Life After Barry Is a Strikeout At the Ballpark

WSJ.comThe economic impact of Barry Bonds turns out to be a survey of the craziness of fandom.  

2007 Payroll Efficiency

The Baseball Analysts: Rich Lederer

The official numbers are out and Rich Lederer does us the favor of plotting the team salaries and games won on a chart, along with a sensible discussion of the implications. I’m assuming that revenue sharing numbers aren’t included, which would skew the chart in interesting ways. The Yankees would spend more per win. The Marlins would make more money per loss. But that’s not what’s at play here.

Click the link and find out how your team did converting dollars to wins.

On the other hand, the final numbers show that player salaries were less than 45 percent of total baseball revenues, a drop of nearly 10 percent since 1994’s cancelled post season, which was in large part a fight over a salary cap at something like 50 percent of revenues.

FireKennyWilliams.com has been taken – by Major League Baseball

Home Run Derby

Amazing. And they didn’t pay the extra couple of bucks to cloak the registrant’s identity.

Mitchell Report to Name Names

Newsvine

This post is mostly to express my weariness about the forthcoming Mitchell report. Since everybody else in the world seems to have an opinion, why not me? Mine is that all discussion before the report is released, including leaks of tantalizing tidbits that don’t actually include information, should be taken in the form of PR people spinning, since at this point none of us know anything real about the report.

My ears did perk up when someone leaked that there would be surprises. I’ll be surprised (but hardly shocked) if that’s the case.

Union-Busting at the Hall of Fame

New York Times

When I read that Bowie Kuhn was voted into the Hall of Fame, I yawned. Fay Vincent reminds me why I should have been mad.

If You Purchased MLB Game Downloads Before 2006, Your Discs/Files Are Now Useless; MLB Has Stolen Your $$$ And Claims “No Refunds”

The Joy of Sox

This is a woeful story of mlbam’s apparent disregard for the customers who bought mlb.tv games and the digital rights management that is keeping them from watching those games.

If this is a true story it is an abysmal breach of faith by MLBAM, the sort of thing that undermines the basic compact between seller and buyer. But the funny thing reading this blog entry and the comments after (and at the Baseball Think Factory) is that there seems to be no corroboration.

If you’ve bought baseball games from mlb.com are you having this problem? It may be that Joy of Sox is one of just a few who felt the need to plunk down cash for games, but it’s also possible he’s having a problem that isn’t affecting everyone who bought games. Before ripping the Lords of Baseball a new one I’d like to make sure they’ve done it yet again.

Yankees, A-Rod, and Game Theory

Sabernomics

JC Bradbury explains quite credibly why the Yankees won’t be signing A-Rod (it has something to do with beer at kids birthday parties), but doesn’t get into why A-Rod (led, no doubt, by Scott Boras) opted out so quickly. I think I have a good idea.

Given the 10 day window for opting out (and negotiating) with the Yankees, Boras/A-Rod were looking at intense scrutiny and no leverage. Sure, the Yankees bid would be subsidized by the Rangers, but Boras would be unable to counter it with other offers he was receiving. He won’t know how high the Yankees would have gone, but given the overall numbers he’s seeking, $21M is a rounding error (nearly). And if they didn’t go high enough he’d be looking at an offer that would surely have been made public and would be seen (probably) as something of an upper limit in his negotiations with other teams.

So, Boras/A-Rod rejected the Yanks before they had a chance to define the negotiations (and possibly reject A-Rod), and thus opened up a competition among all the other teams for A-Rod’s services. I think this surely means that Rodriguez wasn’t serious when he said how much he wanted to play in NY, and I will be surprised when some team signs him for more than it appears the Yankees were offering (a bump up in the final three years of his current agreement to $31M or so, and an extension for five more after that, or $248M, is what I heard). [link thanks to baseballmusings.com]

Appeals court sides with fantasy baseball company

ESPN

CDM went to the mat after MLBAM jacked up licensing prices (after buying out the Players Association’s rights) for fantasy content. This federal appeals court unanimously agreed that the players’ names and associated stats are news information and can be used by fantasy gamers without a license. It seems like an obvious conclusion, but you never know.

The ruling should free innovators and entrepeneurs to get back into the game, though how stifling the consolidation of the last few years was remains to be seen. This is good news for everyone, including MLBAM (though they don’t know it yet).

Epicenter-iPhone Mania

Wired Blogs

This is certainly not the place for this, but I happen to have handled an iPhone last weekend and was mighty impressed. Not enough to even consider signing on to the hefty data charges that come with the ATT service (I don’t really need cellular data), but it sure worked well and felt nice in my hand.

The intro of the iPod Touch changes things. It has web browsing. It has more capacity than my shuffle, and it can help you find your stuff on it because it has a screen. That’s what I’m looking for. It’s an iPhone without the phone and camera, which I didn’t really need to begin with. Count me in.

But then Apple dropped the price on the iPhone, and all hell broke loose. Some people were proud to be early adopters who paid a premium. Some felt that sudden (and early) price drop dissed them.

I have a theory and since I have no other place to post it I’ll do it here. I haven’t seen anyone else come close to this, which is why I claim it as my exclusive tea reading. But I haven’t read everything. So please consider it just a thought.

Apple is trying to negotiate a deal with single carriers in all the international markets, the way they did with AT+T in the US. But cell phone systems abroad don’t work the same way, they resist exclusivity, so Apple is having a problem.

Meanwhile, they have the iPod Touch coming out. It’s an iPhone without the phone. And camera. The beauty of it is that they can sell it all over the world without making deals with the phone companies.

Those phone companies then have to contend with the prospect of losing out on the iPhone business. So maybe they will fall into line. And even if they don’t, Apple is selling pricey iPods all over the world.

All the hubbub looks like more masterful marketing, yet again. Giving out $100 gift certificates will hurt cash flow, but given the push around the world to make the iPhone touch THE xmas gift, that price is chump change.

The deal here is all in the international markets, which is why Apple decided to risk pissing off the early adopters in the US.

It wasn’t because they could. It was because they had to (in order not to surrender to the European cell companies).

If this turns out right, you read it here first.

Ask Rotoman

The Official Site of Major League Baseball

If pressed should teams rely on pitching, or cling to hitting? I think the answer (pitching) is clear. Especially if you can sing for Santana, Dump Carpenter (this post comes after the story was written), and stand by Brad Penny. At least until he fades.

Good luck into the second half.