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Friday, July 18, 2014

Jim Bouton Still As Opinionated As Ever

“Ball Four: The Final Pitch,” which will soon be released in trade paperback, he says. Told that the book has already been updated numerous times, Bouton laughs.

“I promise this will be the last time,” he says.

As commissioner, Bouton also would cut down the times of games.

“I would eliminate Velcro — that would eliminate 45 minutes right there,” he says.

He’d also make batters stay in the box.

“Get into the batter’s box for Chrissakes and stay there,” he says. “If you want to step out, fine, but the pitcher can pitch the ball. If the batter chooses not to step in, that’s his problem.”

He’d curtail ballpark noise.

“They’re pounding you with advertising from the moment you walk in the stadium,” he says. “You can’t even think anymore. When I went to ballparks like the Polo Grounds, it was like a holy place. Quiet. You could hear the crack of the bat at batting practice.”

Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:46 PM | 149 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ball four, not thurman, pilots, yankees

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   101. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4755235)
Maybe so, but it's certainly no creepier than 90% of those "Grammy Award winning" singers' torturing of the SSB.**

No, it's way creepier. The whole presentation at NYS, with the oldtimers in the crowd and the huge visage of "The Boss" in RF and Kate Smith and God Bless America and Bob Sheppard announcing Jeter and just the whole Shecky Greene/Catskills/Foxwoods vibe of the place puts one in mind of a living crypt.
   102. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4755236)
So in a twist that would make Marshall McLuhan proud, teams are trying to recreate the living room experience in stadiums...

"We see the living room as our biggest competitor ... our job is to help the venue manager with fresh content. We can give fans a reason to stay."

...

The prevailing wisdom among sports executives now is that younger fans raised on smartphones are less willing to attend live events because they are cut off from the online content they find compelling. Giant scoreboards, they hope, will quench that digital addiction while generating new advertising revenue.


I read that article. You can't make that #### up. But herds will be herds, and no point in complaining.

And as long as they don't start re-invading our TV sets with that sort of "ballpark experience", it's no skin off my back.

------------------------------------------------

The expectation for a subway train, a movie theater, or an apartment building at midnight is to be quiet.

A subway train in New York City is expected to be quiet? When did this happen?
   103. BDC Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4755237)
#97 is very interesting, Fish. One consequence of huge HD TVs in people's homes is that the real thing looks blurrier and farther away than ever.

I don't get the cut off from online experience point. People at games are constantly on phones. Heck, I've been known to post at BBTF while at the game :) I think the idea is to get people to look up from the phone and take in some advertisement now & then. That takes some decibels.
   104. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4755238)
I kind of always chalked Hargrove's act to psychological issues/mental blockage. He wasn't so much adjusting #### left and right just to adjust #### left and right, as just getting himself ready mentally.

Or he was just a bunghole who knew that it ticked off his opponents, and that was the whole point of it.
   105. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4755239)
Maybe so, but it's certainly no creepier than 90% of those "Grammy Award winning" singers' torturing of the SSB.**

No, it's way creepier. The whole presentation at NYS, with the oldtimers in the crowd and the huge visage of "The Boss" in RF and Kate Smith and God Bless America and Bob Sheppard announcing Jeter and just the whole Shecky Greene/Catskills/Foxwoods vibe of the place puts one in mind of a living crypt.


Yeah, when you put it that way, I can see your POV.** I should have substituted "solipsistic" and "obnoxious" for "creepy" when describing those "Grammy Award winning" SSB torturers.

**But then who else has the dough to buy up all those overpriced luxury boxes and corporate suites? It sure ain't Benny from the Bronx or Doris from Rego Park.
   106. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:23 PM (#4755240)
A subway train in New York City is expected to be quiet? When did this happen?


For the most part people are just in there minding their own business, reading, looking at their phones. Often friends or a group will be chatting amongst themselves. If they're teenagers they tend to do so loudly and bump around and laugh, but they're not bothering anyone. Same for the panhandlers moving through the cars.

So "expect it to be quiet," no, but typically they're sort of quiet-ish.

