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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rosenthal: Sources: Red Sox nearing deal with Smoltz

John Smoltz is leaving Atlanta for the most stunning of destinations.

The Boston Red Sox.

Smoltz, 41, is on the verge of signing a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Red Sox, according to major-league sources.

The deal also will include $4.5 million in incentives, giving Smoltz the chance to earn a total of $10 million, sources said.

With Smoltz, who is coming off shoulder surgery, the Red Sox would have six veteran starters.

The team’s rotation currently includes Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and Brad Penny.

Thanks to Schuck Chilling

Repoz Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:10 AM | 273 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, red sox

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   101. Mike A Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:38 PM (#3046345)
Parts of North Carolina get Oriole games on the tube instead of the Braves. Go further South, and it's the Rays. The Braves' TV territory isn't what it used to be, that's for sure. And neither is that revenue stream. So we're back to mid-market status which is kinda painful after being in the penthouse for a while.
   102. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:45 PM (#3046355)
The difference being that Atlanta has fully maxed out its potential market where the teams in the mega-markets, excepting perhaps Boston, have not.

Really? The Braves attendance [2,532,834]was about 223,000 less than the NL average [2,755,082] in 2008. From 1997 - 2000, the Braves averaged well over 3,000,000 per year, beating the NL average by close to 1M per season. If the Braves are maxed out now, were they 150% maxed out earlier? There is just no evidence that further investments in the franchise couldn't produce results on the field and in the revenue stream.
   103. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:46 PM (#3046356)
Honestly, how many MLB teams could have paid the mere negotiating rights fee for the japanese star pitcher, without any guarantee of any return?


Arrgh, this is so misunderstood, the posting fee only was paid if the Red Sox signed Matsuzaka. Had they not signed Matsuzaka they would not have paid the posting fee. They did not pay $51 million "just to talk" to him as was widely reported. Had Matsuzaka not signed, the Seibu Lions would have received the sum total of $0.
   104. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:51 PM (#3046360)
(sorry, didn't mean to be quite so snippy in the response in #103)
   105. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:54 PM (#3046365)
Arrgh, this is so misunderstood, the posting fee only was paid if the Red Sox signed Matsuzaka. Had they not signed Matsuzaka they would not have paid the posting fee. They did not pay $51 million "just to talk" to him as was widely reported. Had Matsuzaka not signed, the Seibu Lions would have received the sum total of $0.


Boston did sign Matsuzaka, however, and ended up shelling out $100M for five years of service for an untested major league player. More importantly, and what I'm assuming that bfan was commenting on, the Yankees dropped the equivalent of $50M on a pitcher who they've just stuffed in AAA, with no obvious effect on their ability to chase after and sign any other free agent. The number of teams who can afford to do something like that can be counted on one hand.
   106. jmurph Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:55 PM (#3046367)
Really? The Braves attendance [2,532,834]was about 223,000 less than the NL average [2,755,082] in 2008. From 1997 - 2000, the Braves averaged well over 3,000,000 per year, beating the NL average by close to 1M per season. If the Braves are maxed out now, were they 150% maxed out earlier? There is just no evidence that further investments in the franchise couldn't produce results on the field and in the revenue stream.


Very good point, and it applies to Toronto, as well (though it's even worse there, with a 5 million + metro population).
   107. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 08, 2009 at 04:57 PM (#3046369)
Parts of North Carolina get Oriole games on the tube instead of the Braves. Go further South, and it's the Rays. The Braves' TV territory isn't what it used to be, that's for sure. And neither is that revenue stream.


Thanks. In April, Forbes said that they're revenue stream was $200MM, but I have no idea how accurate that was or if its gone down since.
   108. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:01 PM (#3046377)
Very good point, and it applies to Toronto, as well (though it's even worse there, with a 5 million + metro population).


If you check, you'll see that Toronto attendance has increased from 1.7M to 2.4M under Ricciardi, and Rogers ownership. Unfortunately, they're still recovering from the non-management of Interbrew (who acquired the team during their purchase of Labatts, and had no interest in running them) between 1994 and 2000. The Jays (and Rogers) have put considerable effort into growing and rebuilding the market, with decent success.
   109. cseadog Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:04 PM (#3046380)
I have zero sympathy for the Braves. they could have been (and still could be) a large market team. They had the advantage of the "superstation" and squandered it. As demonstrtated abovre the MSA is comparable to Boston. The Braves are the only team in the southeast,but they seem to have ignored thier potential regional appeal.

You may find "Red Sox Nation" insuffereable (Iknow I do), but tip your hat to RS. The Braves could do the same. Yes, folks in other parts of the south may resent ATL. Properly promoted, they'll support the most "local" team. By way of example, Northern New Englanders routinely referred to people from Mass are as Massholes. Yet, those same folks LOVE their Sox.
   110. flournoy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:07 PM (#3046383)
The Braves are the only team in the southeast


You can't get much more southeast than Florida.
   111. jmurph Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3046386)
The Jays (and Rogers) have put considerable effort into growing and rebuilding the market, with decent success.


I believe you- I'm just pointing out that last season, which was fairly successful on the field, they averaged just under 30,000 a night at home, which, according to ESPN, represents 58.6% of capacity.
   112. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:09 PM (#3046387)
Let's clear up the TBS thing.

2007 was the last year the Braves were broadcast on TBS as a "superstation" deal. In 2008 TBS agreed to broadcast generic Sunday MLB games. The Braves were featured on one (1) of those - "...former Brave Andruw Jones returns with his new Dodger teammates..." As of now TBS has no more relationship with the Braves than TNT has with the Hawks. (Actually, I think TNT may have a more robust deal with the Hawks.)

Braves games were televised on a multitude of channels last year.

NETWORK - #games
-----------------
ESPN/2 - 2
FOX - 8
Fox Sports Network - 25
SportsSouth - 79
TBS - 1
Peachtree TV - 45

TBS is now officially a cable outlet. As such, it can no longer carry the Braves as a broadcast "superstation." The broadcast element of TBS is now called Peachtree TV. It serves the Atlanta MSA but does not carry nationwide (or regionwide) as the old TBS broadcasts did.

FSN and SS are the two regional sports network. FSN is the southeastern equivalent to whatever Fox Sports network you get in your region (with all of the limitations.) SportsSouth is the only thing analogous to something like YES!, but it's signal and footprint is much smaller (and nothing remotely like the footprint TBS once had.)

