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Neil deMause
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Neil deMause
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It occurs to me that there's a further imbalance in the risk equation for teams vs. players: Where a team can have some confidence that any mistakes will average out over time - if you sign five rookies to cheap long-term deals and one is a washout, the savings on the other four pay for what you waste on that guy - Matt Moore can't play the same game, because he only has one life to live. All the more reason to expect more of these deals in the future. Anyway, great article, and has definitely given me lots to think about. (And reminded me that I need to read more behavioral economics.)

 
Neil deMause
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That's the one. Now if only Fred Wilpon's memory is as good as ours, since those who forget the past are condemned to repeat the Doug Flynn Era.

May 28, 2011 2:39 PM on How the Mets Were Lost
 
Neil deMause
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Precisely. The Mets don't have a ton of talent in the minors, so for them, Reyes/Wright/Davis/et al (okay, not really much et al - Josh Thole?) are whatever future they're going to have. If you could trade Reyes for a Mark Teixeira-type haul, maybe it'd be worth considering, but 1) Reyes isn't that kind of player, and 2) Teixeira still had a year and a half to go on his contract when the Braves dealt for him, not just four months. Who was it at BP who did that article showing that teams almost never get equal value back when trading established stars? I want to say it was last year sometime, but given how my memory works, it was probably in 2005.

May 26, 2011 11:17 AM on How the Mets Were Lost
 
Neil deMause
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Interesting. That's a different Wall Street guy from the initial batch of candidates: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/03/who_wants_to_be_3.php The whole "running out of money" thing has always been a bit ridiculous - between the Mets and SNY, Wilpon and Katz control a business worth well over a billion dollars, so they're going to be able to raise cash if they need it. So if liquidity isn't an issue, there's no need for a fire sale - unless you think the team needs to be blown up and started over, which would be a more reasonable argument if the Mets had the Royals' farm system.

May 26, 2011 11:09 AM on How the Mets Were Lost
 
Neil deMause
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All those little number keys look so much alike ... thanks for the correction, now fixed.

May 26, 2011 11:03 AM on How the Mets Were Lost
 
Neil deMause
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They topped out at 5th in the NL (out of 12) in the Stargell years, and 6th in the NL (out of 12) in the Bonds years. Not great, but not awful, either, given that Pittsburgh is one of MLB's tiniest markets.

 
Neil deMause
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My favorite card in my possession remains the 1964 Phillies rookie card that says of now-forgotten prospect Dave Bennett: "The 19-year-old righthanded curveballer is just 18 years old!"

 
Neil deMause
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Part of the goal of having both Ben and R.J. doing Transaction Analysis posts is to get both the depth and the comprehensiveness (comprehension? comprehensivity?) that Christina, in her single-mindedness, excelled at. (Though even Christina let plenty of transactions go without comment.) So the weekly roundup will be more highlights, and the blog posts should fill in the gaps. We're definitely going to keep working on making sure moves don't fall through the cracks, though. If somebody wants to volunteer to write a Perl script that will turn MLB's daily transaction reports into something like standard English, that'd be a start...

 
Neil deMause
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Good catch, thanks!

Apr 25, 2011 8:56 PM on Waiting in the Wings
 
Neil deMause
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I would be the way under on 5% annual salary inflation over the next ten years. That's not the direction either the baseball industry or the overall economy looks to be headed.

 
Neil deMause
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I wrote a whole chapter about this in "Baseball Between the Numbers," but: a salary cap would *not* affect ticket prices in the least. Both historical and theoretical evidence shows that teams set ticket prices in an attempt to maximize revenue; player payroll, being a fixed cost relative to ticket sales, doesn't factor into it at all.

 
Neil deMause
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They still want to fill the stadium so they can sell them those $12.50 beers, though, especially since they own their own concessions. Which is, I'm sure, why they do the Modell's deal and the like.

 
Neil deMause
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I haven't done a marketing survey or anything, but I think one thing teams are learning from StubHub is that there is a *huge* disparity between what the market will bear for a good game and for a bad game. For generations, teams have charged more or less the same price regardless of opponent, time of year, time of week, etc., but it turns out that people (enough people to fill a stadium, anyway) will pay through the nose to see a Yankees-Mets game or a Red Sox-anybody game, but wouldn't take tickets to a meaningless September weeknight matchup even if you paid them. The problem, as you rightly note, Peter, is that letting the market set prices means only people with money to burn can go to good games, while those of us on budgets can only see crappy teams at crappy times. I'm not entirely sure that's a good direction to be headed in.

 
Neil deMause
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I'll try to dig up a New York mayoral reference. Maybe the one who, after an undistinguished term in office, died when he fell out of his World War I airplane when he forgot to fasten his seatbelt.

 
Neil deMause
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The tech department are all Red Sox fans, and they can't bear to look at 2011? At the risk of sounding like a corporate drone: this is being looked into. More news as it becomes available.

Apr 08, 2011 9:08 AM on 4/4-4/8
 
Neil deMause
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Looks like Phillips was sent to the Reds (for a single-A reliever) because he was out of options and Cleveland needed room on the roster for Ramon Vazquez: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4964#CLE http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2400878

Apr 07, 2011 6:58 AM on Rule 5 Roulette
 
Neil deMause
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Nope - Brandon Knight, Brandon Weeden, and Brandon Powell (twice!), but no Brandon Phillips.

Apr 07, 2011 6:47 AM on Rule 5 Roulette
 
Neil deMause
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We live to serve: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/sports/baseball/02mets.html (Bonilla bit is on page 2.)

