a "new(er) stadium" followed by "ohh yeah....that's right." I'm not the fan I used to, obviously. I'm the kind of guy who thinks Petco is "pretty new" (it opened for the 2004 season).

    Off-hand I'd guess only Centennial Olympic Stadium/Turner Field had a (slightly) shorter lifespan, though that's pretty understandable - a Venn diagram union of "baseball fans" and "south-of-downtown Atlanta" would be a microscopic sliver, despite the bellyaching I've read at HuffPo, etc. on the topic.

    Replies: @Anon

    They built the new stadium because it was too damn hot at the old ballpark. I loved going to games there as long as it was the spring. After Memorial Day, first pitch temps would routinely be upper 90s, sometimes over 100 (hottest in MLB).

    They supposedly looked into adding a retractable roof on the old park, but the costs were not much lower than just building a new one.

    The old ballpark has been converted to a football stadium for local high school games (with the occasional college game mixed in).

  48. @I, Libertine
    @Steve Sailer

    If you tune to middle a Yankees home game, you may get the impression that they draw like the Marlins. The seats behind home plate - visible from the center field camera now utilized for almost every pitch of every televised game in North America - are mostly empty. Then, when you get camera angles that let you see the crowd as whole, you'll see that they get plenty of paying customers -just not behind the plate.

    The reason is that these "Legend Seats" come with breathtaking prices. They are rarely sold on a single basis. The Yankees have one year plans, four year plans, ten year plans, etc. They cost on the order of $400 to $700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan. But food and soft drinks are free!

    The Yankees don't care - there's plenty of room elsewhere in the building for people of descending levels of affluence. An excuse one hears from them about this apparent emptiness is that many of the Legends buyers prefer to watch the game on the screen of a swanky restaurant reserved behind the seats for them. Sure.

    Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard, @james wilson, @kaganovitch

    Those seats are sold to corporations and passed out to clients who don’t sit in them. Terrible optics.

  49. About never drinking water, there is something like that in one of Norman Maclean’s stories in the book with A River Runs Through It. At the end of a summer working at a USFS camp, he left early in the morning to make a long solo hike to town and was very proud of himself completing it in one day. At one point he stops to soak his feet in a stream, but he makes a point of not drinking water until he is done with the hike because that would be bad for him.

  50. .. restrictions owners have placed on themselves to keep each other from competing too hard.

    What is this trust-like, ownership collusion of which you write? Based on the free agent contract amounts recently announced, I don’t see owners cheaping-out.

    I’m absolutely LOVING how a few college football coaches, whose teams are contenders, have jumped ship. Talk about collision. Pay the players.

  51. World-wide soccer has a system that favors the big-market teams. Yet the popularity of the sport hasn’t suffered.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    @Half Canadian

    For Europe, much of this is due to the Bosman ruling, which "banned restrictions on foreign EU players within national leagues and allowed players in the EU to move to another club at the end of a contract without a transfer fee being paid."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosman_ruling

    Unfortunately, it has relegated most national leagues and clubs to something like AAA or AA status, i.e., serving as feeders to the big markets. The same goes for hockey but there the NHL instead provides the great sucking sound.

  52. @Bragadocious
    @Peter Akuleyev

    It wouldn't work because the average minor league park holds around 5000 to 10,000 people, far below MLB requirements. I guess in Britain, relegation works because there are no venue standards, which leads to facilities like this which would be ridiculous for a top-tier soccer league.

    https://www.wdsa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/PloughLane2.jpg

    Replies: @Half Canadian

    There would be a transition period that would be difficult, but at the end of the day, it would create more interesting motives in sports.
    Sports in Europe are very much capitalistic, while in the US, they are very socialist.

  53. @Fred C Dobbs
    @Ganderson

    1. Re-tractable.
    2. No, but perhaps an acolyte. My first impression was "Ohhhh..so that's where they park the 747s for maintenance!"

    Less jarring than US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings. Supposedly it was to invoke a traditional "Viking raiding ship" of 1000 years ago. I think it looks like a Geometry midterm from Hell.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Bank_Stadium#/media/File:U.S._Bank_Stadium.jpg

    Replies: @ganderson, @ganderson, @Ganderson

    Double comment, sorry

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    @Ganderson

    You dressed up in capitals to apologize. Yer a true gent gandy.

  54. All of pro sports has become nothing more than a vehicle for advertising, and more than that, a soap box for woke culture. Can’t wait till all of it is dead!
    “I was watching a Gillette ad on tv, and a football game broke out.”
    Former avid NFL, NHL, MLB fan, and played all three sports in high school. Love sports, hate “Pro.”

    • Agree: Tony massey
    • Disagree: Corvinus
    • Replies: @Mike_from_SGV
    @Vinnyvette

    Yeah with the rise of heavy advertising and the woke obsession/conquest, my interest in sports (or actually most institutions) is zero now.

