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Archive for July 2010


Expectations

July 29th, 2010 | 11 comments »

What do you expect out of an athlete?  Just that he play well?  That he’s loyal to the team?  That he doesn’t get mixed up with steroids? 

I read an interview by an athlete (who will go unnamed, as will his sport) yesterday, and it made me question what I expect out of an athlete.  The athlete has had some measure of success.  He hasn’t been accused of using steroids.  He doesn’t get in trouble for his actions off the playing surface.  Until I read the interview, he was doing all the right things. 

Yet, one sentence changed my opinion of him.  A sentence that was nothing short of 100% honesty.  Which is why I am now questioning the expectations I have for athletes. 

The sentence involved an admission that he would rather be playing a different sport than the one he’s playing. 

At first, I was shocked and angry.  He’s playing a sport thousands of guys would love to be playing.  How dare he admit that he doesn’t love it as much as another sport?!

Then I realized that what he’d really done was something so few people who were asked the question would do – he told the honest truth.  Not the truth we all wanted to hear, but the reality he lives with every day.  Although he’s living the life hundreds of thousands of guys before him have only dreamed about, it’s not his dream. 

I spent some time really thinking about my reaction.  Why did I want him to say what we all expect him to say, that he’s playing the game he loves the most?  Shouldn’t he get some credit for being honest?

I would equate it with how I felt when I met people who got into top law schools and told me they weren’t really sure they wanted to go to law school.  I had wanted to go since I was a kid, and I was furious that they were taking a spot that could be mine when they seemingly could care less about becoming a lawyer.  Similarly, I was a little offended by this athlete’s statement, because I know thousands of other guys would choose his sport as their first choice and would give anything to be playing it.

Having had twenty-four hours to chew on it, I’ve decided I should admire this athlete for his honesty.  I’m sure that he  feels blessed to be where he’s at, even if it wasn’t his first choice.  We all say we hate politically correct, overly polished or rehearsed answers, so I should applaud this guy for telling the truth, admitting his heart lies elsewhere. 

What do you all think?  If you’re lucky enough to get to play a professional sport, should you always have to say that you love it?  Should you be banned from complaining about anything job-related just because you have a career so many others want?

I’m not posting the athlete’s name or sport, because I don’t think it’s important and it’s not the point of this post.  If you’re able to figure it out, please keep it to yourself.

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Five Reasons Baseball is the Healthiest Sports League

July 25th, 2010 | 10 comments »

While the word “lockout” is being increasingly used in discussions about the NBA and NFL, and the NHL Players Association is still searching for an executive director, Major League Baseball is enjoying one of the most prosperous and competitive eras in its history.  Owners and players seem to be getting along, attendance is good, and division races are hot.  Here’s a look at five reasons (in no particular order) why baseball is the most healthy professional sports league in 2010:

The words “strike” and “lockout” are as far from the collective minds of baseball owners, players and fans as they’ve ever been.  There is no doubt in my mind, or that of anyone else who is familiar with the situation, that the owners and players will come to an agreement before the current collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2011.  Both sides have indicated that discussions will begin following the 2010 season, and neither side has announced any extreme or unreasonable demands.  Meanwhile, the NFL and NFL Players Association are airing their arguments over competing websites and appear to be making no discernable progress towards a new agreement to replace their current agreement expiring in March 2011.  The NBA isn’t fairing much better, and the NHL Players Association still hasn’t appointed an executive director, although they have extended their current collective bargaining agreement through the 2011-2012 season.