Apr 06, 2011 2:13 PM on The Mets' Sunk Costs
 
Neil deMause
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Player contracts don't count toward allowable team debt (Selig tried to decree it otherwise years back, but was slapped down by the union), so Ricketts' debt shouldn't make a difference there. The same calculus, then, works for the Cubs as for the Cardinals: If Ricketts can sell more tickets (or, more likely, jack up Wrigley prices even more) with Pujols on the team than without him, then his contract pays for itself. If not, Tom's dad has a billion dollars in assets, so running a bit of red ink isn't going to break the bank. As for being stuck with Pujols in his dotage, yeah, it's a risk. Though $30 million a year may not sound like all that much by the year 2020, assuming the economy manages to recover by then. I'd rather have the certainty of the universe's best player now, in exchange for some future debt, than whatever benefit you'd get from throwing $10 million apiece at three role players.

 
Neil deMause
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Transaction Analysis will absolutely, positively continue on a regular basis. It won't be exactly the same TA as when Christina wrote it - because nobody writes quite like Christina - but if all goes according to plan, it will be great in new and different ways. And rest assured that TA 2.0 will remain focused on stories, not dry data dumps. I'm sure Steve will have more to say once he's done appearing on a live Japanese middle-of-the-night TV quiz show (also not an April Fools joke), but consider this your first official "Don't Panic!" notice.

Apr 01, 2011 8:30 AM on A New Delivery
 
Neil deMause
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Not mine. :)

Mar 31, 2011 8:58 AM on Staff Picks for 2011
 
Neil deMause
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That was covered in happy spring news installment #1: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13314

Mar 25, 2011 2:45 PM on Spring Surprises
 
Neil deMause
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I'm pretty sure Ozzie has more range than Carlos at this point.

Mar 21, 2011 10:19 AM on Donnie Manager
 
Neil deMause
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Okay, this sounds like it's likely a permissions problem, then. Hang tight, everybody, while we scramble the tech team.

Mar 21, 2011 10:12 AM on Player Card Updates
 
Neil deMause
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Bizarre, since they show up for me (in Firefox and Safari, anyway - I don't have Chrome installed on this computer). Do you folks not see "2011 Forecast" at all, or is the first item beneath it the breakout/attrition/collapse data?

Mar 21, 2011 9:37 AM on Player Card Updates
 
Neil deMause
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Percentiles should all be there, under "2011 Forecast" if you scroll way down (or less way down if you click on the "PECOTA Only" tab first).

Mar 21, 2011 8:06 AM on Player Card Updates
 
Neil deMause
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Fair enough. I did consider "unleash a can of whoop-ass" instead of the Tahrir Square reference, but I was concerned that that would belittle the efforts of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Mar 21, 2011 5:17 AM on Blackout and Blue
 
Neil deMause
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Here's the Red Cross donation page for starters: http://bit.ly/redcrossdonations

 
Neil deMause
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You want payroll to correlate with wins - otherwise it'd mean that terrible players were paid as much as good ones, which I don't think anyone wants. It's possible Drew is referring to a study I did for Baseball Between the Numbers, where I found that *market size* doesn't correlate well with winning percentage. That was a few years ago, and clearly the continued Yanks-Sox success may skew the numbers a bit. On the other hand, there's the Mets.

 
Neil deMause
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Wolff wants a new stadium in the Bay Area, with all the privileges that would come with that. No point in having luxury boxes if there's no one to sell them to.

 
Neil deMause
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That's Jeff *Euston*, of course. Sorry, Jeff.

 
Neil deMause
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Logistical issues like this aside, the problem with a salary cap is that by keeping the Red Sox and Yankees (and Phillies and Angels and Mets, if you're going to do it right - note that Jeff Easton recently reported that the Phillies will pass the Red Sox in payroll this year) from being able to bid as much for free agents, you massively depress the free-agent market, lowering salaries. The players union knows this, which is why they don't want anything to do with a cap, even if it comes with a floor. The only leagues that have a cap and floor are the ones where they're tied to a percentage of revenues, and then you end up with giant battles over what the percentage should be every time it's contract season. (See: Current NBA and NFL lockout threats.) And it's still no guarantee of parity - how many teams have genuinely competed for an NBA title the last 20 years, compared to MLB?

 
Neil deMause
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Sacramento is a smallish market (20th), doesn't have a strong corporate presence, and isn't that easy a drive for anyone south of, say, El Cerrito. Oh, and there's no stadium there. I think they'd be better off staying put at the Coliseum, frankly.

 
Neil deMause
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Whoops, posted the reply above before seeing this. Great minds...

 
Neil deMause
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One thing that came up for me when writing this article was "What's the optimum number of MLB teams?" And I have to say, 30 looks just about right, judging from the franchise values - there's really nothing separating the Rays, A's, Pirates, Reds and a bunch of other teams from a revenue or market size perspective, so might as well keep them all. I mean, really the ideal would be to add two more teams in New York City to slice that market into more appropriate sizes and deal with Yankees dominance in spending that way. But we all know that ain't happening unless the other MLB owners declare civil war against Hank. (More on that next column.)

 
Neil deMause
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Everything I know about modes of production economic development theory I learned during a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway in 1986. Everything I know about "I Like To Move It Move It" I learned at Citi Field last summer.

 
Neil deMause
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Also worth noting: The $31 million in renovations were paid for by the city of Sarasota, after the Orioles demanded them as the cost of staying in Florida (and relocating from Fort Lauderdale). And the renovated Ed Smith got federal stimulus money as well, so if the Orioles really do somehow win the World Series as a result of snazzier spring training digs, maybe you and I and everyone reading this can ask for a sliver of a ring.

