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Thursday, December 06, 2018

MLB players concerned about retooling teams, attendance drop

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball players are concerned the Seattle Mariners have become yet another rebuilding team and may be joined by others following a season of steep attendance drops among clubs that faded early and never contended for the playoffs.

Union head Tony Clark and new collective bargaining director Bruce Meyer said Wednesday their members also are concerned about rapid change in the way games are played, such as the increased use of relief pitchers, and are willing to speak with management this offseason about whether counteracting changes are needed.

Altering the amateur draft to include an NBA-style lottery for the top picks, the 10-day disabled list and the 10-day minimum for the recall of players optioned to the minors are among the topics the union is prepared to talk about as part of a wider discussion. So are possible rules to counter offense-suffocating defensive shifts.

A reminder that a lot of players are as alarmed by tanking as those of us who watch it from the stands….

 

QLE Posted: December 06, 2018 at 08:04 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: attendance, bad ideas, bruce meyer, lottery, mlbpa, tanking, tony clark

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   1. TomH Posted: December 06, 2018 at 09:23 AM (#5794501)
another good quote: “Last offseason, the union filed a grievance against four clubs that it claimed were not trying to win,” said MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, citing a case against Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. “One of those clubs made the playoffs, another club won 90 games and a third club was in contention through the trade deadline. I don’t think the players’ association has any credibility on opining on how clubs will perform.”
   2. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 06, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5794511)
another good quote: “Last offseason, the union filed a grievance against four clubs that it claimed were not trying to win,” said MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, citing a case against Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. “One of those clubs made the playoffs, another club won 90 games and a third club was in contention through the trade deadline. I don’t think the players’ association has any credibility on opining on how clubs will perform.”


Yup.

What the MLBPA is concerned about - and hey, I don't blame them, it's the MLBPA's job after all - is that middling 30something free agents don't have more bidders willing to pony up 3-4-etc year contracts.

What it actually isn't noting - but should - is that the 4A flotsam that gets those roles are MLBPA members now accruing service time, too.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 06, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5794516)
another good quote: “Last offseason, the union filed a grievance against four clubs that it claimed were not trying to win,” said MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, citing a case against Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. “One of those clubs made the playoffs, another club won 90 games and a third club was in contention through the trade deadline. I don’t think the players’ association has any credibility on opining on how clubs will perform.”

Neither do fans. And attendance is often based far more on fan perception of team quality than actual team quality.

Tampa's 90 wins gave them a -100,000 attendance "boost".
   4. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5794521)
Setting aside that TB has always had attendance problems - even when they were regularly going to the playoffs - it's always been the year following that shows attendance boosts...
   5. PreservedFish Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5794523)
Tampa was interesting last year - it sure looked like they were tanking in the offseason, but I do recall reading even before the season began that they had not actually made their team much weaker.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5794530)
What it actually isn't noting - but should - is that the 4A flotsam that gets those roles are MLBPA members now accruing service time, too.

I'm guessing MLBPA would rather have more members getting multi-year multi-million-dollar contracts than having more disposable relievers making the minimum and failing to accumulate enough service time to ever hit free agency.
   7. Greg Pope Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5794532)
So are possible rules to counter offense-suffocating defensive shifts.

They should definitely ban these. Of course, I don't know how you ban something that doesn't exist.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5794537)
I'm always surprised that any tanking teams have any individual season ticket holders (granting that many corporations just aren't paying attention, so they renew).

seems vaguely like an abusive relationship
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 06, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5794544)
Tampa was interesting last year - it sure looked like they were tanking in the offseason, but I do recall reading even before the season began that they had not actually made their team much weaker.
Tampa will be an interesting case going forward as well, as they seem to be following a model of building a winning team with no players that anyone has ever heard of, except for maybe Blake Snell now I guess. Of course there are chicken and egg issues with it being Tampa Bay, but it sure seems like the Rays' front office has developed an approach to roster management and game tactics that would discourage the development of recognizable stars. I'm curious to see whether winning itself will be enough to drive attendance even without recognizable players.
   10. Greg Pope Posted: December 06, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5794562)
I'm guessing MLBPA would rather have more members getting multi-year multi-million-dollar contracts than having more disposable relievers making the minimum and failing to accumulate enough service time to ever hit free agency.

