Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg went into battle again on Thursday. The former Wall Street investor, who in 2005 purchased the majority interest in the club, has been looking for a way to get out of Tropicana Field, but to no avail. His audience was one with a keen interest in the Rays as he was invited by the Hillsborough County commissioners to speak about the health of the club as the county has been targeted as a possible relocation destination.
"Major League Baseball doesn't believe anymore in the Tampa Bay area," Sternberg said, and that was backed shortly thereafter by a statement from the Commissioner’s Office
“The Commissioner has had conversations with Stuart Sternberg and is disappointed with the current situation in the Tampa Bay market.
The status quo is simply not sustainable. The Rays have been a model organization, averaging nearly 92 wins per year since 2008 and participating in the Postseason three times, including their inaugural World Series in 2008.
Their .565 winning percentage over the last five years is second among all American League Clubs and third in all of Major League Baseball. Last year, the 30 Major League Clubs averaged nearly 2.5 million in total attendance; the Rays, who finished with a 90-72 record, drew 1,559,681, which ranked last in the game.
The Club is an eager contributor to worthy causes in the Tampa and St. Petersburg communities and takes pride in meeting the social responsibilities that come with being a Major League franchise. We are hopeful that the market will respond in kind to a Club that has done a marvelous job on and off the field.”
The matter brings up a host of issues, none of which are as clear-cut as the league not believing in the Tampa Bay market any longer. For every argument, there seems to be a counter-argument.
“Tropicana Field is in a bad location and is a bad ballpark experience.”…. “No matter what, when the Rays are in playoff contention or seeking a playoff berth, fans should be showing up.”
“The economy in the area has impacted discretionary income, and that means fans aren’t buying tickets.”… “The dour economy impacts many markets around the country, so why is Tampa Bay all that different?”
“Current ownership knew what they were getting into when they purchased the club.”… “When you purchase a club that has had lackluster performance on the field, when you get them winning, that should right the ship. Winning cures all ills… except for in Tampa Bay.”
“Tampa Bay/St. Pete has a large transient population. It takes time before you build fan loyalty.”… “Then how is a new ballpark going to really fix this?”
But, the real issues run deeper. Far deeper.
If you want to get down to it, one of the largest issues is getting to Hillsborough County, which bumps into a conflict with Pinellas County where the Rays currently reside in Tropicana Field. To add to matters, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has been adamant about the Rays staying put going so far as threatening to sue the Hillsborough County commissioners from meddling. For Foster, the issue is about the Rays sticking to their lease at the Trop which runs till 2026.
So, what is one to make of it all? What can one read from Selig’s and Sternberg’s comments? What actions, if any, can they act upon? The reality is, there’s not much either can do, short of some nuclear options. Here’s a Q&A:
Can the league dissolve the Rays via contraction? The short answer is, no. At least not for a while and maybe, never. At the very least, contraction is off the table within the latest CBA which expires in 2016. But even then the odds are exceptionally long. The MLBPA would likely sue over loss of jobs to the players, as would Pinellas County and others that have a vested interest such as Sun Sports.
Is the Rays’ lease “ironclad’? – Yes, the lease on Tropicana Field doesn’t expire for another 14 years. Does that make it “ironclad”? The answer is no. What it does mean is it’s likely too expensive to buy the lease out at this point, but the closer and closer one gets to that expiration date, the easier it is to negotiate out of it. Politicians love to rattle sabers, but the truth is, if a deal can be reached to buyout the lease, it would seem hard to not consider allowing for it.
Why can’t the Rays simply look to put pressure on by seeking relocation options outside of their broadcast territory? They could, but it would be a veiled threat. Broadcast rights fees have continued to escalate, and with it, the club territories have become highly guarded. Look at what happened with Peter Angelos and the Orioles when the Expos relocated to DC and became the Nationals. It took the creation of an regional sports network (MASN) where the Orioles controlled the lion’s share to placate them.
If you could indemnify the TV issue, could you then relocate? Well, sure, but they say the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. In other words, the Rays have a good understanding what their market is capable of. Other markets, Northern New Jersey the exception, would be smaller in one capacity or the other. You might get attendance up, but your television deal may not be as strong. You might get higher overall attendance, but corporate sponsorships and suite sales would be an unknown.
