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Wednesday, April 08, 2009
For all I know, Missouri legislator Jason Crowell is a member of the Whig party, is opposed to women's suffrage, and thinks we should declare war on Imperial Spain, but from what I do know of him, I like the cut of his jib:
A Missouri lawmaker is threatening to put an end to plans for the $600-million Ballpark Village project, next to Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
I'm guessing that if they debated it for nine hours after his statement, Mr. Crowell doesn't carry a lot of weight in Jefferson City, but man, I really do like a guy who states his position clearly.
Two of the more annoying things to come down the pike in the past decade -- day traders and Twitter -- are now working together, backed in part by a former Major Leaguer:
Launched in October, StockTwits.com has 30,000 registered users, following stock commentary from 1,000 people who "tweet" every day for the site. They tag their Twitter posts, about any public company, so the posts appear on StockTwits.com. The site is open to anyone and is populated by professionals and novices alike. So to help users cull through and find the best information, the company has a recommended list of about 50 tweeters with proven records and consistent contributions to the site . . .
I got a buddy who can't raise low five figures to get his landscaping business off the ground, yet Stottlemyre is out there throwing a million at something called StockTwits. Oh the humanity.
In the future, everyone will have a blog for 15 minutes. That is, assuming they have a job that long.
Stuff to read while you still reel at the fact that armed federal agents came to your house this morning asking if you know where the guy who used to live next door to you is:
And yeah, that really happened. And here I thought no one was taking my complaints about his lawn seriously.
Newsday's John Jeansonne reports the results of some consumer research which suggests that baseball's popularity is eroding compared to the other major sports:
It's not just the stupid economy. (Although the Yankees' 76.3-percent jump in average ticket price amid our Great Recession could have its unpleasant consequences this season.) Major League Baseball, according to the New York-based consumer research firm Brand Keys, has fallen below the NFL and NBA in its latest Sports Fan Loyalty Index. While ballyards across America swell this week with crowds celebrating the ritual return of the national pastime, Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff argues that baseball's drawn-out steroids scandal heads the list of factors that have eroded the sport's popularity.
Based on the information provided on their website, the Brand Keys survey really gauges the intensity of fandom -- how much merch is bought per person and stuff like that -- as opposed to sheer numbers of customers as measured by ticket sales or television viewers, though those obviously go into it too. This might explain how, despite the fact that baseball's overall revenues and ticket sales have risen steadily for the past decade -- with a slight decline in attendance last year -- Brand Keys has baseball steadily falling on its scale over that same time frame. More casual fans, fewer body-painting fanatics who buy anything with their team's logo painted on it.
Which I'm fine with, quite frankly. The numbers go up and down -- and baseball will surely see a dip in everything this year due to the economy -- but I'm much happier in a world where just about anyone I know is likely to go to a ballgame once in a while than I am to be in a world of a relatively smaller number and considerably scarier brand of intense enthusiasts.
I've made a couple of recent comments about how I wish that, after nearly 20 years of nostalgia-based ballpark design, the architects in charge of the few remaining big league projects would be a bit more adventurous. I don't need the Wexner Center or Beijing National Stadium, but a little something to stir the imagination -- rather than the memory -- would be nice, wouldn't it?
But I'll admit that I'm probably in the minority here. Frank Deford certainly disagrees:
In a front-page article in The New York Times, architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff expressed "disappointment" on behalf of "students of architecture," because the Mets' and Yankees' new baseball parks don't embrace the modern but, instead, celebrate a "nostalgic vision."
At the risk of totally unearned snobbery (i.e. I have no architectural training at all), I'll note that everyone followed the model of those Brutalist office buildings from the 60s and 70s too, and that didn't lead us anywhere terribly fulfilling. Sure, I'll take Camden Yards over Boston City Hall seven days a week, but we have to appreciate that someone, somewhere and at some time thought about such things much differently. Who's to say we won't feel the same way about ballparks, and why then, isn't each project developed more independently with a greater focus on where it is and what it's trying to accomplish than what worked in another city?
(thanks to ShysterBall's architecture, grad school, and South Dakota affairs correspondent, Sara K for the heads up)
I've been passing along others' dissatisfaction with MLB.tv for the past couple of days. My guess: things will be running smoother with live broadcasts soon simply because fewer people will be logging on at once now that the Opening Day hype is over and the season is underway. That does not explain the archiving problem identified by Jay over at Fack Youk.
It's great that MLBAM has developed one of the few truly successful paid-subscription services on the Internet, and it's even better that they've managed to do it with content that isn't pornography. It would be best, however, if the darn thing worked like it should.
Things that make you wonder why the Orioles' attendance has dropped in recent years:
Went to Camden Yards on opening day, and --imagine this--drank beer. I was not alone.
That's the best lineup I've seen in Baltimore since the Ripken-Alomar-Palmiero days.
