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12-02

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5

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 339: Alex Rodriguez, Bud Selig, and Hard-Boiled Baseball
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

10-23

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12

Bizball: 2012 MLB Postseason Shows Money Matters
by
Maury Brown

10-18

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29

Overthinking It: Baseball's Most Immovable Players
by
Ben Lindbergh

08-27

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29

Bizball: The Priciest Trade Ever Made
by
Maury Brown

01-26

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5

Wezen-Ball: Homeless Shelters in Marlins Park?
by
Larry Granillo

01-25

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6

Changing Speeds: The Hall of Famously Weak Arguments, Part 2
by
Ken Funck

01-11

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7

The BP Wayback Machine: The Best Commissioner of All-Time
by
Derek Zumsteg

08-16

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0

The BP Wayback Machine: Going Over Slot
by
Kevin Goldstein

11-16

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3

Prospectus Q&A: J.C. Bradbury, Part I
by
David Laurila

08-26

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35

Prospectus Perspective: Acting Like Thieves or Rational Agents?
by
Matt Swartz

04-29

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16

Ahead in the Count: The Source of the AL's Superiority
by
Matt Swartz

04-27

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83

Ahead in the Count: Ryan Howard and the New MORP
by
Matt Swartz

12-06

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25

Prospectus Today: NL Shopping Lists
by
Joe Sheehan

11-17

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32

Ahead in the Count: How To Make Up a Good Trade Rumor
by
Matt Swartz

01-30

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11

Transaction Analysis: NL East Roundup
by
Christina Kahrl

07-04

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0

Future Shock: Michel Inoa 101
by
Kevin Goldstein

11-28

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0

Transaction Analysis Special
by
Christina Kahrl

08-30

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0

Transaction of the Day: Contenders' Moves
by
Christina Kahrl

08-20

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0

Lies, Damned Lies: Slotto Madness, Part 3
by
Nate Silver

08-19

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0

Lies, Damned Lies: Slotto Bonanzas, Part Two
by
Nate Silver

08-17

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0

Lies, Damned Lies: Slotto Bonanzas, Part One
by
Nate Silver

08-05

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0

Future Shock: Going Over Slot
by
Kevin Goldstein

05-01

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0

Wait 'Til Next Year: Fight Money
by
Bryan Smith

03-15

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0

Prospectus Today: The Man They Call A-Rod
by
Joe Sheehan

02-12

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0

The Week in Quotes: February 5-12
by
Alex Carnevale

02-10

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0

Transaction Analysis: NL West and NL Catchup
by
Christina Kahrl

11-30

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0

Transaction Analysis: November 22-29, 2006
by
Christina Kahrl

11-22

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0

Transaction Analysis: November 17-21
by
Christina Kahrl

03-27

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0

Future Shock: How Do Teams Draft?
by
Kevin Goldstein

01-31

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0

Amazin' Mail
by
Neil deMause

12-02

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0

Prospectus Matchups: Overspending
by
Jim Baker

05-16

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0

Prospectus Q&A: John Schuerholz
by
Jonah Keri

11-16

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0

Transaction Analysis: October 27-November 2
by
Christina Kahrl

08-23

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0

Breaking Balls: The Best Commissioner of All-Time
by
Derek Zumsteg

05-05

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0

The Return of Swamp Thing
by
Neil deMause

02-16

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0

Prospectus Roundtable: The Rodriguez-for-Soriano Deal
by
Baseball Prospectus

01-12

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0

Transaction Analysis: The Easts
by
Baseball Prospectus

12-18

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0

Prospectus Today: The A-Rod Mess
by
Joe Sheehan

12-10

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0

Prospectus Roundtable: The New Landscape
by
Baseball Prospectus

11-17

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0

The Stadium Game
by
Neil deMause

08-01

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0

Breaking Balls: Don't Take a Slice of My Pie
by
Derek Zumsteg

02-24

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0

Breaking Balls: Portland's Gamble Might Pay Off
by
Derek Zumsteg

08-16

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0

Bridging the Gap
by
Doug Pappas

08-15

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0

The Zumsteg Plan
by
Derek Zumsteg

05-30

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0

Breaking Balls: The Master Plan
by
Derek Zumsteg

04-18

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0

Sensible Revenue Sharing
by
Keith Woolner

03-28

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0

Prospectus Feature: .Baseball In Seattle
by
Derek Zumsteg

03-28

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0

Baseball in Seattle
by
Derek Zumsteg

02-19

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0

The Daily Prospectus: Salary Cap
by
Joe Sheehan

12-20

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0

The Numbers (Part Three)
by
Doug Pappas

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January 12, 2004 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: The Easts