Are their any markets that the Rays could move to now? Not really. For one, you’d need to get out of the lease, move into an interim facility and then wrestle with the same issue that the Rays face now which is funding for a new ballpark.
You mentioned “nuclear options”. What are those? The one that’s occurred before with the Expos being the example is, the league and its owners could purchase the Rays, and then work to sell or relocate them. While this seems like a contradiction, the difference is that when a league purchases a club, they have no intention of holding onto it for any period of time. If the shorter is better, then municipalities that are really in the hunt for an MLB club have more political cover to work from. The Rays going it alone becomes a “possible sale” while a derby for a club by the league comes off as “really going to happen.”
Any other options? Bankruptcy? The one that is hanging out there, but would seem a reach, is bankruptcy. In that case, it would fall to the courts and in that, an auction by which an owner comes up with a method to not only purchase the club but satisfy debt comes into play. This is an extreme longshot at this point. There’s been no wind of the Rays missing their lease payments, so it’s a farfetched scenario.
So, what are the options? It’s a stalemate. At this point, the league and Rays don’t seem to have a lot of options. It seems clear they need a new facility, but getting it on the public dime is going to be tough, as if it wasn’t before the Marlins pulled their stunt with public funding. No, much like the A’s, the Rays are in a state of purgatory. The most dramatic thing that could happen is a possible sale of the club, but as Schott and Hoffman did in selling the A’s to Wolff and the Fishers, all you’re really doing is changing deckchairs on the Titanic.
You have to feel for the Rays. They continue to be the most creative club with player development and contract structure that has allowed them to be very competitive for some time. They’ll likely be playing to an empty warehouse called Tropicana Field (again) this year. At some point, one wonders about Sternberg selling or cutting his margins. If it’s the latter, you wind up getting the current state of the Astros or what has gone on historically over the last decade with the Pirates. The logic goes, if you’re going to play to an empty room, getting revenues in alignment to counter the abysmal gate numbers at least keeps you in the black. Let’s pray that’s not the case. The Rays are a great story in every fashion… except the empty seats at the Trop.
Baseball season is not far away… MLB has released the following:
Major League Baseball today announced the game times for its master 2013 regular season schedule, which will begin on March 31st with ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” when the Houston Astros host the Texas Rangers at 8:00 p.m. (ET) / 7:00 p.m. (CT). The final day of the 2013 regular season, which features 11 divisional match-ups, is scheduled for Sunday, September 29th.
Opening Night in Houston between the Astros and Rangers marks the first-ever game for the Astros as an American League Club and it begins ESPN’s 24th season televising Major League Baseball. Twelve games will be played on Monday, April 1st, when traditional Opening Day returns to a Monday for the first time since 2010 (the 2011 season opened on a Thursday, while 2012 began with one game on a Wednesday night and traditional Opening Day on a Thursday). The first full slate of 15 games will be played on Wednesday, April 3rd.
ESPN will continue its coverage of Opening Week presented by Budweiser with four games on Monday, April 1st, which feature the winners of the past seven World Series. Opening Day coverage on ESPN begins at 1:00 p.m (ET) as the Boston Red Sox visit the New York Yankees, followed by the San Francisco Giants at the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4:00 p.m. (ET)/1:00 p.m. (PT). At 7:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2, the Philadelphia Phillies will visit the Atlanta Braves, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals at the Arizona Diamondbacks at 10:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (PT).
MLB Network will have extensive coverage of Opening Week, featuring the return of its regular season programming lineup of The Rundown, Intentional Talk, MLB Tonight and Quick Pitch with look-ins at live games in progress, previews, highlights and analysis. MLB Network’s Showcase Game schedule will begin on Tuesday, April 2nd with the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the 2012 World Champion San Francisco Giants at 10:10 p.m. (ET) / 7:10 p.m. (PT).
Among the other highlights of the 2013 regular season:
The Cincinnati Reds open their season against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Great American Ball Park on Monday, April 1st at 4:10 p.m (ET), marking the start of the 17th season of Interleague Play, and the first to feature Interleague contests for the duration of the season.