Would they? If membership votes, there are probably a lot more guys who want the 4A jobs then there are guys who want larger contracts for mediocre 32-year old veterans.

Leadership may feel differently.
   11. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 06, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5794585)

Neither do fans. And attendance is often based far more on fan perception of team quality than actual team quality.

Tampa's 90 wins gave them a -100,000 attendance "boost".


I would guess it also has to do with the fact that even winning 90 games, the Rays finished 18 games out of first and 7 out of a wild card spot. And a lot of that was due to a nice run in the second half after they were already pretty much out of contention--at the end of June they were already 14 out of first and 11 games out of the WC.
   12. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 06, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5794633)
another good quote: “Last offseason, the union filed a grievance against four clubs that it claimed were not trying to win,” said MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, citing a case against Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. “One of those clubs made the playoffs, another club won 90 games and a third club was in contention through the trade deadline. I don’t think the players’ association has any credibility on opining on how clubs will perform.”


I think there are some other conclusions that can be reached here that might be useful when revenue sharing is being discussed at the next CBA. Who knew the commissioner's office was so open to objective evidence on this point?
   13. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 06, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5794637)

Would they? If membership votes, there are probably a lot more guys who want the 4A jobs then there are guys who want larger contracts for mediocre 32-year old veterans.

Leadership may feel differently.


They could achieve the result more dramatically with non-guaranteed contracts.
   14. Hysterical & Useless Posted: December 06, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5794733)
a lot more guys who want the 4A jobs then there are guys who want larger contracts for mediocre 32-year old veterans


I would guess they all think that if they were just given half a chance, they'd be stars.
   15. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: December 06, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5794740)
Nah, most of the 4A type guys know exactly what their role is in the baseball world. Delusions of stardom are far behind them by that point; they're just working their asses off trying to stick in the Show for a few years.

The teens and near-teens in short-season ball, many more of them still think they're superstars. But years of pro baseball have a way of grinding that fantasy out of you.

Back when I used to work at the ballpark in Altoona, there was a player there, he was 26-27 years old and had been in pro ball for about four years. He wasn't even one of the five oldest guys on the team, and he was a regular in the lineup, but he very noticeably spent more of his off-field time with the coaches than his teammates. He was smart enough, and self-aware enough, to realize that as a 27-year-old 1B/RF hitting .260 in AA ball, he had no future as a major league player, and had consciously turned his attention toward segueing into a coaching/managing career. Which he did, by the time he was 30. I think he's out of pro baseball now, though.
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 06, 2018 at 05:27 PM (#5794810)
I'm always surprised that any tanking teams have any individual season ticket holders (granting that many corporations just aren't paying attention, so they renew).

seems vaguely like an abusive relationship


Meet half the fans in the NFL.
   17. Man o' Schwar Posted: December 06, 2018 at 05:38 PM (#5794815)
People don't give up their season tickets for losing teams because, once the teams turn it around, they want to have those season tickets.

You give them up, you end up at the back of the line for buying tickets in the future and may find yourself in the grandstand 5 years from now when the team is fighting for the pennant. So you have to keep paying through the lean years.
   18. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 06, 2018 at 08:17 PM (#5794866)
following a season of steep attendance drops among clubs


If only the players had a way of making the game more enjoyable for fans of every team, for every game?
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: December 06, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5794870)
People don't give up their season tickets for losing teams because, once the teams turn it around, they want to have those season tickets.

You give them up, you end up at the back of the line for buying tickets in the future and may find yourself in the grandstand 5 years from now when the team is fighting for the pennant.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

I was at 50+ Knicks playoff games in the 1990s, and the place made you feel as if you were inside of an intense cartoon. The Bulls won the titles, but a major segment of the NBA's most dramatic playoff games took place at The Garden - Knicks v Jordan, Knicks v Reggie, Knicks v Pat Riley. bloodsport. 9 straight years of at least 2 rounds of playoffs.

now the team has been irrelevant for more than 15 years, and it doesn't much matter. as you suggest, the experience those fans had made them feel as alive as, for some of them, anything they have ever known.

that.... almost makes sense to me. but not every sporting facility is The Garden. and if your team hasn't been on a decent postseason run in years, though - well, I admit I don't quite truly understand the level of emotional commitment that diehard fans are willing to make. it's so likely to end badly, sometimes all of your life. but if the dream comes true....
   20. Bote Man Posted: December 07, 2018 at 08:10 AM (#5794910)
The teens and near-teens in short-season ball, many more of them still think they're superstars. But years of pro baseball have a way of grinding that fantasy out of you.