0

Baseball Prospectus

After a long hiatus, Transaction Analysis returns with a look at the moves in two of the most active divisions in the majors this off-season.

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This deal validates the notion that the Rangers were somehow ruined by the signing of Alex Rodriguez, when in fact, Rodriguez has been worth the money. The Rangers' problems have more to do with wasted money on non-contributors, the failure of some B and C pitching prospects, and the absence of a center fielder for years on end. We've reached a point in the trade negotiations between the Rangers and Red Sox where the issues aren't players, but money. Money as in "how much less can the Red Sox pay Rodriguez?" The Sox have been negotiating that point with Rodriguez for some time, and the two sides appear to have an agreement that satisfies both sides, one in which he gets much less guaranteed compensation and assumes a lot more risk. Conceding that we don't yet know exactly how much money he might be giving up to make this happen, I think it's entirely possible that Rodriguez would be doing himself a disservice. Is it reasonable for someone to pay, for the sake of argument, $40 million just to change employers and base cities?

Today, I want to address the Alex Rodriguez mess. I haven't to date, in part because I really don't want Rodriguez to be traded. I joked about it last week, but the relentless flow of top players to a few teams isn't good for the game. This is exactly what didn't happen in the free-agent era until the last two years, when the luxury-tax structure and increased revenue sharing went into effect. Go wait for that to be a sound bite from Bud Selig's next press conference on the success of the newest Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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Sunday's deadline to tender arbitration offers to free agents triggered a lot of surprise moves and non-moves. BP authors kicked around some of the biggies, including the Braves' decision to non-tender Gary Sheffield, the Bartolo Colon signing, and the timing of the Michael Tucker deal.

David Cameron: The Mariners offered arbitration to one free agent. Not Mike Cameron. Not Arthur Rhodes. Pat Borders.

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November 17, 2003 12:00 am

The Stadium Game

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Neil deMause

Next spring, the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies will take up residence in new stadiums, Petco Park and Citizens Bank Park respectively. It promises to be a momentous occasion, not just for Phils and Pads fans who'll be inaugurated into the era of club seats and cupholders, but for baseball itself. Because it's looking likely that once the Dog Bowl and the Big ATM Machine That's Not The Vet throw open their doors, it will mark the first time since ground was broken for Toronto's SkyDome in October 1985 that not a single new big-league ballpark will be under construction on planet Earth. It's been quite an 18-year run: 19 new stadiums, 18 new corporate monikers (including such double-dippers as Enron Field/Minute Maid Park and Pac Bell/SBC Park) and around $5 billion in taxpayer money sunk into the cause. But is this the end of the new-stadium era, one we'll one day look back on like the 1910-1915 era that produced the first wave of steel ballparks (if perhaps not as fondly)? Or is it just a statistical blip, a pause in the action before the next round of construction?

It's been quite an 18-year run: 19 new stadiums, 18 new corporate monikers (including such double-dippers as Enron Field/Minute Maid Park and Pac Bell/SBC Park) and around $5 billion in taxpayer money sunk into the cause. The start of the new-stadium craze is easy to pinpoint. In 1989, SkyDome demonstrated that a retractable roof was technically feasible (if pricey--the SkyDome lid drove its total cost over $600 million in Canadollars), while introducing baseball's first full-scale food court, complete with baseball's first seven-dollar hot dogs. It also shattered attendance records: the Jays are still the only team other than the Rockies in their Mile High days to sell more than four million tickets in one season, demonstrating that fans would turn out just to take a gander at a new building (though the two titles won by the Jays in SkyDome's first five years helped some, too). When two years later Camden Yards inaugurated the "retro" craze, single-handedly sweeping HOK's old concrete-bowl blueprints into history's dustbin, it set off a feeding frenzy among teams to be the next kid on the block with a shiny new toy.

