Saturday, March 31, 2012
Ascot, Four-In-Hand, Bow, A Tie's A Tie: Angels 3, Cubs 3
The Angels got two runs on a Kendrick double and a Pujols homer, but that was it, as Cubs starter Paul Maholm settled down thereafter. Chicago got one back in the fifth off a two out double by Joe Mather, who scored on a Howie Kendrick error. The Angels more or less left the field in the sixth, leaving things to their minor league reserves. (There was a funny story about Albert Pujols miscounting outs and prematurely heading to the dugout, but, hey, it's spring.) Garrett Richards (who is so unfamiliar to me that I missed the final "t" in his name) managed a good outing (sub-quality-start level!) in his final bid for the fifth starter role, giving up only two earned runs (three total).
Really, I'm ready for the season to start.
Barry Zito, Ballhawk
Friday Was Old Folks' Day
- 49-year-old Jamie Moyer made the Rockies' rotation
- 38-year-old Todd Helton and 41-year-old Jason Giambi respectively doubled and homered off Yu Darvish. Giambi's home run was the first against him all spring, by any major leaguer.
Figure Eight: Dodgers 6, Cubs 3
4A journeyman Fernando Nieve got the start, and amazingly — or not so amazingly, if you looked at the Cubs lineup for any length of time — he did pretty well through four innings, surrendering his only run in the fourth on a two out solo shot to Ian Stewart. Stewart had landed on the Cubs as part of the deal that sent don't-know-what-to-do-with-him quandary outfielder Tyler Colvin to Colorado. Colvin showed hope for eventual slugging in AA, but largely fizzled in three years of major league service. Stewart had injury problems in 2011 that precluded success, and so both ended up in a change-of-scenery trade.
Despite the split squad, if you squinted hard, you could sort of see today's lineup as a regular season game lineup for the Dodgers if Andre Ethier were injured (say) and the team needed to give Matt Kemp a day off. Dee Gordon got the leadoff duties, and against Cubs starter Ryan Dempster he did nothing at all. The big rap on Gordon is that he lacks the experience to handle major league pitching (especially given his rapid ascent through the minors). Yesterday did little to dispel that, though eventually he did knock Manny Corpas around for a triple with two on, a hit that eventually cost Corpas the loss. I'm not sure I qualify Corpas as a major leaguer at this point, but it was a nice piece of hitting and an even more exciting few moments of baserunning.
From the pleasant surprises department, we got Matt Angle, who reached three times on an infield hit, a single, and a walk. Angle was a waiver pick of the Dodgers earlier in the year; he's speedy as all get out, but lacks any kind of offensive value with the bat, lacking both strike zone judgment and power. Another 4A suspect, Luis Cruz, managed to pick up a couple hits, as did regular James Loney.
The pitching staff held up well against the Cubs' popgun offense, though that was admittedly expected; it wasn't much of a contest. When you are throwing in a Logan Bawcom in a game, there's a reason. The Cubs accordingly managed to scratch out a run in the ninth, with a leadoff triple by Marlon Byrd, but Steve Clevinger knocked him in at the cost of an out. That foreclosed on the Cubs chances for the game.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Gedankenexperiment: Worst Case TV Scenarios
All right, then. Let us look at a worst-case scenario:
- First, assume cable has become completely unbundled. That is, currently, to some degree the costs of delivering Dodgers (or Angels) content is borne upon people who never view those games. The most recent best-case scenario I was able to come up with was 111,000 average viewers in 2009, a number that might be low; roughly double it and round down to the nearest hundred thousand, and admit 200,000.
- Convert the $3 billion figure to an annual, non-increasing figure: $150M/year.
- Divide the second figure by the first, on the basis that no longer will anyone get a "free ride" from uninterested viewers. That yields $750/year.
Angels Option Mike Trout, Brad Mills To AAA
Update: I apparently missed that Trout had a viral infection that caused him to lose 20 lbs this spring, which almost certainly screwed him up. He has gained back 11.
Jason Isringhausen Makes The 25-Man Roster
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Report: Abreu To Cleveland Deal Near
Update 3/29: ESPN's Jim Bowden says there is no deal at present.