That's a terrible thing to say about Bryce Harper!!
   21. McCoy Posted: December 07, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5794913)
Would they? If membership votes, there are probably a lot more guys who want the 4A jobs then there are guys who want larger contracts for mediocre 32-year old veterans.

Leadership may feel differently.


The union wants less 4A players taking up union spots because they weaken the union. Guys who come and go in season and over a couple of seasons make for a weak union with little to no bargaining positions and increased incentive to accept crumbs. Secondly every single union that ever was or ever will be has always been tonsils deep for senior union members. They make more money, are able to pay higher union dues, are far more agreeable in regards to the status quo of the union org, and are far more likely to fight for a strong union presence.
   22. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 07, 2018 at 08:40 AM (#5794917)
I was at 50+ Knicks playoff games in the 1990s, and the place made you feel as if you were inside of an intense cartoon. The Bulls won the titles, but a major segment of the NBA's most dramatic playoff games took place at The Garden - Knicks v Jordan, Knicks v Reggie, Knicks v Pat Riley. bloodsport. 9 straight years of at least 2 rounds of playoffs.

now the team has been irrelevant for more than 15 years, and it doesn't much matter. as you suggest, the experience those fans had made them feel as alive as, for some of them, anything they have ever known.

that.... almost makes sense to me. but not every sporting facility is The Garden. and if your team hasn't been on a decent postseason run in years, though - well, I admit I don't quite truly understand the level of emotional commitment that diehard fans are willing to make. it's so likely to end badly, sometimes all of your life. but if the dream comes true....


Knicks fans, Nets fans, Jets fans, Redskins fans, Wizards fans, (Fill in the Blank) fans.....After 20 or more years of being doormats, all you can say about their season ticket holders is that they're like Charlie Brown thinking that this year Lucy isn't going to pull away the football.

It's their money, but especially when it comes to certain teams with certain owners, you have to suspect that these season ticket holders are lacking a brain cell somewhere.
   23. McCoy Posted: December 07, 2018 at 08:49 AM (#5794920)
Most season ticket holders aren't people but companies and for the most part they don't really care about the win-loss record. As in you'll always find some company to purchase you tickets at a certain price point. Now obviously ideally you want a winning team with strong demand.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: December 07, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5795201)
Over a span of 20 years or so, my sister's law firm (i.e. the one she worked for) in Cleveland went from regular season tix, upgraded to a private box, downgraded to club seats (free ballpark food and soda, paid full service bar including good beer, wine, spirits but you have to sit amongst other mid-corporate plebians). Which I assume is some function of corporate performance, desirability of attendance by major clients and team ticket prices.
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 07, 2018 at 04:56 PM (#5795202)
aren't people but companies
Hey now. Companies are people too!
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2018 at 09:45 PM (#5795250)
Most season ticket holders aren't people but companies


Where in the hell did you get that data? I'm assuming out your butt, because that is a ludicrous comment that no sane person would take at face value.... if you said "private boxes" or something like that, then sure, I'm with you there, but season tickets? Not really seeing a corporate reason for that...
   27. bfan Posted: December 08, 2018 at 07:53 AM (#5795269)
everyone took off on tanking. it is nice to know that the players recognize that fan interest is being impaired by "increased use of relief pitchers". Slow play and low scoring is slowly but surely sucking the interest out of the game.

Tanking? As the fan of a team which strategically got out of the 75 win trap to time the excellence of its younger players into a tangible window, in which they now compete, I say hooray! Call it deferring wins (which is what it is; the higher draft choice is a minor collateral benefit), and embrace it.

Again, I would take a team's 5 season sequence of wins at 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 over 80, 80, 80, 80 and 80, every time.
   28. . . . . . . Posted: December 08, 2018 at 08:12 AM (#5795273)
Where in the hell did you get that data? I'm assuming out your butt, because that is a ludicrous comment that no sane person would take at face value.... if you said "private boxes" or something like that, then sure, I'm with you there, but season tickets? Not really seeing a corporate reason for that...


Cute naive Midwesterner!

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