Lately the NYC media has been whipping women into a panicked frenzy over what have become known as "subway perverts," a tiny number of -- mentally ill but the media leaves that out in blowing the problem out of proportion -- men who are in there brushing up against women and secretly attempting to take upskirt pictures.
   107. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4755241)
And can this "old fart" ####. I have no problems with the DH, wild card playoffs, or celebrations after actual home runs. I can live through GBA (which seems to bring out the young farts), and I think the game on the field is a hundredfold improvement over what it was when I was thirteen. (Which for the record was the year the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series.) I just like to be able to hear the person sitting next to me without having to shout.

If you're sitting in your seat conversing with your seatmates, it means you aren't consuming.
   108. tshipman Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4755245)
There was an article in yesterday's Times about new scoreboard technology. It gives a peak into the decision making process of these people.


If you want to talk about MLB teams being infallible about marketing, here's your negative evidence.

All the research shows that what matters the most are removing barriers to entry (lines for food, parking, bathrooms), and creating reference groups (meaning fans attending with family or friends, or creating an atmosphere of being included with the action on the field).

I can tell you from first hand experience that major sports leagues do not have great insight on marketing.
   109. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4755247)
Face it: if baseball marketed only to the "purists", the stadiums would be 80% empty.

If baseball didn't have the mallparks and the expanded playoffs and the stadiums were filled with rowdies and drunks as they were in the 70s and early 80s, the stadiums would be emptier than they were in the 70s and early 80s. You think 2 million plus fans would come to see the 2014 San Diego Padres, they of the .210 team batting average and the roster of nobodies, in the Cleveland of 1980? Please.

The mallparks and the better behaved fans and the ability to show off your money and the better looking women and the far more appealing urban environments we have now are what's bringing people to baseball games now. There's no question the sport's real national footprint and fanbase have shrunk (in relative terms) since then.
   110. Eddo Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4755251)
For the most part people are just in there minding their own business, reading, looking at their phones. Often friends or a group will be chatting amongst themselves. If they're teenagers they tend to do so loudly and bump around and laugh, but they're not bothering anyone. Same for the panhandlers moving through the cars.

So "expect it to be quiet," no, but typically they're sort of quiet-ish.

Yeah, this. Not "quiet" as in actual silence, but "quite" in that there isn't any music playing or people shouting or anything like that.
   111. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4755254)
And can this "old fart" ####. I have no problems with the DH, wild card playoffs, or celebrations after actual home runs. I can live through GBA (which seems to bring out the young farts), and I think the game on the field is a hundredfold improvement over what it was when I was thirteen. (Which for the record was the year the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series.) I just like to be able to hear the person sitting next to me without having to shout.

If you're sitting in your seat conversing with your seatmates, it means you aren't consuming.


Can't refute that point, which sounds dismissive on the surface but actually gets to the heart of the matter.

If baseball didn't have the mallparks and the expanded playoffs and the stadiums were filled with rowdies and drunks as they were in the 70s and early 80s, the stadiums would be emptier than they were in the 70s and early 80s. You think 2 million plus fans would come to see the 2014 San Diego Padres, they of the .210 team batting average and the roster of nobodies, in the Cleveland of 1980? Please.

The mallparks and the better behaved fans and the ability to show off your money and the far more appealing urban environments we have now are what's bringing people to baseball games now. There's no question the sport's national footprint and fanbase have shrunk (in relative terms) since then.


I think you're rather wildly exaggerating the amount of actual ballpark rowdiness and drunkenness that there was in the 70's and early 80's, but I'm sure that the perception of today's ballpark experience as being essentially Disneyland with baseball mascots instead of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck does appeal to the dumbed down "average fan".

All of which is fine, and along with those smaller divisions and wild cards that keep more than half the teams in playoff contention through August, it's as good an explanation as any for the increased attendance and profits. All the excess artificial noise and related BS keep me away from the park for all but a handful of games a year, but as long as I can see all the games I want at home for about 60 cents a day, I'm not really going to be doing much complaining. I got to see many hundreds of games in person back when a ballpark was just a ballpark, and who am I to care if the lemmings want to bury themselves in their smartphones and Jumbotrons instead of watching the actual game on the field? It ain't my money they're shelling out.
   112. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 21, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4755256)
I think you're rather wildly exaggerating the amount of actual ballpark rowdiness and drunkenness that there was in the 70's and early 80's, but I'm sure that the perception of today's ballpark experience being essentially Disneyland with baseball mascots instead of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck does appeal to the dumbed down "average fan".


