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Archive for June 2010

Who are Baseball’s Biggest Fans?

June 25th, 2010 | 9 comments »

Boy, oh boy…this is going to be an unpopular post with my fellow Braves and Red Sox fans.  Probably fans of every other team in baseball too.  Nonetheless, I’m writing it anyway.  It’s so nice having my own blog with no editorial control some days!

Today’s question: who are the biggest fans of baseball?  Not of a team, of the game of baseball?  Although it pains me, as a Braves and Red Sox fan, to say this…I think it’s Yankees fans.

I am constantly surprised at the number of people who comment on this blog and my other blogs, email me and follow me on Twitter who are Yankees fans.  They by far outnumber the fans of any other team, including the Braves.  Initially, I found this surprising since I got my start on a Braves blog and continue to write about them from time to time here.  If you follow me on Twitter (and really, why wouldn’t you? haha), then you know I also tweet about the Braves quite a bit.  Yet my biggest contingent of followers are Yankees fans.

So, I started thinking about it today, and I realized that a lot of the comments and emails I get are from Yankees fans.  I also read a number of blogs about the inner-workings of baseball that are written by Yankees fans. (Since it’s Friday and I have officially started my vacation, I’ll have a little fun and give a shout out to my favorite, It’s All About the Money.) 

I have no idea why, but it seems that Yankees fans are students of the game more so than fans of any other team.  What I mean by that is that they study and write about things like whether baseball needs a salary cap, how and when instant replay should be used, how revenue sharing is used by recipient clubs, etc.

At first, I thought it was because so much of what I believe in coincides with the way the Yankees are run as a team.  Except, the most amazing thing about these Yankees fans is that they usually argue against the free market mechanisms I favor!

Now, maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe it just seems like the majority of fans interested in these types of non-team-specific baseball topics are Yankees fans.  Maybe it’s because Yankees fans are so vocal about telling you they’re Yankees fans. 

Are they the biggest fans of watching the game or the most vocal supporters of their team?  I don’t know, there are extraordinarly passionate fans of the hometown team in several cities: Boston and St. Louis, off the top of my head.  But somehow I always find myself talking to a Yankees fan when it comes to business and legal issues in baseball. 

Time for a few examples.  Back in Boston in the spring, I debated revenue sharing with a Yankees fan sitting behind me at Fenway.  Last year when the Yankees were in Atlanta, I debated salary caps with a Yankees fan next to me in the standes.  When I was in New York a couple of years ago to see a game in the old Yankee Stadium, I got into a conversation about stadium financing with a Yankees fan.  The fact of the matter is, I go to a lot of baseball games, all over the country, and these conversations almost always seem to happen with Yankees fans.  Again, maybe it’s simply that there are so many Yankees fans. 

All I know is that I’m continually amazed by the Yankees fans who interact with me on a daily basis.  I’m also appreciative…even if your team has made the lives of my two teams miserable in the past, and I literally can’t stand the sight of A-Rod.  Other than that, you’re great!

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Posted in Uncategorized

I’m Now Miss SportsBiz on CSS!

June 22nd, 2010 | Comment »

Today I started a new blog for Comcast Sports Southeast called Miss SportsBiz!  My first post is a follow-up to my appearance on SportsNite last week and discusses the possiblity of hard slotting in the MLB draft.  Click here to check out the new blog!

P.S.  You’ll still be able to find me here too!

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Posted in SportsNite

Ten Reasons I Love Baseball

June 21st, 2010 | 4 comments »

The number one question I get asked these days is how I became such a big baseball fan that now I write and speak on it regularly.  So, here are the top ten reasons I love baseball:

10.  It makes for great movies and songs.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a baseball movie I didn’t like.  For Love of the Game is my favorite, but Field of Dreams, The Rookie, and A League of Their Own are close contenders.  Then you’ve got songs like Centerfield, The Greatest and, of course, Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  Name a great song written about football or basketball or hockey.  There are none.

9. It Brings People Together.  Whether it’s family, neighbors, coworkers or friends, baseball brings us together.  Just ten days after the terrorist attacks in 2001, the Mets and Braves played the first sporting event in NYC following the devastating attack.  It brings people together in other ways too.  I love this quote, which perfectly illustrates my point:

We are very possessive of our ballparks. Our own homes are just four walls with a mortgage, a shell we’ll gladly sell to move to a place with extra storage and a better school district. But a ballpark? That’s sacred land. Not only because of a stadium’s place in our personal memories but also because of its importance to our collective memory. Ballparks are one of the last remaining places — and perhaps the only place — where we truly come together as a community for a shared experience. We won’t exchange words with the passengers next to us during an entire cross-country flight other than to ask if they’re going to eat all their pretzels. But put us in a stadium and soon we’ll be hugging, slapping high-fives and orchestrating the wave with everyone in the section as if they were fraternity brothers. ~ Jim Caple

8. Souvenirs.  At every baseball game, souvenirs are thrown, driven, popped up and otherwise deposited into the stands.  And unless you’re at a Division III baseball game where they can’t afford to lose balls (like my alma mater), you get to keep the ball! 