  55. “Success in baseball has been pretty dispersed to big cities and small cities”

    You mean, “pretty much everywhere they have a baseball team”?

    Whatever. I’d say it depends on who takes more steroids and who the bookies decide must win.

  56. @ganderson
    @Pericles

    The 10-9 Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, the famous Bill Mazeroski game, was played in 2:36

    Replies: @Pericles

    It’s not an exact theory, lol — not even a regression as it happens. Counting the total number of pitches should at a guess yield a better estimate of game time, but I’ll leave that investigation to the guys with the databases.

    NB: They have experimented a bit with a pitch clock too, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.

  57. @Half Canadian
    World-wide soccer has a system that favors the big-market teams. Yet the popularity of the sport hasn't suffered.

    Replies: @Pericles

    For Europe, much of this is due to the Bosman ruling, which “banned restrictions on foreign EU players within national leagues and allowed players in the EU to move to another club at the end of a contract without a transfer fee being paid.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosman_ruling

    Unfortunately, it has relegated most national leagues and clubs to something like AAA or AA status, i.e., serving as feeders to the big markets. The same goes for hockey but there the NHL instead provides the great sucking sound.

  58. @I, Libertine
    @Steve Sailer

    If you tune to middle a Yankees home game, you may get the impression that they draw like the Marlins. The seats behind home plate - visible from the center field camera now utilized for almost every pitch of every televised game in North America - are mostly empty. Then, when you get camera angles that let you see the crowd as whole, you'll see that they get plenty of paying customers -just not behind the plate.

    The reason is that these "Legend Seats" come with breathtaking prices. They are rarely sold on a single basis. The Yankees have one year plans, four year plans, ten year plans, etc. They cost on the order of $400 to $700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan. But food and soft drinks are free!

    The Yankees don't care - there's plenty of room elsewhere in the building for people of descending levels of affluence. An excuse one hears from them about this apparent emptiness is that many of the Legends buyers prefer to watch the game on the screen of a swanky restaurant reserved behind the seats for them. Sure.

    Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard, @james wilson, @kaganovitch

    They cost on the order of \$400 to \$700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan.

    Even though the fix is in for the Yankees, they don’t get to play all their games at home. They only get 81 home games same as fly-over folk.

    • Replies: @I, Libertine
    @kaganovitch

    OOPS!

  59. @Ganderson
    @Fred C Dobbs

    Double comment, sorry

    Replies: @kaganovitch

    You dressed up in capitals to apologize. Yer a true gent gandy.

  60. @Emil Nikola Richard
    @I, Libertine

    I was amazed at the number of empty seats visible in last week's Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants game in decent weather. The Eagles have a shot at the playoffs; the Giants are not good but not nearly as bad as the Jets and they won the game. I didn't record what the stub hub prices were but there was a buttload of fifty-seventy dollar seats unused. If those seats aren't sold general managers and whatnot get fired. I am sure they were sold. They probably are sold years in advance with thousands of people on the waiting list to get ripped off.

    Replies: @kaganovitch

    They probably are sold years in advance with 1000’s of people on the waiting list to get ripped off

    Not only are they all sold in season ticket packages, the buyers are paying thousands in seat license fees for the privilege of getting hosed.

    • Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard
    @kaganovitch

    I looked at the vivid seats prices for this Sunday.

    41$ for Eagles at Jets
    25$ for Chargers at Bengals
    131$ for Redskins WFT at Las Vegas Raiders
    8$ for Colts at Texans

    39 degrees at kickoff in Cincinnati so you need to dress like an Eskimo but it should be a very good game with two playoff-type teams needing a win. The others provided for cosmic relief.

  61. @kaganovitch
    @I, Libertine

    They cost on the order of $400 to $700 per seat, per game, times 162, times the number of years of your plan.

    Even though the fix is in for the Yankees, they don't get to play all their games at home. They only get 81 home games same as fly-over folk.

    Replies: @I, Libertine

    OOPS!

  62. @Ron Mexico
    @ScarletNumber

    My impression is that the NFL doesn't care if the Detroit Lions are successful or not.

    Replies: @Joe Joe

    why should the NFL care about the Lions when even the Lions don’t seem to care about the Lions, LOL

    • Agree: Ron Mexico
  63. @Vinnyvette
    All of pro sports has become nothing more than a vehicle for advertising, and more than that, a soap box for woke culture. Can't wait till all of it is dead!
    "I was watching a Gillette ad on tv, and a football game broke out."
    Former avid NFL, NHL, MLB fan, and played all three sports in high school. Love sports, hate "Pro."

    Replies: @Mike_from_SGV

    Yeah with the rise of heavy advertising and the woke obsession/conquest, my interest in sports (or actually most institutions) is zero now.