The San Francisco Giants square off against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park in their home opener on Friday, April 5th at 4:35 p.m. (ET) / 1:35 p.m. (PT) in a rematch of the 2012 National League Championship Series.
The Detroit Tigers open a three-game series against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park on Friday, April 5th at 1:05 p.m. (ET) as the clubs see one another again after the 2012 American League Championship Series.
The Dodgers will host the Padres at Dodger Stadium at 10:10 p.m. (ET) / 7:10 p.m. (PT) on Monday, April 15th, which is designated as Jackie Robinson Day throughout Major League Baseball.
Interleague series featuring prime rivals will have back-to-back two-game series beginning on Monday, May 27th (Memorial Day), with the host club shifting on Wednesday, May 29th. The match-ups include: Nationals-Orioles; Mets-Yankees; Marlins-Rays; Reds-Indians; Cubs-White Sox; Cardinals-Royals; Angels-Dodgers; Giants-Athletics; Phillies-Red Sox; Braves-Blue Jays; Tigers-Pirates; Brewers-Twins; Rockies-Astros; Rangers-Diamondbacks; and Padres-Mariners.
The 2013 All-Star Game, to be hosted by the New York Mets, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field.
Select READ MORE for the complete 2013 Major League Baseball regular season schedule with game times (PDF)
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Time Warner Cable will announce a new television contract that will have the team starting its own channel. While terms will not be officially released, it has been known for some time that the Los Angeles NL club would pull in $6 billion to $7 billion making it by far the most lucrative local broadcast deal that has ever been reached in baseball.
What makes the deal even more amazing is that TWC had already inked a $4 billion broadcast deal that sees the Los Angeles Lakers at the heart of the programming. All told, TWC will be committing between $10-$11 billion to two Southern California franchises.
For the Dodgers, the effects are already being felt. While the club saw a 2012 end of year payroll of $129,080,186, ranking them 8th out of the 30 clubs, they have already planned to go into “Yankee territory” for 2013. In interviewing Dodgers President Stan Kasten at the Winter Meetings he said that there was “a good chance” that they would break the Luxury Tax threshold adding, “We’re not done yet.”
What’s interesting is how revenue-sharing could possibly be capped, something that MLB was very concerned about when the Dodgers were looking at the deal prior. According to the LA Times, that issue opened the door for TWC:
The Dodgers’ current contract with Fox Sports expires after the 2013 season. The team had discussed a new deal with Fox last fall, worth at least $6 billion over 25 years. However, as MLB and the Dodgers debated how much of that money would have to be contributed to baseball’s revenue-sharing program, the Fox exclusive negotiating window expired, enabling Time Warner to initiate negotiations with the team.
Fox was believed to be willing to restructure its offer but was not believed to be willing to significantly raise the amount. The Time Warner Cable deal is believed to be worth between $6 billion and $7 billion.
What has been on the lips of many sports fans is, will deals like this rain down like money from heaven? The answer is, no. Los Angeles is the nation’s second-largest market. The Dodgers are a storied brand. Frank McCourt had depressed the potential of the club. The franchise was on the cusp of a new television deal. The new owners have exceptionally deep pockets and are doing everything to renovate not only Dodger Stadium but the roster, as well… it was a perfect storm for the largest deal in history to happen. Don’t expect it to occur again.
Since the Ricketts family purchased the Chicago Cubs, one of the looming questions has been renovating baseball’s second-oldest ballpark in Wrigley Field. With the Red Sox completing a 10-year renovation to the league’s oldest ballpark, it was shown that renovation over a completely new facility could be done in a way that would modernize even the oldest of structures to allow modern day amenities for both fans and the players.
The problem has been gaining funding. Whether the dour economy or the fact that some municipalities may have grown weary of providing the lion’s share of the funding, getting renovations off the ground for the Cubs has been about as easy as winning a World Series for the Ricketts since purchasing the club in 2009. In 2010 a state funding bill withered and died in the Illinois legislature.
But, that could finally change… if the city of Chicago corporates.
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said this past weekend at the Cubs Convention that if some restrictions are lifted, the club will fund a 5-year, $300 million renovation that will provide wider concourses, all new clubhouse, restaurants, a new landing in left field, a much-needed set of batting tunnels, work on suite, and much more. The first phase would be a massive upgrade to the clubhouse.