Mar 02, 2011 5:19 PM on The Orioles' New Digs
 
Neil deMause
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That's so crazy it just might work! The TV networks would flip, though. If they can't even handle three LDS games on the same day, having potentially four wild-card games in one day, with the only ones guaranteed to happen being the afternoon ones ... the streets of Atlanta would run red with blood.

 
Neil deMause
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Yeah, the script that puts in all those beautiful automatic links from players' names to their PECOTA cards gets a bit overly enthusiastic when it comes to spaces sometimes. The tech team is working on it (or will be once PECOTA season is over), but in the meantime we'll try to be hypervigilant to avoid any further references to B.J. Uptontook. (Who is, incidentally, my favorite hobbit.)

Feb 25, 2011 10:49 AM on Springing for Surgery
 
Neil deMause
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Just realized I neglected to note Steinbrenner's impressive achievement of complaining that his players have too many mansions while simultaneously warning that communism is at the gates: http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/yankeesblog/hank_tweaks_derek_over_yankees_captain_yWN0Zfbn4fAqeqLLcSiIoI

 
Neil deMause
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As a former New York Liberty season ticket holder, I mean no disrespect to my 11 fellow WNBA fans. And agreed about the off days being a huge problem, but as other commenters note further down, this is what the TV networks wanted in exchange for throwing sackfuls of cash at MLB. I'm not holding my breath for any playoff change that involves MLB turning away money.

 
Neil deMause
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Yes, sorry if this was unclear: All the tables and such are designed to show whether burning your ace would affect *a* wild card team's chance of making it to the next round. Obviously if there's a one-game playoff to decide who's the Wild Card Winner, then each team involved has a lesser chance of making it.

 
Neil deMause
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My sense, just from reading Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, is that concussions are taken less seriously in the NFL because if you pulled a player every time you thought he was concussed, you'd run out of linemen by halftime. Would love to hear Corey's thoughts someday on the "Should football be legal?" question, but that's probably outside the scope of this discussion thread.

Feb 21, 2011 4:36 PM on The Injury Beat Goes On
 
Neil deMause
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Great comment, and one I can very much relate to. Sometimes when I'm trying to explain the attraction of baseball to someone who thinks it's "boring," I explain that what really keeps me interested is the soap opera aspect of it all - the rich history, and all the little niggling details that let you spot a back-of-the-bullpen guy come in in the 7th inning of some meaningless game and say, "Hey, didn't we see him give up three home runs in one inning for Seattle once?" This is one of the reasons the insanely loud music at modern stadiums drives me up the wall: I go to ballgames not just to watch baseball but to talk about baseball (and, on at least one occasion, modes-of-production economic development theory), and it's really hard to do that while shouting over heavy-metal guitar riffs.

 
Neil deMause
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Something that just occurred to me: Is there reality show fanfic? That seems like it would be a direct comp for baseball fanfic in terms of being about real people, but without the "we don't think about them that way" aspect. I wonder if 1) it exists and 2) people would have the same reaction to it. (Now I'm too scared to actually Google "Tom Colicchio/Anthony Bourdain"...)

Feb 12, 2011 6:59 AM on Slash Lines
 
Neil deMause
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Kevin covered this last year - the reason for the ban is the problem of what to do when your part-owner is later traded to another team: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10316 (Especially prescient intro on that article, btw...)

 
Neil deMause
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Yeah, I wasn't able to dig this up before my deadline, but I'll work on finding it. Maybe I can do a blog post followup.

 
Neil deMause
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D'oh, you're right. Fixed.

 
Neil deMause
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They blunt it a bit (a small bit - even the whole Yankees grounds crew makes a small fraction of Derek Jeter's salary) in terms of total profit, but not in terms of marginal revenue. The Yankees don't have to hire more doctors and groundskeepers when they sign a free agent, so those can be treated as fixed costs with regard to how much they'll offer for player salaries.

 
Neil deMause
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Keep in mind that these are weighted means - in real life, there are inevitably going to be outliers who do better because they exceed their forecasts. So saying "PECOTA thinks only one player is going to hit 40 homers" is a bit like saying "PECOTA thinks everyone is only going to roll sevens at the craps table."

Feb 07, 2011 6:06 AM on They're Here!
 
Neil deMause
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Or just click on "have fun, folks" at the end of the article.

Feb 07, 2011 6:03 AM on They're Here!
 
Neil deMause
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ScottyB jumped in - I was responding to Jesse. I really don't see what keeping the savings from the expiring contracts would get the Wilpons - even if they haven't sold by next winter, $60m isn't going to save them if they do lose the lawsuit - but I realize these kinds of decisions often aren't rational.

Feb 06, 2011 7:05 PM on Meet the Mess
 
Neil deMause
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I agree with you, but I really doubt that the Mets' offseason moves (or lack thereof) have much to do with the Madoff situation. It's more about the Ollie Perez/Beltran/Reyes/Castillo situation. Once some of those big contracts come off the books, the Wilpons will be more willing to open their wallets again. (And yes, I've advocated in the past that teams should just treat salaries like that as sunk costs and move on, figuring that signing a genuinely good player will pay off in increased ticket sales, playoff money, etc. But it's pretty clear by now that most owners can't think beyond "I'm picking a payroll number, and that's how much money my GM has to spend, for good or ill.")