The Braves' once mighty TV empire has been eviscerated by MLB, essentially. The only way to build a comparable TV empire these days is to operate in a market that can support something like YES!. The Brave don't operate in that sort of market.
   113. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:10 PM (#3046388)
Is Sam seriously arguing that the Braves couldn't afford to gamble on Smoltz for $5-$10 million?

Is this the same team that paid Tom Glavine $8 million last year on a gamble that Glavine would miraculously not suck?
   114. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:10 PM (#3046389)
The problem is even worse for the Kansas Cities and the Tampa Bays.


If the Rays can drop two years/$4 million per on Troy Percival last season with no idea if his health will last through the contract (and knowing that what did happen, him only holding up for half of last season was quite possible) then the Braves can risk $5.5 million on their longtime hero especially since it's just one season and they apparently have tons of money available that nobody seems to want to take. If the Braves had truly wanted Smoltz back he'd be in their uniform next season.
   115. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3046391)
You can't get much more southeast than Florida.


We're actually a misplaced northern state.
   116. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:12 PM (#3046392)
By way of example, Northern New Englanders routinely referred to people from Mass are as Massholes. Yet, those same folks LOVE their Sox.


Growing up in New Hampshire, we would often refer to the state as Mass-a-two-sh*ts, being the witty and superior country folk we were.
   117. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:15 PM (#3046394)
The Braves' once mighty TV empire has been eviscerated by MLB, essentially. The only way to build a comparable TV empire these days is to operate in a market that can support something like YES!. The Brave don't operate in that sort of market.

Why can't the Braves build something similar? Their potential market is huge, something like the whole deep South, excluding Forida. I don't understand why a regional sports network for the Braves shouldn't be just as strong as NESN is for the Red Sox.
   118. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3046396)
I believe you- I'm just pointing out that last season, which was fairly successful on the field, they averaged just under 30,000 a night at home, which, according to ESPN, represents 58.6% of capacity.


And which was a continued improvement from previous years. The Jays have been (re)developing their market, rather than just letting it stagnate or degrade. Saying that the point which applies to Atlanta about not investing further in the franchise also applies to the Jays is unfair to the efforts put forth by the Jays organization when they have continued to increase their investments in the franchise, in terms of payroll, facilities (they refurbished a good chunk of the Rogers Centre out of their own pocket), and advertising.

EDIT: It may be unfair to Atlanta as well. I really don't know enough about their local strategies for promoting and investing in the team.
   119. Kyle S at work Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3046397)
Those Forbes numbers are a total guess. Teams don't publish their financial statements. If the Braves are within $50mm of the Cubs in revenue I'd be shocked.

--

Re: the MSA analysis--
1) People in the Boston MSA make a lot more money than people in the Atlanta MSA
2) The Sox, due to all the bandwagon fans of recent years, have a larger national fanbase
3) The Sox draw in more fans than just their MSA, and those people have a lot of money too. The Braves do as well, but they tend to live in rural GA, SC, and MS.
4) Southern folk don't like pro sports (and especially not pro baseball, basketball, or hockey) as much as northerners. So counting population doesn't make a lot of sense anyway. The south does rule at college football, viz the SEC of late. Yes, I think the Gators will kick the crap out of OK. Probably wrong.

--

In my opinion: Furcal was 2, Smoltz was 1. Burnett was a combination of 3 and 4.
Matt, there's more to it than the Sox having a higher marginal revenue per win than the Braves (though that's true). They also are much less risk averse and want to maximize EV without regarding the tails, as they are starting from such a high win baseline. Smoltz is essentially an asset with high positive skewness. There is a large chance of zero production and a huge right tail of valuable outcomes. The Sox can afford to invest in assets like that because they provide the bump from a good team to a WS contender. If the Braves had gotten another starter, they would be in a much better position to make a bet like that, but as is they can't take on the risk.
   120. Mike Green Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:17 PM (#3046398)
Not quite, RJ. Jay attendance was 2.45 million in 1998 and 2.16 in 1999. It dropped in 2000 to 1.75 million, but blaming Interbrew would get only a (relatively small, in my view) portion of the blame. Gord Ash earns part of it for the Mondesi acquisition. The team's pitching was horrible, but when young pitchers Halladay, Carpenter and Escobar post ERAs of 10.64, 6.26 and 5.35, I'd be reluctant to ascribe too much blame to ownership. Attendance went back up to 1.9 in 2001 before Ricciardi took over in 2002. If you put the average for 1998-2001 at roughly 2 million, that would be a fairer statement of where things were prior to Ricciardi, in my view.

As far as growing and re-building the market under Ricciardi and Rogers, attendance has gone up modestly relative to league averages. They do deserve a modicum of credit for it.
   121. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:17 PM (#3046400)
> shop Chipper to an AL contender with prospects

The Twins would pick up the phone...
   122. flournoy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:18 PM (#3046402)
Is this the same team that paid Tom Glavine $8 million last year on a gamble that Glavine would miraculously not suck?


This kind of argument is stupid on its face and infuriating. I would hate to see your finances. Has it occurred to you that unwisely spending large amounts of money in the recent past might be a major contributing factor towards the decision not to assume similar risks in the future?
   123. Adam S Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:20 PM (#3046406)
At this point? The Braves should probably throw too much money at Derek Lowe and Adam Dunn.

I agree. In this market, something like 4/$50 for each would probably get it done.


Also, in the case of Lowe, there is a severe risk of a divisional rival getting a steal. What's not to like about forcing the Mets to pay more even if he doesn't sign with you?
   124. Sexy Lizard Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:20 PM (#3046407)
1) People in the Boston MSA make a lot more money than people in the Atlanta MSA


Not true. By average income, Boston is the 5th wealthiest MSA in the US. Atlanta is 7th. Cost of living easily annihilates the $800 difference.
   125. Kyle S at work Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:21 PM (#3046408)
Is this the same team that paid Tom Glavine $8 million last year on a gamble that Glavine would miraculously not suck?

Probably one reason why they didn't sign Smoltz was because of this foolish decision, unfortunately. That makes this even more depressing - I would have much rather seen Smoltz come back this year and not throw one pitch than Glavine's "triumphant return."
   126. Kyle S at work Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:24 PM (#3046411)
I don't think MLB salaries have COL adjustments :) The COL means that Sox ticket prices are much higher, so they have more revenue. Also, that chart shows the extended Boston MSA with almost 2 million more people than live in Atlanta. If you narrow the Boston area to the size mentioned above, its MSA goes way up.
   127. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3046416)
Mike, I think we're just going to have to continue to disagree on a lot of this. Under Interbrew, the team had the following attendance run:

1993 (Last under Labatts) - 1st, 50K
1994 - 1st, 49K
1995 - 3rd, 39K
1996 - 5th, 32K
1997 - 6th, 32K
1998 - 8th, 30K
1999 - 8th, 27K
2000 (Final under Interbrew) - 10th, 21K

That sure looks like a trend to me, and has a lot to do with the general disinterest from Interbrew in actually owning a team. Basically, they were just passing along the cash to the Jays, and then ignoring/trying to sell the team, with no concern as to the on/off field results. The final year 2000 attendance collapse was just the final result of a long developing situation.

