Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, November 28, 2008

Doyle: Braves Need Sabathia – Because He’s Black

Quickly thumbs through scratzee Twinight Records collection…AHA! Syl Johnson!

The Atlanta Braves should sign free agent starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia because he’s a great pitcher – and because he’s black.  There – I said it. And others should be saying it too. Oh – and they can afford him.

Sabathia would give Atlanta the first long-term, larger than life African American baseball talent in over a decade.  The economic and marketing impact of that should not be underestimated.  Atlanta is a city that is 56% black within the city limits and 31% black within the metro area.  The Michael Vick experience with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons showed the importance of having a black superstar in Atlanta.  The Georgia Dome was sold out for five years when Vick was a starter after years of television blackouts due to a lack of home attendance.

It’s no coincidence that the Braves were never more popular and financially competitive than between 1991 and 1997, when they had strong African American talent and personalities like Fred McGriff, David Justice, Marquis Grissom, Ron Gant, Terry Pendleton, Deion Sanders, Otis Nixon, Jermaine Dye and Kenny Lofton.  For some reason or reasons, which we can only speculate upon here, these players were never replaced with other African American stars.

Repoz Posted: November 28, 2008 at 01:47 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, special topics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 28, 2008 at 02:23 PM (#3017062)
It’s no coincidence that the Braves were never more popular and financially competitive than between 1991 and 1997, when they had strong African American talent and personalities like Fred McGriff, David Justice, Marquis Grissom, Ron Gant, Terry Pendleton, Deion Sanders, Otis Nixon, Jermaine Dye and Kenny Lofton.


Playing in the NLCS every season, and the World Series 4 of 6 seasons helped.
   2. StHendu Posted: November 28, 2008 at 02:49 PM (#3017064)
The Braves were owned by Time Warner for most of the time period that Doyle claims they were less 'financially competitive'. Time Warner's resources dwarf even that of the Steinbrenners, so it is bizarre to suggest they could not compete financially.

I root against the Braves, and feel Time Warner has been very destructive to America - but I just don't see the racist decisions in that decade, based on this article.
Great players: Andruw Jones; Edgar Renteria; Brian Jordan (1st term); Rafael Furcal; Gary Sheffield;
Some good players: Ray King, Julio Franco, Betemit; Gerald Williams; Odalis Perez; Michael Tucker
Great Players signed as older players :Reggie Sanders, Bobby Bonilla
Also some not so good players and a few others I missed.
   3. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: November 28, 2008 at 03:11 PM (#3017066)
Are we allowed to talk about this subject?
   4. xbhaskarx Posted: November 28, 2008 at 03:17 PM (#3017069)
The Utah Jazz should have signed Steve Nash because he's white.
Same goes for every team in Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada...
   5. RJ in TO Posted: November 28, 2008 at 03:20 PM (#3017070)
Same goes for every team in Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada...


Something tells me that you've never been to Toronto...
   6. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 28, 2008 at 03:38 PM (#3017078)
The Michael Vick experience with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons showed the importance of having a black superstar in Atlanta. The Georgia Dome was sold out for five years when Vick was a starter after years of television blackouts due to a lack of home attendance.


I wonder what his thoughts on trading white Brett Favre were?
   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: November 28, 2008 at 03:42 PM (#3017079)
Time Warner's resources dwarf even that of the Steinbrenners, so it is bizarre to suggest they could not compete financially.
Time Warner had the capital to invest in the team, but that's only part of the equation. The other part is how much you get in return for your investment. The Yankees' advantage isn't that they have capital, it's that they can make that money back in revenues.

Particularly when you're discussing corporate ownership, the return on investment is crucial. If you're a guy who owns a team, you're possibly willing to take a loss (or a smaller profit) to have a winning ballclub. But if you're a corporation, your shareholders care more about the profit than winning. That's why they bought shares in the first place.
   8. Greg K Posted: November 28, 2008 at 03:50 PM (#3017083)
Yeah if we went by ethnic make-up of a city, Toronto would have awesome table tennis and cricket teams...and a pretty good soccer team.
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: November 28, 2008 at 03:57 PM (#3017086)
Those glorious Jermaine Dye years in Atlanta...
   10. Oriole Tragic is totally awesome in the postseason Posted: November 28, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#3017094)
I totally thought that Sabathia was Latin American.
   11. Mike Green Posted: November 28, 2008 at 04:32 PM (#3017098)
Thanks, Repoz, for the Syl Johnson link. I'll see you Johnson, though and raise you Waller who is both black and blue. Alas, I can't find a youtube link. David Purcey of the size 17 shoes might be interested in the available "Your Feet's too big" soundie though.
   12. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: November 28, 2008 at 05:00 PM (#3017101)
It’s no coincidence that the Braves were never more popular and financially competitive than between 1991 and 1997, when they had strong African American talent and personalities like Fred McGriff, David Justice, Marquis Grissom, Ron Gant, Terry Pendleton, Deion Sanders, Otis Nixon, Jermaine Dye and Kenny Lofton.