Feb 06, 2011 11:53 AM on Meet the Mess
 
Neil deMause
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I guess I'm making a distinction here between damage to the Mets franchise and damage to the Mets ownership. The Wilpons' name is going to be mud, no doubt, but if a sale happens relatively quickly after the lawsuit is resolved (whenever that is), then the new owners could very quickly absolve themselves of the Madoff stench and be anointed saviors of the Mets by the New York media. I don't see a scenario, in other words, where the Mets have to trade David Wright or something in order to make payroll. There's no crisis until the lawsuit is resolved, and once that happens, they have to sell in relatively short order. So there's less risk of a drawn-out McCourt-style doldrums, anyway.

Feb 06, 2011 10:17 AM on Meet the Mess
 
Neil deMause
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That's not the fault of the A's budget, though: Matsui's costing double what Manny's getting from the Rays. Billy Beane just got outsmarted by Friedman, as Christina alluded to yesterday.

 
Neil deMause
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Who drives from Hoboken to Hartford? I will agree, though, with the implicit point that New Jersey would make sense as an MLB site, in part because of the Hudson River. That's another territorial rights issue that Selig ain't gonna touch with a 40-foot pole, though.

 
Neil deMause
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Because its post-Katrina market size is smaller than Albuquerque?

 
Neil deMause
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The UNLV stadium would be football, not baseball.

 
Neil deMause
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Not compared to the Bay Area. There are about a dozen ways to get across the Hudson (bridges, tunnels, trains, ferries), compared to what, four to get across the Bay?

 
Neil deMause
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Ever feels even longer when you're listening to Don Sutton.

Oct 14, 2010 5:03 PM on The Glavine Line
 
Neil deMause
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Actually, the Metrodome paid for itself, thanks to that horrid lease that actually made the Twins and Vikings pay rent. So Target Field is the first field that Minnesotans can judge on a "for their tax dollar" basis. What I want to know, Jay, is did you make it up to the upper deck? On TV it looks crazy high, certainly compared to the Metrodome. And as a Fake Yankee Stadium ticket plan holder, you should be a connoisseur of high by now, so interested in your take.

Aug 25, 2010 1:53 PM on A Trip to Target Field
 
Neil deMause
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I think you undermine your own argument a bit, Steven: You say Steinbrenner "could have been richer than Croesus" if he'd skimmed more off the top, but as you rightly note, he realized that in NYC with its potential for crazy-ass cable deals and the like, there were untold riches to be gained by building a winning team and brand. A lot of his pouring money into the team (to both smart and dumb ends) was about the market he played in as much as his personality. Also, if wanting to win at all costs makes Steinbrenner our greatest baseball owner, does that make Nixon our greatest president?

 
Neil deMause
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Are there any heads to knock here? It seems like MLB just needs to wait things out here - the judge didn't say the Greenberg group can't get the team even if it's bid isn't the highest, he just said an impartial administrator needs to make that decision. It seems like the Phoenix Coyotes scenario looks pretty likely: This will drag on and on in court, but eventually the league will get to do what they want.

 
Neil deMause
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You know, the Rays don't actually have that bad attendance. They're 23rd out of 30 teams, averaging 22,301 per game; the MLB median is 26,863. The teams right around them include San Diego (23,393/game, leading division, new stadium) and Cincinnati (21,965/game, one game out of first, new stadium). I'm sure some fans are kept away because they hate domes or because St. Pete is on the wrong side of the bay for them, but mostly, the Rays' problem is that they play in a smallish market. That'd be true if they played in Tampa, in a new open-air stadium in St. Pete, in Charlotte, in a house or with a mouse. I can see why Sternberg wants a new stadium, especially if he's not the one who'd have to pay for it, but there's zero evidence that it would suddenly lead to eternal sellouts.

 
Neil deMause
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Nothing new since the Jays bought SkyDome. Though if the fans keep showing up disguised as empty seats, I expect that'll change. So is SkyDome really that irredeemable? I haven't actually been to a game there (I peeked at the field from the Hard Rock Cafe once), but I find it pretty hard to believe that the first stadium to draw 4 million fans in a season is considered unacceptable for baseball less than 20 years later.

 
Neil deMause
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Possibly - I guess HOK did the renovation of Anaheim Stadium and Kauffman Stadium, so they might be actively looking for more work along those lines. I expect that what's going to be driving this is the search for new revenues by low-attendance teams, though, more than any HOK sales pitches.

 
Neil deMause
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The warehouse is a pretty awesome backdrop, and makes a trip to Camden Yards worthwhile IMHO. But it's hard to credit that to the stadium design (though props to Larry Lucchino for fighting to have the building preserved).

 
Neil deMause
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Also keep in mind that a lot of 2009 ticket purchases came during the previous offseason, when the full effects of the economic crash weren't clear yet. More than that, though, there a kind of snowball effect that can keep attendance dropping even after the proximate impetus is reduced. Think of what happened after the Indians had that record sellout run: Once they stopped selling out every game, fans realized that they didn't have to rush to buy tickets in January. Which meant even fewer people buying tickets, which meant fans waited until game time to make purchase decisions even more, etc. Soon enough, you're last in the league in attendance. I expect you're seeing some of the same lag in overall baseball attendance this year. It's not even so much that ticket prices are coming home to roost; it's ticket prices combined with "screw it, if I really want to go to a game I can find tickets cheap on StubHub."

 
Neil deMause
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My son and I were at a Mets-Nats game last May where instant replay was invoked (on a Gary Sheffield HR, IIRC). A few days later, he was playing pretend baseball with his stuffed animals when he sent a bunch of them under the sofa to debate a home run call. (I believe Froggy's round-tripper was upheld.)