EDIT: As an aside, I will happily admit that attendance in Toronto was also hurt by some things realistically beyond Interbrew's control, most notably the joint impact of the 1994 strike and the resurrection of the Leafs as a potential Stanley Cup contender (and the arrival of the Raptors, which further split the sports dollar in Toronto).
   128. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:27 PM (#3046417)
Why can't the Braves build something similar? Their potential market is huge, something like the whole deep South, excluding Forida. I don't understand why a regional sports network for the Braves shouldn't be just as strong as NESN is for the Red Sox.

To echo Kyle's point, demographics. The "whole deep South, excluding Florida" is, quite simply put, not a comparable market to Boston. Sure, it's a larger territorial mass, but last time I checked acreage didn't buy tickets or jerseys. When you compare demographics, specificall buying power, the differences are obvious. The buying power for MLB in the "whole deep South" is deeply concentrated. A large concentration is in Atlanta - where the Braves obviously dominate. The next large concentration of disposable wealth is...Florida. Retired snowbirds and all that. Florida now has two (2) franchises competing with Atlanta for that market. After that you're looking at places like Charlotte, Nashville and Memphis. In NC you start to see significant market share for the mid-Atlantic franchises - and the occasional Met fan. Western Tennessee is essentially Cardinals territory. Yes, Atlanta has a pretty strong footprint in South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. Why don't you call me when you come up with an educated guess as to the proportion of those state's populations that can make routine trips to Atlanta for baseball games on a weeknight.
   129. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:31 PM (#3046422)
This kind of argument is stupid on its face and infuriating. I would hate to see your finances. Has it occurred to you that unwisely spending large amounts of money in the recent past might be a major contributing factor towards the decision not to assume similar risks in the future?


Irrelevant. Sam's argument is that the non-big-market teams such as the Braves can't afford to do this kind of Smoltz contract. And, yet, we see that the they do. The Braves gambled $8 million last year on the off chance that Glavine wouldn't suck.
   130. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:32 PM (#3046425)
Yes, Atlanta has a pretty strong footprint in South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. Why don't you call me when you come up with an educated guess as to the proportion of those state's populations that can make routine trips to Atlanta for baseball games on a weeknight.

They don't need to. All they need to do is watch the games on cable.
   131. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:33 PM (#3046426)
Irrelevant. Sam's argument is that the non-big-market teams such as the Braves can't afford to do this kind of Smoltz contract. And, yet, we see that the they do. The Braves gambled $8 million last year on the off chance that Glavine wouldn't suck.

You apparently don't understand the greater meaning of the term "afford." The Braves took a gamble they couldn't afford last year. They didn't take a similar gamble this year. The Red Sox can afford those sorts of gambles any year.

This really isn't that hard.
   132. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:34 PM (#3046431)
They don't need to. All they need to do is watch the games on cable.

Which they would likely do, if MLB didn't break up the broadcast packages into 10 tiers making it virtually impossible to know what channel they're playing on, on any given day. When people knew where to watch, they watched. When MLB shattered the Braves' TV footprint people stopped watching.
   133. jmurph Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:35 PM (#3046434)
Saying that the point which applies to Atlanta about not investing further in the franchise also applies to the Jays is unfair to the efforts put forth by the Jays organization...


Ryan, I wasn't trying to pick a fight or rag on the Jays. The point stands that there is a lot of revenue left on the table in the form of 40+% of the seats being available on a given night. You've clearly demonstrated that they've made improvements, but there is obviously a lot of room for growth. And considering JP is somewhat sanctimonious on the revenue-gap between he and his Division rivals (I will rag on JP!), I think these are fair points.
   134. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:36 PM (#3046435)
Irrelevant. Sam's argument is that the non-big-market teams such as the Braves can't afford to do this kind of Smoltz contract. And, yet, we see that the they do. The Braves gambled $8 million last year on the off chance that Glavine wouldn't suck.


In comparison, how many times a year can Atlanta afford to do that? Boston currently has the major risks of Wakefield, Baldelli, and Penny on their roster, with Smoltz apparently coming shortly. Most teams don't have the ability to invest in that many pricey risks in a single season (which speaks to both the depth of the Boston organization, in terms of internal replacements, as well as their cash reserves).
   135. JC in DC Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:36 PM (#3046436)
Sam H:

IIRC from my time at UVa, Richmond and central Virginia were strong supporters of Braves baseball, in part b/c of the minor league affiliate, but in part b/c of the perception Braves baseball was Southern baseball (much in the same way the 'Skins are the South's football team). Isn't that exploitable?
   136. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:38 PM (#3046439)
Which they would likely do, if MLB didn't break up the broadcast packages into 10 tiers making it virtually impossible to know what channel they're playing on, on any given day. When people knew where to watch, they watched. When MLB shattered the Braves' TV footprint people stopped watching.

Wait, the Braves control their local broadcasting like everybody else. MLB may have taken them off TBS, but they're not stopping them from creating a network like NESN or YES!, or putting all their games on one RSN.
   137. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:38 PM (#3046440)
The only way to build a comparable TV empire these days is to operate in a market that can support something like YES!. The Brave don't operate in that sort of market.

YES only followed the model developed by NESN & others. The Braves could package their TV rights similarly to Boston but thus far have chosen not do so. Despite claims to the contrary, the data posted here shows that they are comparable markets.
   138. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:39 PM (#3046441)
In NC you start to see significant market share for the mid-Atlantic franchises - and the occasional Met fan.



Dial is a small sample, but I got a chuckle out of that.
   139. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:42 PM (#3046449)
The point stands that there is a lot of revenue left on the table in the form of 40+% of the seats being available on a given night. You've clearly demonstrated that they've made improvements, but there is obviously a lot of room for growth.


There is room for growth, but it's also unclear as to how much room remains - the late 80s/early 90s Jays were beneficiaries of a fantastic set of circumstances. After all, at that time, the Jays had been consistent winners, they had just moved into a state-of-the-art stadium, the Leafs were coming off of a decade of disaster under the most hated franchise owner in Canadian history, and the Raptors had yet to arrive in Toronto. With the new circumstances, I'd say that their ceiling is a lot lower than it once was (although it's still a fair amount higher than they're currently at).