7. Batting practice.  I love that teams let you in to watch batting practice.  Personally, I like to get to the game when the gates open and relax and enjoy batting practice while I grab something to eat.  I find it so peaceful to sit there when the stadium is fairly empty and take it all in.  For other sports, I simply arrive right before game time. 

6.  Ballparks.  This is similar to #4 below, but more about the stadium itself and not the field of play.  I love that ballparks like Fenway and Wrigley have been fought for as historic landmarks.  I also love that each and every ballpark has it’s own special something.  Wrigley Field has the rooftop seats on the surrounding buildings, AT&T Park has the bay with all the boats out waiting for homerun balls, Monument Park at Yankee Stadium, and the stingrays at The Trop.  My favorite thing about The Ted here in Atlanta is the way they honored the old ballpark by retaining part of the structure, the wall where Hank Aaron hit #715 and the basepaths and bases in bronze out in what is now the parking lot.  Essentially, you can still walk around in the old ballpark, which I love.  This is not a complete list, but you get the point.  Every ballpark has something that makes it unique, which I guess is why so many baseball fans embark on trips to visit all of the ballparks.

5.  Fan Tradition.  I love some of the fan traditions in baseball: the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium, John Adams at Indians games banging on the drum, Sweet Caroline being sung by the crowd at Fenway, throwing back opposing team homeruns at Wrigley, lighting up The Trop orange when the team wins and, of course, the tomahawk chop at Braves games.  Again, not an exhaustive list, but just ones off the top of my head.

4.  Home Field Advantage.  I love that there really is a tangible home field advantage in baseball.  No two parks are the same in terms of shape or distance to the outfield wall.  I love that you can have a ladder or a flagpole in play, a hill in centerfield, or a wall in left field that is over 37 feet tall. 

3.  Spring Training.  I love that every March, fans from all over the nation make the trip to sunny Florida and Arizona to watch their team shake off the winter stiffness and get ready for the season.  In no other sport do fans flock to preseason training.  I also love that every single fan there has hope for the season, whether they’re a Yankees fan or a Royals fan. 

2. It Allows for Failure.  There are so many examples of baseball allowing for redemption, come-from-behind stories and victories by the underdog.  A successful hitter in baseball only gets a hit 3 in every ten at bats.  A guy who’s 5’9″ can win the MVP award.  A 9-game losing streak in April means nothing when you get to June and you have the best record in the National League.  You can even come back from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS and reverse the curse.  I love that you can be a star in baseball without having to be perfect, but that a perfect game is possible.  Baseball is full of second chances and unlikely heroes, and I love it!

1.  It is Everywhere.  I love that no matter where I’ve lived, there has been baseball.  I grew up in Atlanta rooting for the Braves…back when they were really bad in the 80s.  Luckily, they went on their 14-division title run throughout my school years, so I’ve had a taste of what it feels like to cheer on a winner.  I went to college at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and I practically lived at the baseball field every spring.  Then I moved to Columbia, South Carolina after college and University of South Carolina was at its peak and going to the College World Series, so I became a Gamecock fan (which I quickly abandoned when I went to law school at University of Florida).  Next I moved to Orange County, California, where I regularly attended both Angels and Dodgers games and even managed to catch a few Padres games.  Attending law school at University of Florida made me a Gator fan, and it was so convenient that the baseball field was right next door to the law school!  I moved back to Atlanta after law school, and next thing I knew they were relocating the Richmond Braves to Gwinnett, where I grew up.  And when I travel, I try to plan my trips around the stadiums I can visit.  I’ve been to 10 of the current ballparks and 3 that are no longer in use.  No matter where I’ve lived or gone, some kind of baseball has always been there, like an old friend just waiting to welcome me!

I want to hear from everyone else…what is your favorite thing about baseball?

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Posted in Fun Stuff

Check me out on SportsMoney!

June 21st, 2010 | Comment »

If you think I’ve been a little slack around here lately, it’s only because I’m so busy writing everywhere else!  Here’s what I’ve been doing on SportsMoney on since the last time I posted links:

Who Wants LeBron? (the marketing techniques being used by cities to lure LeBron James)

Ranger Roy? (Nolan Ryan and the Rangers want Roy Oswalt)

The Trojans War Isn’t Over. Yet. (an in-depth look at the USC sanctions)

A Big Week for College Football (USC sanctions and the Pac-10 and Big Ten expansions)

The Tebow Effect: Part 2 (learn what a BroncoGator is and how Tebow is one of the hottest trading cards)

American Needle v. NFL: Looking Forward (a look at the antitrust claim against the NFL)

I’d also like to announce that I’ve been asked to blog for Comcast Sports Southeast!  It’s a very exciting opportunity, so stay tuned for details.  I will also be appearing on SportsNite again on July 13th and July 27th!