Methinks some "white guys" like Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux may have had a little something to say about that...
   13. kennydoyle Posted: November 28, 2008 at 05:11 PM (#3017104)
Methinks some "white guys" like Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux may have had a little something to say about that


Me thinks you don't realize attendance fell by 33% after 1997 even with Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine
   14. Gaelan Posted: November 28, 2008 at 05:41 PM (#3017110)
Something tells me that you've never been to Toronto...


Seriously, Pearson airport might as well be the Mos Eisley Cantina.
   15. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: November 28, 2008 at 05:44 PM (#3017111)
Me thinks you don't realize attendance fell by 33% after 1997 even with Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine


And you think that's because blacks stopped attending Braves games because the likes David Justice and Fred McGriff went away?

I've been a Braves fan since the mid-70's and, sad to say, there has never been a large contingent of blacks in the stands. Not in the bad old days (70's-1990), not in the early part of "The Run" (1991-1997), nor in the latter part of "The Run" to the present (1998-2008).

If the Braves were to sign Sabathia, there might be an initial bump in African-American attendance at Braves games, but my guess is that the racial mix at the ballpark would soon revert to its traditional levels

But regardless of all that, the Braves front office needs to make decisions based on what is best for the team, not what would make a certain faction (any faction: black, white, Hispanic...) happy.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have Sabathia on my team. And maybe the Braves could afford to pay Sabathia as you say, but perhaps in putting all their eggs in the Sabathia basket, maybe they can't afford to plug any of the clubs' other holes.

That is a legitimate cost/benefit analysis the Braves have to make and if they do decide to pursue starting pitching options other than Sabathia, it does not mean they have turned their noses up to African-American fans in Atlanta.
   16. Swedish Chef Posted: November 28, 2008 at 05:52 PM (#3017114)
Yeah if we went by ethnic make-up of a city, Toronto would have awesome table tennis and cricket teams...and a pretty good soccer team.

And a decent hockey team too, but I guess that's too utopic.
   17. kennydoyle Posted: November 28, 2008 at 06:08 PM (#3017118)
Tanner, you say alot of things that make sense. I'm not arguing that he will just bring out 20,000 African Americans all of a sudden. If they only add an extra 2000 fans a game, that might be enough to justify a $23 million salary for him. It’s not that crazy to believe Sabathia can make a difference at the gate by rejuvenating the casual black baseball fan within Atlanta’s city limits. After a steep attendance decline from 1999 through 2004, the Braves experienced a 5000 fans a game increase over the last few seasons due in large part to how much Atlanta’s favorite suburban sons, Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann, have reinvigorated the interest of the casual baseball fan in Atlanta’s suburbs.

If Sabathia can create at least a 2000 or so fans a game increase and the Braves have a budget at about $40 per fan in attendance, they could gain about $7 million annually at the gate by having him. This would cause a $23 million dollar annual salary to effectively cost them $16 million annually. A 6 year, $138 million deal effectively becomes more like a 6 year, $96 million deal, thereby making his contract no more costly on an annual basis than the 5 year, $81 million Jake Peavy contract the Braves seem hellbent on trading for.

Sabathia is preferable to Peavy because Sabathia is less of an injury risk, eats more innings, creates more run differential, won’t cost the Braves Yunel Escobar and other farmhands, and could recapture the lost African American casual baseball fan in Atlanta. If the Braves trade Escobar to obtain Peavy, the Braves will have to either waste money buying a free agent shortstop or waste farmhands by trading for a shortstop. There is no adequate replacement for Escobar within the franchise. The Braves really can’t afford squandering more farmhands after trading away half the farm last season for Mark Teixeira. Over the next five seasons, Peavy ($16 mil annually) and Rafael Furcal ($13 mil) will cost just as much in money, even more in injury and age risk, and even more in traded farmhands than signing Sabathia ($23 mil) and holding on to the league minimum/arbitration eligible making Escobar ($400 K to $6 mil).

If Peavy and undetermined SS combined don't cost as much over the next five seasons as Sabathia and Escobar combined, it is likely because the Braves have made made two mistakes: (1) Traded even more farmhands than already traded for Jake and Tex for a league min/arb eligible SS as good as Escobar; or (2) Signed a free agent SS for less than $13, $14 million a season. A FA SS making less than that on the free agency market is not as good on the field as Escobar.
   18. Mike Green Posted: November 28, 2008 at 06:12 PM (#3017120)
"Yeah if we went by ethnic make-up of a city, Toronto would have awesome table tennis and cricket teams...and a pretty good soccer team.

And a decent hockey team too, but I guess that's too utopic."

Yeah, and Boston would have an all-World drinking team. Wait...
   19. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 28, 2008 at 06:47 PM (#3017138)
I think this types of issues tend to lead to polarized discussions.

We are not post-racial and it doesn't help anything to pretend we are. So can't we just agree that it's probably not all one thing or another?

