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Monday, October 15, 2012

Ratto: Yankee Stadium a monument of greed

Ratto’s Vengeance!

There is a lesson in the sudden caverning of Yankee Stadium. Well, there are lots, actually, but the first is this.

A ballpark is not architecture, or sight lines, or concession stands. A ballpark is the people and the show inside it.

When Detroit Tigers left fielder Quentin Berry dismissed the new Yankee Stadium as a an excellent place for quiet contemplation, he made sure to compare it to the crowds in Oakland, which he described as “rowdier.”

And he meant it as a compliment. The gray old dowager with the dirty green frock, a cooler place to play than Yankee Stadium – perfect.

...It was the moment that made the ballpark, and the comparisons with Yankee Stadium have never been more apt.

Yankee Stadium has been a monument to the outer limits of greed from the moment it was imagined. Its parking company is going broke because people discovered that it’s easier to take the train. The deafening noise that once poured down upon visiting players in the old park flies off into the stratosphere in the new one.

... Which, in his own way, was what Quentin Berry was saying all along. Atmosphere is not dictated from the board room, and never has been. Building plans may excite the kids down at the union hall, but they mean nothing if what you’re putting on inside the building is not consistent with its mission, which, in the case of a ballpark, is ball.

So that’s one more thing to keep A’s fans warm this winter. They throw a cooler party than the people at Yankee Stadium, just because they’re there to make it happen. So never mind your spread sheets and land deals and architectural niceties. The people throwing the party is really how this works in the end.

Repoz Posted: October 15, 2012 at 01:43 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: oakland, yankees

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   1. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: October 15, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4271143)
Don't worry; there won't be anymore games there this year!

(Yes, I realize I've just jinxed the Tigers, now and forever. I'm so sorry.)
   2. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 15, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4271178)
I wonder if any of the people who made, and continue to make money, off the stadium give a rats's ass about this.
   3. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4271188)
This is clearly one of Repoz's faves as it's not the first time he's posted it. These guys were about a year and a half ahead of their time.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 15, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4271204)
Yankee Stadium has been a monument to the outer limits of greed from the moment it was imagined. Its parking company is going broke because people discovered that it’s easier to take the train.


So its wasn't greed when parking companies were gouging people to park, providing nothing of economic value other than renting out land they are sitting on, not developing?
   5. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4271215)
I'm just curious about this strange new word "caverning"?
   6. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 15, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4271238)
It took awhile, but the mallpark trend, obscene primary ticket prices, and Bud's awful postseason tournament are actually finally biting baseball right smack in the ass. While the obvious malaise gripping the Yankee fanbase (*) that evinces it kind of came out of nowhere, it's nonetheless quite welcome.

(*) New York not selling out League Championship Series games in a stadium with less than 50,000 seats is a stunning turn of events. Judging from that and Stubhub prices, interest in this series is stunningly low.
   7. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4271249)
I'm just curious about this strange new word "caverning"?

definition
   8. dejarouehg Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4271253)
So its wasn't greed when parking companies were gouging people to park, providing nothing of economic value other than renting out land they are sitting on, not developing?


I know a few people whose families several generations in the future will not have to work b/c they (I would agree) gouged people to park around NYC and Baltimore.

It may not be a sexy use of real estate but it has its place and I assure you as a real estate developer, if that provides the best return relative to the highest and best use, I'm going that route as well. (Building parking garages can easily reach $7000 per spot so while it's not your cup of tea with respect to development, it is development.)

Y.S. now is antiseptic. Having been to most of the post-Camden ballparks, the concourses and exterior are really well done but once your in your seat, it's terrible. (Actually, I think it's one of the blandest ballparks.)

The moat that distinguishes the haves from have-nots used to be inhabited by people who either had a pulse, could make sound, or did not come to the game disguised as empty seats.

It's a shame.



   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4271267)
This is clearly one of Repoz's faves as it's not the first time he's posted it. These guys were about a year and a half ahead of their time.