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SportsNite Appearance 6/16/10

June 17th, 2010 | 1 comment »

Thank you to everyone who sent their well wishes prior to my tv debut tonight! I had a blast, and I can’t believe how fast seven minutes can go by!

For those who weren’t able to tune into CSS, here is my segment:

I also did a couple of video blogs once I got home to dive deeper into a couple of the topics I found most interesting. It’s the first time I’ve used my webcam and my first attempt at video blogs, so hopefully I’ll get better at these!

Here’s some expanded discussion of the possibility of hard slotting in the MLB draft:

And here’s some more information on the issues between the NFL and NFL Players Association:

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Posted in SportsNite

My TV Debut on CSS!

June 15th, 2010 | 5 comments »

I’m very excited to be appearing on SportsNite on Comcast Sports Southeast tomorrow night!  SportsNite on CSS is an Emmy-award winning sports program that focuses on Southeastern sports.  SportsNite airs live at 6 p.m. EST on weeknights and replays at 10 p.m. EST and 8 a.m. EST the following morning.  I’ll be joining the show to talk about legal and business issues in sports that impact teams and fans in the Southeast.

Tomorrow night I’ll be talking about…

Is hard slotting coming to the MLB First-Year Players Draft? 

What is the Super Two thing in MLB all about, and is it the reason we didn’t see guys like Strasburg and Stanton until June?

Is expanded instant replay coming to MLB after Galarraga’s perfect game that wasn’t?  Do the players want instant replay?

Can you afford to go to an NFL game this season after 18 teams raised their ticket prices?

Why is the NFL Players Associaton suing the NFL over its most recent television contract?  Does it foreshadow a lockout?

Was Texas’ decision to stay in the Big 12 all about television contracts?

Head over to the CSS website to see if you get this channel.  You’ll see a Find CSS box on the right-hand side about halfway down the page where you can check to see if you get CSS.  If you don’t, check back here later this week for the video of my segment!   

On a sidenote, I have changed my Twitter name to reflect my expanded coverage of sports other than baseball now that I’ve been blessed with opportunities with Forbes and CSS.  If you already follow me, you’ll just notice the new name associatedwith my tweets.  If you don’t already follow me, here’s how you can start: @SportsBizMiss.

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Posted in SportsNite

The Perfect Game That Wasn’t

June 3rd, 2010 | 1 comment »

You’ve certainly heard by now that Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers was one out away from being only the twenty-first man in MLB history to throw a perfect game.  A blown call by umpire, Jim Joyce, on what would have been the twenty-seventh out of the game kept Galarraga from obtaining the perfect game, but no doubt made him a part of baseball history.

The call heard ’round the world has been replayed countless times in the past fifteen hours or so, and there is no doubt that Joyce made the wrong call.  I won’t belabor the point here, but Joyce admitted he was wrong and asked to see Galarraga after the game to personally apologize.

So now the question is what, if anything, should be done to right this wrong.  Some are pointing to this as an example of why MLB should have expanded instant replay.  Others are demanding that MLB reverse the call and give Galarraga the perfect game. 

I absolutely do not support MLB overturning Joyce’s call and awarding the perfect game to Galarraga.  Don’t get me wrong, I was outraged at first.  Then I quickly moved on to feeling sad, for both Galarraga and Joyce.  It wasn’t until I saw a comment made by someone I follow on Twitter (@BrianBernardoni) that I came to terms with how I feel about the situation.  Here’s what it said: “A#perfectgame is perfection for all involved. Perfect failure by the losing team, perfect play by the winners and perfect calls by the umps.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Brian is absolutely right.  It’s because of this that I don’t support MLB stepping in to award Galarraga the perfect game.  I’ve read and heard enough about his thoughts on the matter last night and this morning to believe that Galarraga himself wouldn’t want that.  It will never be a perfect game.

I’m also not sure how I feel about expanded instant replay (right now only homerun calls can be reviewed).  I shudder at the thought of computers eventually replacing umpires when it comes to calling balls and strikes.  More immediately, I worry that instant replay will be overused and slow down a game that already catches a lot of grief over its length.

All that being said, I think baseball lags behind the other three major sports in terms of not using instant replay more extensively.  Even tennis uses technology to judge line calls these days.  So, I think what I can live with is a system similar to the NHL.  You could allow the umpires on the field to initiate instant replay, and have a war room at the league office that could initiate review as is done in the NHL.  However, I think allowing teams to call for review is potentially dangerous in terms of slowing down the game.  I trust the umpires and the officials in the league office to do so only in situations that genuinely require the extra review, such as last night’s incident.

Only time will tell if last night’s heartbreaking ending to an almost perfect game will be the catalyst for more instant replay in MLB.  If done correctly and carefully, it could be beneficial for both players and umpires.  Unfortunately, nothing can be done for Galarraga and Joyce, who I’m sure both lost sleep over last night’s events.  I’m just glad to see the Tigers, Galarraga and Joyce handling the situation with such a high level of class (see here).

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