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Friday, April 06, 2018

MLB keeps finding new ways to alienate fans

Don’t miss Musnick’s next column on the insanity of the indoor plumbing craze.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 06, 2018 at 06:39 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 06, 2018 at 08:40 AM (#5649183)
But when the regular season starts — the Rays even play in a dome — MLB, despite logical options, never gives spring a chance to start up North. As a practical fan- and game-friendly matter, the first week-to-10 days — or the first two series — should be played indoors or in warm-climate cities.


Because the teams in those places definitely want to give up the more lucrative mid-summer gates for sparsely attended early April and late September games. I was at the Red Sox game yesterday, it was ####### cold. Probably the coldest I've ever been at Fenway but the funny thing is if the Sox had opened at home against Tampa last week rather than in Tampa they would have been fine. It was 50 last Thursday and in the mid-60s last Friday.
   2. Lassus Posted: April 06, 2018 at 08:47 AM (#5649186)
I was at the Red Sox game yesterday, it was ####### cold. Probably the coldest I've ever been at Fenway

I was at Candlestick one late night in June where I had REALLY not dressed appropriately with night falling (shorts, t-shirt) and I had a brief time where I considered jumping off the back of the upper deck (where I was sitting) into the parking lot for the moment of warmth from striking the pavement.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 06, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5649191)
The one thing that saved me is that I was dressed appropriately. I looked ridiculous but without it...no way man. There were definitely empty seats but I grew up in the area, it's not like it came as a shock.

Incidentally, of the "35,000" empty seats at Yankee Stadium for the opener how much of that was weather and how much was people who had taken Tuesday off from work but couldn't get Wednesday off. Obviously the issues are related but Opening Day rainouts (or snow outs) create more than a few practical problems for those of us who work.
   4. villageidiom Posted: April 06, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5649192)
PLAY ONLY IN WARM WEATHER LOCATIONS THE FIRST WEEK!

...what about DC?

TOO COLD!

...OK, so there are only 12 teams that play in significantly warmer climates than DC or in a domed stadium. That's 24 teams playing the first week. Should we have the other 6 teams sit out the first week?

HAVE THEM PLAY SOMEWHERE ELSE!

...Tokyo has a domed stadium.

THAT'S A HORRIBLE IDEA!
   5. Lassus Posted: April 06, 2018 at 09:22 AM (#5649193)
I do agree that complaining that you can't play baseball in cold weather is pretty whiny.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 06, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5649196)
Obviously no games should be scheduled in Florida or Houston in September either, hurricane season y'know.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: April 06, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5649199)
I was at Candlestick one late night in June where I had REALLY not dressed appropriately with night falling (shorts, t-shirt) and I had a brief time where I considered jumping off the back of the upper deck (where I was sitting) into the parking lot for the moment of warmth from striking the pavement.


Wouldn't falling just make it colder though? Probably not worth it.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 06, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5649222)
I'm disappointed I clicked on the link. A huge amount of whining about basically everything in sports. Don't click.
   9. Batman Posted: April 06, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5649237)
Wouldn't falling just make it colder though? Probably not worth it.
If you manage to jump straight down and stay along the wall you can get some friction going. The White Sox used to give out free tickets to kids for April games, so I've thought about this a lot.
   10. villageidiom Posted: April 06, 2018 at 11:03 AM (#5649242)
Obviously no games should be scheduled in Florida or Houston in September either, hurricane season y'know.
Hurricane season is from June to November. The Astros, Rays, and Marlins should just play nothing but home games in April and May, and nothing but road games after that. Games scheduled against each other should be mutual forfeits. That way they won't alienate fans.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 06, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5649244)
Would anyone even notice if the Marlins played nothing but road games after May?
   12. Batman Posted: April 06, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5649245)
Would anyone even notice if the Marlins played nothing but road games after May?
Hotels across the country would get tired of telling their owner he can't pay the team's bill in gift baskets.
   13. manchestermets Posted: April 06, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5649250)
I'm disappointed I clicked on the link. A huge amount of whining about basically everything in sports. Don't click.