Baseball doesn’t need a salary cap for greater parity amongst teams.  The only league without a salary cap, Major League Baseball has as much balance as any of the other leagues.  Although direct comparisons are a little tough because the playoff formats differ, I’ve put together a handy chart to demonstrate how the leagues compare from 2000-2009:

  Percentage of Teams Participating in Playoffs Number of Different Participants Number of Different Champions
MLB 27% (8 of 30 teams) 23 of 30 8
NFL 38% (12 of 32 teams) 29 of 32 7
NBA 53% (16 of 30 teams) 29 of 30 5
NHL 53% (16 of 30 teams) 30 of 30 7

Each time the owners and players prepare to negotiate a new agreement, we all wonder if baseball will finally get a salary cap like the other professional sports leagues.  I, for one, am relieved to hear there will be no push for a salary cap this time.  (If you’re interested in my case against a salary cap in baseball, see here.)  In an interview with Sarah Spain back in October, Bud Selig indicated that there is no need for a salary cap in MLB, because the league already has more parity than ever before.  He went on to point out that he’ll be looking to tweak the revenue sharing system with the new agreement in 2011, but I don’t think that will come as a surprise to the Players Association or anyone else.

MLB survived the economic issues of 2009 with very little impact on attendance.  MLB attendance suffered a 6% decline in 2009, but that number is a bit deceiving.  The two new ballparks in New York, each of which is smaller than its predecessor, have been estimated to account for approximately 30% of the decline last season.  Even at a 6% decline, the 2009 attendance was the fifth highest in MLB history, following seasons that saw the first (2007) and second (2008) highest attendance marks.  When put into perspective, MLB weathered the economic downturn of 2009 with very little impact to the overall league picture.

MLB had record revenue in 2009.  Piggy-backing on the last point, MLB had record revenue in 2009 of $6.6 billion.  Meanwhile, the NFL came in at $6.5 billion, the NBA at $3.2 billion and the NHL at $2.4 billion.  In one of the worst economies of baseball’s history, it produced record revenue. 

MLB Advanced Media is a cash cow.  I’ve wanted to write something nice and long about this for awhile, but I’ll have to settle for this brief blurb for now.  MLBAM is the reason baseball is pulling away from the other leagues in terms of revenue.  The numbers are few and far between, and the most recent ones I have are from 2007, but I’m confident that MLBAM is what has, and what will continue to, set baseball apart from the other leagues.  Under the MLBAM umbrella is MLB.com, MLB Extra Innings, MLB’s deal with XM Radio, and MLB Network. 

As of 2007, MLB.com saw 8-10 million unique visitors every single day.  It provided games to over 500,000 live package subscribers and approximately 27 million of 80 million tickets were purchased online.  In addition, MLB struck a 5-year deal with Stub Hub to be the official reselling outlet, which allows MLB to essentially profit twice from the same ticket.  Revenue has grown from $36 million in 2001 to $450 million in 2007, and is projected to increase by 30% each year.  MLBAM doesn’t just control content for MLB, it also provides live feed for other sporting events like the NCAA basketball tournament and the French Open in tennis.  MLBAM streams more than 12,000 live events per year, more than any other web producer in the world. 

XM Radio will bring in $650 million over its eleven-year contract with MLB.  DirecTV very nearly reached a $700 million, seven-year exclusive contract with MLB for Extra Innings (which offers live, out-of-market games to subscribers for a yearly access fee), but eventually settled for a non-exclusive contract and a shared 1/3 interest in MLB Network with Comcast, Time Warner and Cox Communications.  MLB Network was expected to generate $201 million in 2009, including $151 million in subscriber fees and $50 million in advertising revenue.  It’s projected to be worth over $1 billion by 2015. 

An interesting note is that MLB Network is in approximately 50 million homes, earning around $0.24 per subscriber per month.  By comparison, ESPN is in hundreds of millions of homes worldwide earning approximately $3.65 per subscriber in the US.  Bottom-line: MLB Network has plenty of room for growth and every reason to believe it will continue to grow.

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Catching Up With Kristi

July 21st, 2010 | Comment »

I have been so blessed to have a number of opportunities to discuss sports…literally all over the place.  I’ve got a new post  going up here in the next day or two, but when I’m not posting here, it’s because I’m doing blogging elsewhere, appearing on tv, being interviewed on the radio or even for a magazine!  First, thanks to everyone who has presented me with these opportunities.  Second, here’s where you can check it all out:

  • You can watch my segments on SportsNite on Comcast SportsSoutheast under the Videos page above, or click here.
  • You can listen to my radio interviews with Leading Off and What’s on Second under the Audio page above, or click here.
  • You can see the feature on me in Lifestyles Magazine under the Media page above, or click here.
  • You can check out two blogs I did on my Miss SportsBiz blog on Comcast Sports Southeast’s website here and here.  Both expand upon topics I discussed on my last SportsNite appearance.
  • Last, but not least, don’t forget to check my latest posts on SportsMoney on Forbes.com.  Yesterday, I wrote about Ilya Kovalchuk’s historic 17-year contract with the Devils here.
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Friday Randomness

July 16th, 2010 | Comment »

I have a whole stream of random thoughts bouncing around in my little blonde head, so I’ll just cover all of them in one really random post….

For starters, thanks to all of you who watched me on SportsNite on Comcast Sports Southeast earlier this week! I got some great tweets and emails from you guys. If you missed it, you can see my segment under the Videos page above.

My segment is never long enough for me to get in everything I want to say, so I blogged about all the same topics on the Miss SportsBiz blog on CSS this week. The first post went up Wednesday, and the second one should go up today. You can see the first one here.

On yet another of my blogs, Blue Jeans and Pearls, I’ve had some interesting insight from the guys out there.  I would LOVE more male input, so please head over there and read this post and the two stories that are referenced. 

Basically, there’s been some support for me writing one of my fiction novels from a male point of view.  The idea is gaining some steam, but I want some more feedback from the guys.  Would you read a novel that was based on a male-female relationship.  Not a romance novel, just fiction about a relationship, with all its flaws.  If you would read such a novel (which would probably be based on Jackson, the character referenced in the post), please leave a comment on that post and express your interest. 

Last, but not least, I bid farewell to Yunel Escobar.  I genuinely hope he is able to succeed elsewhere, because he has a ton of God-given talent.  Unfortunately, his attitude left fans and teammates alike with little disappointment over his departure.  If you’ve been watching the games the past month or so, you’ve probably noticed various Braves players rolling their eyes or shaking their head when Escobar flubbed up.  I want to applaud the players, however, for not publicly blasting him.  I think Bobby is a tremendous influence on the team, because they generally follow his lead in not speaking negatively about players to the media.  These guys are class acts.  I feel lucky to be a Braves fan – this season and every season!

Speaking of the Braves…I’ll be at the Braves game tomorrow night tailgating with L.E.A.D. (a revolutionary inner-city baseball league) if you want to stop by!

Hope everybody has a safe and fun Friday night!  Happy weekend!!

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MLB All-Star Game

July 12th, 2010 | 2 comments »

Tomorrow night I have an appearance on SportsNite (CSS at 6 p.m.) just before the MLB All-Star game kicks off. Accordingly, I’m sure the game will be discussed.

Earlier today I asked my Twitter followers what one thing they would change about the All-Star game.  The answers were as I expected (no one player from every club requirement, no World Series home field advantage on the line), but they brought up more questions.

I would love for you to chime in below with your thoughts on these questions (feel free to answer some or all):

  • What is the one thing you would change about the MLB All-Star Game?
  • Why do you watch the MLB All-Star Game?  Or do you?
  • Has interleague play made the MLB All-Star Game less interesting to watch?
  • Would you watch if no one from your favorite team was selected?

Any other thoughts on the MLB All-Star Game are welcome!

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My Interview on Leading Off

July 10th, 2010 | Comment »

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Joe Shuta on his show Leading Off, which airs on Wednesday nights on WFBG in Altoona, Pennsylvania.  You can click on the link below for the audio (it doesn’t actually download, it’ll take you to a third party site and begin playing the audio).

Here are some of the topics we covered:

  • Does baseball need a hard salary cap?
  • Can all of the clubs in baseball afford to compete?
  • Should Jose Canseco be applauded or shunned for his revelations about steroids in baseball?
  • Does baseball need more instant replay?
  • Why are sports so important in America?
  • What has been the impact of the economy in America on the national pasttime?
  • And for fun…would I keep a foul ball or give it to a kid?
  • Much, much more!