Continuing in this vein of music, you're off by only 3.5 years.
   10. Willie Mayspedester Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4271270)
So that’s one more thing to keep A’s fans warm this winter. They throw a cooler party than the people at Yankee Stadium, just because they’re there to make it happen. So never mind your spread sheets and land deals and architectural niceties. The people throwing the party is really how this works in the end.


So stay at O.co? Where did the spreadsheets come into this?

I think this is a perfect example of putting an exciting team on the field being important for good fan turnout.
   11. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4271288)
The owners don't want crowds like the ones at O.co in their stands -- that's the dirty little "secret" in all this.(*) They don't give two shits about atmosphere, cool parties, and all the rest. They want comfortable people who pay a lot of money to get into the stadium and get up every half inning to stuff their face with overpriced food and beer, and troll the gift shops.

(*) Why do we want homemade banners and other spontaneous fun stuff hanging from the stands? Takes people's attention off the Bank of America ads.
   12. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4271295)
Exciting players are the new market inefficiency.

Yoenis Cespedes! Coco Crisp! Josh Reddick! Brandon McCarthy! Grant Balfour! Jonny Gomes! George Kottaras! What do these players have in common? Nobody knew. Why would you build a team around them? It seemed inexplicable. But the answer to these questions is now clear: They are exciting.
   13. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4271304)
It may not be a sexy use of real estate but it has its place and I assure you as a real estate developer, if that provides the best return relative to the highest and best use, I'm going that route as well.


Why should greed trump anything else as a human value?
   14. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: October 15, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4271311)
They don't give two shits about atmosphere, cool parties, and all the rest. They want comfortable people who pay a lot of money to get into the stadium and get up every half inning to stuff their face with overpriced food and beer, and troll the gift shops.

This. If you're running a business, do you want as customers (1) young, poor and rowdy people or (2) older rich people who behave themselves?

Why do we want homemade banners and other spontaneous fun stuff hanging from the stands? Takes people's attention off the Bank of America ads.

As Daphne Zuniga put it in "The Sure Thing": "Spontaneity has its time and place."
   15. fra paolo Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4271360)
The key theme in the history of American Popular Culture is the persistent trend towards 'family friendly' entertainment. Vaudeville, as the link suggests, supplanted a less respectable 'variety' programming in the late 19th century.

The 'mallparks' are a manifestation of this trend, as the old ballparks were mainly geared towards a male audience, one that left the children behind with their mums until the lads were old enough to appreciate what was going on.

These Oakland fans are likely the death rattle of the ancien regime.
   16. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4271398)
They are exciting.

Well, they became exciting when the A's were one game out of the division. Until then, meh.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4271411)
They don't give two shits about atmosphere, cool parties, and all the rest. They want comfortable people who pay a lot of money to get into the stadium and get up every half inning to stuff their face with overpriced food and beer, and troll the gift shops.

This. If you're running a business, do you want as customers (1) young, poor and rowdy people or (2) older rich people who behave themselves?


I don't think it's either or. The '95-'96 Yankee playoff crowds were rowdy as hell, but were generally middle class and up. I bet they spent more on booze than the corporate/family types, too.

The real issue is actual fans vs. corporate invitees.
   18. eddieot Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4271412)
The Yankees are making exponentially more money in this park than the old park, even with a few thousand empty seats. I doubt the Steinbrenners would change a thing given the choice.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4271424)
The Yankees are making exponentially more money in this park than the old park, even with a few thousand empty seats. I doubt the Steinbrenners would change a thing given the choice.

I can't see how that's true after debt service.

They were drawing 4 million+ a year in the "old" Stadium. They borrowed well north of $1B, even after the public subsidies. Even at muni-bond rates, the interest and principal repayment has to be somewhere around $75M.

Does the new Stadium really generate an extra $75M in revenue?
   20. madvillain Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4271439)
Does the new Stadium really generate an extra $75M in revenue?


Not yearly no, but that's not really the crux of it. The increased revenue flow certainly is worth the cushy loan payments. If I could borrow 100k at some friendly rate (say 4%) I'd open another location for my business and I wouldn't have to make 100k in extra revenue that year to justify it.
   21. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4271440)
I don't think it's either or. The '95-'96 Yankee playoff crowds were rowdy as hell, but were generally middle class and up. I bet they spent more on booze than the corporate/family types, too.