The result has transformed baseball. On the field, the new home run-friendly parks have helped create the surge in offense that typifies Selig-era baseball, while turning such traditional homer havens as Wrigley Field into relative pitcher's parks. In the stands, the layers of luxury seating that are de rigeur in modern facilities have made the cheap seat with a good view a thing of the past, as nearly every new park has featured upper decks more distant from the field than the old buildings they replaced. The new parks raised demand for tickets, and owners have taken full advantage--new parks have seen average ticket price as much as double in a single off-season.

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Alex Rodriguez is one of the best players in baseball. He's also the best compensated. He left Seattle as a free agent to sign a deal with Texas that's been so widely reported as 10 years and $252 million that it feels futile to protest. As a result, he's become a pariah of greed. This week, Alex made some comments to the press about maybe, possibly, wanting to be traded from Texas. "If the Rangers found they could be better off without me, whether now or a year or two down the road," he said, "I'd be willing to sit down and talk." Today, as I write this column, I see he's quickly backed off his comments, trying to calm everyone down. Frankly, I find this ridiculous. Rodriguez is not a greedy player with a heart made of coal. Articles written about him and his alleged self-indulgence at the expense of his team--calling for him to volunteer for a pay cut and what not--are bitter pieces written by the envious, looking for an easy column in which they can act holier-than-Alex and decry the money-grubbing nature of athletes all at the same time. Have any of these columnists been offered three times their current salary to work in a comparable situation, giving them the ability to fund all of their favorite charities and live comfortably and provide for their children? I didn't think so.

Today, as I write this column, I see he's quickly backed off his comments, trying to calm everyone down.

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Last week I talked a little about possible homes for the Expos, profiling a number of cities often included in discussions about relocation. Well, according to reports, the big three contenders--Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Portland, Oregon--are slated to make presentations to Major League Baseball on March 20th and 21st. MLB's major priority in selecting a place to move the team is not long-term viability, or strength of ownership, or anything like that. No, as you'd expect, it's the funding, location, and construction of a new ballpark. (Sigh.)

(Sigh.)

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August 16, 2002 12:00 am

Bridging the Gap

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Doug Pappas

The owners' current offer calls for all clubs to share 50% of their local revenues, and for high-payroll clubs to pay an additional "luxury tax" of 50% on the portion of payrolls over $98 million. The players oppose the luxury tax and have proposed revenue sharing at a level of 22.5%, with a higher percentage of the shared money going to the lower-revenue clubs.

If, as the owners insist, the combination of revenue sharing and a luxury tax is necessary to improve competitive balance, then a key question to ask is whether their proposal will actually improve competitive balance. It won't. A fundamental flaw in the owners' revenue sharing formula almost guarantees that if adopted, it would increase the number of teams that "can't compete."

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August 15, 2002 12:00 am

The Zumsteg Plan

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Derek Zumsteg

According to Mike Jones' market-size research, Kansas City is the smallest market with a major-league team. Jones pegs it as the 39th-largest market in the country, based largely on information from Nielsen. Using the latest data from the Census Bureau (which operates one of the most data-intensive sites you'll ever find at www.census.gov), there were about 1,756,000 people in the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area in 1999, as compared to New York's 20,197,000.

K.C. has one team. New York has two. Forbes estimates that the two New York teams took in $384 million in revenue last year. Kansas City? $85MM. If the total revenue pool of a city is divided evenly by the teams in it (This may not be the case. I've seen it argued that instead of splitting a market, adding a second team only causes the first team's revenues to drop by .8, which is attributed to increased interest in baseball, rivalries, and so forth), a third team in New York would make $125MM. That's a cool $40MM more every year.

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I'm the new owner of the Angels.