And considering JP is somewhat sanctimonious on the revenue-gap between he and his Division rivals (I will rag on JP!), I think these are fair points.


JP is completely fair game, so rag away. In his favor, however, it seems that every time he complains about the massive payroll disparity between the Jays and the Red Sox/Yankees, Rogers then gives him another bucket of cash to work with. As a result, I'm completely in favor of his constant complaints about payroll.
   140. Sexy Lizard Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3046453)
I don't think MLB salaries have COL adjustments :) The COL means that Sox ticket prices are much higher, so they have more revenue. Also, that chart shows the extended Boston MSA with almost 2 million more people than live in Atlanta. If you narrow the Boston area to the size mentioned above, its MSA goes way up.


The cost of living in Boston *should* make ticket prices lower, because paying for other things eats up so much money. Boston's ticket prices are a function of Fenway and the brilliant way the Henry regime has leveraged the ticket scarcity its size can create. Boston's wealth can support those prices, but so could that in other places.

But no, Boston's inherent advantage over Atlanta is, I think, the number of people in the area from which it can draw cash, not the amount of cash those people have (Boston's advantage over, say, the Padres, is the wealth of its potential fans). But, for example, almost every person I know back in North Carolina who follows baseball is a Braves fan. They need to come up with some way to exploit that.
   141. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:51 PM (#3046457)
If JOhn SMoltz ever ran into a swarm of bugs in the playoffs, he'd capture the bug leader, tear its head off, and then swallow the bug leader's body, and then the swarm would retreat in fear.
   142. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:52 PM (#3046458)
IIRC from my time at UVa, Richmond and central Virginia were strong supporters of Braves baseball, in part b/c of the minor league affiliate, but in part b/c of the perception Braves baseball was Southern baseball (much in the same way the 'Skins are the South's football team). Isn't that exploitable?

It was exploitable in the past. I'm not sure it's a strong strategy going forward. First, Atlanta's AAA team no longer plays in Richmond. They are moving that team to Gwinnett County (northern metro suburbs of Atlanta) starting next year. The Braves affiliate teams now play in Myrtle Beach, SC; Rome, GA; Jackson, MS; and Gwinnett County, GA. They're not pulling in the affiliation transference they used to get from teams in Richmond and Durham. Second, there's a pretty noticable demographic shift in the mid-Atlantic away from strong "southern" identification, in general. Virginia and North Carolina, for example, made historically differentiating choices in the presidential elections this year. The RNC gambled on the "real Virginia" - the Virginia that self-identifies as "southern", as opposed to the NOVA and the DC suburbs - and lost. I don't see that trend reversing any time soon, so I don't think the Braves should bank their appeal nationally to a similar marketing campaign.

It's interesting that you suggest a "southern strategy" for the Braves, though. Until 1966 the Cardinals dominated the south. There are still large pockets of Card fans across the region, though they're shrinking every year. The Braves spent decades prying open that market for themselves. Now a similar thing is happening with Atlanta's market and Tampa Bay/Florida. At this point the Braves' market consists of Atlanta, legacy fans in NC and Florida, and a lot of poor people across the Bible Belt. It's just not comparable to the NE corridor markets or the SoCal markets.

Despite claims to the contrary, the data posted here shows that they are comparable markets.

No. First, any MSA data for Boston that doesn't include freakin' Worcester is meaningless. Second, even if the raw population figures align you're still not accounting for the brute fact that dominates the South. The South is *poor.* COL adjustments doesn't dilute that effect.
   143. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:52 PM (#3046459)
The Braves ownership *has* plenty of money. They *can* afford these things. They *choose* not to.

Actually, as they're owned by a publically traded corporation, I would expect there are some limits on how much money they can lose. And now that they're owned by Liberty instead of Turner, there are fewer opportunities to hide income...

That being said, after years of the team being run like a large market club, it's disappointing that they no longer can be. A big "Thank you" to Bud Selig for taking the superstation money away.
   144. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:53 PM (#3046460)
You apparently don't understand the greater meaning of the term "afford." The Braves took a gamble they couldn't afford last year. They didn't take a similar gamble this year. The Red Sox can afford those sorts of gambles any year.


Why couldn't they afford that gamble? Did the $8 million to Glavine prevent them from making some playoff chances altering move? They can certainly afford to gamble on Smoltz if they have $40 million in free payroll.

A team in the Braves position SHOULD be taking on short-term risks like Smoltz because they're the third best team in their division right now. At this point it's clear that they aren't going to spend all that excess payroll on long-term commitments to big free agents so they should absolutely be using that on a short-term risk that might actually help them compete. If it fails, who cares? They'll be out of the playoffs, same as they are right now.
   145. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:56 PM (#3046464)
You apparently don't understand the greater meaning of the term "afford."


Sam, I understand your use of the term: that while the Braves can technically "afford" $5-10 million for Smoltz, as a practical matter they can't do the deal because budgetary constraints dictate that they allocate their resources elsewhere.

But the problem is that they do take similar gambles, as the Glavine signing shows. While Glavine's health was not as big an issue (as Smoltz's health is) at the time they signed him, Glavine also didn't have the upside that Smoltz has. So it was a similar gamble.

So the Braves can afford these types of gambles, and do take these types of gambles. As you concede here:

The Braves took a gamble they couldn't afford last year.


This single statement invalidates your entire theory. If the Braves took the gamble, they obviously felt that could afford it, as a practical matter. And they obviously take such gambles.

They didn't take a similar gamble this year. The Red Sox can afford those sorts of gambles any year.


So now you're arguing that the Braves can take these gambles -- just not every year.

Either they can take them, or they can't. We've established that they can. Would it even be wise to take them every year?

The Braves could have given Smoltz that deal, both as a technical matter *and* as a practical matter. They chose to allocate their resources elsewhere.
   146. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 05:59 PM (#3046467)
This single statement invalidates your entire theory. If the Braves took the gamble, they obviously could afford it. And they obviously take such gambles.

Um...no. I could go wager 50K on the horses over in Alabama. I can't afford to do that, even though I quite easily could. That's the difference here.
   147. Mister High Standards Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:00 PM (#3046471)
"Smoltz is essentially an asset with high positive skewness"


Kyle that is an excellant point. I believe my over arching point that there was no real underlying "trend" in the Braves losing out on the 3 above players as they lost out on all of them for different reasons. With that said, the main reason for the high positive skewness for Smoltz on the RedSox versus on other teams is there very high replacement level for pitchers.
   148. Mike A Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:01 PM (#3046473)
Baseball Prospectus, 2004: "The Braves' dynasty is over not because of the loss of any particular set of players, but because the Braves' economic situation is deteriorating...in Atlanta's case, there is real reason to believe Schuerholz's claims that the franchise cannot maintain the luxuries that it once did."