Apr 11, 2010 7:52 PM on Nats at Mets
 
Neil deMause
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Ugh, sorry, typing too fast. Fixed now.

 
Neil deMause
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"Slightly"? Crap, I'm off my game...

 
Neil deMause
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I think you'd definitely cultivate a new block of A's fans in San Jose. The question is whether it would be enough to offset the East Bay fans who would give up on baseball, plus pay for both a new stadium and some real players for the A's. It's not a zero-sum game, but it is a limited-sum game. It's certainly conceivable that San Jose is now a rich enough bauble to make everybody come out happy, but I suspect if that were the case, we wouldn't need this task force.

 
Neil deMause
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I suspect you're right that there are more Yankees fans in NJ than Mets, but the Mets also have a more tenuous fan base right now - the Yankees could sell out 50,000 tickets a game even if they restricted ticket sales to residents of Connecticut. So I think they both would have reason to worry. The angle I'm interested in down the road is that I'm pretty sure (Steven, jump in and correct me if I'm wrong) that YES has way more market penetration than SNY in Jersey. And 5-7 years from now, I pretty much expect cable to be a non-entity when it comes to revenue, since most everything will be shifting to Internet streams. If that happens, suddenly the value of holding Jersey against the barbarian hordes could look much less important.

 
Neil deMause
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There are all kinds of ways to slice up the revenues, but the fact remains that adding in San Jose doesn't grow the overall pie that much. Certainly not enough to 1) get the A's out of the revenue doldrums and 2) build a stadium without significant public help, which is what Lew Wolff is promising San Jose he'll do. Sacramento is too far north to be a consideration. When your best hope is that a few fans from Richmond and Hercules might drive to your stadium instead of BARTing to SF, you're in trouble.

 
Neil deMause
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Well, Willie is almost 80 years old. Ty Cobb>

 
Neil deMause
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Finally a song I remember: "True Colors." Though mostly because it's splashed all over the 1986 Mets World Series highlight film. My son is still puzzled by the fact that that's the same person who sang the "Peewee's Playhouse" theme. "I Just Called To Say I Love You," meanwhile, is famous in baseball circles as the song that Grandmaster Melle Mel used for his Stevie Wonder impression in the Yankee Stadium bleachers in the mid-'80s. (Okay, in certain baseball circles.)

 
Neil deMause
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Don't feel bad, Steve - the only one of your chart-toppers I can even place is "Red Red Wine." But then, the last time I listened to commercial radio was during the first Cito Gaston administration.

Feb 18, 2010 11:01 AM on Get Back in Line, Part 1
 
Neil deMause
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I did too!

Feb 13, 2010 5:54 AM on Interleague Time
 
Neil deMause
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The minute there's a Curling Prospectus, I'm so there.

Feb 12, 2010 2:51 PM on Interleague Time
 
Neil deMause
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"Umpires more willing to rule the batter made no effort to avoid the pitch plus better protective equipment for both the batters and the pitchers?" I vote yes. If my six-year-old son can understand this rule (it gets called against me all the time in wiffle ball), I'd think major leaguers could wrap their brains around it. I'd love to hear from some MLB umps as to why they don't call this more often. Especially guys who've been around long enough to remember when it was otherwise.

Feb 07, 2010 8:59 AM on NL Moves
 
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If PECOTA is right and Jason Bay (258/.360/.475) is really outhit by Jose Reyes (.298/.367/.468), I think you'll see Omar Minaya buried under the new Meadowlands stadium.

Jan 28, 2010 5:50 PM on May 28-29, 2002
 
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And to think that when Charlie Brown tried to hold a charity baseball game to benefit stomach aches, they laughed at him.

Jan 18, 2010 6:04 PM on Enhanced?
 
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"Indemnification" meaning buying off the Giants. And if bond payments are back-loaded (or Wolff pays a chunk of the costs in cash up-front), that still doesn't change the basic calculus: Over the next three decades the A's would likely need to average $40-50m a year over what they'd be bringing in in Oakland, or a San Jose move doesn't make sense. Unless you think Wolff is more after this to raise his profile in San Jose and create more development opportunities there, in which case break-even or a small loss might be enough for him. Still, it looks like a pretty risky move.

Sep 08, 2009 12:00 PM on Setting the Roster
 
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That makes sense in the abstract, but given that San Mateo County has a lot more money than Alameda, I'm not sure the Giants would go for it. Anyway, owning "territory" isn't really the main point - the thing the Giants are going to argue is that a San Jose team would cut into their revenue base, and you know Selig's going to consider that in deciding any payoffs. The real question at the end of the day is: Can South Bay + SF grow the overall pie enough from East Bay + SF to pay for a new stadium, and leave enough left over for the A's to have a real payroll? If yes, they can find a way to shuffle the money around so everyone's happy. If not, it's going to be tough.

Sep 08, 2009 11:53 AM on Setting the Roster
 
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It's been a while since I looked at this, so Shawn may know more, but: I believe the payouts don't reduce until they kick over the line from "low revenue" to "high revenue." So as long as a team doesn't hit that "benefits cliff," their marginal tax rate is still just 31%. For more, see: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5680

Aug 14, 2009 7:08 AM on March 4-17
 
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The idea was to keep the part that was a leftover of Navin Field, the original form of the stadium from 1912 till the 1930s. Aside from some bleachers down the lines that were replaced by the 1930s grandstand, all of that was still intact until Friday. As for what the plans call for, the official plan is "Maybe once it's leveled, a developer will show some interest."