“The fact is that when you look at all of the limitations that we have, whether that’s signage in the outfield, which we are not allowed to do, or what kind of stuff we do in the park or around the park, I think we’d just like a little more flexibility to have some options on that stuff,” Ricketts said at the Cubs Convention.
“We have an opportunity cost there that’s tremendous. Just give us some relief on some of these restrictions, and we’ll take care of (renovating) Wrigley Field.
“We’re told what we can do to the park. We’re told what we can do in the park. We’re told what we can do around the park. We think, from our position, if you just let us run our business, we can get started on some substantial renovations, make the fan experience better, make the player experience better, and really preserve the park for the next 50 years. We’re not a museum. We’re a business.”
Signage:The bleacher vista may be significantly altered if the Cubs get their way. In 2010, the Cubs agreed to a four-year moratorium on additional advertising signs that would rise above the Wrigley Field bleachers in order to gain city approval of a Toyota outfield sign. That moratorium expires after this season, and the Cubs would like to increase their outfield signage, along with other areas in the ballpark. They’re the only team with signage restrictions.
Co-owner Laura Ricketts said the restriction on signage puts the team at a disadvantage, “but also forces us to be extra creative in the advertising that we do have, and that makes Wrigley Field, in my opinion, the most special place to watch a ballgame in all of baseball… With our renovations, that’s definitely something we want to preserve going forward.”
Night games: A city ordinance granted the Cubs permission to play 18 night games a year starting in 1988. In 2004, the city council approved an increase of four night games per year through 2006, giving them their current allotment of 30. The Cubs haven’t said how many more night games they need, but one source said “half,” or 41, would suffice, including an occasional Saturday night game. The Cubs also would like the return of 3:05 p.m. starts on Friday, believing the weekend restrictions are an anachronism in a commercialized area.
Concerts: An agreement in 2005 between the Cubs and the city gave the Cubs permission to hold two Jimmy Buffet concerts that summer, with the team donating $150,000 of the proceeds to neighborhood schools and reserving 3,000 concert tickets for purchase by people who lived within one mile of the ballpark. The Cubs agreed to hold 29 night games in 2006 instead of the permitted 30. In 2009, the city allowed the Cubs to hold three concerts, including two by Elton John and Billy Joel. The Cubs haven’t said how many concerts they’d like, but they’d like to increase it without having to ask for city permission.
The Biz of Baseball has been updated with new data…
In an effort to provide media, researchers, and fans an easier way of accessing drug suspension data for Major League and Minor League Baseball, The Biz of Baseball has now created individual pages for each year suspensions have been doled out back to 2005. In doing so, the site is the only resource openly available that provides every suspension. As time has evolved, more information has been provided to the point now in which we show the date, player, position, substance suspended for, affiliated team, and the length of suspension.
To see each year, beginning with 2013, and progressing back to cover the last 8 years, select the following:
At 82, Earl Weaver has left the building. The Hall of Fame manager from the Baltimore Orioles passed away today of an apparent heart-attack and the baseball world is less for it. He was a brilliant manager, and colorful in ways that might make Yogi Berra blush.
His managerial record tells the story: His 1,480-1,060 record ranks 22 all-time, sandwiched in-between Clark Griffith and Bruce Bochey. His .583 win percentage is the best by any manager who started after 1960. He won four American League pennants—three in a row from 1969-1971-- and the World Series in 1970. The only time that he finished below .500 was 1986 (73-89, .451) his final season managing. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee as Manager in 1996.
"Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball,” said Orioles managing partner, Peter Angelos. “This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family."
Said Commissioner Selig of his passing, “Earl Weaver was a brilliant baseball man, a true tactician in the dugout and one of the key figures in the rich history of the Baltimore Orioles, the Club he led to four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series Championship. Having known Earl throughout my entire career in the game, I have many fond memories of the Orioles and the Brewers squaring off as American League East rivals. Earl’s managerial style proved visionary, as many people in the game adopted his strategy and techniques years later.
“Earl was well known for being one of the game’s most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianne, their family and all Orioles fans.”