Angels Major League Hitters Better Than Royals As Both Teams Batter Second-String Pitchers: Angels 11, Royals 8
It was presage for both teams, because the Angels came storming back in the second, with back-to-back-to-back home runs from Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, and Hank Conger, part of a five-run inning of their own that knocked a Royals starter Everett Teaford around.
That pretty much set the stage for the rest of the game. While Teaford didn't take the loss, a nondescript 4-A reliever named Francisley Bueno did the honors in the fourth, giving up five consecutive hits from leadoff man Erick Aybar all the way through Vernon Wells, ultimately resulting in four more runs scored and, beyond that, the game.
The Angels relief crew from the sixth inning on was surprisingly strong, posting four frames of no-hit ball. While you might expect this of Scott Downs, it was a happy relief from Jason Isringhausen, whose spring has been a pockmarked mess that has, at times, come close to announcing his retirement. Kevin Johnson (who?) and Jordan Walden finished out affairs, and so to the end of the game. Kansas City, visibly, is on its way to better days, but not, at least, a win today.
More Linkies On The Dodgers Sale
- ESPN's Buster Olney (behind the pay wall?) thinks the Dodgers should be treated as a work of art. I find his reasoning entirely unconvincing. Comparing the 2012 Dodgers sale to the 1973 Yankees sale is false in two vital dimensions:
- George Steinbrenner was one man, but the Magic/Kasten/Guggenheim buyers are a group. The difference is vital. One man can afford the luxury of not worrying too much about recouping the cost; a corporation — and let us not forget, that is what we are dealing with here — cannot. Their charge is to operate the business as a business.
- Steinbrenner bought low, while the Guggenheim group appears to have paid a premium. The Yankees spent most of the 60's and early 70's in the doldrums as a consequence of CBS ownership. The sale price was correspondingly depressed. Contrast that with the Dodgers, which had a very active and lengthy bidding process, with an outcome catalyzed by widely reported multi-billion-dollar TV revenue awaiting the winner. I have already made my case for why I think these numbers are vastly inflated and unsustainable. This avenue (and it is the main one) for recouping the sale price is therefore constrained, at least.
“It was the cost of owning one of baseball’s most storied franchises,” he said in a telephone interview and added: “I don’t want to realize a return on investment on buying the Dodgers. I want to have a multi-generational relationship that changes my life, Magic’s life, Magic’s grandchildren’s lives and all of our lives.”— I don't for one second believe that someone with that much money won't, ultimately, operate the business as a business. A frog does not turn into a camel just because it leaves the water.
- The Dodgers are once again the subject of a rumor for every agent hoping his client can get a silly deal. I guess it's a good thing — it means the team is flush, and people recognize this, or at least, so the perception goes.
- "You'll see the team invest money" says Magic. Well, of course, but this answers not at all the questions of (a) enough and (b) intelligence.
- Molly Knight thinks an eventual lawsuit over the parking lots is inevitable, as Frank will chafe if his majority partners show little interest in developing them.
- Andrew Zimbalist thinks the deal makes no sense:
"It was an extraordinary and surprising price," said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College. "I rarely admit to not anticipating these things but I did not anticipate a $2 billion price. Keep in mind, in addition to the price, the new ownership group will have to invest something in the neighborhood of $300 million to refurbishing Dodger Stadium and that price does not include $150 million for the surrounding real estate. At the end of the day, you have to question this deal."I am inclined — obviously — to agree. "[N]ow we're into buying art and I can't value art" says University of Michigan sports management professor Mark Rosentraub. Zimbalist also makes a point that has subsequently occurred to me:
"One of the things that commissioner Selig was trying to avoid when he did not authorize the contract between McCourt and Fox was he thought McCourt would take the money and pocket it instead of using it to build the Dodgers," Zimbalist said. "That indirectly will happen anyway because McCourt is going to get his money and the new ownership will have to use a good chunk of the television money to pay off their asset purchase."That is, Bud Selig (and the rest of MLB ownership) simply wanted rid of Frank McCourt; it wasn't his operation of the team so much, but his style that chafed.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Out Of Loek: Reds 5, Angels 4
Dan Haren and Bronson Arroyo both pitched reasonably well, though you have to be concerned about the shockingly large number of hits Haren surrendered (nine in all). The Angels got a home run out of Vernon Wells, a rope that stayed up in the left field corner. The team's experiment with Peter Bourjos at leadoff did not go so well, as he struck out twice and only reached base once, on a walk. That's not part of the new, Jerry Dipoto Angels plan that emphasizes OBP.