I went to an LDS game in NYS last year and went to Yankees-A's on a pennant-race September Saturday this year and the place is like a morgue. Depressingly boring. Other than the creatures doing the roll call, I don't remember hearing a single chant for a player -- no, "Here we go, Robbie!!!," or "C'mon, basehit Derek!!!" (*) Everything is stage-managed -- arena rock, "Make Some Noise!," and the absurdly pompous "God Bless America." By the time the A's game got to the 11th inning, the place was a third full.

My first game in the old YS was in seats not too far on the outfield side of third base in 1996 against the Indians and the crowd spent a bunch of time yelling "JOEEEY, JOEEEEY" at Albert Belle who, after about five innings had had enough and shot the section a perfect bird.

NYS has reached the point where it's not really even a New York sports atmosphere inside. It's not intimidating, it's not bawdy, there's no atmosphere, there's no din, there's no buzz, there's no electricity. That's ####### depressing.

(*) At the A's game, the row behind us was a woman who you can be sure has been affectionately called "broad" more than once, and her family. After blathering on the cell phone how much she doesn't care about baseball, she proceeded to not sit down for more than 10 minutes at a time over the next three hours. By the time she and family left -- innings early -- she'd ingested at least 5,000 empty calories and bought at least $200 in trinketries she'll likely never don again. She's the Steinbrenners' wet dream of a fan.
   22. Swedish Chef Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4271442)
can't see how that's true after debt service.

They were drawing 4 million+ a year in the "old" Stadium. They borrowed well north of $1B, even after the public subsidies. Even at muni-bond rates, the interest and principal repayment has to be somewhere around $75M.

Does the new Stadium really generate an extra $75M in revenue?


I think the big deal is that they're allowed to deduct the cost of the stadium from revenue sharing, so it's free money.

Of course, the Yankees are responsible for $51 million a year in debt service. Yet even that expense comes with a silver lining: It will help reduce the Yankees' revenue-sharing obligations. Baseball's 2002 collective-bargaining agreement permits teams to deduct stadium debt service and construction costs when calculating revenue sharing. Bottom line? Baseball's 29 other teams will effectively bear a third of the cost of the Yankees' new ballpark. "It's a classic tax shelter," one baseball insider says. "Not only do you get the benefit of added revenues, but you get a major revenue-sharing deduction as well."
Source
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4271443)
Not yearly no, but that's not really the crux of it. The increased revenue flow certainly is worth the cushy loan payments. If I could borrow 100k at some friendly rate (say 4%) I'd open another location for my business and I wouldn't have to make 100k in extra revenue that year to justify it.


I may be mis-reading #19, but I think he's saying that the $75 million is the cushy loan payment in your example - not the 100k principal.
   24. Ron J2 Posted: October 15, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4271445)
Does the new Stadium really generate an extra $75M in revenue?


It's been a long time since I've taken a detailed look at revenue, but I can tell you that in 2000 the typical New Stadium was worth ~40 million. Throw in more than a decade of inflation and then consider that New York isn't exactly a typical market and ... I'd be kind of surprised if it was as little as $75M.

   25. madvillain Posted: October 15, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4271459)
Looks like #22 answered the question. Of course it's deductible, the 1% don't operate like us peons.
   26. Danny Posted: October 15, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4271461)
Does the new Stadium really generate an extra $75M in revenue?
According to Forbes, the Yankees brought in $217 million in gate receipts in 2008 and $292 million in 2011--conveniently, a $75 million difference.
   27. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 15, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4271503)
If you really want to see what happens when you price out the Joe six-pack fan from attending a sporting event, watch a NBA game and compare the atmosphere that Stern and company have created with the music playing during play, fake crowd noise and stupid promotions that happen during stoppage of play.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 15, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4271521)
According to Forbes, the Yankees brought in $217 million in gate receipts in 2008 and $292 million in 2011--conveniently, a $75 million difference.

So, it's basically break even, except for the Revenue Tax exemption.