Jun 09, 2009 6:11 AM on Contraction Inaction
 
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John K. King Used Books is well worth a visit to downtown Detroit - easily the Tiger Stadium of used bookstores. After that... um, you can point and laugh at the People Mover?

Jun 08, 2009 9:53 PM on Getting Positive
 
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And that's the ballgame: http://detnews.com/article/20090608/METRO/906080377/Judge-paves-way-for-Tiger-Stadium-demolition There's a faint chance of an appeal, or of the mayor riding to the rescue. But given that there's been a backhoe sitting there licking its chops since Friday, I wouldn't hold out much hope.

Jun 08, 2009 8:47 AM on Contraction Inaction
 
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There are a few modern ballparks with outfield overhangs - Citi Field is another. But infield overhangs are all but extinct.

Jun 08, 2009 7:25 AM on Contraction Inaction
 
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The National Register doesn't confer any protection, sadly, though it does make buildings eligible for certain federal tax breaks for preservation. Anyway, what you're probably remembering is the state historic marker, which was still there in 1999, but was stolen several years later: http://www.michigan.gov/hal/0,1607,7-160-15479-144396--,00.html

 
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Video of a Conservancy member breaking through a construction fence to serve the restraining order (and of a backhoe taking a few chunks out of the upper deck before he got there): http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/090605_tiger_stadium

 
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When I called Bing's office today to ask if he had any intention of intervening, I was told, "The decision on Tiger Stadium was made two administrations ago, and we've only been here three weeks." It sounded like they wanted to stay as far away from the issue as possible, and let the DEGC take any of the heat.

 
Neil deMause
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At one point I counted seven different teams that had threatened to move to Tampa Bay at one point or another to jump-start stadium deals at home: White Sox, Giants, Twins, Indians... Astros? Mariners? Somebody help me out here. As for how serious any of them were, Jerry Reinsdorf probably summed it up best when he later explained his last-minute trip to the Trop before an Illinois legislative vote: "A savvy negotiator creates leverage."

May 24, 2009 8:37 PM on November 6-18
 
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"Rewarding" Loria with the Marlins was part of a complicated MLB power play that involved pretending that the Expos (and the Twins, weird as that seems now) were going to be contracted, which was largely a ploy to scare the union during labor negotiations. When that didn't work, MLB wound up holding the Expos, and decided the best way to use this leverage was to extort money out of the city that would pay the most for the privilege of hosting what was left of them after Loria and MLB got through with them. (Not to plug my book, but there's a whole chapter about this in my book.) Anyway, by "gave up on" I didn't mean that Montreal in any way failed as a baseball city. It did, however, fail to pay obeisance to the MLB gods in the form of stadium subsidies, and for that eventually Selig & Co. decided it must be punished.

May 22, 2009 2:32 PM on November 6-18
 
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New Yankee Stadium didn't sell out for its second game last night. Anyone notice which price level came disguised as empty seats?

Apr 18, 2009 6:38 PM on Brain Dump: A's/Yankees
 
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Sounds like if they throw a giant neon Seaver and Piazza on the outside of the place, Beningo will be sated. Me, I'm holding out for the waffles.

Apr 16, 2009 6:22 PM on Brain Dump: A's/Yankees
 
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I don't think the upper deck is all that much closer than at Shea, actually — and certainly not when you account for the smaller capacity. What they've basically done is lopped off the upper deck and made the back of the mezzanine the new upper deck.

Apr 16, 2009 3:14 PM on Brain Dump: A's/Yankees
 
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Oh, the fries were overpriced at Shea, too. I pretty much never buy ballpark food, which is one reason why I don't get much out of having more places to buy it.

Apr 16, 2009 3:11 PM on Brain Dump: A's/Yankees
 
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I had a "large box" of Frites french fries, which was actually a cup that held maybe 10 oz, for $6.50. It was pretty good, but not anywhere near $6.50 good. And I didn't bother to try the $5.50 slice of pizza. (I don't eat red meat, so Shake Shack and Blue Smoke don't have anything to offer me, but I may try the $9 flounder sandwich at Catch of the Day another time.) That said, a bottle of water at Citi is "only" $3.75, not $5 like at Yankee, so it's definitely an improvement. And the guards happily let me bring in my own sandwiches and (sealed plastic) water bottle, so it's not like I have to eat the food there if I don't want to, which is key.

Apr 16, 2009 12:45 PM on Brain Dump: A's/Yankees
 
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I believe the new frieze is actually fiberglass or something. But it still looks pretty chintzy up close. As for the rest, the granite cladding on the outside must have cost a pretty penny, and there's a lot of steel involved in supporting all those concessions concourses. And, of course, the new scoreboard is powered by burning $100 bills.

 
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I wouldn't call the design "retro" unless your idea of historic is 1976, or 1995. But the rest of your point taken.

 
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The high-backed, extra-luxe seats in the Legends section in the new stadium actually bear an amazing resemblance to those in the business class of airlines. At least, that's how they looked from as close as I could get without being arrested — even at an open batting practice with free tickets, they wouldn't let you in the field level without a ticket for that section.

 
Neil deMause
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If Caprica Six can convince him he'll never get the frakking rights to San Jose, maybe.