Kevin Jepsen continued to disappoint, giving up a leadoff home run to Paul Janish in the eighth. Janish hit .214/.259/.262 in limited service last year, which is to say, the league pretty much showed he has nothing to make most competent pitchers fear for their paychecks. However, that adjective does not describe Jepsen, whom I view lately as release-bait. If he makes the team, it will be only as a short-term stopgap until some other roster move eventually forces his expulsion.
Jason Isringhausen posted a zero frame while failing to impress (i.e., I saw few if any swing-and-misses). It's the sort of meretricious thing you expect could land him a spot on the team, especially if the word "veteran" features as a net positive in the eye of the man doing the choosing. I hope and trust that after Vernon Wells, this is no longer the case in the Angels front office.
Finally, a few words about the new(ish) Goodyear ballpark:
- Appearance: spartan almost to the point of indifference (I felt like the game was played inside a newish warehouse); not one of the league's prettier ballparks, it reminded me of a less glamorous version of the soon-to-be-abandoned Phoenix Muni. Grade: D.
- Fan comfort: A large awning over the third base seats and a conventional (northeast) orientation means the park has a goodly amount of shelter from the afternoon sun, always an important consideration for fan comfort. Grade: A- (could be improved with more shade).
- Food choices/quality: Slightly better than some of the other parks (it seemed from memory that Scottsdale has lost some recently, as has the Angels). Both grade as B-.
- Parking: Despite a sparse crowd (well less than capacity, with the outfield sections along the baselines all but completely empty), parking took quite a while to clear out anyway. It seems as though the same morons who designed Camelback Ranch were at work here. This was compounded by the operations staff coning off lanes that didn't need to be coned off. Grade: C-.
Do You Believe In Magic? Thoughts On The New Ownership Group
If You're Not Paying For It, You Become The Product.I must constantly remind myself that there is at least one thing that the McCourts actually did right as far as Dodger fans should be concerned. The team has seen the postseason four times, which is three times more than in the entire post-1988 era under O'Malley and Fox combined ownership. Also he managed to double team revenue — in part through means widely derided among fans, such as radically increasing parking fees. But that, really, is the limit of it. The McCourts were and are venal, selfish in profoundly unenlightened ways. They lack any instinct of noblesse oblige to the team or its fans, have increased parking costs precipitously, and have roughly handled the front office and its employees when they weren't squandering funds, both internally and for themselves.— blue_beetle on Metafilter, by way of Scott Goodson at Forbes
So, it is understandable that yesterday's announcement of the sale of the Dodgers to the Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten/Guggenheim Partners group would elicit hosannas from Dodger fans, whose "long-suffering" mantle has to be kept in context. Pirates fans haven't had a winning season since 1992, and while they're anomalous in sports, it's a useful tonic for those who might feel ill-used by the McCourts.
That said, it seems to me there are two things (at least) we need to be cognizant of as Magic Johnson's banner goes up over the stadium:
- $2 billion is a lot of money. The bid, as MSTI pointed out, is 100% cash. This is astonishing, and for the McCourts, the very definition of failing up. For that kind of money, the new owners will want some return; and I really fear what that would entail.
- Cable TV revenues are not what they seem. The numbers floated previously — $3 billion from Fox — are eye-popping, and underpin the enormous valuation of the Dodgers. Yet, cable TV subscribers are cancelling in record numbers.
“Rising prices for pay TV, coupled with growing availability of lower-cost alternatives, add to a toxic mix at a time when disposable income isn’t growing,” [Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig] Moffett said. “For younger demographics, where in many cohorts unemployment is north of 30 percent, and especially for those with limited or no interest in sports, the pay-TV equation is almost inarguably getting less attractive.”So, we may read this fairly as the cable TV companies making a huge, all-in bet on sports generally and the Dodgers specifically as a means to stay relevant, while a large fraction of their audience leaks away to YouTube, Hulu, and other Internet-based options. This isn't just a case of satellite operators luring away more cable customers, as they, too, are suffering subscriber declines. More evidence of this trend comes from the fact that television ownership has declined for the first time in twenty years. Even Verizon's sexy FiOS service is reporting growth is finally leveling off, while 75% of the top twenty cable channels report declines in viewership.