I don't but I can attest to this, that going to Brewer games in the 1980's was like attending a giant drunken brawl. Brewer fans still don't pay attention to the game, and still drink a lot but the level of fighting has vastly been diminished.
   113. Steve Treder Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4755261)
I don't but I can attest to this, that going to Brewer games in the 1980's was like attending a giant drunken brawl.

It was that way at Candlestick Park in the mid-to-late '70s as well. They finally cracked down, with very visible presence of many mounted police (on the field for the final few innings of every game, as well as in the parking lot) and in general the place was notably cleaned up and was far less grungy and rough by the early-to-mid 1980s. But for quite a while there it was family-unfriendly as hell, especially for night games.
   114. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4755262)
I think you're rather wildly exaggerating the amount of actual ballpark rowdiness and drunkenness that there was in the 70's and early 80's, but I'm sure that the perception of today's ballpark experience being essentially Disneyland with baseball mascots instead of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck does appeal to the dumbed down "average fan".

I don't but I can attest to this, that going to Brewer games in the 1980's was like attending a giant drunken brawl. Brewer fans still don't pay attention to the game, and still drink a lot but the level of fighting has vastly been diminished.


I'm not saying that there wasn't any of this, but like reports of child molesting on the nightly news, the perception of the frequency of these occurrences was much greater than the actual number. I probably went to over 100 games in Baltimore during the 1969-83 period, sitting in the general admission cheap seats 90% of the time,** and I can't recall a single instance where any beer rowdies invaded my personal space or made me feel personally uncomfortable.

**Mostly in Section 34 with Wild Bill Hagy's crew, which practically had a beer vendor assigned all to themselves.
   115. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4755268)
It was that way at Candlestick Park in the mid-to-late '70s as well. They finally cracked down, with very visible presence of many mounted police (on the field for the final few innings of every game, as well as in the parking lot) and in general the place was notably cleaned up and was far less grungy and rough by the early-to-mid 1980s. But for quite a while there it was family-unfriendly as hell, especially for night games.

Ah, the days of the famous dueling pennant burnings between Giants fans and Dodgers fans. Good times. But the two dozen or so times I went to Candlestick and the Coliseum during the early 70's, I still remember seeing plenty of kids there who were seemingly more amused than frightened by all the exuberance.
   116. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4755271)
I'm not saying that there wasn't any of this, but like reports of child molesting on the nightly news, the perception of the frequency of these occurrences was much greater than the actual number. I probably went to over 100 games in Baltimore during the 1969-83 period, sitting in the general admission cheap seats 90% of the time,** and I can't recall a single instance where any beer rowdies invaded my personal space or made me feel personally uncomfortable.

Sure ... the *perception* of the harm the drunk working guys (*) were doing was always way higher than it actually was, but the drunk working guys were all over the place including in the seats in what are today the moat sections of the park.

(*) As was the perception of the rowdiness generally. Hordes of guys routinely stormed the fields and the courts and the rinks and it all *looked* really dangerous and riotous and that perception eventually became untenable -- but it never actually was particulary dangerous. The greatest "harm" they were guilty of was keeping the swells and their money far, far away -- and that couldn't and didn't stand.
   117. Ron J2 Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4755279)
#115 In Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby tells about the time he took a group of his students to an Arsenal game and things went very bad. He could not explain to them that it wasn't the way things normally went -- that he didn't spend his weekends running for his life.
   118. Steve Treder Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4755281)
I can't recall a single instance where any beer rowdies invaded my personal space or made me feel personally uncomfortable.

I was at a game at Candlestick in the 1970s when the drunk idiots in the row immediately behind broke into screaming fisticuffs, tumbling into our row and landing on my 60-or-so-year-old mother (before my dad and I could begin to try and push them back), spilling beer all over us for good measure. It was dangerous as well as disgusting.