Mar 24, 2009 5:31 PM on September 17-23
 
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The personal savings rate is emphatically not below zero anymore: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/business/economy/03econ.html

Mar 24, 2009 5:27 PM on September 17-23
 
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The connection is that the bonds are being paid off by tourist taxes, which are being redirected from other projects like the performing arts center; to pay for those, property taxes are being diverted, which will leave the general fund short of cash. You're right, though, that the budget hole will be spread over decades, while the spending will happen all at once now, so that should make it a reasonable stimulus. If you want to argue that this may be throwing money down a hole, but at even throwing money down a hole has its uses in a recession, and this hole is the only thing Miami was willing to throw money down, you'll get no debate from me there.

Mar 24, 2009 5:25 PM on September 17-23
 
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My argument about Loria et al was actually exactly yours about impoverished Korean steel workers, in reverse: Giving money to people who already have some is usually bad stimulus, because they don't have to spend it. Silver lining taken about it being a good time to build, stimulus-wise, anyway. Though given that cities and counties don't have the Fed to print more money for them, I think it's far more likely that this will immediately squeeze out other spending than when the federal government does it.

Mar 24, 2009 11:06 AM on September 17-23
 
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I don't think BP has an official position on Keynes, but I'll give you my take: Yes, any government spending is going to help boost the economy at a time when everybody else is hiding money under mattresses. But stadium-building isn't going to get you the most bang for your buck: It's materials-intensive rather than labor-intensive, so a big chunk of the spending goes to hire steel mill workers in Korea; and outside of construction workers, the benefits mostly accrue to Loria, Samson, and Hanley Ramirez and whichever other Marlins get big contracts out of this, and they're likely to store a big chunk of it under their mattresses. So sure, it's good that Miami is spending money, but if they end up cutting back on more productive spending to fill the budget hole left by the Rube Goldberg scheme that is the stadium funding, that's a net negative. And even if they don't, you could make a good case that they'd do better to put their $478 million in buried bottles and pay people to go dig them up.

Mar 24, 2009 9:59 AM on September 17-23
 
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I really don't think Arte Moreno, to pick a name out of an AL West hat, is going to be too happy about MLB paying off the Giants with league money so that the A's can be more profitable. I absolutely agree that Selig would be willing and eager to negotiate a deal to pay off the Giants. I'm just skeptical that there's enough profit to be made from a San Jose move for Wolff to pay for a stadium, land, and a Giants buyout.

Mar 16, 2009 5:34 PM on September 11-16
 
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It's all of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. I suppose the A's could move to Santa Cruz, but that's getting silly.

Mar 16, 2009 5:28 PM on September 11-16
 
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It's not like NYC, where the Mets and Yankees share territory, no: The Giants have Santa Clara County and the west side of the Bay, the A's have the east side. (I feel like I've seen a map of this somewhere, but can't put my finger on it right now. And no, it's not this one — that's TV territories.) I'm not sure anyone outside Fay Vincent's office knows exactly how the Giants got hold of these rights in the first place, though it certainly would have made sense for the A's to let the Giants have San Jose in the early '90s, since it would have cleared out San Francisco for the then-ascendant A's to draw from. Also not sure that it matters now, since the point is the 1) the Giants would sue if the A's tried to move in without paying, and 2) Selig isn't likely to force the issue regardless. As for Sacramento, there are some problems: No stadium, no way to pay for one, smallish population center, isolated from all of the Bay Area except the extreme NE corner. Plus they have their hands full right now fighting over a new arena for the Kings. I'd consider this more likely, ironically, if Wolff hadn't given Oakland the brush-off — then I'd figure he was preparing to throw all the NoCal teams into an old-fashioned bidding war.

Mar 16, 2009 10:18 AM on September 11-16
 
Neil deMause
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Have the Yankees announced their outside-food policy, btw? The Mets promised early on that their policy wouldn't change (you can bring in anything that's not glass bottles, so long as you let them search your bags with electron microscopes), but the Yanks refused to say, which was worrisome.

Mar 13, 2009 4:52 PM on Dolor
 
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Portland is a lovely city, but it\'s the 25th largest U.S. media market (behind Orlando and Indianapolis), has no extended area to draw from until you start cannibalizing Seattle\'s market, and when we went through all this last time with the Expos, had no real idea how to pay for a stadium. And the state is flat broke. Compared to that, Sacramento starts to look real good. As for Las Vegas: #33 in media market, surrounded by desert, no stadium, and brings stench of gambling.

Feb 25, 2009 7:36 AM on August 27-September 2
 
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It can only be voided by Citi going bankrupt, but at this point it\'s pretty much the government deciding whether that happens, so they do have some leverage to coerce the Mets into adjusting the deal. I think the most likely scenario for a name change is that the Mets and Citi agree that the current situation isn\'t making anyone look good, and that Citi is allowed to resell the naming rights to another company. In which case they\'d better do it soon, because once the stadium opens and people start calling it \"Citi Field,\" companies are going to be willing to pay less for a used name.

Feb 18, 2009 5:01 AM on Stadium-Related Updates
 
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The TV rights territories are different from the territorial rights territories - every place is designated as someone\'s TV territory, but not every place is within some team\'s territorial rights. So when the Expos moved to D.C., they were entering the Orioles\' TV territory, but the site itself was up for grabs. I\'m pretty sure the Giants got handed San Jose during all the talk of them moving there in the Bob Lurie years, or shortly thereafter. But at this point they\'ve built their business plan on being able to sell to Silicon Valley, so it\'d be tough for Selig to just strip their rights.

Feb 18, 2009 4:58 AM on Stadium-Related Updates
 
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Allen Sanderson of the University of Chicago gets credit for the helicopter line. Though he first said it way back in \'90s, so was probably only $200 million he suggested tossing out the window.