Turned out to be pretty prophetic, though the Braves hung on longer than BP thought. The article goes on to talk about the loss of TBS (and the loss of national prominence and fans b/c of it), Atlanta's sprawl, stadium location, demographics, traffic, lack of public transportation, etc...there are a lot of factors involved that go beyond mere 'market measurement.' There are numerous reasons the Braves have dropped to mid-market level, and it's almost impossible for them to rise up to the top without huge, huge changes (ie moving the stadium north, restructuring the Atl infrasystem, etc). But I do agree the Braves could make some strides in, say, television.

And though the Braves are better off than most teams, to the average fan who remembers being at the top and the crazy Ted Turner days...it's a bit frustrating. To see a face of the franchise like Smoltz leave is also painful and it's already caused a lot of resentment and bad blood. At least we still have Chipper...for now.
   149. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:03 PM (#3046476)
This single statement invalidates your entire theory. If the Braves took the gamble, they obviously could afford it. And they obviously take such gambles.

Um...no. I could go wager 50K on the horses over in Alabama. I can't afford to do that, even though I quite easily could. That's the difference here.


About 10 seconds after I posted that I revised the statement to make it a little more clear. (You're fast on the trigger today in replying.) Though I suspect we'll still disagree.
   150. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:08 PM (#3046483)
There are numerous reasons the Braves have dropped to mid-market level, and it's almost impossible for them to rise up to the top without huge, huge changes (ie moving the stadium north, restructuring the Atl infrasystem, etc). But I do agree the Braves could make some strides in, say, television.

Agreed. There are some bright spots for Atlanta fans here, though they are admittedly slow-moving. First, there's a real opportunity to rebuild at least some of the old TBS empire. It's really frustrating that they have to do that, but it's not impossible. I'd compare it to AT&T;a few years after they broke up the old MaBell companies. It can be rebuilt in a smaller package, but MLB has made it impossible to maintain as it once was. Also, prior to the credit debacle, Atlanta's southside was on the upswing. Not as prosperous as the old horse farms of the northern sprawl, certainly, but moving up. Depending on how the financial systems work out that trend could continue or crater. Finally, one of the major redevelopment projects around metro ATL is the old GM plant up in the northern 'burbs. One of the bidders there wants to build a new outdoor football stadium for the Falcons. It's a lottery-like longshot, but that could be turned into a baseball stadium. More likley we'll just need to make people more comfortable getting into and out of The Ted.
   151. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:12 PM (#3046490)
About 10 seconds after I posted that I revised the statement to make it a little more clear. (You're fast on the trigger today in replying.) Though I suspect we'll still disagree.

Fair enough.

If the Braves took the gamble, they obviously felt that could afford it, as a practical matter. And they obviously take such gambles.

The have made a series of bad choices in recent years. We don't disagree on that. That they chose to bet on the horses last year, as a practical matter, doesn't mean they could afford that. It means they were still acting as if it were 2001. Gambling addictions are hard to break sometimes. Even when your account clearly says you should.
   152. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3046496)
First, any MSA data for Boston that doesn't include freakin' Worcester is meaningless.

According to 2007 Census Bureau estimates [available at http://www.census.gov/popest/metro/CBSA-est2007-pop-chg.html], the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta Metro area has 5,278,904 people, 9th in the country & the 2nd fastest growing in the country during the previous year. The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH Metro area has 4,482,857 people, ranking 10th in the country and 38th in growth. I haven't checked the exact geographical areas included, but the fact that Boston's includes [Southeast] NH suggests a large area is included. There aren't a lot of people in Maine or nothern NH & Vermont. And everybody outside of Metro Atlanta isn't an impoverished sharecropper. As noted by another poster, the small difference in per capita income is easily offset by Atlanta's lower cost of living. Not to mention all those well-off folks living near the beach in Georgia & South Carolina.
   153. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:28 PM (#3046513)
There aren't a lot of people in Maine or nothern NH & Vermont. And everybody outside of Metro Atlanta isn't an impoverished sharecropper. As noted by another poster, the small difference in per capita income is easily offset by Atlanta's lower cost of living. Not to mention all those well-off folks living near the beach in Georgia & South Carolina.

Atlanta's MSA should absolutely include Sandy Springs and Marietta, as well as Roswell, Alpharetta, Duluth, Norcross, Decatur, Conyers, Stockbridge, Peachtree City, Douglasville and Smyrna. I have no idea what the corresponding areas around Boston would be, but they'd damn well include Worcester. As for the share-cropper bit, sure, there's money down in Savannah and Charleston, but that's about it. Rural GA, SC, AL and MS is pretty much dirt poor. Them's just the breaks, I'm afraid. Ain't no amount of snark gonna change that fact.
   154. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:31 PM (#3046515)
Ain't no amount of snark gonna change that fact.


That won't stop people from trying. After all, this is BTF (A subsidiary of The Internet).
   155. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3046537)
To extend on 151, I would say that last year's gambles not paying off may even have a direct correlation to the Braves being unwilling to gamble again.

They gambled on Glavine, Smoltz, and Tex being able to take them to the playoffs. Not only did that not happen, but the team was out of contention by mid-summer. That means lost postseason revenue, and also lost revenue from the latter part of the season, as it sure looked like fewer people were going to Braves games. That makes it a lot harder to make those same sort of gambles again - especially with Tex gone, Chipper a year older, no evidence that Jeffy will ever be a productive RF... Gambling on Burnett or Peavy is one thing - if 2009 doesn't work, maybe 2010 does. Gambling on Smoltz or Glavine at any real money doesn't help much.

However. I don't see any evidence that the Braves will be able (or willing) to spend their money on anyone useful anyway. I saw no stories indicating interest in Burrell - and have seen stories that say they're not interested in Dunn. If the choice is between giving Smoltz $5 million, and Liberty Media pocketing $5 million extra, I would much rather the first happen.
   156. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 06:46 PM (#3046542)
Not to mention all those well-off folks living near the beach in Georgia & South Carolina.

Savannah is four hours from Turner Field. The beach is another 30 minutes. And that's as close as the ocean gets to Atlanta, travel-wise. Charleston, Jacksonville, etc are more like 6+ hours. Each way.