Why Mark Trumbo Won't Be A Regular At Third
I did a little search on Baseball-Reference and checked all players since 1950 who had played at least 300 games at first base and third base. I picked what I thought would be a reasonable standard of playing time; if you played 300 games at third base, it means a manager was at least willing to live with you out there for a couple seasons' worth of games. This would help narrow down players who had played both positions and highlight guys who may have made the first-to-third transition. I figured it would be a large list. After all, a lot of third basemen get shifted to first base, right?Wow. The consequences of that are enormous. Trumbo never played third in the minors, which makes for a tough sell defensively. He has made some very nice plays there this spring, but we may write some of that off due to sample size.
There were only 24 such players. The list: Harmon Killebrew, Deron Johnson, Joe Torre, Dick Allen, Richie Hebner, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Enos Cabell, Ray Knight, Bob Horner, Darrell Evans, Pedro Guerrero, George Brett, Jeff King, Dave Magadan, Ron Coomer, Todd Zeile, Phil Nevin, Shea Hillenbrand, Kevin Youkilis, Jim Thome, Aubrey Huff, Wes Helms, Miguel Cabrera.
You know how many of those 24 converted from first base to third base? One.
Read the whole thing. His conclusion that Trumbo is a utility guy (with a goodly amount of pop) seems to me well-founded.
Panik On The Streets Of Scottsdale: Angels 5, Giants 3
Peter Bourjos had a couple star turns in this game, ending the fourth with a spectacular grab of Brandon Belt's line drive in deep left center, just before us in the berms at the Giants' fine park in Scottsdale. Then, to start off the fifth, Bourjos smacked a screamer down the left field line for a double off Lincecum, and Bobby Wilson singled him home, a sort-of replay of the third. Unaccustomed to such abuse, the Giants fans in our section screamed, "Whatsamatter with Bourjos? He's a bum!" You wish, San Fran. You wish.
Brad Mills, one of the returns from the junkpile trade that shipped Jeff Mathis out of town, pitched surprisingly well. The two runs he allowed yesterday were the first all spring, so go him; perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. Or, not. We'll have to see. As one of the BPro wags put it, you will rarely go wrong betting against a sudden improvement. He did, at least, go long enough to qualify for the win (six innings), which is a good thing; I expected him to leave after four and change.
For the longest time, the game dragged on in late innings, still tied, and with little hope of resolution entering the ninth, I consoled myself that spring games go only to ten innings. After Jorge Cantu lined out to second, I found myself hung between hope (hard contact) and despair (one out closer to extras). Then, Trumbo doubled, instantly putting the winning run in scoring position. That brought Javier Lopez out of the bullpen for the Giants, who proceeded to walk the next two batters he faced before blowing the game open with a bases-clearing triple to Alexei Amarista. The Giants got one back in the bottom of the frame with Daniel Tillman walked the leadoff batter, a shortstop named Panik. I declined the invitation to panic, and even though he eventually scored, it came with a sac fly out from the left fielder, named Pill, and so the game came to a happy end for Angels fans. Amarista is making a real case to be on the 25-man when camp breaks, but I confess I have no idea what that would do to the bench.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Dodgers Sold To Magic/Kasten Group For $2B
Update: McCourt has enough dough to buy the Mets. LOL.
Again, from McCourt's press release on the parking lots: "Mr. McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers will also be forming (1/2)Update 3: LAT on the deal:
..a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million." (2/2)
If the deal closes as expected, the Dodgers would be owned by an entity called Guggenheim Baseball Partners and run by Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.Molly Knight:
Someone better hand Jamie McCourt a stiff cocktail. She "only" gets $131 million out of the deal.
Update 4: ESPN LA.
Update 3/28: The dodgers.com story is here, with additional biographic info on Stan Kasten here. Jon Weisman's take on the team's to-do list can be found at ESPN, while Mike Petriello's thoughts can be found here and here. "Finally seeing him on his way out, well… it’s like Christmas multiplied by your birthday times twelve Super Bowls, plus kittens." And puppies. And ponies. I hope. I want to get something out on this later today; my initial reaction is that the purchase price is so high that many of the issues MLB claimed to have with McCourt ownership are still around for the new Magic/Kasten group. Read this way, the McCourts' eviction can be seen as a pure morality play, a verdict rendered on the squandiferous and self-absorbed McCourts. That's perhaps a bit harsh, but I can't understand how MLB feels this incoming bid — which has even more debt to buy the team (at least half, by what I recall) — is in better straits financially.