In that period, it was the exceptional Candlestick game that didn't feature multiple fights at multiple places throughout the grandstand requiring the cops to go into the stands and break it up and haul away the most belligerent offenders. Lots and lots of people had their personal space invaded and were made to feel personally uncomfortable.
   119. Carlo Paz Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4755296)
I don't see music and the wave in stadiums to be nearly as inconsiderate as your other examples.

Yes, they are all examples of people being inconsiderate. I'm glad you agree with me.
   120. PreservedFish Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4755297)
I met an English guy that told me that I could not attend a game at Scunthorpe or Millwall without getting my ass kicked. That's right - if I went in by myself, wore team colors, kept my mouth shut, snuck around from one place to the other - I would still get my ass kicked. Nothing I could do to prevent it.
   121. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4755303)
In that period, it was the exceptional Candlestick game that didn't feature multiple fights at multiple places throughout the grandstand requiring the cops to go into the stands and break it up and haul away the most belligerent offenders. Lots and lots of people had their personal space invaded and were made to feel personally uncomfortable.

A's games were like this, too. When I was 9 I actually found all the fighting and insanity at the Stick and the Coliseum kind of thrilling. I was a bad kid. Things are much tamer at ball games these days. Much, much tamer. Man, I remember a Friday night doubleheader against the Yankees that was all kinds of insane at the Coliseum. (Off to retrosheet to check my memory...)
   122. just plain joe Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4755304)
In that period, it was the exceptional Candlestick game that didn't feature multiple fights at multiple places throughout the grandstand requiring the cops to go into the stands and break it up and haul away the most belligerent offenders. Lots and lots of people had their personal space invaded and were made to feel personally uncomfortable.


I can remember being at a Dodgers-Giants game at Candlestick in the mid-seventies where the police had to make multiple trips to the upper deck to prevent a riot. The "highlight" was when a (presumably) Giants fan grabbed a Dodgers fan's cap and threw it over the railing. When the Dodger fan objected the Giants fans offered to throw him over the railing so he could retrieve his cap. Enter the police who explained to the Dodgers fan that he might want to sit somewhere else. I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable at the 'Stick, mostly because we always attended the games as a group of 4-10 people. Plus we were young and at that age people feel immortal anyway. When my wife went to a game there in 1989 the whole atmosphere had changed; I don't remember seeing any drunks in the stands at all.
   123. Jeltzandini Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4755305)
I went to college in Michigan from out of state. A guy from Detroit insisted that nobody not from Detroit should ever consider driving into downtown on the Lodge Freeway. I'd probably die, it was that dangerous.

For some reason people really like to imagine that they grew up in war-torn Beirut.

   124. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4755308)
I found the doubleheader!

That was surprisingly easy. In my memory the A's lost both games, but it was actually a split. I remember Gossage saving the night cap and Jackson's home run vividly, though. And, jeez, Bobby Murcer played in that game. I am freakin old.
   125. Ron J2 Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4755311)
#118 My sister got a beer shower at at Senators/Penguins playoff game. Near the end of the game (blowout win for the Penguins) some guy in Penguins gear starts taunting those around him. Beer is tossed at him but only gets as far as my sister.

She wanted the guy doing the taunting tossed as well as the beer thrower (who was apologetic, but ... wearing a full cup of beer is no fun). Pretty sure that the only person tossed was the beer thrower.
   126. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: July 21, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4755315)
Regarding the ambiguous Mark Cuban reference on the first page, from what I can gather (which isn't much), Cuban is justifying the use of artificial arena noise.

I base this solely on the passing mention in this article, which states:

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team has tried it both ways - and that fans enjoy the noise.

   127. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4755386)
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team has tried it both ways - and that fans enjoy the noise.

Yeah, but those same fans probably also enjoyed Cuban's chronic habit of referee baiting. I know he's more or less a sacred cow around here, but in many ways he's little more than Robin Ficker with a few zeros added to his bank balance.
   128. PreservedFish Posted: July 21, 2014 at 06:11 PM (#4755389)
I was thinking about the quote I relayed from the Times about stadium operators trying to recreate the living room experience. When I watch sports on TV I'm usually peacefully doing a crossword or reading a book, and hitting mute during the commercials. What happens in the living rooms of the hoi polloi?
   129. dr. scott Posted: July 21, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4755394)
The mallparks and the better behaved fans and the ability to show off your money and the better looking women and the far more appealing urban environments we have now are what's bringing people to baseball games now. There's no question the sport's real national footprint and fanbase have shrunk (in relative terms) since then.