Savannah is far enough away that I won't visit on a normal weekend, despite the fact that I get along with my inlaws.
   157. Chris Dial Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:10 PM (#3046584)
Come on, Chris. You don't cheer for Wilpon, and you didn't grow up cheering for Joan Payson. I'm pretty sure Sam didn't cheer for Ted Turner back in the day, either. Asking him to admit that his team's owners choose profits over winning is one thing, but it's kind of over-the-top to suggest that he's cheering for those owners or their approach to the business.
Not what my sentence is meant to say. It says "you cheer for a team, whose owners have chosen profit over wins", not "I cheer for a team who can't afford to pay FAs"
   158. Chris Dial Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:11 PM (#3046586)
There but for the grace of God go you, Chris...
I've been pretty consistent in saying money isn't nearly the factor people make it out to be. Yes, some owners won't spend, so teh GM is limited, but that's a philosophy of the team, not a physical (real) limitation. That's all I am asking fans to recognize. Carl Pohlad is a prime example of this.
   159. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3046587)
Savannah is four hours from Turner Field. The beach is another 30 minutes. And that's as close as the ocean gets to Atlanta, travel-wise. Charleston, Jacksonville, etc are more like 6+ hours. Each way.

Yes, but the game for a regional team is cable revenues, not ticket sales. Most of greater New England is not waltzing into Boston for a random weeknight game (maybe 1-2 weekend trips per year) but they are watching NESN every night.
   160. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:12 PM (#3046588)
Savannah is four hours from Turner Field.

Lots of people drive that far (or farther) and stay for a weekend or mid-week series at many MLB parks, although apparently not in Atlanta since I'm advised that the Braves have maxed out every potentially available dollar.
   161. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:17 PM (#3046602)
Lots of people drive that far (or farther) and stay for a weekend or mid-week series at many MLB parks, although apparently not in Atlanta since I'm advised that the Braves have maxed out every potentially available dollar.


What percentage of total annual baseball attendance would you say is the result of people doing this? I'm honestly curious, as I can't imagine it being more than a couple percent for the average team.
   162. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:19 PM (#3046606)
Lots of people drive that far (or farther) and stay for a weekend or mid-week series at many MLB parks

Lots of people drive that for games at Turner Field, too. Some of them even drive that from Savannah. Which is kind of the point that's apparently too acute for you to get your obtuse assumptions around. People also drive in from Birmingham and Montgomery and Chattanooga. Occasionally even from Charlotte. None of which changes a damned thing about the overall make up of the "whole deep South" as discussed in this thread.
   163. Mike A Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:20 PM (#3046607)
Actually, a good percentage of game attendees come from the surrounding areas (Alabama, SC, etc). They make a weekend/summer trip out of it.

The problem the Braves have is attracting Atlantans to come to games, which is exacerbated by horrid public transportation, traffic, stadium location, smaller downtown, sprawl, and the one thing nobody wants to talk about...demographics/race.
   164. Chris Dial Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:21 PM (#3046609)
The problem the Braves have is attracting Atlantans to come to games, which is exacerbated by horrid public transportation, traffic, stadium location, smaller downtown, sprawl, and the one thing nobody wants to talk about...demographics/race.
Yes, and the jerks that are Atlantans...
   165. Kyle S at work Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3046611)
Another point made ad nauseum elsewhere that bears repeating is that Atlanta is a transplant city. Sure, we have 4 million people, but many of them have moved here from elsewhere in the past 15-20 years and didn't switch loyalties when they came.

Look, this is a silly discussion. Who cares how many people live in the MSAs? There is no question that the Red Sox have a larger, more devoted fan base than the Braves. Perhaps some of this is due to the Sox superior management, but not most of it. Doing so would be like blaming Boston College's athletic department because their football team doesn't have the same revenues/level of fan support that UGA's football team has.
   166. OCD SS Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:33 PM (#3046628)
Sam, I feel like you're allowing the word 'afford' to encompass a larger meaning about how wise a certain decision might be, and that seems to be a large part of what you're arguing about.

What sort of solution are you advocating? The return of the reserve clause? NFL style socialism? What was Smoltz's best course of action here?
   167. karlmagnus Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:42 PM (#3046641)
If he really wanted to stay in Atlanta, he should have done a Wakefield-style contract, $4m each year, with a management option to extend. In each year, he would be underpaid, but he'd never have to move, and he'd be guaranteed a job until he was clearly not worth a starting pitcher's salary (probably a year or two longer.) -- probably get picked up after a single down year because of the value of the perpetual option. If he was worried about the market making him excessively cheap (or too expensive) he could tie the $$ each year to say 33% of the average salary of the 10 highest paid starters in baseball -- so he would benefit from market strength.

People criticize Wake's deal, but I think he's smart, given the harassments of uprooting every year or two.
   168. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3046658)
The problem the Braves have is attracting Atlantans to come to games

But only a few years ago, the Braves drew 1M more than they're drawing now. It shouldn't be that difficult to reach a level so recently achieved.
   169. Mike A Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:56 PM (#3046674)
A few years ago, the Braves were good and had the salary levels to remain that way (and even then, much of their revenue was derived from TBS and hidden in the books). Does a corporate entity take the risk to become good again/draw more fans by spending more money, or do they chug along their merry way with a mid-market payroll and a decent operating profit? Most corporations do not take that risk, unlike the Ted Turners of this world.
   170. JPWF13 Posted: January 08, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3046679)
Growing up in New Hampshire, we would often refer to the state as Mass-a-two-sh*ts, being the witty and superior country folk we were.


where I grew up the state was referred to as "massive two tits"
   171. RJ in TO Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:03 PM (#3046685)
where I grew up the state was referred to as "massive two tits"


By any chance, was this when Moo Vaughn was playing 1B for the Red Sox?
   172. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:03 PM (#3046687)
What sort of solution are you advocating? The return of the reserve clause? NFL style socialism? What was Smoltz's best course of action here?

I have not, to date, advocated for any solution. I don't even know what sort of "solution" I'd support. All I'm doing is making the obvious point. There is a notable inequity in the free agent market. Certain teams can afford more luxuries and risks than the majority of teams. Obviously I'm not advocating a return to the reserve clause. In fact, it's somewhat offensive for you to suggest I would. Nor do I know that "NFL style socialism" - oh Gods!, when will the jack boots of the NFL enforcers cease to disappear my neighbors and loved ones! - is applicable. I do know that a league where 80% of the fan base believes their team can't compete from year to year is a league that's in danger of cutting off its nose to spite its face. I'm sure it's perfectly reasonable from the position of a have to tell the have-nots to suck it - as a fan of a former have I'm familiar with that sense of false superiority - but in the end, the have-nots have to believe they can compete for talent or they'll all up and revolution on your ass.
   173. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:11 PM (#3046705)
I do know that a league where 80% of the fan base believes their team can't compete from year to year is a league that's in danger of cutting off its nose to spite its face.