As If You Needed A Reason To Like Mark Trumbo
"I'm here to do whatever it is to help the team win,'' Trumbo said. "I know what I bring to the table. For me, it's proving I'm capable on defense, because that's how I'll earn the at-bats.''There's a lot of sugar in this piece — one must squint awfully hard, and perhaps find a peyote dealer, before Bobby Abreu begins to look like a Hall of Famer — but it's the Trumbo quotes that make it for me. Cheesy homilies from Bull Durham they may be, but he's got the good sense to know he's got to say them. Go, kid.
Yankees Release Preston Mattingly
Snakebit: Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 2
On to the Diamondbacks, who pulled off a worst-to-first turnaround nearly unprecedented in modern history. As BPro's writeup evinces, it had only been done three times by teams residing in divisions with more than four clubs, making it something of a rarity. They accomplished this feat by
- Radically reducing offensive strikeouts. Public enemy number one was Mark Reynolds, the team's whifftastic third baseman. (Reynolds staged a minor resurgence in Baltimore, hitting .221/.323/.483, but his OBP was roughly the same as from 2010, and his -22.9 UZR ranks among the worst starting defensive third basemen in the game.)
- This move, in turn, went a long way toward improving defense. Arizona went to fourth in the NL (.701 defensive efficiency) from an exactly league-average ninth in 2010 (.689).
- Fixing the bullpen. The Snakes had the second-worst bullpen in the league in 2010, so going up from there was almost an inevitability. Bringing in former (mostly) Mariner J.J. Putz as a free agent surprisingly did not backfire, and key acquisition from the Reynolds trade David Hernandez threw more innings than anyone else in relief for a very respectable 3.38 ERA.
So, the Diamondbacks, for the moment, appear to be the class of the division, although I seem to recall thinking similar things entering 2011 about the Giants. With that in mind, we watched a split-squad Cubs team go down versus a very strong outing by staff ace Ian Kennedy, who pitched seven innings of one-run ball. Cubs starter Jay Jackson only lasted four innings but looked creditable, at least, which is all you can hope for from a minor leaguer who's hoping to eventually crack the rotation. He'll be playing out his age 24 season in AAA, and with a team as bad as the Cubs are expected to be, not to mention the usual injuries accruing to a starting rotation, he'll get his chance to shine sooner rather than later.
One of the fun parts of the game, I confess, was a guy I found myself cheering for in last year's postseason, Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy got to Jackson in the fourth with a laser shot into the outfield berms. While it's kind of a stretch to think he'll have the impact this year he had on last year's NLDS (.438/.526/.813??), it's no big leap to imagine him becoming a high-OBP/SLG star the Snakes have needed at first base for a very long time.
For a spring training game involving the Cubs, actual attendance was surprisingly light, only 11,573. An engaging game at one of my favorite spring training parks: this is what Camelback Ranch should have been.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The End Is Nigh: Dodgers Sale Groups Whittled To Three
McCourt and his advisers have projected a sale price of at least $1.5 billion. Is that going to happen?
That might depend on whether McCourt includes the Dodger Stadium parking lots in the sale. The bidders would like him to sell the lots. He is not required to do so, and he has said he intends to keep them.
If he does, the offers for the Dodgers could drop to the point in which McCourt might not make much more than $1.1 billion, the approximate amount he needs to pay off debts and taxes, according to multiple people familiar with the sale process. McCourt could bet on revenue from future development.
The parking lot options might not be limited to "sell" or "keep." A bidder could get an option to buy them a later date, for example, or offer McCourt a share of any development revenue.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
How Much Wood Would A Grichuk Chuck? Angels 6, Rangers 5
One guy expected to win a role on the Rangers' 25-man roster (Michael Kirkman) stumbled badly and in fact took the loss, improbably on a Randall Grichuk RBI single. I could go on about Grichuk — a victim of unfortunate and star-crossed injuries — but I have my own burdens tonight, and so bid all of you a premature goodnight.