Thanks F***ing Bud and co. for dooming the real Yankee Stadium with your shitty schemes.
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 15, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4271557)

They don't give two shits about atmosphere, cool parties, and all the rest. They want comfortable people who pay a lot of money to get into the stadium and get up every half inning to stuff their face with overpriced food and beer, and troll the gift shops.

This. If you're running a business, do you want as customers (1) young, poor and rowdy people or (2) older rich people who behave themselves?


It depends. If the young, rowdy ones are more loyal in their fandom, and won't desert the team when it has a bad year, I might value the consistency of that revenue stream more highly than I value the fairweather corporate fans.

It's been a long time since I've taken a detailed look at revenue, but I can tell you that in 2000 the typical New Stadium was worth ~40 million. Throw in more than a decade of inflation and then consider that New York isn't exactly a typical market and ... I'd be kind of surprised if it was as little as $75M.

Is that true even when they can't fill it for a playoff game (and were selling out in the old stadium)?

Looks like #22 answered the question. Of course it's deductible, the 1% don't operate like us peons.

Not sure why you treat the fact that one rich person pays a group of other rich person less money as a class thing.

   30. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: October 15, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4271570)
Is "monument of" accepted? Always thought it was "monument to"
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 15, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4271664)
I went to an LDS game in NYS last year and went to Yankees-A's on a pennant-race September Saturday this year and the place is like a morgue. Depressingly boring. Other than the creatures doing the roll call, I don't remember hearing a single chant for a player -- no, "Here we go, Robbie!!!," or "C'mon, basehit Derek!!!" (*) Everything is stage-managed -- arena rock, "Make Some Noise!," and the absurdly pompous "God Bless America." By the time the A's game got to the 11th inning, the place was a third full.

I sometimes wonder whether the ever-increasing saturation of manufactured noise at ballparks has effectively produced an entirely different breed of fan. The absolute nadir of the type are the Atlanta Zombie "fans", waving their tomahawks to canned Indian chants like escapees from the set of Night of the Living Dead, but I'm starting to hear faint echos of similar-type background noise in other parks, too.

The Zombie Nation phenomenon probably started with the fans at the old L.A. Coliseum who brought their transistor radios to the game in order to follow what they didn't see or understand below. That stadium also introduced the first prompted cheer, the "CHARGE!!!!" sound that originally came from actual bugles that were brought into the park, then by little plastic souvenir bugles, and finally by the sound system.

That seemed innocent enough, but this was followed by the scoreboards of the multiplexes of the late 60's and early 70's, which replaced out of town scores with dancing cartoon figures saying "CLAP CLAP CLAP", as if the fans were too clueless to figure out when to clap on their own. Then the amplified music during the seventh inning stretches ("Thank God I'm a Country Boy", "YMCA" and other Disco Duck ditties), then every ####### Grammy Award winner torturing the Star Spangled Banner, then nonstop rock music before the game and between innings, and so on and so on, and now half the stadium is either texting, phoning, or photo sharing rather than paying attention to the game below.

Of course that's when they're actually in their seats, rather than spending half the game waiting in line for overpriced food.

Not that this doesn't work for the owners, since RMc is right: Better to have rich and easily distracted Zombies as customers, than have people who'd be too busy watching the game to want to waste their time underneath the stands.



   32. BDC Posted: October 15, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4271688)
To be fair, Andy, the typical old-school stadium organist was not exactly a Rachmaninoff of original musical ideas.

Where I'm 100% with you is on the sheer volume of the ballpark experience. This isn't going to change, so I've made my separate peace with it: if I want to see live baseball, I have to accept at least never being able to talk with the person next to me, at most literal hearing loss. What sometimes unsettles me is how most people I go to the park with talk quite unconcernedly through the noise. I can't hear a flipping thing they're saying. I know I'm old and all that, but hearing is by far my best sense. What enables Americans to pick out a single human voice under a county-deafening rendition of "Ring of Fire"?

   33. SoSH U at work Posted: October 15, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4271776)
Is "monument of" accepted? Always thought it was "monument to"


Ordinarily, but in this case New Yankee Stadium was actually constructed out of 100 percent greed (though there are reports the builders may have used some cheaper raw materials such as hubris and disregard to shave costs).

