The Reds' Single-A affiliate GM holds forth on the success of the Dayton Dragons.
Minor League Baseball set an attendance record last year, and the poster-child team for that success resides in the Ohio Valley. The Dayton Dragons sold out every game for the ninth consecutive season in 2008, with 8,624 fans coming through the turnstiles to watch the Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds on a nightly basis. Gary Mayse, the team's Executive Vice President and General Manager, talked about why Dragons baseball is so popular, and the reasons that minor league baseball will continue to thrive despite the economic downturn.
An interview subject is not often both a sabermetrician and a biologist. Andy Andres, the instructor of Tufts' Sabermetrics 101 class, sits down with BP.
Andy Andres teaches a class called "Sabermetrics: The Objective Analysis of Baseball" at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Andres is also an Assistant Professor of Natural Science at Boston University and has taught a seminar in Exercise Physiology and the Physiology of Human Athletic Performance at Harvard for over 15 years. A data analyst for Ron Shandler at BaseballHQ, Andres has a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology.
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Running the Pacific Coast League is how this third-generation baseball man continues the family tradition of service to the game.
The name "Rickey" evokes a strong place in baseball history with Branch Rickey Jr.'s signing of Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier, as well as the same man's introduction and development of the farm system.
Johnson served as Senior Analyst of Baseball Development for the 2004 NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Now back in Silicon Valley, Johnson sat down with BP during a recent San Jose Giants game to discuss his background, his experience with the Cardinals, and where he sees the the most valuable applications of sabermetrics, both now and in the future.
Baseball Prospectus: Could you begin by telling our readers a little bit
about your academic background? In the baseball industry it is a bit
Carlos Lugo sits down with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal to discuss the art of pitching, the origins of his high leg kick, and what a pitcher needs to learn to stay effective.
Beyond his high style, Marichal also one of the best pitchers in history. A six-time 20-game winner, the former San Francisco Giants great won a total of 243 games, and his 191 wins during the 60s were the highest total of the
decade. Marichal never won a Cy Young award, because in the years he was great, somebody--namely Koufax, Gibson, Chance or Seaver--was historically great. Marichal pitched in eight All-Star games, winning two of them, and he was voted the 1965 game MVP. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983, his third year of eligibility.
If there's one thing George Steinbrenner has always been good at, it's hiding his money. Whether it's starting his own cable network to keep
his broadcast revenue out of the reach of his fellow owners, as he did in 2002, or paying himself a "consulting fee" to negotiate his own cable contract, as he did in the 1980s, The Boss has always been at the cutting edge of creative accounting, helping him evade attempts by fellow owners to force him to share the bounty that comes from operating the most lucrative franchise in baseball.
With his recently revealed plan to build a new $750 million stadium in the Bronx, though, Steinbrenner may have hit upon the biggest scam of his life.
With his recently revealed plan to build a new $750 million stadium in the Bronx, though, Steinbrenner may have hit upon the biggest scam of his life. If the early reports of the plan to tear down the House That Reggie Remodeled and replace it with a new one across the street are accurate, Steinbrenner looks to have figured out a way to build a new playpen for the Yankees, replete with extra luxury suites and food courts and all the other gewgaws that he's been slavering after for decades...and force baseball's other 29 teams to pay nearly half the cost.
(We now pause for Larry Lucchino's head to explode.)
My one and only conversation with Joe Torre took place during a lunch break about two weeks after the Yankees were eliminated by the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 Division Series. My impressions at the time were clouded by the kind of star-struck feelings that a little boy might have upon meeting with his hero. Yet, Joe Torre was not my hero so I cannot explain my nervousness. I don't think it was merely shyness around a celebrity, because I think I would be in perfect control of myself if Burt Reynolds or Gavin McLeod appeared out of nowhere and criticized my lifelong policy of yam avoidance. In any case, weeks later my nervousness would be forgotten, and I would remember only his poise and how smooth, persuasive and in-control he was during our brief yam encounter. I don't want to make too much of this, but clearly this was a man whose courage had been tested under fire. A different man might have been more timorous when it came to mocking another man's side dish. Torre handled the whole encounter with aplomb, genial, yet forceful, like Gary Cooper. Shockingly, he seemed not at all intimidated by the inequality that existed between us--he being only the manager of the New York Yankees while I was the proud owner of a juris doctorate--and you can bet that if I had been Ken Kaiser, the Wookie from "Star Wars," or GMS III himself, he would have forthrightly made the case for yams as if he cared nothing at all for his own job security and everything for the nutritional lives of his co-workers.