Update 3/26: For reasons I cannot entirely grasp myself (though "comedy" figures heavily), I must add that our experience at Tempe Diablo was one of the most annoying I have ever endured in any spring training game, ever, and that was due to the noticeably drunk Phillies fan sitting to Helen's right. He was so loud and grating that Helen got up in the third or so and wandered around the heavily populated stadium for much of the rest of the game. One of the many joys of spring training is the enhanced quality of the fans, in general; one does not make an extended vacation of baseball without being something of an epicurean. Fittingly, this dork was a local, using the day as an excuse to get blotto, I would gather, long before the game started, a first for us.
That brings to mind something else, something I am loathe to add, given this is the principal team I follow and write big annual checks to: Tempe Diablo is old. It is cramped. It lacks a complete outfield, cutting off a couple thousand paying customers. It has almost no shade in the sun. The food choices seem outdated and inadequate. Maybe it's just me, maybe it's just Helen, but it really feels like this is a park accommodating the Angels as they were before Mike Scioscia, a second-rate team without a history or a following.
I'm not sure I want them to move, and in fact I have a real moral reservation against it. Moving, after all, implies Arizona taxpayers will almost certainly be on the hook for whatever glossy stadium comes up. But it does seem to me as though you can see the end for this stadium.
Future Suck: Padres 5, Cubs 1
The good news, such as there is of it, is that the team's downside due to creaky veterans is somewhat limited. The lone bad Jim Hendry-era deal appears limited to Alfonso Soriano, who will haunt the lineup (or at least the payroll) through 2014. Marlon Byrd, not a liability but not really a star, has one more year on his contract, this one, as does the surprising (but not overwhelming) Ryan Dempster. Even more good news — perhaps the best in generations — came from the exodus of Theo Epstein to Chicago following a tiff with ownership in Boston. With an unmistakable "we're getting the band back together" vibe, he hauled in Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, both who had only briefly been running things in San Diego as the team's GM and AGM, respectively.
"I had low expectations — and they were dashed!"Something very like that happened with the Cubs yesterday, who committed two errors, both of which were followed by runs by the Padres. What surprised me immensely was that starter Travis Wood was charged with no unearned runs. Is this the opposite of homer scoring? However you call it, Wood seemed to me to be beset by much worse numbers than he really deserved, and pitched reasonably well the first time and a third or so through the order, his plunking of Will Venable notwithstanding.
— my friend Genny Dazzo
That said, it was a Padres split squad he succumbed to, and that team is notably not going to be very good, either. They finished last in the NL West last year at 71-91, a record the 2012 Cubs might even envy if things go really badly for them. One spring game is never going to tell you the whole story for an upcoming season unplayed; the whole point of the exercise is hope. For the Padres, much of that has to come from the crazy rich $1 billion/20 year TV deal the team unexpectedly pulled off in February. For the Cubs, it's all about the draft and international signings. Neither team has much real hope for winning 2012, and only limited aspirations the year after, either.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Mark Trumbo: Real Third Baseman?
Also, Kendrys Morales got his first homer yesterday since returning from the DL, which, yay.
And Then There Were Three
The three finalists include a group led by hedge-fund billionaire Steven Cohen and Los Angeles billionaire and philanthropist Patrick Soon-Shiong; a group led by Magic Johnson and veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten; and St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.It's weird how little I find myself caring about who wins the team, which is probably by itself bad, because it means McCourt has thoroughly destroyed my ability for rational thought when it comes to the Dodgers. After all, the last thing we need is another replay of the McCourt era, or to bring in (using an example of worst-case scenarios from other sports) a Donald Sterling sort of ownership. It's an enervation that seems to be going around in the Dodger blogosphere, albeit with Jon for entirely different reasons.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Dodgers Valuation Up 75% To Headline The 2012 Forbes MLB Valuations
Related And Belated:
- A Dodger Stadium naming rights deal is possible but unlikely, says Jon Weisman.
- The Dodgers will no longer have Vin Scully calling games in Denver.