He was a man that loathed bunting and a strategy of station-to-station leaning on what Bill James would later make a cornerstone of many sabermatricians: don’t squander outs. He was often quoted as saying, “pitching, defense, and the three-run homer" win games. "The only thing that matters is what happens on the little hump out in the middle of the field,” he said. Before the use of computers had made their way into the front offices of clubs in the league, Weaver had a legendary card system of notes that he had collected over his managerial career. He used the notes to his advantage and was keen on knowing particular pitcher-hitter match-ups in which hitters that might be weaker over the course of a season might have a particularly strong pitcher’s number. He knew his players well enough to know that some were weak or strong coming out of Spring Training, and adjusted for it. He knew his players, but rarely engaged with them. "A manager should stay as far away as possible from his players. I don't know if I said ten words to Frank Robinson while he played for me," Weaver once said. And his players often said the same of Weaver. Jim Palmer said, "The only thing Earl knows about a curveball is that he couldn't hit it," a reference to Weavers playing days. But, his system worked. The book, "Weaver on Strategy" is still a valuable read.
His rants with umpires were legendary, even if his physical stature wasn't intimidating (he was all of 5’ 7”). Weaver saw his position of “getting into it” with the umpires as part of his job, not his players. "The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won't hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game," Weaver said.
Finally, one wonders if this Weaver quote will become a reality. "On my tombstone just write, 'The sorest loser that ever lived.'” I can see Weaver arguing with God now... "Whadda ya mean, I'm in heaven?!? Can't you see I haven't cross the line?!?! Get some $%&#@ glasses!!!"
Goodbye, Earl. Thanks for the memories (CAUTION: ADULT LANGUAGE):
Major League Baseball has released the 2013 Spring Training schedule, and with it, the first Spring Training exhibition game will be held on Thursday, February 21st in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Boston Red Sox will host Northeastern University. Along with that, the following day four games for charity will be played, including one in the Grapefruit League and three in the Cactus League. The first full slate of games involving all 30 Major League Clubs will take place on Saturday, February 23rd.
To add a wrinkle, the teams competing in the San Juan, Puerto Rico pool (Pool C) and the Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona pool (Pool D) of the 2013 World Baseball Classic will participate in exhibition games against Major League Clubs on Tuesday, March 5th and Wednesday, March 6th. Teams representing the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela will each play two games at Grapefruit League sites, while teams from Canada, Italy, Mexico and the United States will each compete in two contests at Cactus League sites. In addition, the two Semi-Finalist teams to advance from the second round in Tokyo, Japan (Pool 1) will play two exhibition games at Cactus League sites on Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th before heading to San Francisco for the Championship Round of the World Baseball Classic from Sunday, March 17th through Tuesday, March 19th.
In terms of games that lead up to the regular season, there are several exhibition games at Major League and Minor League ballparks that will be played from Thursday, March 28th through Saturday, March 30th. The Houston Astros, playing their first season in the American League, will host the opening game of the 2013 regular season on Sunday, March 31st, when they welcome the Texas Rangers at 8:00 p.m. (ET) / 7:00 p.m. (CT) on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Twelve games are scheduled for Monday, April 1st and seven games are scheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd, with the first full slate of regular season games on Wednesday, April 3rd
SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE COMPLETE 2013 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
Let's face it, people love contests. And, if you’re a fan of baseball, you also likely have weighed on this uniform or that, discussing the good and the bad of design.
The Milwaukee Brewers have taken the two and put them together making a contest to design an alternate on-field uniform. Over 700 entries were submitted, and now it’s down to three finalists. The pessimist says this is about saving money on a uniform design, but clearly this is about engaging fans and making them feel part of the Brewers community. Hat tip to them for that.
The three finalists – two of whom live outside of Wisconsin - have been invited by the Brewers to travel to Milwaukee for Brewers On Deck at the Delta Center on Sunday, January 27 where the winner will be announced on the Klement’s Main Stage. According to the Brewers, the “reveal” will be hosted by Brewers pitcher John Axford. The winner will receive a trip to Brewers Spring Training 2013 to see the winning design on the field at a game.
Ron Verrecchio from Catonsville, Maryland, Ben Peters from Richfield, Minnesota and Nicholas Fout from Madison, Wisconsin have all been invited to appear at Brewers On Deck to discuss their designs as they try to win the trip to Spring Training. The panel discussion will take place at 10:15 am on the Main Stage.