Less than 80 percent of the teams are left out of the playoffs every year. What you're saying is the fan base of teams that make the playoffs believe their team can't compete.
   174. flournoy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:12 PM (#3046709)
Charleston [is] more like 6+ hours. Each way.


I can break five hours in the best of conditions; median is probably about 5:15. Six hours if you're slow or hit bad traffic or bad weather. Seven hours is the worst I've done, with post-Thanksgiving traffic.

For what it's worth, I made it to two Braves games last year, but I have family and friends in Atlanta. Otherwise, I wouldn't make the trip.
   175. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:31 PM (#3046746)
New Hampshire rulezz! Massachusetts sux.
   176. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:31 PM (#3046749)
Less than 80 percent of the teams are left out of the playoffs every year. What you're saying is the fan base of teams that make the playoffs believe their team can't compete.

I meant to put a "for major free agents" in there but hit post before re-reading. The point is that very few Marlins fans will remain Marlins fans when it turns out that they're really just a AAAA affiliate for Boston (assuming the Red Sox designate Bucholz/Elsbury for assignment and call up Hanley Ramirez.)
   177. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:50 PM (#3046775)
Savannah to Atlanta: 249 miles, 3 hr 51 min
Savannah to Tampa: 333 miles, 5 hr 32 min

Valdosta (GA) to Atlanta: 227 miles, 3 hr 39 min
Valdosta (GA) to Tampa: 232 miles, 3 hr 33 min

Charleston to Atlanta: 321 miles, 4 hr 56 min

Boston to Montreal: 317 miles, 5 hr 22 min
Boston to Bangor: 242 miles, 4 hr 0 min
Boston to Syracuse: 312 miles, 5 hr 4 min

What is the likelihood of someone from Bangor or Syracuse regularly driving into Boston for a Red Sox game?
   178. Russ Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:50 PM (#3046777)
It is great for the fans for the 5-6 MLB teams that still are willing to pay the salaries



fixed
   179. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:51 PM (#3046779)
as a fan of a former have I'm familiar with that sense of false superiority - but in the end, the have-nots have to believe they can compete for talent or they'll all up and revolution on your ass.


Yes, what a shame for fans of the Braves, to have to root for a team that is a perennial also-ran.
   180. Colin Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:51 PM (#3046781)
But the problem is that they do take similar gambles, as the Glavine signing shows.


The Glavine signing shows that they did take that gamble last year - and Glavine at least looked like a as decent a bet for 30+ starts as can be said of any 40+ year old pitcher. Said gamble then blew up in their face, which may well have made them more reluctant to repeat the same mistake with an even higher risk pitcher (albeit one with a higher upside).

If they Braves are to spend money on pitching this year, they need innings. Last year they absolutely killed their bullpen with a rotation featuring exactly one guy who started more than 25 games. Vazquez will help, but Tim Hudson's absence hurts.

I wish Smoltz could've remained a Brave. I can see why they didn't want to commit $5m to him, but then I figure they're not contending this year and so I didn't see too much real harm in it.
   181. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:53 PM (#3046783)
Yes, what a shame for fans of the Braves, to have to root for a team that is a perennial also-ran.

Yes, Ray. That's exactly what I said. You're the bees knees of intellectual honesty.
   182. J.C. Bradbury Posted: January 08, 2009 at 08:56 PM (#3046788)
Charleston [is] more like 6+ hours. Each way.


I can break five hours in the best of conditions; median is probably about 5:15.


Watch out for the speed trap in Taliaferro County. The drive from Augusta to Atlanta feels like an eternity. I swear there is one point where the mileage signs go in the wrong direction.
   183. jmurph Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:03 PM (#3046800)
What is the likelihood of someone from Bangor or Syracuse regularly driving into Boston for a Red Sox game?


I think you've lost a lot of us on what the argument is. You've acknowledged Boston, as one example, doesn't have that much of an MSA advantage. Others have pointed out Boston doesn't have that much of a Per Capita Income advantage. So what, exactly, are the structural disadvantages that Atanta can't overcome?
   184. Jay Seaver Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:09 PM (#3046810)
Boston to Bangor: 242 miles, 4 hr 0 min

What is the likelihood of someone from Bangor or Syracuse regularly driving into Boston for a Red Sox game?


Whenever I take the bus from Boston to Portland (and back), it's crowded with people continuing on to (or coming from) Bangor. Not that that means much of anything; it's not like the Red Sox need people to come from Bangor to fill their stadium. I'll bet that nearly everyone in Bangor is paying for NESN as part of their cable bill, though.
   185. flournoy Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3046812)
Watch out for the speed trap in Taliaferro County. The drive from Augusta to Atlanta feels like an eternity. I swear there is one point where the mileage signs go in the wrong direction.


The Atlanta-Augusta stretch is awful. About half the time I take 85 to Greenville instead, depending on my expectations for traffic patterns and sun position (and actually shorter mileage if your endpoint is Forsyth County).

I can see why they didn't want to commit $5m to him, but then I figure they're not contending this year and so I didn't see too much real harm in it.


I would have loved it too, but I can't fault the Braves for it. Frank Wren has to answer to somebody, and his justification for spending $5M of the company's money can't be, "Sure he doesn't help the team, but c'mon, it was fun."
   186. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:16 PM (#3046821)
You've acknowledged Boston, as one example, doesn't have that much of an MSA advantage. Others have pointed out Boston doesn't have that much of a Per Capita Income advantage. So what, exactly, are the structural disadvantages that Atanta can't overcome?

1. I have already stated that any MSA that doesn't include Worcester for Boston is worthless. (I've similarly stated that Atlanta's inner-, outer- and ex-urbs should be included in the metro tally.

2. I have not seen any argument that convinces me that Boston doesn't have a disposable income advantage of the "deep South." In fact I find the notion proposterous on its face. Maybe folks don't realize exactly how poor the rural south is.

3. A sub-thread has developed around the "money" - disposable income again - contributed to Atlanta's market by Savannah and Charleston. I am asking an honest question: does Bangor or Syracuse or Montreal regularly commute to Boston for Red Sox games? If so, what addition do they make to Boston's adjusted MSA?