- Out Of The Frying Pan Dep't: Say hello to the Steven Cohen era. Cohen has many of the negatives associated with the Jim Crane ownership group in Houston. MSTI:
Now, I’ve been pretty clear how against Cohen I’ve been since the beginning of this process. Now that it seems he’s the clear frontrunner, I’m trying to look on the bright side here, and there’s one massive positive: Cohen and Soon-Shiong are estimated to be worth over $15 billion between the two of them. That means we may not have to worry so much about whether a record-setting purchase price would impact the ability to invest in the team and stadium; it also means that we may not have to worry about a large amount of debt being a part of the purchase price.
It’s also worth noting that a team owner doesn’t necessarily have to be out in front and charismatic, as McCourt tried (and failed miserably) to do. I don’t know if Cohen would plan to move to Los Angeles, and it might not matter. He could simply be the moneyman from across the country and allow Tellem or someone like him with baseball experience to run the team, and that’s fine. We all like the idea of the personable owner at the park every night shaking hands with the fans, and while that’s noble and potentially what a Magic Johnson ownership would be like, it’s also not always realistic. Plenty of owners simply let the smart people take the lead in public, and if the money is there and the meddling isn’t, that’s not always the worst thing in the world.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Mariners Release Hong-Chih Kuo
Wilpons Settle Madoff Claims For $162M
Friday, March 16, 2012
Regional Sports Network Pricing Climbs Through The Roof
According to SNL Kagan, affiliate-fee revenue for all regional sports networks rose 44% in the past five years, from $3.2 billion in 2007 to $4.6 billion in 2011. At the same time, affiliate revenue for non-sports cable networks has climbed nearly 41% in the same period, from $12.3 billion in 2007 to $17.3 billion in 2011.Cable TV networks are starting to fight back, but Time Warner Cable is conflicted now by their ownership of the Lakers' TV network:
Some reports have said based on the estimated $3 billion TWC paid the Lakers for rights to air their games for 20 years, the MSO will need to charge as much as a combined $3.50 per subscriber per month for the two networks to turn a profit.It seems to me that a lot of the carriage fees are based on some very rosy assumptions, in particular that people won't just start dropping cable. It's very easy to see that it might eventually be the case that carriage fees for RSNs could approach $20, which would set an absolute floor on cable TV monthly charges. $100/month for basic cable? It's not an impossibility.
“Based on the pretty substantial rights fee they were charged, they, in turn, will probably charge a pretty substantial [carriage] fee,” Berke said.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Dodgers To Give Away Hello Kitty Bobblehead July 1
So Wrong Dep't: Little Leaguers Must Return $1,200 Donated By LA Strip Club
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Santana Yanked After Taking A Line Drive To His Pitching Shoulder
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
What The Jeff Moores Pullout On The Padres Deal Means
Monday, March 12, 2012
Lasorda In Decline
Angels, Dodgers Mediocre Or Worse As BPro Rates The Farm Systems
19. Los Angeles DodgersUgh. This is the lowest I've seen the Angels rated; you may recall Baseball America ranked the Angels 18th overall.
Top 11 Prospects List
System At a Glance: There's certainly pitching here, but it's more quantity than quality, and the organization is wafer-thin when it comes to positional prospects at the upper level.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Angels Customer Service Hits The Skids As Five-Hour Lines For Tickets Enrage Fans
The worst thing is that Angels executives still don't get that they committed a huge blunder. When I spoke with the front office last week, they were not exactly apologetic. They weren't merely defensive. They were truculently defensive. At one point in our conversation, Angels President John Carpino intimated that I was taking this matter personally because my wife had been inconvenienced, as though no one who hasn't lived through the experience can imagine the frustration of being forced to waste nine hours acquiring 10 baseball tickets.Hiltzik is normally one of the reasons I ignore the Times' business section — he is that section's answer to Bill Plaschke — but he's absolutely right in twitting the front office. The Angels have done a lot to make their team and stadium an enjoyable experience, but this is ridiculous. Was there any reason these vouchers couldn't have been managed online? Really a bad call, made worse by Carpino's evasions.
