Often you read what we write, and sometimes you listen to what we say, but only relatively rarely do you get to (or have to) see what we look like. But some days we smile for the camera and show up on a screen of some sort, and then you can watch us form words in unforgiving high definition. I did that a couple times on TV last week, and both appearances are online for the benefit of anyone who wants to watch them.
Forward-thinking baseball analysis has moved out of the periphery and into the mainstream--and Cubs TV broadcasts.
Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Len Kasper, a Midwest native, just completed his eighth season doing play-by-play for Chicago Cubs TV broadcasts after doing Florida Marlins play-by-play for three years for Fox Sports Net. Prior to joining the Marlins, he did play-by-play for select Milwaukee Brewers games from 1999-2001. Kasper's broadcast career also included a stint as the morning sports anchor at WTMJ in Milwaukee. In nearly eight years working for WTMJ, he hosted pregame and halftime shows for the Green Bay Packers radio network and co-hosted a hot stove league show on the Brewers radio network. Kasper graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University in 1993 with a degree in public relations. He and his wife, Pam, have one son: Leo. You can follow Len on Twitter @lenkasper or Len and his broadcast partner, Bob Brenly, at @lenandbob, or read their blog for WGN Sports.
Earlier this week, we talked about what the future of baseball's national TV contracts might look like. Here's a glance at their past.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Earlier this week, Maury Brownexamined the future of baseball's national TV contracts. For a look at its past, revisit the piece reproduced below, which was originally published as a "The Imbalance Sheet" column on September 28, 2000.
The Padres' farm and new TV deal give the team a brighter future.
It is a good time to be a Padres fan—or, rather, it will soon be. The big-league club is not expected to contend this year, but the farm system is among baseball’s best, and a new TV deal has ensured its long-term financial wellbeing.
Kevin Goldstein released his annual Top 101 prospects list on Monday, and the Padres—thanks to smart draft picks and shrewd trades—are all over it. The top future Friar is catcher Yasmani Grandal at number 38, but what the system lacks in elite prospects it makes up for with depth. Ten of the Padres’ young talents are considered among baseball’s 101 best; in other words, nearly 10 percent of baseball’s top talent resides in a single pipeline.
Will MLB.tv ever make your home team's games available for web viewing?
Living in the future has its advantages. Back when I was a kid, in the late Pleistocene, catching a ballgame remotely meant either watching your local teams on TV or, if you were away from your living room, listening on the radio; maybe if you were very lucky and it was late at night and the ionosphere was aligned just right, you might be able to just barely tune in something that might possibly be Ernie Harwell on an out-of-town broadcast. Today, anyone with $99.99 burning a hole in their credit card ($119.99 if you want DVR-style gewgaws like fast-forward and rewind) can sign up for MLB.tv and watch any game, whether spring training, regular season, or postseason, on their computer, iPad, smartphone, or PlayStation 3—I'm sure that right this moment someone somewhere at MLB Advanced Media is working on an app that will stream hi-def baseball video live to the dashboard display of your flying car, just as soon as those are invented.
Any game, that is, unless it's one involving your local team. In that case, you're still stuck with 20th-century technology, and either tethered to your TV or forced to stick with audio. Any attempt to do otherwise will result in that dreaded message familiar to MLB.tv users: "We're sorry. Due to your current location you are blacked out of watching the game you have selected...."
Nate uncovers the best spot for the Fish to migrate to, should they choose to swim to other waters.
If you build it, will they come? Cities that are attempting to procure a major league baseball team invariably find some way to spin the numbers in the most favorable light possible. I found a 1989 New York Times article in which Buffalo Bills owner Frank Rich, then trying to land a baseball expansion team in his city, claimed that Buffalo was the eighth-largest TV market in the country "when you include Rochester, Syracuse and the Niagara Peninsula." Backers of the San Antonio Marlins can cite the large population of the city proper, ignoring that its media market is decidedly minor league.
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Nate's attempt to determine a market size for every major league team continues, with stats on attendance and television spheres for all the clubs.
I hope yesterday's part one didn't lose you guys, because now for the (comparatively) fun part: our team-by-team breakdown. In addition to the attendance and TV estimates from my model, I have provided a comparison to the Mike Jones figures, and also the raw census data from each team's primary MSA. The numbers in parenthesis represents a team's relative market share (with 100 representing league average) and its rank among the 30 clubs in that category.
The second column of MLB's financial disclosures sets forth each club's
purported revenues from local television, radio, and cable contracts. As the
table below shows, media revenues are heavily affected by the size of a
club's local market. For example, the Mets and Diamondbacks have identical
media contracts on a per capita basis, but because the New York metropolitan
area is so much larger, the Mets gross $32 million more.