   34. DL from MN Posted: October 15, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4271826)
They could take out the "moat" if they wanted. It wouldn't be hard to retrofit with box seats.
   35. Lassus Posted: October 15, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4271836)
Thanks F***ing Bud and co. for dooming the real Yankee Stadium with your shitty schemes.

Jesus, not everything on earth is Bud Selig's fault. He didn't hire the ####### architect.
   36. Bhaakon Posted: October 15, 2012 at 09:59 PM (#4271916)
The key theme in the history of American Popular Culture is the persistent trend towards 'family friendly' entertainment. Vaudeville, as the link suggests, supplanted a less respectable 'variety' programming in the late 19th century.


I wonder if ballparks are starting to swing the other way on this trend, though. Who is dropping a grand plus to take their family to a postseason game? Even a regular season match-up in the cheap seats requires a substantial investment, enough that most families will balk at more than a couple such trips a season. Te trend towards more downtown/urban ballparks appeals more to couples and businesspeople than families dragging along kids, I think. The 1% will only buy so many tickets.
   37. madvillain Posted: October 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4271998)
Not sure why you treat the fact that one rich person pays a group of other rich person less money as a class thing.


Yea, who would treat NYS as a class thing when it was built off the backs of the citizens of the Bronx and the taxpayers of NYC in general. My comment is tangential of course, I just find it disheartening that the Yankees cried poor to the city, the city bent over for them, and then when the new stadium gets built the Yankees get to escape the luxury tax of their fellow 1%ers because of a stadium funded largely with taxpayer money, loaned or otherwise.

It's just...a sign of the times.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: October 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM (#4272158)
So, it's basically break even, except for the Revenue Tax exemption.

No ... that was $75 M extra just in gate receipts. There may have been further extra revenue in advertising rights, concessions, parking, etc.

Note, at least technically, that further extra revenue should be marginal revenue relative to what they could have generated in OYS ... so I'm not sure that the extra revenue is necessarily huge. Of course you could say the same about gate receipts -- i.e. there's no guarantee the Yanks couldn't have charged the same outrageous prices in OYS.

And of course most new stadia get off to a great start and then don't continue when the team sucks. The Yanks will not suck of course but maybe the fans are too spoiled to show up for a good not great team. I doubt it though -- c'mon the other option is the Mets.

The key theme in the history of American Popular Culture is the persistent trend towards 'family friendly' entertainment.

Maybe but I think you'd have to show that the definition of "family friendly" has changed a lot over time. Yes, there was a quite bawdy time at the turn of the century but then things got very bland for a very long time. Almost all TV and many/most movies these days are a lot less "family friendly" than they were when I was a kid. The Andy Griffith show was not exactly packed with Everybody Loves Raymond style family friction much less sexual innuendo. The sexual tension between Andy and Miss Crump was NOT palpable. There was no special episode where Opie had to learn that it is not OK for the creepy teacher to touch him there. And boobies? Ha! We didn't even have cable for that! If it wasn't for Emma Peel (a Brit import), an entire generation of American boys would have been sexually repressed for our entire lives.

It probably makes more sense to think of American pop culture (and quite possibly any country's pop culture) as an ebb and flow of mainstreaming and revolt. Yes, the "trend" is always towards mainstream commodification but I'd say it's the commodification that ends up defining it as "family friendly" rather than "family friendliness" driving what gets commodified. That is, the 50s were very dull and bland. This created a reaction against that dullness and blandness and you get rock'n'roll and miniskirts and that old mainstream stuff is largely dead in the water (especially from a growth potential perspective). So of course the moneymakers figure out a way to mainstream and commodify contemporary music and fashion and everything becomes pretty "safe" and standardized again -- except that now "safe" included racier jokes and special episodes and gorgeous, healthy hookers on cop shows while the old stuff has become its own niche market. I remember one of our younger folk here trying to figure out what was so special about MASH or All in the Family -- and the answer is that by today's standards they seem anachronistic and tame but compared to most of what came before, it's night and day.

Anyway, each wave of mainstream commodification essentially inevitably creates market niches for stuff that's not so bland and essentially inevitably some of those market niches break big time. They are then mainstreamed and commodified starting the cycle again.