Having more minority stars could certainly help a term attract a more diverse fanbase. But it's unclear exactly the magnitude of the effect...
   20. Good cripple hitter Posted: November 28, 2008 at 06:56 PM (#3017140)
If Sabathia can create at least a 2000 or so fans a game increase...

But why would 2000 extra fans come to every game because Sabathia's a Brave? If it was someone like Prince Fielder or Carl Crawford, you could try to claim this, but a starting pitcher probably wouldn't bump attendance like this.
   21. DCA Posted: November 28, 2008 at 07:19 PM (#3017150)
They've got it wrong. They should sign Sabathia because he's fat. Therefore, they'll have more fat fans who will come to the games and buy more overpriced food. You get an attendance boost and a concessions boost, whereas you only get an attendance boost from signing a skinny guy.
   22. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: November 28, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#3017156)
Did anyone doubt this would become personal after the headline?
   23. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2008 at 07:41 PM (#3017160)
I know the Brewers have worked diligently in reaching out to the Latino and African-American populations in and around Milwaukee, Racine, Madison and Green Bay.

Folks may scoff at the listing of that last city but the school superintendent has requested language based funding since 30 percent of the kids coming to the school system have a primary language that is not English.

WI is predominantly white. But to suggest that it is Utah is ridiculous.
   24. Answer Guy Posted: November 28, 2008 at 07:44 PM (#3017162)
Having more minority stars could certainly help a term attract a more diverse fanbase. But it's unclear exactly the magnitude of the effect...


I have noticed quite a bit more support for the Red Sox in some of New England's Latino communities. Hard to say to what extent this was due to the prominence of the Latino stars on the team (esp. the Dominicans) because people do tend to like a winner regardless, but I noticed this happening even before they actually won a ring. Boston sports teams historically have been notorious for their non-white fans, even in the context of the whiter-than-average Boston media market. And a lot of the Dominicans have moved on, so it will interesting to see what happens now.
   25. Chase Utley, Shooty's Favorite Robot (Joey Belle) Posted: November 28, 2008 at 09:24 PM (#3017203)
Seriously, Pearson airport might as well be the Mos Eisley Cantina.


Great line.
   26. DFA Posted: November 28, 2008 at 10:17 PM (#3017217)
You get an attendance boost and a concessions boost, whereas you only get an attendance boost from signing a skinny guy.

I feel a lot better that my team passed on drafting Tim Lincecum now.
   27. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: November 29, 2008 at 03:25 AM (#3017316)
Finally, an article that encourages pandering.
   28. flournoy Posted: November 29, 2008 at 04:31 PM (#3017419)
Me thinks you don't realize attendance fell by 33% after 1997 even with Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine


Methinks this is stupid and misleading. You want us to believe that attendance was sky-high in 1997 and dropped like a stone as soon as the Braves had less blacks on their team. Braves' attendance dropped only 6.5% from 1997 through 2000, which can be explained by one factor: Turner Field. Of course the Braves had huge attendance numbers in 1997 - they were the league champions opening a brand new ballpark. The attendance through the rest of the decade tracks how well the previous year's team did in the playoffs and what the expectations were for the current team.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
phredbird
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(3553 - 11:10pm, Jul 29)
Last: Bitter Mouse

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 7-29-2014
(36 - 11:10pm, Jul 29)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogWhich Players Will Be Most Affected by the Hall of Fame’s New Rules?
(7 - 11:03pm, Jul 29)
Last: pthomas

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(508 - 11:02pm, Jul 29)
Last: frannyzoo

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1957 Discussion
(11 - 11:00pm, Jul 29)
Last: MrC

NewsblogFull Count » Tim Kurkjian on MFB: ‘I’m going to say that Jon Lester is not going to be traded’
(30 - 10:53pm, Jul 29)
Last: Nasty Nate

NewsblogMASN TV Contract Pits Selig vs Nationals vs Orioles
(20 - 10:51pm, Jul 29)
Last: Curse of the Andino

NewsblogSOE: Minor League Manhood - A first-hand account of masculine sports culture run amok.
(10 - 10:43pm, Jul 29)
Last: Der-K and the statistical werewolves.

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(1014 - 10:07pm, Jul 29)
Last: robinred

NewsblogHoward: David Ortiz shaping up to become first steroid era Teflon slugger
(26 - 10:06pm, Jul 29)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogTrader Jack? As Seattle's GM struggles to complete deals, some rival executives wonder | FOX Sports
(58 - 10:02pm, Jul 29)
Last: cardsfanboy

NewsblogValencia traded to Toronto
(12 - 9:52pm, Jul 29)
Last: Davo Dozier

NewsblogABC News: ‘Capital Games’: How Congress Saved the Baseball Hall of Fame
(46 - 9:38pm, Jul 29)
Last: Jose Can Still Seabiscuit

NewsblogBarney + cash to Dodgers for PTBNL
(28 - 8:56pm, Jul 29)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogMelky Cabrera smashed a windshield with a homer
(14 - 8:49pm, Jul 29)
Last: Walt Davis

Page rendered in 0.4163 seconds
52 querie(s) executed