Friday, March 09, 2012
Scott Boras, Man With A Tin Ear
Speaking in generalities about big-market teams, Boras said: "When they are not providing fans with the highest quality of play, and they take an attitude of 'we're going to take on a development role,' knowing that the TV contracts, the market size and such allow them revenues that far exceed many of the clubs that have to pursue those development policies, that impacts the game. The major franchises who are getting the majority of revenues should provide a product, or an attempt at a product, that has the near-highest payrolls commensurate with the markets they are in."In other words, he's publicly upset that the Wilpons won't be bidding up any of his soon-to-be injured free agents, and is saying as much. While I have no love for the Wilpons and their vile manipulation of team finances (which are scarcely better than what the McCourts subjected the Dodgers to), it's a sort of enemy-of-my-enemy situation with Boras. As the article points out, megabust Oliver Perez was a Boras client (3 years/$36M). Perez is out of baseball at age 29, if such a thing is conceivable — and yet Boras is lecturing the Mets on providing a quality product on the field?
Harry Wendelstedt, RIP
Drysdale threw a 2-2 pitch that struck Dick Dietz on the elbow, and the shutout streak seemed to be over. But Wendelstedt, the plate umpire, immediately ruled that Dietz didn't try to get out of the way. Wendelstedt called the pitch a ball and told Dietz to get back in the batter's box.
"I'd never seen that call before in the big leagues," Lasorda recalled. "Never had seen anyone make it."
After a heated argument, the game resumed. On a full-count pitch, Dietz flied out and Drysdale wound up pitching a shutout. Orel Hershiser set the shutout record of 59 innings in 1988, pitching under Lasorda.
"Harry had a wide strike zone, he liked to see hitters swing the bat," Lasorda said, laughing. "Dick Dietz. Harry, he got him out. And the streak continued."
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Every Hall Of Famer: Duke Snider
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Angels Scout Ejected From Giants Workout, Giants Claim "Misunderstanding"
Monday, March 05, 2012
The Angels' Third Base Dilemma
This is not to dismiss the fielding issue, as it is obviously important. But what about the notion of an “offensive profile?” It would be understandable if one assumed that Trumbo’s 29 home runs made him more valuable at the plate than Callaspo last season. However, we do have ways of establishing the relative value of events using linear weights-based metrics like wOBA. However, the simple heart of my overly-lengthy response is this: Trumbo’s 2011 wOBA was .327 (.254/.291/.477), and Callaspo’s was .330 (.288/.366/.375). Trumbo was worth six batting runs above average, while Callaspo was worth about seven in fewer plate appearances.That is to say, even though Trumbo has a nice home run total, because he rarely walks and has a low batting average, his bat is worth only marginally more than Callaspo, which is a surprising outcome. I personally could live with either, though you can see how Trumbo might be getting starts on days flyballer Jered Weaver starts.
Trumbo is younger, of course, so perhaps after making appropriate adjustments, he comes out better. ZiPS does see regression for Callaspo this season, projecting his 2012 wOBA at .314. However, ZiPS sees Trumbo 2012 wOBA as being…. .314. So there is no help there, either.
Irony Eludes The Giants Fan
Thursday, March 01, 2012
How Clayton Kershaw Might Retire A 300 Game Winner
A Useful Proposal For The NBA All-Star Game That Could Fix Some Problems With MLB's
So here is my idea: the NBA lawyers should put a provision in the next CBA relating to the dunk contest. The NBA fans should get to vote on who appears in the dunk contest (and the actual judging of the dunks should once again be done by past dunking legends, such as Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins). If a player is selected to appear in the dunk contest, then that player must participate or a sizable chunk of his salary will disappear (and go to a worthy charity). We could use legalese and call the fine something official sounding, like the “scaredy cat” fine.Something like this would be useful for, say, MLB's Home Run Derby, which always seems to have a lot of no-shows (most infamously A-Rod, who infamously refused to play in last year's ASG altogether). I don't doubt but that A-Rod would use the opt-out legitimately — he's no longer a spring chicken, and has participated in plenty of ASG's previously. But I think this proposal would do a lot to change at least the perception that the ASG is a joke.
There can, and should, be an “opt out” for players who are over a certain age or who have already participated in at least three dunk contests. Such a provision would protect NBA stars who have already been good sports, as well as keeping NBA stars who are past their prime from embarrassing themselves.
There could also be a provision to protect (legitimately) injured players from being fined. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Wouldn’t the LeBrons — err, I mean, players of questionable honor — of the world just fake injuries and get away with chickening out?” For a few reasons, I think not (even if we don’t require them to bring a doctor’s note).
Labels: all-star game