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December 4, 2006 12:00 am

The Ledger Domain: Why the Free Spending?

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Maury Brown

Maury sorts through what has spurred on an already-wild winter market.

At the end of a particularly difficult college philosophy course, a professor warned the students of the difficult final that would be approaching them. "It will count greatly toward your grade," he noted. As the day of the test arrived, a tense air filled the classroom as the test was passed amongst the students. "You have the entire class to answer the final. Now, turn over your paper and begin." When the paper was turned over, there was simply one question… Why?

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The Mets and Cardinals finally got underway in a game that no player on either team had the biggest effect on.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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In the first part of a series, Maury discusses the present period of unprecedented industry expansion, and what bones of contention might arise from that growth.

Marriage, like money, is still with us; and, like money, progressively devalued.

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The newest Baseball Prospectus author has a look at a technological advancement in the way baseball is delivered to your computer.

Not in Larry McPhail's wildest dreams.

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The MVPs take the stage, the players talk about the new new steroid agreement, and everybody loves Ned.

"Defense--for the most part, being a balanced player and saving a lot of runs on the defensive side--was a major factor."
--American League MVP Alex Rodriguez (MLB.com)

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May 6, 2004 12:00 am

Ticket Price Survey

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Doug Pappas

In the third installment of this series, I review the ticket options for fans in MLB's smallest but most geographically dispersed division, the AL West. If you've read the first two installments (Part I, Part II), you know the drill. To simulate the average fan's experience, I pick a mid-week game, then shop for tickets on MLB.com a few weeks in advance. (I made an exception for Anaheim, choosing their next available mid-week series--since their next two mid-week visitors are the Yankees and Red Sox, I thought the earlier date would still be more representative.) First I shop for my imaginary family of four, whose ideal combination of price and view is usually behind the plate and towards the front of the upper deck. Then I pretend that my imaginary family just won the lottery, shopping instead for the best available block of four seats (as determined by MLB's ticket computer) anywhere in the ballpark. The seats available for the family of four serve as a rough proxy for the club's season-ticket and advance sales. Then I play Stranger Visiting Town, looking for a single seat. My expense-account alter ego shops for the best seat available through MLB.com, while his starving-student counterpart heads right for the cheapest seats in the park. Next, I scan the club Web sites for promotions that could reduce the cost of my hypothetical fans' attendance, as well as unusual promotions and giveaway items. Finally, I write a snappy summary and prepare to start the process all over again with another division.

If you've read the first two installments (Part I, Part II), you know the drill. To simulate the average fan's experience, I pick a mid-week game, then shop for tickets on MLB.com a few weeks in advance. (I made an exception for Anaheim, choosing their next available mid-week series--since their next two mid-week visitors are the Yankees and Red Sox, I thought the earlier date would still be more representative.)

First I shop for my imaginary family of four, whose ideal combination of price and view is usually behind the plate and towards the front of the upper deck. Then I pretend that my imaginary family just won the lottery, shopping instead for the best available block of four seats (as determined by MLB's ticket computer) anywhere in the ballpark. The seats available for the family of four serve as a rough proxy for the club's season-ticket and advance sales. Then I play Stranger Visiting Town, looking for a single seat. My expense-account alter ego shops for the best seat available through MLB.com, while his starving-student counterpart heads right for the cheapest seats in the park.

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April 30, 2004 12:00 am

Ticket Price Survey

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Doug Pappas

This is the second installment of my six-part survey of how much fans can actually expect to pay for tickets to major league games. I choose a mid-week game, then shop for tickets on MLB.com a few weeks in advance. First I look for a block of casual fan seats: ideally, four behind the plate and towards the front of the upper deck. These are usually, but not always, cheaper than the average price ticket used by Team Marketing Report to calculate the Fan Cost Index. Then I repeat the process three more times. Twice I look for the best available seats, as determined by the MLB.com ticket computer--once for a family of four and once for a single fan. The seats available for the family of four serve as a rough proxy for the club's season-ticket and advance sales, while the best single-seat option shows where a fan who doesn't care about the cost can sit without paying scalpers' prices. Finally, I look for the cheapest seats to find the lowest a fan using MLB.com could pay to get into the ballpark. To complete the survey, I check the club Web sites for promotions that could reduce the cost of my hypothetical fan's attendance, scan the club's promotional schedule for unusual events, and put it all together in the form below...

Then I repeat the process three more times. Twice I look for the "best available seats," as determined by the MLB.com ticket computer--once for a family of four and once for a single fan. The seats available for the family of four serve as a rough proxy for the club's season-ticket and advance sales, while the best single-seat option shows where a fan who doesn't care about the cost can sit without paying scalpers' prices. Finally, I look for the cheapest seats to find the lowest a fan using MLB.com could pay to get into the ballpark.

To complete the survey, I check the club Web sites for promotions that could reduce the cost of my hypothetical fan's attendance, scan the club's promotional schedule for unusual events, and put it all together in the form below:

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April 27, 2004 12:00 am

Ticket Price Survey

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Doug Pappas

Last week I identified some of the problems with the "Fan Cost Index" developed by Team Marketing Report. One of the biggest issues, TMR's use of average ticket prices to calculate how much a typical family of four could expect to pay to see a game, has to be addressed on a team-by-team basis. This is the first of six articles that will do so. I'm starting with the AL East. My hypothetical customers decide a few weeks in advance which game they plan to attend, then shop for tickets on MLB.com. To keep the methodology constant, I'm ignoring any special knowledge I may have about a particular stadium's seats, seating and ticketing policies, and relying entirely on what I can find on MLB.com.

My hypothetical customers decide a few weeks in advance which game they plan to attend, then shop for tickets on MLB.com. To keep the methodology constant, I'm ignoring any special knowledge I may have about a particular stadium's seats, seating and ticketing policies, and relying entirely on what I can find on MLB.com.

For each game, I looked for four types of tickets. The most important, for these purposes, is a block of four "casual fan" seats--the ones that Team Marketing Report's hypothetical family would probably sit in. In checking out the options, I used my own seating preferences; in particular, I'd rather have a better angle on the action from the upper deck than a seat closer to the diamond but far down the lines. I went through the ticketing process up to the point where I was asked for my credit card, taking note of the service charges and processing fees that magically appeared along the way. (Since Team Marketing Report doesn't count these, neither did I.)

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Where are Vizquel and Ordonez on your list of top shortstops? And 20-30 runs possible difference from one position is high, isn't it? Can the range be that large?

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