Okay, okay, we get it! Catcher framing is really superduper important. Getting an extra called strike can turn an at-bat, which can turn an inning, which can turn a game, which can turn a season, which can turn someone’s summer from one that they’d rather forget to one that they’ll write a bad novel about 20 years later.
Why 2016 looks to be such a momentous one for Joshua and two of his clients.
There went 2015. Work was, as it always is, a total grind, but this was a tremendously fulfilling year for me, personally and professionally. Some of my clients had tremendous seasons, and some called it a career. There were downs in my family life—my grandmother, the artist Lee Silton, who knew (and perhaps dated!) Meyer Lansky, has been battling cancer. There were also ups—my surgery in January, which I documented here, led to my healthiest year in forever.
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Prince Fielder is hitting .300 and helping lead the Rangers to the postseason.
Prince Fielder isn't the slugger he once was, but he's still managing to be very productive, transforming himself into a contact hitter with some pop. Fielder has also contributed to the Rangers loose clubhouse and dugout atmosphere, providing moments of levity for all to enjoy. Over at BP Milwaukee, Jack Mooretakes a look at the impact Fielder has had on and off the field.
The game-attending part of my season ended last week. The Brewers were in to face my hometown Marlins, so I got to spend three wonderful days with one of my favorite people, Jeremy Jeffress. What sort of wild partying does an agent do when he gets to spend three days with a millionaire pro athlete in Key Biscayne? Tax talk! Endorsement deals! Prep for the winter meetings! Setting up meetings in other cities! Discussion about the rising league-minimum salary! It was like the Star Wars prequel scrolls. No lavish parties at LIV or Blue Martini; just a work trip, as it always is, as it always will be.
One of the biggest flaws in the current CBA hurt the Brewers in the past and will continue to hurt other teams until it's changed.
Free-agent compensation has always been a highly flawed system. The current way things are run may be better than the past, but it still is causing major issues. It keeps players from maximizing their potential earnings and it encourages middling teams to lose down the stretch to ensure they solidify their standing with regards to getting a protected pick. At BP Milwaukee, Jack Moorebreaks down how it's affected the Brewers in the recent past.
The Brewers had already fired their manager, and with the season winding down, their long-time general manager has stepped down as well.
General manager Doug Melvin saw the Milwaukee Brewers make two playoff appearances and complete just five winning seasons under his watch. But was his time with the small-market club a success? And how has he positioned the team and the person who takes over his role for the future? Michael Bradburn takes a look at Melvin's legacy at BP Milwaukee, read the full article here.
Teams are getting creative with how they price tickets.
Ticket pricing isn’t a very sexy topic; it’s one that isn’t readily discussed by the media or even in sabermetric circles, but it remains vitally important. Like so many parts of baseball, ticket pricing is getting smarter. We so often, as fans of the game, prefer to forget that baseball is a business and that the owners and shareholders demand profits. Ticket sales, obviously, drive a portion of that. But when a fan buys a baseball ticket, he or she rarely buys just a ticket, but also a parking ticket, food, and perhaps memorabilia. An afternoon of baseball can quickly become an expensive experience.
That’s why ticket pricing has more than one purpose. It can most importantly be a way to attract fans to the games, often creating new fans (or, perhaps, repeat customers) in the process. Whether it’s by giving away free tickets, creating special promotional nights, such as the ever-popular bobblehead nights, or packaging together family plans to attract younger baseball fans, plenty of ways exist to control and maximize the fan experience with ticket pricing.
Publicly funded stadiums continue to put money in the pockets of owners while the rest us keep paying for it.
Miller Park is a wonderful ballpark, but the fact is, it's still costing tax payers money and could do so for the foreseeable future. With the debut of BP Milwaukee came a great piece from Jack Moore showing us how the owners continue to make money on their state-of-the-art stadium, with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks set to do the same, as the public is saddled with costs that inevitably end up being more than projected.
The Nationals find first place, Randy Choate reaches first base, the Brewers go back-to-back-to-back, and the best defensive play of the day.
The Tuesday Takeaway
Hope springs eternal when teams break camp and head to their respective openers with 0-0 records. Every team, from the heaviest favorites to the longest of long shots, is in first place on the first day of the season.
We find six interesting storylines for the six all-but-eliminated teams--and none of them is about trading away superstars.
Bad teams are boring. That’s a thesis to which we can all subscribe, isn’t it? Sure, it’s interesting when a team invests heavily—almost desperately—in a given season, then falls flat, but for the most part, the trends we track and the decisions we analyze draw our interest because of their impact on the competitive prospects of the teams and players in question. The most criminal thing about the current MLB roster rules is that they discourage bad teams from being competitive, such that hardly anything that happens on the field for those teams merits our attention. Teams not only have incentive to lose more games within a non-contending season, but are saddled with conflicting interests when it comes to promoting promising young players during such a campaign. Young players who would have been in the big leagues 20, 30 or 40 years ago are now stashed in the minors months longer, if their team stinks. And it doesn’t pay to grouse about a manager steadfastly refusing to use his best reliever in a tie game on the road, if we can’t agree that winning that game is actually valuable to the franchise.
That stinks, especially for the hundreds of thousands of fans of bad teams who lose the chance to participate in a national conversation. So consider this a public service, an outreach program to the downtrodden and the disenfranchised of the baseball world. Six teams entered Wednesday’s play with Playoff Odds lower than 10 percent: the Braves, the Phillies, the Reds, the Brewers, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks. (Yes, we’ll have a conversation soon about how the NL and the AL have become so radically disparate, in terms of competitive landscape. But not today.) Without resorting to the cheap, easy stories that force the eyes of the fan bases forward at the expense of any enjoyment of this season (Who will Arizona take with the first pick? Will the Reds trade Cueto? Will the Rockies trade Tulo? Will the Phils trade Hamels?), I want to talk about the most interesting things going on with those six clubs. I don’t promise to deliver hope; some of these are bad things. I merely want to make sure that we spend a little time valuing the games these teams are playing, because buried beneath the mixed messages and the mounting apathy, there is real content, real action taking place, things that will shape the futures of the franchises, but can be discussed in real time, without undue abstraction.