Neyer has broken the chains of ESPN's generic blogging protocols and has launched "SweetSpot," complete with new URL, easier hyperlinking and greater all-around bloggy functionality. Things should stay pretty much the same content-wise -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it -- but word on the street has it that he'll have something less than what he's previously had in terms of editorial oversight, which really pretty damn critical to blogging, I've found. Time will tell if that's a good idea from ESPN's perspective, but it's not like Neyer is the kind of guy who's gonna get a company sued or anything.
Or maybe that's just what he wants us to think . . .
Giants 10, Brewers 6: Hero-pilot Chesley Sullenberger threw out the first pitch. He had the best stuff out of anyone at AT&T Park yesterday, however, as Tim Lincecum became the third out of the last four Cy Young award winners -- following Cliff Lee yesterday and CC Sabathia last year -- to get rocked the following Opening Day. Well, maybe "rocked" is too strong a word, but it was a short outing. Jeff Suppan, on the other hand, was rocked (4 IP, 6 H, 6 ER). I spent most of last April riffing on the Giants' inability to score runs and by the time I got tired of doing so I had built up a nice little archive of Giants-can't-hit jokes. I hope this sort of game doesn't continue for them, because I have a lot of material I need to use.
Red Sox 5, Rays 3: Josh Beckett mowed down the Rays (7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 10K), showing a lot more velocity than he had in the ALCS last year. It's the kind of thing that reminds you that health is as big a factor as anything else by the time you get to October. Everyone is hurt to some degree, and the team that is hurt less has the advantage. In other news, according to the game story "The Boston Pops took over the national anthem from singer Seal, who had been scheduled for Monday but couldn't stick around." What on Earth does Seal have on his schedule? He's been free since basically 1994, right?
White Sox 4, Royals 2: Kyle Farnsworth gave up a late blast to Jim Thome despite having no business facing a lefty slugger like him. For a short and concise analysis of this, check out Neyer's post about it. For an angry, 2,300 word screed about it, check out Rany's. Remember back in the day when Rob used to be the more bitter of the two of them when it came to the Royals? Yeah, times change.
Marlins 8, Nationals 3: There's going to be plenty of time to criticize the Nationals this year, so allow me to insert a compliment: the Nats' bullpen threw five innings of shutout relief yesterday. Of course it followed an act of utter pitching malpractice by Scott Olsen (3 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 3BB), but let's look on the bright side, shall we? Also of note: a day after that long inside the park home run to deep center by Emilio Bonifacio, the game summary lists both Ronny Paulino -- the catcher, mind you -- and Bonifacio himself tripling to "deep center" in the third. Is this all grand coincidence, or does Lastings Milledge have a broken pelvis or something?
Blue Jays 5, Tigers 4: Brandon Lyon blows a decent Edwin Jackson start, coughing up three runs and the game in an inning of work. Bad night for him to be doing that. Due to some alcohol violations, booze sales were banned at Rogers Centre for the game, and you just know that Leyland could have used a belt of something strong to get through this one.
Braves 4, Phillies 0: The Braves bookend a couple of runs on cheap infield hits and errors with a blasts from Kelly Johnson and Chipper Jones, and because Philadelphia is apparently protesting deforestation or something and left their bats in Florida to start the year, it was enough to hold up.
Twins 6, Mariners 5: A three-run ninth inning rallied Minnesota past Seattle. It started when Brandon Morrow retired the first two Twins in the ninth, only to walk the bases full. Then Miguel Batista came in to contribute the remainder of the kerosene, giving up two straight singles to end it. In other words, five straight Twins reached safely with two outs in the ninth. Oy vey.
Cardinals 9, Pirates 3: Just another case of Albert bein' Albert (2-3, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB). It helped that Ian was bein' Ian too (4 IP, 9 H, 8 R).
Padres 4, Dodgers 2: I'm not going to say this was an uneventful game, but the recap spends multiple paragraphs talking about Heath Bell's save, despite the fact that there appears to have been no drama about it whatsoever.
Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 0: Monday's slugfest turns into Tuesday's pitchers' duel, as Ubaldo Jiminez shuts the Dbacks out over seven innings and Corpas and Street close the deal. Jiminez after the game: "I feel really good pitching out there," Jimenez said of Chase Field. "The weather is nice, and I'm able to throw all my pitches. Here I can throw my curve a lot." Sounds like a Coors complaint. I'm guessing the Rockies aren't going to be able to lock Ubaldo up if they're so inclined. UPDATE: OK, I missed this. Forget I said anything.
A's 6, Angels 4: I'm not going to say the Angels are in trouble or anything, but a team that contends doesn't have something called Dustin Moseley start their second game of the season. Three runs over six innings isn't terrible or anything, but LAAoA is going to have some issues with the rotation as currently structured.
Astros 3, Cubs 2: I watched Monday's opener and most of last night's game before falling asleep on the friggin' couch. Up until then, I was of the opinion that Rodriguez might never get another Major League hit, he looked so bad up there. But I'll be damned, his tenth inning single ended up getting him on base for the winning run. Since I didn't see it, I can only assume that five guys fell down trying to field a slow dribbler or something.