I not only clicked, I read the article and then clicked on some of the "More Mushnick" links. (It's gone 4pm on Friday here, what am I gonna do, work?) I am significantly stupider now.
   14. -- Posted: April 06, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5649257)
Basically everything Mushnick says thematically about the very soft underbelly of American sport is right, but the tone is sort of like a guy telling you not to enjoy a movie because nothing in it is really believable and the people in it are acting. And then going on and on about it.
   15. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 06, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5649264)
Basically everything Mushnick says thematically about the very soft underbelly of American sport is right, but the tone is sort of like a guy telling you not to enjoy a movie because nothing in it is really believable and the people in it are acting. And then going on and on about it.

I like to annoy macho co-workers that their favorite movies are just artsy-fartsy people playing dress up. Even Eastwood? Especially Eastwood...
   16. Man o' Schwar Posted: April 06, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5649273)
We're forgetting about the cold weather in October, which can be just as bad as the weather in late March/early April. Obviously the only solution is only to allow teams that play in the south or domed stadiums to make the playoffs.

Alternatively, all teams could be eligible, but teams from the north that make the playoffs will have to play all their games on the road someplace warmer, like Baghdad.
   17. phredbird Posted: April 06, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5649298)
can i whine about MLB.tv here? stupid idiots are blacking out the dodgers where i live (palm springs) and letting me watch angels. first of all, that's a flip from last year. last year i could watch dodgers -- which i prefer -- and angels were blacked out. plus, i checked and dodger stadium is further from PS than angels stadium. i have called and emailed to complain and gotten absolutely no satisfactory explanations.
   18. Man o' Schwar Posted: April 06, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5649315)
You won't get any good explanations. Iowa is blocked out from like 5 teams, even though each stadium is a minimum 3 hour drive away and most of the "local" networks that would carry those games aren't even available to people who live there. Their blackout rules are senseless.
   19. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 06, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5649326)

I not only clicked, I read the article and then clicked on some of the "More Mushnick" links. (It's gone 4pm on Friday here, what am I gonna do, work?) I am significantly stupider now.
Did you know that some rappers use the n-word?
   20. Lassus Posted: April 06, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5649338)
Their blackout rules are senseless.

I'm 4.5 hours from NYC, and am blacked out for the Mets and Yankees. I also can't get the local broadcast feeds when those contracts take games from SNY or YES.
   21. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 06, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5649397)
For all annoying blockouts, unlocator is your friend. It's cheap, and works very well.
   22. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 06, 2018 at 03:00 PM (#5649398)
Blackout Map

Iowa is blocked for 6 teams: Chicago x2, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City. So weird that Western Iowa is blocked for Chicago, NE Iowa blocked for KC, etc. Those teams are an 8 or 9 hour drive.
   23. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: April 06, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5649402)
I think I've seen five of the 170 or so Cubs/Brewers games in the past ten years since moving to Indy, despite being 185 miles to Wrigley now, versus the 80 ish miles while living in Milwaukee area. Cubs/Sox/Reds are blacked out here on EI, of course Reds are available to me on regional FSN, so I get plenty of punishment listening to those rubes.
   24. Perry Posted: April 06, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5649416)
Iowa is blocked for 6 teams


So is Hawaii.
   25. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 06, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5649424)
I can understand the business argument for blackouts in local regions. In Boston if I don't want to be blacked out of Red Sox games I have a simple remedy, pay for NESN. Like Lassus and mrams note, there are times where there is no simple remedy. Fine it's a business, sell your product. But the idea "we won't make it available in any form" is just ridiculous.
   26. AndrewJ Posted: April 06, 2018 at 09:07 PM (#5649504)
I think of Mushnick whenever I hear Churchill's definition of a fanatic: "One who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 06, 2018 at 10:44 PM (#5649564)
PLAY ONLY IN WARM WEATHER LOCATIONS THE FIRST WEEK!

...what about DC?

TOO COLD!


Or maybe just start the season in the second or third week in April, but that would be too radical a thought.

It wouldn't eliminate games played in Arctic conditions, but it'd put a big dent in their number, and it also might reduce the number of early season injuries. Baseball wasn't meant to be played in 40 degree weather.
   28. ptodd Posted: April 07, 2018 at 01:43 AM (#5649643)
They need to bring back the double header. Start the season in mid April and play the first 2 weeks in the warmer cities and then the first 2 weeks in May play up north

On double header days teams may use a 30 man roster. Players should accept this in exchange for a shorter season and longer offseason (later ST)
   29. manchestermets Posted: April 07, 2018 at 08:00 AM (#5649655)
Did you know that some rappers use the n-word?