Not sure this is proof of fanbase shrinking. There is a lot more competition for the $ these days. That being said if Petco park was 30 minutes outside downtown or in a rundown industrial zone with no view and no amenities i either would not have gone when we recently visited SD, or may have decided to never go again as SD is not my team. However, Oakland coliseum is in a rundown industrial zone of oakland with no more view and few amenities, and I love going there...

Speaking of fights at the coliseum i saw 4 fights break out there once. One was one row in front of me. there was talk of 2 or 3 more. It was game 5 of the 2003 ALDS. Don't remember seeing a fight since though.
   130. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 21, 2014 at 06:58 PM (#4755412)
Speaking of fights at the coliseum i saw 4 fights break out there once. One was one row in front of me. there was talk of 2 or 3 more. It was game 5 of the 2003 ALDS.

In defense of the Oakland fans, they had a lot to fight about that day. (smile)
   131. BDC Posted: July 21, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4755416)
When I watch sports on TV I'm usually peacefully doing a crossword or reading a book, and hitting mute during the commercials. What happens in the living rooms of the hoi polloi?

Hell, I bring a book to the stadium nowadays.

One thing I know NFL fans expect is immediate and copious replay. It has become second nature to football fans to see a play once and then to see it another six times, as if life naturally occurred in sets of seven repetitions. At Cowboys games a lot of fans only look at the video board, which is one of the largest in existence. They basically see the same thing they'd see on their couch at home, only AWESOME. You really have to make a concerted effort not to watch the thing.

Baseball has a different configuration, of course. A lot of people sit where you can't see the big screen, and though at home you get tons of replays, you don't get them of absolutely ever pitch, and stadium use of replay is far behind home.
   132. puck Posted: July 21, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4755445)

If you want to talk about MLB teams being infallible about marketing, here's your negative evidence.

All the research shows that what matters the most are removing barriers to entry (lines for food, parking, bathrooms), and creating reference groups (meaning fans attending with family or friends, or creating an atmosphere of being included with the action on the field).

I can tell you from first hand experience that major sports leagues do not have great insight on marketing.


Can you explain this? Is the middle paragraph the marketing info MLB has come up with, and it is clearly wrong, and that fans actually care most about other things? Or is that the marketing evidence you have first hand experience of, which MLB does not follow?
   133. Flynn Posted: July 21, 2014 at 09:46 PM (#4755498)
Speaking of fights at the coliseum i saw 4 fights break out there once. One was one row in front of me. there was talk of 2 or 3 more. It was game 5 of the 2003 ALDS. Don't remember seeing a fight since though.


I was at that game and it was definitely pretty hairy. I probably saw 10 fights that night, and life was made very uncomfortable indeed for somebody in a Red Sox jersey.
   134. Richard Posted: July 22, 2014 at 01:27 AM (#4755559)
I met an English guy that told me that I could not attend a game at Scunthorpe or Millwall without getting my ass kicked. That's right - if I went in by myself, wore team colors, kept my mouth shut, snuck around from one place to the other - I would still get my ass kicked. Nothing I could do to prevent it.

Having been to Millwall more than once under these exact conditions, he's wrong.

Not been to Scunthorpe but know many people who had. It is not, and has never been, dangerous.
   135. tshipman Posted: July 22, 2014 at 01:37 AM (#4755561)
Can you explain this? Is the middle paragraph the marketing info MLB has come up with, and it is clearly wrong, and that fans actually care most about other things? Or is that the marketing evidence you have first hand experience of, which MLB does not follow?


Middle paragraph is what MLB should be focusing on rather than focusing on pointless stuff like more graphics on the jumbotron. The central diagnosis is correct: MLB must compete against watching at home, but the chief things that they compete on there is convenience. What's easier--going to the couch or going to the game? You like going to the game, you don't like sitting in traffic.

