Saturday, April 25, 2009
The Yankees struggled to fill seats on the lower levels during their first home stand and it was easy to see that the new stadium was not full as television broadcasts made sure to point it out.
The seats directly behind home plate were empty as well, creating an eyesore that no team wants to deal with in the first weeks of opening a new stadium. The seats right behind home plate were upwards of 2,000 dollars so it cannot come as a surprise to anybody that the Yankees would lower prices, especially given the state of the current economy.
It also wouldn’t come as a surprise to see other stadiums doing the same. Pricing for Major League Baseball games is trickier than other games because there are so many of them. A home season for every team consists of 81 games and the majority of those games come on weekdays against lousy teams. So what is the incentive for fans to pay thousands of dollars to go and see the Yankees play on a chilly Tuesday evening against the Pirates? Exactly.
Season tickets are getting ridiculously expensive as well. At Dodger Stadium, ticket prices have gone up every year since Frank McCourt took over as the owner before the 2004 season. Loge season tickets, then $36 a game, have risen to over $60. For a family of four, over an 81 game season, including parking and food, those prices become ridiculous.
The San Francisco Giants have created a genius way of working the system and making it easier for fans to enjoy and afford every game at the ballpark. This season the Giants are introducing variable pricing, a system where the tickets to each game will vary depending on day of the week, time of day, month of the season, team against which the Giants are playing, and pitchers throwing for the Giants. Meaning that a beautiful Saturday afternoon game in June against the rival Dodgers with Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum on the mount would be more expensive than a chilly April Wednesday night game against the last place Padres.
More teams should consider using variable pricing. It makes things better for all involved, putting fans in the seats when they usually wouldn’t be. As for the league as a whole, teams really need to rethink the cost of ticket prices. They can only go up so high before fans just straight up stop going to the ballpark. Some tickets are more expensive than NFL games and those teams only play eight home games in a season.
For now, the Yankees have somewhat come to their senses. Don’t be surprised to see other prices continue to drop.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Paul Lukas' Meat Bracket
Monday, April 20, 2009
Check out this Rick Reilly article about the life of Kobe Bryant on ESPN.com. Pretty interesting...
Life of Reilly - "Life of Kobe"
Saturday, April 18, 2009
So it should come as no surprise that the world of sports has taken quite a liking to the world of Twitter, the newest up and coming social networking craze to hit our web browsers.
In case you are unfamiliar, Twitter allows users to post, up to 140 characters, describing anything from what they are doing, to how they are feeling, to what kind of sandwich they had for lunch (Shaq enjoys pastrami on rye).
Aside from updating your status, or “tweeting” as it is called, users can read other people’s updates by following their Twitters. Caught on yet? Well if you haven’t, sports stars have.
Pro athletes are following in the footsteps of the Twitter pioneers and jumping at the opportunity to get their thoughts, opinions, and ideas out to the world.
Shaquille O’Neal, possibly sports’ most entertaining athlete, updates his Twitter multiple times daily with his famous “Shaq-isms”, jokes, and jabs. Cyclist Lance Armstrong, has used his Twitter to help raise awareness for his cancer charities. And numerous others are catching on, including coaches like USC’s Pete Carroll, who use the social networking site to discuss player injuries and starting lineups.
But of course, as sports stars crave attention 24/7, some have decided to abuse the quick way to get in touch with fans. Many sports fans were introduced to Twitter recently thanks to an incident that occurred in the Milwaukee Bucks locker room during halftime of their game against the Boston Celtics last month.
Bucks’ forward Charlie Villanueva, after a disappointing first half, decided to get in touch with his fans with a little tweet… “In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up."
Despite the fact he did step it up, scoring a team-high 19 points in the win over Boston, he got a talking to from coach Scott Skiles… and rightfully so.
Charlie should know better. As a paid employee of the Milwaukee Bucks, it is his job to be focused on the game and the game only. Even if he was letting fans know he needed to focus better during the second half, his halftime tweeting still shows his main priority was getting attention from fans during the basketball game.
Instead, he should take notes from fellow tweeters like Shaq who has had a great time interacting with fans through Twitter. Just recently, Shaq sent out a tweet informing fans that he would give two tickets to the next Suns home game to the first person in the Phoenix area to touch him in the next five minutes.