My one and only conversation with Joe Torre took place during a lunch break about two weeks after the Yankees were eliminated by the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 Division Series.
My impressions at the time were clouded by the kind of star-struck feelings that a little boy might have upon meeting with his hero. Yet, Joe Torre was not my hero so I cannot explain my nervousness. I don't think it was merely shyness around a celebrity, because I think I would be in perfect control of myself if Burt Reynolds or Gavin McLeod appeared out of nowhere and criticized my lifelong policy of yam avoidance. In any case, weeks later my nervousness would be forgotten, and I would remember only his poise and how smooth, persuasive and in-control he was during our brief yam encounter.
Statistics are a tool, not unlike a microscope. Statistics are a hammer, a speculum, a thermometer. A statistics-based approach to understanding of baseball is one of many paths to knowledge of the game. Calling those who take that path "freaks" or "Nazis" makes as much sense as calling a Ph.D. chemist a wimp because he tests the qualities of his cyanide compound by means of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy rather than just drinking the thing.
In 1937, George and Ira Gershwin wrote a song for the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers picture Shall We Dance that was an instant classic satire of the human need to scoff at the merest hint of progress:
Theo Epstein became the youngest general manager in major league history when he was hired, at age 28, as GM of the Boston Red Sox. Epstein, who turned 30 one month ago, now has 14 months under his belt as GM and 11 years in professional baseball. He also has three decades of experience with the Red Sox; Epstein grew up in Brookline, Mass., within walking distance of Fenway Park. As GM, he still walks to the ballpark every day. (Hours after this interview, the Red Sox re-acquired veteran designated hitter Ellis Burks. Burks, when he came up as a rookie with the Red Sox in 1987, was patrolling center field in front of his 13-year-old future GM.) Baseball Prospectus spoke with Epstein at his office inside a snow-covered Fenway Park.
Baseball Prospectus: Your Major League Baseball career started as an intern (at age 18) in Baltimore's PR department. What were you studying at Yale, and how did you get your foot in the door with the Orioles?
As noted in my last column, operating losses account for only $232 million of the $519 million Major League Baseball claims to have lost in 2001. Another $112,491,000 represents net interest expenses. Here's how the interest was distributed.
As noted in my last column, operating losses account for only $232 million of the $519 million Major League Baseball claims to have lost in 2001. Another $112,491,000 represents net interest expenses. Here's how the interest was distributed:
The positive figures are no surprise. Every club--well, every one but the Expos--starts the season with an eight-figure bank balance, thanks to advance sales of luxury boxes, season tickets, and single-game seats. By the time the players start to collect their salaries, this money has been earning interest for months.
Thus, to estimate the interest actually paid by the other clubs, their reported interest expenses must be adjusted to reflect the offsetting interest income. This presupposes, of course, that interest earned on season tickets and luxury boxes is actually reported on the team's balance sheet... which doesn't appear to be the case for the Boston Red Sox. It's hard to imagine how the Red Sox, a club with no long-term debt, could have netted just $51,000 interest on local revenues of more than $150 million.
Since the two Chicago teams reported the most interest income, I'll use the average of their effective interest rates to estimate the total interest received by all 30 clubs. The Cubs earned 3.59% interest ($4,665,000 on total operating revenues of $129,774,000); the White Sox 2.03% ($2,263,000 on $111,682,000), for an average of 2.81%. Multiplying this rate by MLB's gross revenues of $3,547,876,000 yields an estimate of almost exactly $100 million in interest revenue--$99,695,000, to be precise. Since MLB reported net interest expense of $112,491,000, the 30 clubs paid more than $210 million in interest during 2001.