What gets you to go to the game even if it's inconvenient? Belonging to part of a group. Focusing on more graphics on the screen is effectively pointless. Why do people like to go to Wrigley? Why do they like to go to PNC or Camden Yards? I can tell you that jumbotrons don't matter to people (edit: enough to get them to come to the game).

Or is that the marketing evidence you have first hand experience of, which MLB does not follow?


A different major professional sports league in the US that my company works with. Major US sports leagues are behind the curve on marketing. It's not some smokescreen. They're just bad at it. A LOT of teams are just not run like a business. If you talk to a rep at a game and express interest in a season ticket package, the rep follows up less than 50% of the time.
Other things: a lot of stadium/arena workers are volunteers--even at the concessions (!).
Lost and found reports are not responded to ... ever.
I dunno, other stuff.
   136. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 22, 2014 at 02:05 AM (#4755565)
Regarding the ambiguous Mark Cuban reference on the first page, from what I can gather (which isn't much), Cuban is justifying the use of artificial arena noise.

He blogged about it here.
The media response I got when we did our version was that it was noticably better to them. That they really enjoyed it. That it was the way “games were supposed to be” . Yet, at the game where there were more media members in attendance than any other game pre Finals…. not a word was spoken or written about the fact that it was a silent game.

I did hear commentary on the radio about the lack of energy in the building, but again, not a word about the lack of music , prompts, mics.

I guess we have our answer on “silent nights”

I stopped reading his blog after my dad, the Mavericks fan, died. Cuban is not a fan of smart phones at a sporting event, which I guess makes sense.
   137. Howie Menckel Posted: July 22, 2014 at 09:46 AM (#4755623)

I went to a Mets early season game at Shea in the mid-1980s with a British friend who was intrigued that a massive brawl between Rangers and Islanders fans broke out in the upper deck all around us. We explained that it made sense because the teams were engaged in a playoff series at the time (ok, not in that particular venue, but still).

   138. Moeball Posted: July 22, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4755625)
Face it: if baseball marketed only to the "purists", the stadiums would be 80% empty.


The mallparks and the better behaved fans and the ability to show off your money and the better looking women and the far more appealing urban environments we have now are what's bringing people to baseball games now. There's no question the sport's real national footprint and fanbase have shrunk (in relative terms) since then.


Agree that there is much more competition for our entertainment dollar so the fan base maybe hasn't necessarily shrunk that much.

On the other hand, agree wholeheartedly with the first point but have mixed emotions about it. At Padres games I often feel as if there are only about 1000 real baseball fans there and 29,000 people who should really be somewhere else. If only the real fans attended the games I would indeed have a much more enjoyable experience and actually get to watch, you know, the game that's going on. I also realize, however, that if the attendance was only 1000 fans per game the team would be out of San Diego very quickly so I guess I just need to get over it. Better to have a team with noisy games to go to than to have no team at all.

If you're sitting in your seat conversing with your seatmates, it means you aren't consuming.

Marketing people and politicians must hate you for saying things like this; nobody wants to hear the actual truth.

Finally, this little gem snuck up on us several posts back:

Good noise is generated by the crowd, in a spontaneous reaction to play on the field. Pitiful noise is generated by loudspeakers and jumbotrons. Screw that. Real fans don't need it.


Yes, and (while admittedly an old fart) I honestly don't think this is an observation that is necessarily old-fartish.


Yes, and yes. And yes.

What you just witnessed was a rare occurrence here. We finally found something that Ray and Andy agree on!



   139. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4755657)
Actually we also agree that Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame, though I'm sure that Ray thinks I'm saying it only because Clemens was one of my boyhood heroes. (smile)
   140. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4755661)
A different major professional sports league in the US that my company works with. Major US sports leagues are behind the curve on marketing. It's not some smokescreen. They're just bad at it. A LOT of teams are just not run like a business.