If anything's changed it's that the investors have decided not to let "revolutionary" stuff off the ground. It's hard to imagine a major studio bankrolling a young Scorcese to make those kinds of films now. Movies have been somewhat blandi-fied because theaters refuse to show them otherwise. If big theaters won't show them, nobody can make money and they stay on the fringe. But the rest of entertainment, it's more the opposite. There is essentially no mainstream in pop music anymore -- even the big hits don't sell. TV of course is a million channels -- all pretty bland but none have a strong claim on being the mainstream. Bestselling novels now come from bad internet fan porn.* (OK, maybe it was good by fan internet porn standards.) Is that really a society that is getting more "family friendly"?

The one constant of course is baseball! (Had to work it in here somewhere)

*By the way, 21st century etiquette question. When an attractive, age-appropriate woman sits next to you on a plane and pulls out one of the 50 Shades books, what's the proper approach? Is small talk necessary or should I just have a contract ready to hand her? If small talk is necessary, what's the right opening line? (No, it didn't happen, she was two rows ahead of me.)
   39. bobm Posted: October 16, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4272195)
When an attractive, age-appropriate woman sits next to you on a plane and pulls out one of the 50 Shades books, what's the proper approach?

Maybe she just wants the sadist sitting in the seat in front of her to recline their seat. :)
   40. madvillain Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4272200)
If anything's changed it's that the investors have decided not to let "revolutionary" stuff off the ground. It's hard to imagine a major studio bankrolling a young Scorcese to make those kinds of films now. Movies have been somewhat blandi-fied because theaters refuse to show them otherwise. If big theaters won't show them, nobody can make money and they stay on the fringe. But the rest of entertainment, it's more the opposite. There is essentially no mainstream in pop music anymore -- even the big hits don't sell.


Not to be overly simplistic, but what you're describing are effects of the "long tail" impact of the Internet. Everything has a niche, and there is no more gatekeeper. "Hits" are as much due to networking and luck as being on the right label or *gasp* talented. It's not any worse or better than it's ever been, it's just different. There is too much talent, too much media, you have to narrow it down and the decentralized distribution system via the Internet makes it both necessary and possible.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4272205)
Not to be overly simplistic, but what you're describing are effects of the "long tail" impact of the Internet.

That's part of it sure. But the internet is not what happened to TV (it's only just started to have an impact here), it's not what happened to radio (which became scattershot and increasingly non-musical) and it's not what happened to publishing. But that was a garbled paragraph where I was arguing against myself.

Anyway I think the point I was trying to make is that it costs a lot of money to make a "well-produced" movie but I don't see anybody out there willing to bankroll a young "artistic" director these days unless it's to have that young artistic director take on Avengers II: Electric Boogaloo. It is true that it's surely easier for "artistic" directors to have successful careers outside of that system but it's going to be impossible for any to make the transition to mainstream.

But yes, distribution and production are (generally speaking) easier than they used to be but marketing is a lot harder. This could just be a blip in the general trend or it could be the death of the mainstream or it could mean that the only things that will ever get the investment to become mainstream are things that are virtually guaranteed to succeed. Or 50 Shades.

Maybe she just wants the sadist sitting in the seat in front of her to recline their seat. :)

C'mon dude, that's just SICK!
   42. DFA Posted: October 16, 2012 at 03:03 AM (#4272209)
Even a regular season match-up in the cheap seats requires a substantial investment, enough that most families will balk at more than a couple such trips a season. Te trend towards more downtown/urban ballparks appeals more to couples and businesspeople than families dragging along kids, I think. The 1% will only buy so many tickets.


I think this is overblown. There are most definitely ways to go to ballpark on the cheap, but it definitely requires more work. Family nights, stubhub, bringing your food in, parking for free but farther from the park, etc. are all ways of figuring out a way to get their cheaper. Sure, if you buy 4 regularly priced seats, hot dogs, sodas, parking, popcorn etc, it adds up, but if you find discount tickets, bring in food, and walk, it's a lot cheaper. In my house, we make it a game (if we park for free, we can get ice cream!).