Feb 15, 2009 7:12 AM on August 15-21, 2001
 
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One thing you need to keep in mind is the opportunity cost: If the city and county spend $400 million on a Marlins stadium, that\'s $400 million they don\'t have to spend on other projects. It actually looks like if the Marlins didn\'t get their stadium, a good chunk of the cash would instead go to expanding Miami\'s convention center - also not a great use of public dollars according to most economists, but it would still create construction jobs. Also, philosofool is absolutely correct that any benefits to Miami would still accrue if the Marlins agreed to cut in the city on a larger share of the proceeds. As Commissioner Regalado said in offering to go back and renegotiate everything: \"This deal is not dead. The Marlins need the stadium.\"

Feb 15, 2009 7:09 AM on August 15-21, 2001
 
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Actually, according to Harvard researcher Judith Grant Long\'s data, the Jazz got $24.6 million in free city land, plus an exemption from property taxes worth more than $20 million. Plus the city built them a $20 million parking garage, while getting none of the $25 million in naming-rights money from Delta. Since the arena only cost $94 million, you could make a strong case that Salt Lake put up more to build the place than Miller did.

Feb 13, 2009 6:40 PM on August 15-21, 2001
 
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They just adjourned until sometime in March, whenever the fifth city commissioner gets back from maternity leave to break the deadlock. I feel for that poor baby - most of its first days on earth are going to be spent listening to its mom getting lobbied.

Feb 13, 2009 1:56 PM on August 15-21, 2001
 
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Much speculation, but nobody seems to know for sure. So far the main effects seem to be: 1) interest rates are up; 2) labor/steel costs are, maybe, down; 3) projects that depend on \"ballpark village\" development, like the A\'s in Fremont, are on life support; 4) owners are scurrying to recast their projects as \"economic stimulus.\" I haven\'t heard anyone use the word \"shovel-ready\" yet, but I\'m sure it\'s coming.

Jan 29, 2009 9:54 AM on August 7-8, 2001
 
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Yes, the government is getting less money. It\'s not the teams that are directly getting out of paying taxes on the bonds; it\'s the bondholders, who don\'t have to pay income taxes on the money they make off the bonds. If the teams were selling taxable bonds, the bondholders would be paying taxes, so the government is giving up that money when it sells tax-free bonds. And one of the many tax breaks NYC gave to the teams was an exception from sales tax on construction materials, so the city and state actually aren\'t getting that money either.

Dec 12, 2008 10:55 AM on Transactions Feedback
 
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It\'s not going to be that much money if they\'re pledging all the new revenues to pay off the stadium bonds. And anyway, how much they\'re willing to spend on payroll depends on marginal revenue, not base revenue, and that\'s not going to change dramatically compared to the big markets. How many new stadiums later, and it\'s still the NY, LA, and Boston teams as the big spenders?

Nov 21, 2008 7:28 PM on Our Picks at the Break
 
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I went to the Coliseum quite a bit in the pre-Mount Davis days, and actually kind of liked it - the seats behind first and third are way too far from the action, but it\'s relatively low in height, and I\'ve yet to find a really awful seat in the place. I always used to described it as \"Shea Stadium after someone sat on it.\" (And, er, meant it as a compliment, more or less.) Would a smaller, better-designed park in Fremont be better for fans? It would be more expensive (thanks to ticket scarcity), and harder to get to (from the East Bay, though not from the Valley), but a better place to see a game once you got there. It\'s actually a bit like the debate Mets fans are having right now about Citi Field: Should they be happy to finally get a ballpark with modern amenities, or worried about games losing their regular-Joe feel to a smaller, more corporate crowd?

Nov 21, 2008 9:27 AM on Our Picks at the Break
 
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From everyone local I\'ve talked to (I\'m on the other coast, though I\'ve spent a lot of time in the Bay Area), the concern is about people arriving for weeknight games, which would take place during the evening rush. I-880 is already just about impassable at that time, so even adding a bunch of cars with staggered arrival times could be a big problem - not to mention that A\'s fans would have to factor in an hour of sitting in traffic en route to the game. As for Wolff gambling on the housing market rebounding, that\'s certainly possible. I wonder, though, if he\'ll find any bankers willing to go along with him in this climate - naming rights + concessions + parking isn\'t a ton of collateral to float a half-billion-dollar loan on.

Nov 19, 2008 6:08 AM on Our Picks at the Break
 
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If the \"security measures\" had anything to do with actual security, and not forcing people to buy $5 ponchos and the like, I think we\'d all complain less about them. My favorite story about this is from Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, which I was fortunate enough to get tickets for from a friend who used to work for the Tigers. (Apparently one reason WS tickets are so impossible to come by is that MLB hands some out to every team, many of which have no idea what to do with them.) I knew that post-9/11, security was going to be nuts, with no bags of any kind allowed, so I dutifully loaded up the pockets of my winter coat (which I wore even though it was about 60 degrees) with snacks, binoculars, etc. I walked in the gate, stopped at security, and readied myself to empty my pockets to show I didn\'t have any contraband. Instead, the guard said, \"Open your jacket.\" Then he patted me down *inside my coat*. Then he said \"Take off your hat.\" I took off my fitted Yankee cap, showing him I didn\'t have a millimeter-thick bottle of vodka under it. Then he waved me through, never once even looking at my visibly bulging coat pockets. As I walked to the escalators, still dumbfounded, a fan near me who\'d just gotten the same treatment turned to his friend and said in a loud voice: \"This security sucks! I just walked in with a whole pound of crack!\"