A fan vote to help determine the winner is now open at Brewers.com/uniform and the three finalists’ designs can be viewed below.
In addition to the fan vote, a panel of voters including Axford, Brewers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Doug Melvin and Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger will judge the finalists. The fan vote will remain open until Tuesday, January 22 at 10 a.m. CT and will count as one vote among the panel of eight judges. Other judges include Jill Aronoff, Brewers Senior Director – Merchandise Branding and representatives from Majestic, New Era and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The hats and uniforms from the winning design will be worn by all Brewers players and coaches at the Friday, March 22 Spring Training game at Maryvale Baseball Park against the Chicago Cubs.
In addition, the Brewers announced today that the uniforms will also be worn at Miller Park on Saturday, March 30 as the Brewers take on the Chicago White Sox in an exhibition game.
Merchandise including t-shirts and hats featuring the winning design will be available for purchase at the Brewers Team Store by Majestic at Miller Park and at the Brewers Team Store at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix.
The three design renderings – jerseys and hats - are below.
Snow may still blanket parts of the country today, but believe it or not, we’re 4 weeks from catchers and pitchers reporting for Spring Training, and Opening Day isn’t far behind that.
Many MLB players are already working out, at the same time, in the front offices around the league, sales teams are feverishly working to sell season ticket packages. The majority of clubs have yet to release individual game tickets for sale.
Still, it’s not too early to see what trends in the ticket resale space as we approach the season. Based on data provided by ticket resell aggregator Razorgator, some interesting trends have surfaced.
Razorgator’s data is based off of asking price across their registered sellers. With that, the data provided gives a window into how those looking to resell tickets early on are setting their price points.
The average home price on the resale market comes in at $70.42 with 11 clubs above the average and 19 clubs below. Three clubs (Cubs, Red Sox, and Giants) see the average home price above $100, with the Cubs leading the way at $120.44 followed closely by the Red Sox ($119.53), and then Giants ($111.55).
It would make sense that the top 3 priced tickets by home average have either small-historic ballparks (Cubs and Red Sox), while just behind them you see the 2012 World Series Champion Giants. But, in a sign that fans feel that only two years into a new ballpark they can unload tickets for roughly what they got into them for, the fourth-highest priced resale home ticket price by average goes to the Miami Marlins at $89.85. We’ll see how that number changes (if at all) as we approach the season. It’s possible with the fire sale that’s happened with the club that the resale market could be flooded, thus driving the price down.
The best bang for your buck for the average price on the resale market goes to the Cincinnati Reds ($44.10) and Washington Nationals ($41.27), both of whom won their Divisions.
When it comes to the average resale asking price for away games, the average is $75.55 with just eight teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, Orioles, and Mariners) toping the list above the average. Expectedly just two clubs (the Yankees at $148.53 and Red Sox at $109.13) have an average away price above $100. Both clubs are iconic brands with storied histories, so the ability to ask such a high price across the country makes sense.
At the bottom the list, the Miami Marlins in their post-fire sale mode, are garnering the lowest asking price for an away team at just $57.34. The Twins, at #29 come in at $63.21.
Once again, the best bang for your buck for away games is the Washington Nationals. While not the cheapest resell average out there, at $67.13 they rank #23 out of the 30 clubs by average resale asking price.
For interleague, it seems that in the New York area, the Yankees and Mets still garner extreme interest. Based on Razorgator data, the average ticket price for the May 27-28 series between the two pulls at $214.10 is almost exactly 3 times the interleague average of $71.38. A great deal looks to the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium on June 18-19 at $75.49.
Click to see in larger view
Other points of interest….
The current resale cost of purchasing a Yankees or Mariners home game ticket are nearly identical ($66.44 for the Yankees compared to $64.78 for the Mariners)
The Astros, who lost more than 100 games this past season and could potentially have it happen again in 2013 have an average asking resale price for home games at $51.71 or more than $10 what the Nationals are coming in at ($41.27)
For some strange reason, the Mariners rank #8 for away games with an average asking price of $77.56. Maybe this is the King Felix factor, but one would be hard pressed to make a good case for that.