As to your point, in the short term, the owners love the 1%, no doubt. They are pissing away money on trinkets and $15 sandwiches. But just because it is the best short term strategy doesn't necessarily mean it's the best long term strategy, but who knows? When the A's are winning division titles with dramatics, their stadium is packed. But it's also true that nobody was there back in June on a Tuesday against the Orioles. Except that dude with the drum.
   43. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 16, 2012 at 04:08 AM (#4272215)
I guess I understand buying food and drinks at the stadium if you've got the money, but I've never understood thinking it's a necessary part of the experience. Most people go through at least a couple of three-hour periods during the day without eating! It's not like there's food at the ballpark that you can't get anywhere else, either. That's not to say I haven't ever bought a hot dog at a baseball game, but I've only done it on dollar dog night (that ties into the "got the money" thing, I suppose).

There are still mainstream movies and music; it's not that the mainstream has gone away, just that with more choices and, to some extent, more subcultures within the society, something has to appeal to an ever lower common denominator to be mainstream. Movies with lots of explosions, a fast-moving, not very complicated plot, and little philosophical ambition seem to have been proven to appeal to more individuals than any other kind of movie, so more of that kind gets made. Music with a strong beat demarcated by loud drumming, triadic harmonies, and a prominent vocal line has been determined to appeal to more individuals than any other kind of music, etc. Even someone like me is a case in point. I'm not a very mainstream person generally; my field of study is a broad type of music that comparatively few people seem to like, and a few subtypes within it that even fewer people seem to like (even most of the people who like the broader type), I almost never turn on the television, and I read mostly textbooks. But I've enjoyed some action movies, and I usually don't especially mind it when there's rock music playing on the loudspeakers at the gas station. I do feel that most people's horizons would expand considerably if they actually received non-biased exposure to things outside their comfort zone. I think that's the major educational challenge of the next century for the humanities, if the humanities continue to exist as a range of disciplines. Instead, at least in (Western) music, my peers seem to want to focus more and more on what's already in their students' comfort zone, instead of trying to expand it. The study of non-Western music is much healthier in that sense, because the default assumptions are that (a) most American students won't have a pre-determined comfort zone and (b) it's politically incorrect to present any material with even the most subtle bias, so students really do get to decide for themselves what to think.
   44. Lassus Posted: October 16, 2012 at 07:34 AM (#4272230)
When an attractive, age-appropriate woman sits next to you on a plane and pulls out one of the 50 Shades books, what's the proper approach?

The same way you would react if she pulled out a Harlequin romance or Rosamunde Pilcher, I would say.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 16, 2012 at 07:39 AM (#4272232)
When an attractive, age-appropriate woman sits next to you on a plane and pulls out one of the 50 Shades books, what's the proper approach?
Not to talk about it unless she brings it up, and look to start a conversation on a different, non-creepy topic.
Looks like #22 answered the question. Of course it's deductible, the 1% don't operate like us peons.

Not sure why you treat the fact that one rich person pays a group of other rich person less money as a class thing.
It's a classic class thing. When you're very rich, you don't have to take risks the way the rest of us do, because other rich folks have your back. Class solidarity among the wealthy is an amazing thing.
   46. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 16, 2012 at 08:28 AM (#4272243)
POOR PEOPLE GOOD! RICH PEOPLE BAD!
   47. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4272388)
I guess I understand buying food and drinks at the stadium if you've got the money, but I've never understood thinking it's a necessary part of the experience. Most people go through at least a couple of three-hour periods during the day without eating! It's not like there's food at the ballpark that you can't get anywhere else, either.

Because sometimes a hot dog and cold beer under the sun at a baseball game is just pure bliss.
   48. Swedish Chef Posted: October 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4272390)
When an attractive, age-appropriate woman sits next to you on a plane and pulls out one of the 50 Shades books, what's the proper approach?