I found a bit where he got very upset about Serena Williams (because hey, what's she ever achieved right?) winning an award. That was good.
   30. manchestermets Posted: April 07, 2018 at 08:03 AM (#5649656)
If there's no legal way of watching a game available to you, there's always not legal ways. Yes, you have no fundamental right to see any game, but if you aren't actually depriving them of income they wouldn't otherwise have had...
   31. spycake Posted: April 07, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5649684)
I think there is virtually always a legal way to watch, and it has gotten a lot simpler. I think if you subscribe to Vue (Core package at $45/month), for example, and you are in Iowa, you will get streaming access to RSNs for all 6 of the blacked out teams. And that is month to month, no contract, no special equipment required. Not as cheap as MLB.TV, but not onerous compared to cable/satellite either.

Beats the pants off the old method, which usually involved a year-long contract with a satellite TV company, for a $100+ a month, plus special equipment...
   32. I Knew A Guy Who Knew A Guy Who Knew Rey Ordonez Posted: April 08, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5649885)
You won't get any good explanations. Iowa is blocked out from like 5 teams, even though each stadium is a minimum 3 hour drive away and most of the "local" networks that would carry those games aren't even available to people who live there. Their blackout rules are senseless.


Checking in from Iowa. I'm at least 4 hours from the closest MLB park and the only games I could get on DirecTV were on CSN Chicago (RSN comes with the higher pack that includes ESPN and BTN). Last year I tried adding the full RSN package to watch other games and promptly found a blackout message on NESN trying to watch the Patriots Day game from Fenway. Turns out without EI, you can't actually watch anything on DirecTV in Iowa except your RSN teams, who I despise.
   33. Hank Gillette Posted: April 08, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5649895)
Because the teams in those places definitely want to give up the more lucrative mid-summer gates for sparsely attended early April and late September games.


Isn’t this at least partially a chicken and egg thing? Fans don’t come out in numbers early in the season because it is cold, so teams don’t want to play more games at home early in the season.

Wouldn’t shifting the games to warmer or indoor sites at least partially mitigate the problem? You’re not going to get them to come out in Tampa Bay, but the fans don’t come out there in the summer either.
   34. Man o' Schwar Posted: April 08, 2018 at 03:07 PM (#5649907)
It's also a school year thing - you're going to have a smaller crowd in general because parents will be less likely to take their kids out of school (for day games) or to keep them out late at night when there's school the next day. I think most teams see an uptick in attendance when the school year ends.
   35. I Knew A Guy Who Knew A Guy Who Knew Rey Ordonez Posted: April 08, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5649919)
It's also a school year thing - you're going to have a smaller crowd in general because parents will be less likely to take their kids out of school (for day games) or to keep them out late at night when there's school the next day. I think most teams see an uptick in attendance when the school year ends.


The Mets used to have two different game times back in the 90s- 7:10 during the school year and 7:40 during the summer when kids didn't have to worry about getting home for school.
   36. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 08, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5649977)
I think there is virtually always a legal way to watch, and it has gotten a lot simpler. I think if you subscribe to Vue (Core package at $45/month), for example, and you are in Iowa, you will get streaming access to RSNs for all 6 of the blacked out teams. And that is month to month, no contract, no special equipment required. Not as cheap as MLB.TV, but not onerous compared to cable/satellite either.


I switched to Vue at the turn of the year and oh my god I’m so happy with it. It wasn’t a big deal as far as watching my local team (Red Sox) but the convenience, the cost, the quality, it’s just a huge step up from the shitshow that was Xfinity. I’m fortunate because my local FiOS has a gigabit connection option for a pretty reasonable price so it’s a lot cheaper than a cable/internet would be with Xfinity or Verizon.