4. Another point that I was alluding to with that list is that places like Savannah and Valdosta, much less Orlando and Jacksonville and Pensacola and Mobile, were dependable Braves' territory in the previous decade, but are now being competed for by Tampa Bay. To put it another way, it's pretty silly to think the upstart Rays' "territory" ends at the FL/GA line.

All of this in support of my over-arching argument that Atlanta is a mid-market rather than large market team.
   187. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3046828)
Growing up in New Hampshire, we would often refer to the state as Mass-a-two-sh*ts, being the witty and superior country folk we were.

Not "Taxachusetts"? You must have grown up in a different part of the state.
   188. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3046829)
So what, exactly, are the structural disadvantages that Atanta can't overcome?

Population density. Compare Georgia and Massachussets on this map. Once you get away from Atlanta, nothing else is close. And even giving the benefit of the doubt, and counting Savannah and Charleston as "close enough", there's the problem that the wealthy population there is all from somewhere else. The GA/SC coast is all full of halfbacks.
   189. Lassus Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3046830)
Boston to Syracuse: 312 miles, 5 hr 4 min
What is the likelihood of someone from... Syracuse regularly driving into Boston for a Red Sox game?


As someone who grew up in the area, I'm going to say the chances are similar to the weather ever being good for two weeks in at any point from september to may in Syracuse. That would be zero.

Besides, they are mostly Yankee fans in that neck of the woods.
   190. Sexy Lizard Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3046837)
You've acknowledged Boston, as one example, doesn't have that much of an MSA advantage. Others have pointed out Boston doesn't have that much of a Per Capita Income advantage. So what, exactly, are the structural disadvantages that Atanta can't overcome?


Boston does have a big advantage in population, not in the Boston MSA, but in the Boston Combined Statistical Area. That goes as far as Worcester and Providence, neither so far away that people from there don't commute in for work every day. By CSA Boston has ~1.8 million more people. That's a huge difference. I'd dispute the Atlanta-Boston income difference, but the population difference is apparent.

EDIT: Which is to say, the Boston MSA is really just Boston, Quincy, Somerville, Cambridge, and the smaller towns immediately adjacent. The core that in a western US city would likely be within the city limits.
   191. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3046845)
Something I don't think has been touched on is the number of transplants to the Atlanta area over the last 25 years that catapulted the metro area from a small market to a large market.

In 1980, Atlanta was essentially a Cincinnati or Kansas City in terms of population. Over the next quarter century, the explosive influx of people from the northeast and midwest more than doubled the size of the metro area. And while those people may consider themselves Atlantans now, for the most part they retain their allegiance to their old home town teams, which is why why they flood Turner Field when the Cubs and Mets and Yankees and Red Sox, etc. come to town.

The core of native Atlanta Braves fans is probably mid-market level at best.

And one the problems with comparing regions with New England is that most southern sports fans are more attuned to college sports than pro, and heavily skewed towards football rather than baseball.

For the vast majority, baseball is a barely adequate pastime from the end of spring practice 'til the start of two-a-days.
   192. bfan Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:36 PM (#3046847)
"I'm sure it's perfectly reasonable from the position of a have to tell the have-nots to suck it - as a fan of a former have I'm familiar with that sense of false superiority - but in the end, the have-nots have to believe they can compete for talent or they'll all up and revolution on your ass."

Classic; simply classic.
   193. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:39 PM (#3046852)
Boston does have a big advantage in population, not in the Boston MSA, but in the Boston Combined Statistical Area.

Having drilled through and looked at the counties included in the Atlanta CSA I would say this is the best true metric presented so far. I'm not sure I'd take the Atlanta metro area all the way to the 'bama line but it's pretty close. This map does include all of the northern and southern 'burb counties. I assume it's as correct for Boston as it is for Atlanta.
   194. Sexy Lizard Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:42 PM (#3046853)
I assume it's as correct for Boston as it is for Atlanta.


Right. I wouldn't take Boston so far as Manchester, NH. My guess is that each important CSA is just a hair too large (for baseball purposes).
   195. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:46 PM (#3046858)
And while those people may consider themselves Atlantans now, for the most part they retain their allegiance to their old home town teams, which is why why they flood Turner Field when the Cubs and Mets and Yankees and Red Sox, etc. come to town.

Agreed. I don't think Phoenix City, AL is part of the metro area, but I'm pretty sure some portion of Dahlonega and Rome GA are, so it probably evens out in the end.
   196. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3046860)
The thread has exploded since then but:

Wow. I'm stumped when trying to think of an Oakland A who spent an entire career with the team. Mike Norris? Is he the best we have? I might have to dig into this today. I'm sure it will be depressing.


Oakland maybe. As for the franchise, Eddie Rommel. Not great, but much better than the Braves. The other original 16, plus many post expansion teams have HOFers.
   197. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:56 PM (#3046867)
Oakland maybe. As for the franchise, Eddie Rommel. Not great, but much better than the Braves. The other original 16, plus many post expansion teams have HOFers.

It's not looking good for the Braves' other superstar either. Chipper isn't chipper about this.
   198. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: January 08, 2009 at 09:56 PM (#3046868)
Last winter, the entire management team of the Devil Rays (owner, president, GM) came to my law school and primarily discussed the exact issue of "true" market size.

Their position was that raw population was insufficient to determine market size. Interestingly, they also said that percapita income was only a slight improvement upon raw population.

What they argued was that the most important stat to determine market size was the number of business entities with a size in excess of a certain value (which I forget) in the market. They argued that NY and Boston are so successful not just because of population and wealth, but because of a concentration of the kinds of businesses that buy full-season tickets. I believe they used the number of Fortune 500 corps within a 1.5 hr drive as an example; NY has tons and tons, Boston has like 10-15, and Atlanta has 5-10, and Tampa has 3. (Note that when you consider non-corporate entities, I think the difference is even greater b/w the megapolis cities and Atlanta).

Their point was that even though Tampa has a fairly large population and is not a poor place , it can never be a large market team because of the absence of big-business--retirees don't buy luxury boxes.
   199. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:01 PM (#3046878)
You may have a point there, your zopness, zoper, etc.. I don't think my dad ever bought tix to a ballgame. He worked for Coca-Cola and they had a box. He'd get the box once or twice a year.
   200. Group Captain Mandrake Posted: January 08, 2009 at 10:02 PM (#3046879)
The other original 16, plus many post expansion teams have HOFers.



In this era of hyper player movement, three teams have recently gotten out of their Braves-like hole: Seattle, Houston, and Anaheim.
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