  64. @kaganovitch
    @Emil Nikola Richard

    They probably are sold years in advance with 1000's of people on the waiting list to get ripped off

    Not only are they all sold in season ticket packages, the buyers are paying thousands in seat license fees for the privilege of getting hosed.

    Replies: @Emil Nikola Richard

    I looked at the vivid seats prices for this Sunday.

    41\$ for Eagles at Jets
    25\$ for Chargers at Bengals
    131\$ for Redskins WFT at Las Vegas Raiders
    8\$ for Colts at Texans

    39 degrees at kickoff in Cincinnati so you need to dress like an Eskimo but it should be a very good game with two playoff-type teams needing a win. The others provided for cosmic relief.

  65. I can’t wish enough disaster on MLB. It has been destroyed as a competitive sport as far as I am concerned. Let me put it this way; Matt Scherzer just signed a \$130 million 3 year contract that’s about \$43 million a year; now the Pirates payroll for the entire team is less than that. The Dodgers invest \$20 million a year to beat the bushes to find “sleeper” or “hidden” or “longshot” players that MIGHT pan out. The Pirates’ owner doesn’t care about baseball; doesn’t care if he wins a single game; he’s satisfied to cash his welfare check he gets from the rich teams – and the Yankees et al bitch about this. If he could get away with it he’d hire college level players and cut the payroll in half; he changes management every few years and bleats he wants to win; this is like a 5’5″ 135 lb boxer saying he WANTS to win against Mike Tyson; an ugly joke. The Pirates franchise was \$X hundred million when he bought it now valued at more than \$1 billion – I don’t know why but he would make a nice profit if he sold the team. I’ve often tried to get interest in moving the team to Washington, Pa and renaming it to The Generals, an apt name for this club, but no one likes this idea.

  66. Bring back the reserve clause.

    • Replies: @Tony massey
    @Malcolm Y

    goddamn you really are fucking stupid aren't ya?
    Have you never heard of the great curt flood?
    I'm not even gonna bother.
    It's aholes like you that destroyed a beatiful man like mr flood.
    Fucking asshole.
    By 23 the buckos will have an all tranny starting rotation. Wait and see. Buncha fags.

  67. @Malcolm Y
    Bring back the reserve clause.

    Replies: @Tony massey

    goddamn you really are fucking stupid aren’t ya?
    Have you never heard of the great curt flood?
    I’m not even gonna bother.
    It’s aholes like you that destroyed a beatiful man like mr flood.
    Fucking asshole.
    By 23 the buckos will have an all tranny starting rotation. Wait and see. Buncha fags.

  68. @Jim Christian
    Steve, Shaunessy and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe insist baseball's biggest problem is 'analytics baseball', with the endless pitcher changes (plus allowing batters to step out of the box to adjust gloves and spit and scratch their nuts after every pitch) producing 3.5-5 hour games which are driving young fans out because they simply will not watch baseball under current rules and protocols. Throw all THAT into the hopper with late night playoffs and World Series games their seed corn, young non-fans have no interest.

    During their lockout, seems to me, having read about all this throughout the season and beyond, it would make sense for them to consider all this. One would think TV and advertisers would consider this too because the length and sheer boredom of analytics applied to regular season games make the broadcast an excruciating morass of commercials no one not brain dead can sit through. That is, no one is watching their commercials. I can reliably hit a Redsox game 3 hours in, first view, and catch innings 7-9. And even THAT is excruciating. And with all this, the biggest issue is a lockout?

    Steve, you're a baseball fan. Thoughts?

    Replies: @Pericles, @Hernan Pizzaro del Blanco

    Agree. The problem with baseball is the pace of play combined with far fewer balls in play.

    Back in 2005 MLB recorded 45,000 hits and 30,000 Strikeouts. In 2019 there were just 40,000 hits and 42,000 strikeouts making baseball difficult to watch as the games have also gotten longer with less action since 25% of plate appearances now end with the batter striking out.

    They need to shorten the time between pitches , eliminate the shift and deaden the ball further.

  69. @Chriscom
    It's a crime that the great historic franchise of the Pittsburgh Pirates, playing in one of the top three ballparks in MLB, has an owner with zero interest in building a championship team. In a sports-crazed town no less!

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Brutusale

    That sports-crazed town which just saw the owner of the Boston Red \$ox buy its hockey team with the loose change from his desk drawer?

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
    @Brutusale

    Actually John Henry, owner of the Redsox, bought the Boston-hated Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, not the Bruins. Fans around here don't seem thrilled.

  70. @Brutusale
    @Chriscom

    That sports-crazed town which just saw the owner of the Boston Red $ox buy its hockey team with the loose change from his desk drawer?

    Replies: @Jim Christian

    Actually John Henry, owner of the Redsox, bought the Boston-hated Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team, not the Bruins. Fans around here don’t seem thrilled.

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