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March 28, 2002 4:34 pm

Prospectus Feature: .Baseball In Seattle

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Derek Zumsteg

The Seattle Mariners are currently one of baseball's most successful franchises, playing in a beautiful, expensive stadium they didn't pay for, and fielding a well-funded team that won 116 games last season. According to Bud Selig's Guaranteed Accurate 2001 Financial Statement, they paid $18.8 million into the revenue sharing pool, a figure that matched the Florida Marlins' withdrawal from same.

The Seattle Mariners are currently one of baseball's most successful franchises, playing in a beautiful, expensive stadium they didn't pay for, and fielding a well-funded team that won 116 games last season. According to Bud Selig's Guaranteed Accurate 2001 Financial Statement, they paid $18.8 million into the revenue sharing pool, a figure that matched the Florida Marlins' withdrawal from same. They still cleared a cool $14.8 million in profits that the best accountants baseball could hire couldn't cook off the books.

This is an astonishing turnaround for a franchise that as late as 1995 had owners who claimed they would have to move the team to Tampa Bay, a city with a smaller metro population than Seattle (and now, with a team that claimed $21 million in revenue-sharing money last year). For a decade, the Mariners suffered under one of the most deceitful poor-mouthing owners in all of baseball, George Argyros, who ran the team on a shoestring, alienated fans, and cried poor while swimming in money vaults that made Scrooge McDuck quack with envy.

Argyros bought into the Mariners in 1981, purchasing an 80% share for $10.5 million. As part of his takeover, he traded Ticketmaster (then a two-man company with $1 million in revenues) the exclusive contract to sell Mariners tickets in exchange for a 50% share in the Ticketmaster NW franchise. Argyros constantly bad-mouthed his own product, and refused to spend money on players or player development. After just two years, Peter Gammons came after him with a hatchet ("Blame the Owner for Mariners' Woes," The Sporting News, 1983). Argyros threatened to move the team, got a new, even more advantageous lease negotiated, and all the while he booked profits on the team most years.

When he sold the team in 1989 to Jeff Smulyan, his original 80% share of the team made him $50 million, approximately a 20% annual increase in value. Ticketmaster had grown into a dominant company with $600 million in revenue, and even without being able to untangle Ticketmaster's corporate history, I think it's safe to say that Argyros made a huge sum of money there, too.

From 1990 to the middle 1992 season, Smulyan did the same whining about the team that Argyros had done, and made a more serious attempt to move it out of town. At the same time, manager Jim Lefebvre had started to bring the team out of the cellar, a welcome change after years of the worst managers in the game, from the insane Maury Wills to utterly apathetic Dick WilliamsKen Griffey Jr. came up and became the team's best player, and they fielded one of the league's best pitching staffs. In 1991, the Mariners had the first .500 season in their 14-year history.

Even weirder, fans started to turn out. After 14 years pioneering the kind of anti-marketing baseball pushes today, the team won and fans came to one of ugliest multi-purpose stadiums in the league to watch games and cheer their team.

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March 28, 2002 12:00 am

Baseball in Seattle

0

Derek Zumsteg

This is an astonishing turnaround for a franchise that as late as 1995 had owners who claimed they would have to move the team to Tampa Bay, a city with a smaller metro population than Seattle (and now, with a team that claimed $21 million in revenue-sharing money last year). For a decade, the Mariners suffered under one of the most deceitful poor-mouthing owners in all of baseball, George Argyros, who ran the team on a shoestring, alienated fans, and cried poor while swimming in money vaults that made Scrooge McDuck quack with envy.

Argyros bought into the Mariners in 1981, purchasing an 80% share for $10.5 million. As part of his takeover, he traded Ticketmaster (then a two-man company with $1 million in revenues) the exclusive contract to sell Mariners tickets in exchange for a 50% share in the Ticketmaster NW franchise. Argyros constantly bad-mouthed his own product, and refused to spend money on players or player development. After just two years, Peter Gammons came after him with a hatchet ("Blame the Owner for Mariners' Woes," The Sporting News, 1983). Argyros threatened to move the team, got a new, even more advantageous lease negotiated, and all the while he booked profits on the team most years.

Read the full article...

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