If I’m a fan, and the Giants are scheduled to visit, I’d get in on it now. At an average of $70.68, the current World Series champs rank #19 for away price. That’s lower than the Astros, Brewers, Rays, and Mariners.
SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE INFOGRAPHIC DATA FOR EACH OF THE 30 CLUBS
Since Bud Selig stepped into the ownership ranks of Major League Baseball, he seemed to be everywhere, all the time. Early in his Brewers ownership tenure there didn’t seem to be a committee that he wasn’t on, learning every aspect of the ownership and league structure. But, if there was a defining moment for Selig—one in which he positioned himself to become the “every owner” commissioner that he is today— it has to be 1993, just a year after taking on the role of acting commissioner.
That year, real concerns began to surface over revenue-sharing. Remember, at the time, there was little if any. The AL had a system where sharing was 20 percent and the NL was 5 percent. Just prior, the Yankees inked their deal with MSG in 1989 worth nearly $500 million, and the Orioles were ushering in big revenues after the success of Camden Yards opening. To address the issue, a meeting was called in Kohler, WI where large revenue club owners formed one caucus while small and mid-markets formed another. The meetings were so acrimonious (Paul Beeston, then the president of the Blue Jays said that acrimony wasn’t a strong enough word; hatred was more appropriate) that Selig had to shuttle notes back and forth to try and keep communications going. In the end, Selig was able to calm the waters by building consensus (although the issue on revenue-sharing was not fully resolved until January of 1994), something that has become the current commissioner’s strongest strength.
Flash-forward to today, and Selig is about as beloved as one commissioner can get with his employers, the club owners. I have joked that he is so beloved by them that if they could, they would make Selig the eternal commissioner of the game going so far that upon his passing, they would stuff him, prop him up in a chair, hold a séance and let Selig run the league from the afterlife.
Of course, that’s not going to happen. But, there will come a day when he actually retires from the position (something that has become bit of a running joke as he has said he was going to retire more than once only to be lured back by the owners), or, he’ll remain in the position until his passing.
When that happens, a new era will be ushered in. In the past, I have leaned back on the things that made Selig work so well… an owner… one that could relate to both small and large revenue makers… a consensus builder…. In the end, I have begun to believe that times have changed, and that at the very least, the next commissioner may not have to be an owner. At the same time, I don’t see an outsider—your Fay Vincents, or Peter Ueberroths—being a good fit. I’m shifting more internally.
It may be that his relationship in the labor trenches might preclude him from eventually landing the position, but I’m finding it harder and harder to not envision Rob Manfred, the current Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs of the league as the next commissioner of Major League Baseball. If there’s a #2 in baseball, it seems to be Manfred. The one matter that could make the transition interesting is that Manfred and MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner have become a well-oiled machine on labor issues. Selig has become more of a “big picture” figure with the league while Manfred has worked to implement the desires of Selig and the owners. This matter of having the commissioner out of direct talks has served itself well, and one wonders if that dynamic would be a key aspect that the owners would wish to retain.
At the same time, Manfred has become a key figure. If there’s one that understands the mindset of the league, it’s likely him, and based upon the long-standing relationship with Mike Weiner, it could work.
The bigger question—the one that looms out there—is how Manfred would be working the phones and being the master consensus builder that Selig is. Fans bemoan Selig, but in speaking with owners across the spectrum, they all say that Bud can be on the phone speaking with a low-revenue owner at one moment, and with a larger revenue-maker the next, and he seems to always be able to come across as understanding the needs of each. It’s a rare quality that whoever takes over the helm will be measured by. Whether that’s Manfred, a current owner, or an outsider, “communication” and “consensus builder” both have become cornerstones of Lords of Baseball.
Selig’s contract expires at the end of the 2014 season, but it’s likely that he’ll renew then, as well. One can’t imagine that at some point, somewhere, a conversation about his replacement hasn’t happened. But, if there were real seriousness in the effort, there would have been a search committee prepping for the transition. To date, none has. Maybe I was right to begin with. Maybe Selig will be the eternal commissioner of baseball. If the owners could make it happen, I think that would suit them just fine.
Reference: Details on revenue-sharing prior to Kohler via “In the Best Interest of the Game” by Andrew Zimbalist