This is just another “random act of Shaqness”, as he refers to it on his Twitter bio. But fans are definitely responding. Shaq’s following on Twitter grows everyday and is rising up into the hundreds of thousands.
Twitter is no doubt a great way for these athletes to have some fun and get closer to fans. But just like on the courts and playing fields, athletes must understand how to conduct themselves and network with a team first attitude.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Most playoff systems bring the most exciting games and plays of the entire season. Mentally tired players with battered bodies put their physical ability to the test as they head down the stretch run for the most important games of the season and a chance to win and play for the championship.
Unfortunately, over the next couple months we have to deal with hockey and basketball playoffs, the two worst playoff systems in sports (BCS is obviously THE WORST – but you can’t really call it a playoff system since that is what everyone is fighting for in the first place).
The NHL and NBA both have it very wrong. Their playoffs are set up all for money, money, money and as a result, they are watered down by too many games and too many teams, including many that don’t deserve to be there.
The first problem is that 16 teams make the playoffs in both sports. That is over half the teams in the entire sport. The tournaments are comprised of the Eastern and Western Conferences, each with eight teams fighting to come out on top and play the best team from the other Conference in the championship series.
A direct opposite: Major League Baseball. Baseball has only four teams from each League that make the playoffs making it a true accomplishment to be playing in the postseason. And in the NFL, only two teams other than the division champions get the right to play to go to the Super Bowl, making it a more selective bunch. In the NBA and NHL, teams with losing records can sneak into the eighth spot in the playoffs creating lopsided first round series and boring games.
Then comes the scheduling. The road to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals or the NBA Finals (both best-of-7 series) consists of winning three best-of-7 game series. Teams could potentially be playing 28 games in the playoffs, about a third of the amount of games they played in the regular season.
And the schedule is so spread out to accommodate television ratings that there are such large breaks in between games. The Lakers could play Game 1 at home on a Saturday and have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week to play Game 2, which would also be at home.
The playoffs should be an exciting time with tons of wall-to-wall basketball. These guys can play on back-to-back days. They did so all year so why not in the playoffs.
Both systems won’t change because of money, but they should change because of quality.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
What began as one man's frustration is slowly turning into a more serious movement that merits our serious attention.
Several months ago, Adam Winter of Saginaw, Mich., grew more and more angry. He is a man who has two loves — pro football and animals — and as the Detroit Lions continued to lose games, Winter became increasingly upset that the magnificent lion should be associated with such a woebegone franchise.
When Detroit — that is, the Lions — finished this past season without a victory, Winter prevailed on his state senator to introduce a bill in the Michigan Legislature that would ban the Detroit franchise from exploiting the nickname of the lion. The rationale: It's unfair to insult a proud beast that is unable to defend its own good name.
In Glen Burnie, Md., Lauren Spencer heard about this and went to her state representative, asking that a similar bill be enacted in Annapolis, preventing the Baltimore baseball team from exploiting the brilliant oriole.
Spencer even wanted the bill to prevent the Baltimore franchise from using the bird's striking orange and black colors for its uniforms, but it was ruled that whereas the oriole itself should be protected from the damage to its reputation, orange and black were colors in the public domain and beyond any statute enforcement.
Similar bills were soon put in the hopper in Tennessee, where the noble grizzly bear has been insulted for years by the Memphis basketball team, and in Arizona, where the beautiful cardinal had become a figure of fun because of the disreputable football franchise. The recent surprise success of the Cardinals did, however, result in that bill's being temporarily bottled up in committee.
Moreover, now some devoted animal defenders from the Humane Society and PETA have formed an organization named STEAM — that's an acronym for Stop Teams Everywhere from Animal Mascots — with the intent of creating federal fish and wildlife legislation to halt all sports franchises from appropriating God's creatures as their nicknames.
As the organization's president, Constance Bloodgood, says, "This year's Detroit Lion is last year's Tampa Bay Devil Ray. No animal deserves to be associated with the potential ignominy of defeat. It's time for human beings to stop insulting all the beasts of the field."
I can only say, hooray. It's about time our animal friends had such protection from gratuitous injustice. And also ... April Fool!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Definitely one of the best days of the year.
The Phillies lost their first game as World Series champs, CC Sabathia is struggling in his first start as a Yankee, K-Rod saved a stellar performance by the Mets' Johan Santana, and the Dodgers are set to start their season in less than an hour.
Here's to another great season.