It's a good sign, her taste in men may be as bad as her taste in books. BUT DON'T SAY THAT OUT LOUD!
   49. SandyRiver Posted: October 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4272425)
The Zombie Nation phenomenon probably started with the fans at the old L.A. Coliseum who brought their transistor radios to the game in order to follow what they didn't see or understand below. That stadium also introduced the first prompted cheer, the "CHARGE!!!!" sound that originally came from actual bugles that were brought into the park, then by little plastic souvenir bugles, and finally by the sound system.

I think the "CHARGE" came with the Coliseum, having been a long-time feature at SoCal Trojan FB games. In the Dodger/Coliseum days, though, it came after the simple 6-note run-up (da-da-da-DAH!-di-Dahhhh!), not the playing of "Revellie" that invariably proceeds it now.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4272439)
Jesus, not everything on earth is Bud Selig's fault. He didn't hire the ####### architect.

No, but his bullshit revenue sharing scheme (with the ludicrous deduction for debt service) doomed Yankee stadium. I don't want a nicer new Stadium, I want the old one back, on the same site.

In a sane world, the Yankees would have waited til Citifield was done, and played two seasons there while they renovated the old Stadium; making it look much more like the OLD Stadium.

   51. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4272503)
In a sane world, the Yankees would have waited til Citifield was done, and played two seasons there while they renovated the old Stadium; making it look much more like the OLD Stadium.

Personally I would've held out for the pre-1976 301/402/457/344/296 field dimensions, monuments in centerfield for centerfielders to crash into, and being allowed to exit the stadium via the playing field and the Yankee bullpen. Those were the truest essences of the real House That Ruth Built.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 16, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4272509)
I think the "CHARGE" came with the Coliseum, having been a long-time feature at SoCal Trojan FB games.

That part I hadn't known, since back then Southern Cal and UCLA seldom made the cut for eastern TV games.

In the Dodger/Coliseum days, though, it came after the simple 6-note run-up (da-da-da-DAH!-di-Dahhhh!), not the playing of "Revellie" that invariably proceeds it now.

In the Coliseum there were both versions, with the crowd providing the former and the loudspeakers the latter. Of course on TV back East it wasn't always that easy to distinguish.
   53. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4272832)
I guess I understand buying food and drinks at the stadium if you've got the money, but I've never understood thinking it's a necessary part of the experience. Most people go through at least a couple of three-hour periods during the day without eating! It's not like there's food at the ballpark that you can't get anywhere else, either.


It's been at least ten years since I've eaten a hot dog anyplace other than a ballpark. It just doesn't taste right anywhere else.
   54. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 16, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4272835)
No, but his ######## revenue sharing scheme (with the ludicrous deduction for debt service) doomed Yankee stadium. I don't want a nicer new Stadium, I want the old one back, on the same site.


I want some things, you want some things, Bud wants an endless torrent of free money to lavish on his cronies in exchane for consensus and secret under-the-table loans. Everybody wins!
   55. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 16, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4272852)
Because sometimes a hot dog and cold beer under the sun at a baseball game is just pure bliss.


It's been at least ten years since I've eaten a hot dog anyplace other than a ballpark. It just doesn't taste right anywhere else.


Well, they sure do taste good there, all right. I've availed myself of dollar dog nights on a number of occasions, I confess.
   56. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: October 16, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4272876)
I think the big deal is that they're allowed to deduct the cost of the stadium from revenue sharing, so it's free money.

Well, that's sort of getting it backwards. They'll pay revenue sharing on the extra revenue that the Stadium brings in. In order to make it still a good incentive for the team, they can deduct the debt service. Otherwise you'd have all teams acting overly conservative, as revenue sharing reduces the incentive to increase revenues.

Look at it the other way (with totally made up numbers): if the Yankees had to pay $75M in debt, and earned $85M in incremental revenue, there's no way this deal makes sense, as they'd have to pay a large chunk of that $85M into revenue sharing. This essentially makes it so that they pay revenue sharing on the $10M difference.

I think it's totally disingenuous to say, "Baseball's 29 other teams will effectively bear a third of the cost of the Yankees' new ballpark." No, the Yankees are diverting revenue sharing money into investing in further revenue streams. Other teams shouldn't complain about the "tax shelter"; they should appreciate that the Yankees are continuing to invest, so they'll have more revenue to share later.

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