But at the same time I think I’m pretty technology savvy (like most people at BTF). I wouldn’t want to try to explain it to my parents who frankly are better than their peers (early 70s).
   37. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: April 09, 2018 at 08:23 AM (#5650129)
Just do what I do: live outside your team's blackout area! As a Tigers fan in New York, I have access to all the Tigers games! (Downside: I have access to all the Tigers games.)
   38. Karl from NY Posted: April 10, 2018 at 02:41 PM (#5650922)
Does everyone understand the purpose of the blackout rules? The point is to pressure the cable carriers in places like Iowa to add the RSNs for the teams involved. The RSNs want to expand their reach and that's what the rules are constructed for.
   39. Justin T has a centaur for a mentor Posted: April 10, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5650954)
Here's one good way they alienate fans. For some reason, At Bat won't download/install on my tablet. Which it did last year just fine. But at some recent update, it said nah, this device isn't compatible. I tried to see what the deal was, and they don't care unless you own one of a few tablets made my companies they are in bed with.

So, I got a refund for my MLB.tv and am no longer a customer of MLB. I watched about two at bats of a game on Opening Day, before I knew that they assumed I am so crazy for the product that I'll just jump through whatever dumbass hoops they set up to be able to consume it. Nope. So, a huge baseball fan who has traveled to many parks, yadda yadda yadda, is no longer interested. I'm an adult with other demands on my time and it's pretty easy to let this go. I have no trouble filling my days with other things. They give no shits.
   40. manchestermets Posted: April 11, 2018 at 08:18 AM (#5651270)
Does everyone understand the purpose of the blackout rules? The point is to pressure the cable carriers in places like Iowa to add the RSNs for the teams involved. The RSNs want to expand their reach and that's what the rules are constructed for.


Allowing fans only to watch their team one way sounds pretty alienating to me.
   41. Greg Pope Posted: April 11, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5651554)
Does everyone understand the purpose of the blackout rules? The point is to pressure the cable carriers in places like Iowa to add the RSNs for the teams involved. The RSNs want to expand their reach and that's what the rules are constructed for.

That's definitely true, but it strikes me as counter-productive. If The Iowa Cable Company doesn't carry the Twins networks, then nobody in Iowa gets to see the Twins. Nobody makes any money. The Twins RSN meets with The Iowa Cable Company a couple times a year and tries to get them to carry the channel. The Iowa Cable Company says no. Nobody makes any money. How does this help?

Now, you let Extra Innings and MLB.tv show the Twins in Iowa. I assume that the Twins RSN makes some sort of money for more people watching their broadcast. But maybe not. Even so, the RSN is no worse off, and MLB (in some form) makes some money and Twins fans in Iowa are happy. No harm anywhere.

Now, the Twins RSN can go meet with The Iowa Cable Company and say, "look, we have numbers that show that 300,000 people in Iowa tune into at least 5 Twins games a year via EI/MLB.tv". Doesn't that make The Iowa Cable Company more likely to agree to carry the channel? Once they carry the channel, you can black out the games if you want.
   42. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: April 11, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5651732)
Or maybe just start the season in the second or third week in April, but that would be too radical a thought.


which wouldn't have helped this year. this is a problem for about 2 weeks every year, and then nobody thinks about it again until...next spring. it happens every year. I'm guilty as well. it's not a cold weather game everybody gets that. but, due to geography some teams will have to play games in cold weather at the beginning of the season. is what it is. not ideal, but no easy solution (other than half a dozen double headers) either.

I do take issue with a team like Minnesota building a non-roof stadium. I can ##### about that.
   43. BDC Posted: April 11, 2018 at 07:00 PM (#5651757)
Is Minneapolis the first (only?) baseball-dome city to go back to open-air? There haven’t been all that many - Houston, Seattle, the Canadian & Florida cities, Phoenix, Milwaukee ... Arlington to come, which one did I forget? And of those they are all still in domes or have built new ones, I think; except the Twins.
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: April 11, 2018 at 08:56 PM (#5651874)
Cuns introduce seating for 120-pound fans

"When the Cubs decided to move and enlarge the dugouts and build a swanky, exclusive club behind home plate, they also changed some of the seats down the left- and right-field lines, making them smaller.

Some complained those aren’t big enough for regular-sized fans. One said they were built for “middle school students,” and another wondered if they were modeled after middle seats in the back of airplanes. One fan called it the “120-pound or less section,” and another called the section “the Spirit Airlines of stadium seats.”

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