I'm personally familiar with how one MLB team runs, and that one team is certainly not run like a "well run business" (on any level)
I assume that's not true across the board of course, but it was eye opening
   141. PreservedFish Posted: July 22, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4755673)
Is this surprising to anyone? We don't spend much time thinking about the marketing arms of these teams, but we do pay attention to the baseball operations side of things, and in that world hiring an MBA was apparently enough to put you on the cutting edge pretty recently.
   142. BDC Posted: July 22, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4755687)
Good noise is generated by the crowd, in a spontaneous reaction to play on the field. Pitiful noise is generated by loudspeakers and jumbotrons

It's a trend that goes well beyond sports, of course, and baseball isn't perhaps the worst offender. My university used to hold commencement in an old-fashioned auditorium, and one concern was that the noise level was too high. People would bring air horns and ratchets and kazoos and what-not and scream like crazy when their family members or frat brothers walked across the stage. This was considered beneath the dignity of a Tier One institution.

Commencement got moved to the new basketball stadium and personal noisemakers prohibited: so that the sound system and video boards could be cranked up and much more noise provided on a canned, pre-planned schedule. This probably has crowd-control advantages, but of course it wasn't like the old unplanned noise was dangerous: everybody was just goofy and happy on their own terms, not on terms specified by the planners.
   143. PreservedFish Posted: July 22, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4755705)
What type of canned noise do they play at a commencement? Do they have "EVERYBODY CLAP YOUR HANDS" while one department head gives way to another? "Sweet Caroline" in the interval between BA and graduate degrees? Perhaps a zany sound effect if one of the students trips?
   144. tshipman Posted: July 22, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4755711)
Is this surprising to anyone? We don't spend much time thinking about the marketing arms of these teams, but we do pay attention to the baseball operations side of things, and in that world hiring an MBA was apparently enough to put you on the cutting edge pretty recently.


I dunno, it is and it isn't.

It is a surprise in that it's a seven billion dollar a year business and you'd expect them to hire competent people.

It isn't a surprise in that they never have bothered to before, so why would they?

This seems to be changing, though. Fewer lawyers/ex-ballplayers, more suits.
   145. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 22, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4755713)
The nice thing about soccer is the amount and style of noise is up to the crowd so you get chants and songs and what not. A's crowds are becoming a bit more like soccer crowds from what I can tell from the few games I've been able to get to the last couple of years. It's nice.
   146. BDC Posted: July 22, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4755721)
What type of canned noise do they play at a commencement?

We get exciting, and earsplitting, videos about the DNA of our brand.
   147. zenbitz Posted: July 22, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4755752)
I don't know how dangerous Candlestick was in the 80s (compared to the 70s) but AT&T is a totally different experience. It also doesn't seem like there is a lot of canned noise. There is a players intro and there is obligatory rally innings in the 8ths and 9ths... there are also between innings scoreboard sillyness and a Journey sing-a-long. But it's also full - 40K every night.

   148. PreservedFish Posted: July 22, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4755759)
A's crowds are becoming a bit more like soccer crowds from what I can tell from the few games I've been able to get to the last couple of years.


AT&T is a totally different experience. It also doesn't seem like there is a lot of canned noise. There is a players intro and there is obligatory rally innings in the 8ths and 9ths... there are also between innings scoreboard sillyness and a Journey sing-a-long.


I love A's games. The crowd is definitely fun and into it and a lot of the videos and songs that happen on the Big TV are inspired by stuff that the fans or the team itself started doing first.

AT&T is an objectively wonderful ballpark experience ... it's an outstanding realization of the downtown, family-friendly mallpark. But it's not for me. The little kid announcing the lineups. Ugh.

But mostly I just prefer the smaller audience. Every team in America, from what I can tell, does those "which hat is the ball under?" or "which train will go fastest?" games. In a packed stadium these things turn into wave-like crowd participation events that I want to shrink away from. In an emptier stadium the sound seems deadened by the empty seats and palpable lack of interest.
   149. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 22, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4755830)
The prevailing wisdom among sports executives now is that younger fans raised on smartphones are less willing to attend live events because they are cut off from the online content they find compelling. Giant scoreboards, they hope, will quench that digital addiction while generating new advertising revenue.

How out of touch can you be? People like having interactive apps that they control. This is nothing like a giant video screen showing commercials with ear splitting audio.
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