 

Download Kristi Dosh & Joe Shuta – Leading Off

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Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story

July 9th, 2010 | 2 comments »

Sometimes writing about sports gets me a sneak peek at really interesting things.  Yesterday, I got to preview the debut episode of the Tebros, which will air on OPENSports next week.  I also got an email about an upcoming film that I’m now very excited about seeing: Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story

I’ve written in the past about the decline in African American players in baseball.  I had no idea the tiny percentage of players who have been Jewish, however.  Did you know that out of roughly 16,700 players, only 160 have been Jewish?  Out of those 160 have been some of the greatest names to play the game: Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Yogi Berra, just to name a few.  It’s not just Jewish players who have had a tremendous impact on the game either.  Baseball would be a whole different ballgame if it weren’t for Jewish executives like Marvin Miller (former MLBPA head) and Bud Selig (current Commissioner).

I’ve included the trailer here if you’re interested:

The theatrical release is in November, but you can catch an earlier screening at the following film festivals across the country:

Breckenridge Film Festival – Jun. 12
  (*Best-Editing Award)
Tribeca Cinema, New York – Jun. 17
Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum, Toronto – Jun. 21
Jerusalem Film Festival – Jul. 15 & 16
Stony Brook Film Festival, Stonybrook, NY – Jul. 25
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, San Francisco, Catro Cinema – Jul. 25
Berkshires Jewish Film Festival - Jul. 26
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Palo Alto, Cinearts – Jul. 31
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Berkeley, Roda Theatre – Aug. 1
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, San Rafael,
   Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center – Aug. 8
Iowa Jewish Historical Society, Des Moines, Iowa – Aug. 8
Rhode Island International Film Festival, Providence – Aug. 10-15
Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, Montclair, New Jersey – Aug. 19
Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival
Boston Film Festival, Sept. 17-23
Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York – Sept. 26
The Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center, Commack, New York – Oct. 4
The JCC in Manhattan, New York – Oct. 5
Boston Jewish Film Festival, Nov 3-15
Quad Cinema, Manhattan – Nov. 5
Winnipeg – Nov. 8
Wilshire Temple, Los Angeles – Nov. 13
Tucson Jewish Film Festival – Nov. 21

You can also see the Jews and Baseball website for more information.

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Posted in Fun Stuff

New Blog!

July 8th, 2010 | Comment »

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve taken on another blog.  That makes a nice round four (SportsMoney on Forbes.com, Miss SportsBiz on CSS, here and the new one).  Some of you may have caught a post I had up for about 48 hours about my fiction writing.  I was going to sneak in some of it here, but since 90% of my audience here is male, I changed my mind. 

Guys: please encourage your wife, girlfriend, daughter, other woman in your life to visit my new site: Blue Jeans and Pearls (http://bluejeansandapearls.com)!  I’ll be posting bits of my current manuscript and introducing some other characters on the blog, talking about the search for an agent and publisher, and anything else about the world of fiction. 

Ladies: if you like a good story, come check out Blue Jeans and Pearls!

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Super Saturday

July 3rd, 2010 | 1 comment »

I’ve been doing things all over the place lately, so I wanted to give a quick rundown of where else you can find me.

SportsMoney on Forbes.com

Who Wants LeBron?

The NHL Extended Its Labor Agreement – Now What? (hint for baseball fans: Don Fehr has been helping the NHLPA)

What Has Your City Offered LeBron Lately?

Miss SportsBiz on Comcast Sports Southeast

Is Hard Slotting Coming to the MLB Draft?

SportsNite on Comcast Sports Southeast

If you haven’t seen the video of my very first television appearance, you can find it here.

If you have Comcast cable, set your DVRs for my upcoming appearances on SportsNite at 6:00pm EST on July 13th and July 27th!

Lifestyles Magazine

I was featured in the July/August 2010 issue of Lifestyles Magazine!  You can find early shots of the pages here.

Other

I’m psyched that I was mentioned over on Rob Neyer’s blog: here!

Also, looking forward to getting the audio from the interview I taped today with Joe Shuta of Leading Off on WFBG-AM in Altoona, PA.  Watch for it coming soon!

As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well. 

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!

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