May 22, 2013
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Thursday, July 09, 2009
Steroids? Overpaid players? Nope:
A new Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll finds that baseball fans think the high cost of attending games is by far the biggest problem in Major League Baseball right now.
Google news search results for the following terms:
"baseball steroids": 3500
"baseball player salaries": 1769
"baseball high ticket prices": 1100
So which is it? Are the fans complaining about the wrong things, or is the media writing about the wrong things?
Not a lot going on this afternoon, so how about a little history? First, Frank Fitzpatrick at the Philly Inquirer remembers the summer of '69:
This is a remarkably rich anniversary summer. Even now, from the distance of 40 years, 1969's seems a little unreal. There was simply too much jaw-dropping news to digest: Man on the moon, Woodstock, the Manson murders, Chappaquiddick, disclosure of the My Lai massacre, secret Vietnam peace talks, Hurricane Camille.
He forgot to mention how Jimmy quit and Jody got married. Should have known we'd never get far. Anyway:
But this was the summer of Dick Allen. Allen wanted out, a yearning he occasionally scrawled in the dirt near first base and one that would be granted at season's end. He was acting out, downing a few beers before arriving at the ballpark, or showing up late for workouts and sometimes games. Fans booed him mercilessly. Some threw garbage on his lawn. Not surprisingly, in the NL East's inaugural season, the Phils finished fifth, 36 games under .500, 37 games behind the seven-year-old Miracle Mets. Only 519,914 witnessed the misery at Connie Mack Stadium.
Much happier memories of 1969 (and 1959, 1979, 1989 and 1999) are to be had on the opposite coast, as the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea catches up with Willie McCovey. Good stuff here:
It's really been a love affair here with me and the fans. I don't know why they adopted me so much, but they did. I guess because I started my career here and I stayed here and made it my home. Most ballplayers would leave and go different places in the offseason. I stayed out here and would attend all the events, and I think San Francisco people really like that. Heck, I would go the opening night of the symphony, and I didn't know anything about the symphony."
The only thing that happened relevant to my life in 1969 was that my folks moved back to Michigan after spending a couple of years living in Alaska for some strange 1960s kind of reason. I've wondered sometimes what my life would have been like if they had stayed and had me up there instead of down in the lower 48. I'm guessing you couldn't get many ballgames on the radio up there circa 1978 -- and certainly not Ernie Harwell -- so it's quite possible that I never would have become a baseball fan. If that had come to pass, instead of ShysterBall, you'd be reading ShysterSled or ShysterSalmon or something.
Or maybe not.
Downtown St. Louis goes banner-crazy in anticipation of the All-Star Game.
Details, assuming you need them, can be found here.
I understand one part of this, but I'm not sure I understand the other:
The average ticket price to the Major League Baseball All-Star game in St. Louis is down more than 50 percent from last year, while the ticket price to the Home Run Derby is up more than 9 percent.
New York is obviously a different place than St. Louis so I understand the ticket price dropping, but I would have expected to see a decline in the Derby ticket prices too.
Did Josh Hamilton's display from last year make it a much bigger event, or are people In St. Louis just entertained by different things?
Not doing ATH this morning has completely thrown me off my game. I have no idea how I structured my day before I started writing it. And not just my blogging day. My whole morning schedule -- including my coffee, my shower, and my commute downtown -- was simply out of whack, and I think it's all attributable to BDD: Boxscore Deficit Disorder. Still, I managed to soldier on . . . somehow:
I’m sick of the 94 strike being blamed for the demise of baseball in Toronto, it is an excuse not a reason. See the reaction in this country to the NHL lockout for evidence. When the NHL returned TV ratings went up significantly and attendance was boffo. The reason? Simple, we missed hockey. We didn’t miss baseball, it was an excuse for the trendy fans to jump off the bandwagon.
Pete Toms -- Canadian citizen -- building off yesterday's post about the death spiral that is Toronto Blue Jays' baseball. We can blame Jeff Loria for the Expos, but even he can't be blamed for Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Medicine Hat, can he?
I didn't get a chance to post my "And That Happened" recaps this morning, but I'll offer some quick hits regarding last night's games:
Andruw Jones went crazy against the Angels last night, hitting three homers. Which is the same number of homers he hit all last year. And which, for the season, puts him at .250/.348/.581. That sound you hear is me banging my head against the wall in the realization that he, and not Jeff Francoeur, could have very easily been manning right field in Atlanta this year. Rangers are in first, now, kids. They're for real, and my pre-season prediction that had them winning the west still looks prescient. Sure, it was a wild-ass guess, but that's what we call prescience before the fact.
Oliver Perez is back, and better than ever! Oh, wait, He walked seven guys. Dodgers: how do you lose a game to Oliver Perez when he walks seven guys?
Chris Volstad and Wandy Rodriguez each pitched five-hit shutouts. It is such a bizarre coincidence that anything so mind boggglingly improbable could have happened purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
Jose Contreras apparently spent his rehab time earlier this season working with Ponce de Leon. And in this crazy, mixed-up world, isn't it refreshing that you can still count on some things in life? Thing like the Indians sucking?
Prince Fielder legged out an infield single that drove in the go-ahead run and which caused the U.S. Geological Survey and several local fire departments to go on high alert. See, because he's a big guy and there was a lot of thigh-friction and . . . ah, well, never mind.
The Tigers finally figured out how to beat Zack Greinke. Leyland: "When you are going against a guy like Greinke, you know that you are going to have to get a great game from your starter. If you give up three or four runs, he's going to beat you, so I was very happy with what French did tonight." Thank goodness for the Tigers that Greinke still pitches for the Royals, so three or four runs aren't all that distinct a possibility.
You always want to win games, but I bet the Reds are just as happy to finally see an effective Homer Bailey (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 6K 0 BB) as they would have been to see a victory.
Once again, sorry for not having the full ATH glory, but sometimes life and work and stuff intrudes, ya know?
Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya.
OK, not really. But I don't have any recaps this morning for various and sundry reasons. I will be a-bloggin' as usual today, however, so if anything particularly daffy came up during last night's games I'm sure to be on it eventually.
Once again, sorry.