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A Look At Every Miami Marlins Game Shows Record Attendance Slide PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 17 June 2013 00:00

MLB Attendance

It takes some real doing to have attendance drop as far as the Miami Marlins have, but they’re setting records this season, albeit all the kinds you don’t want to own.

On Friday, the club slipped from 29th to last in MLB attendance, a staggering achievement as they are not even a season and a half into a brand new ballpark. With 15,403 in attendance on Friday against the Cardinals, and the Indians pulling in 30,824 against the Nationals in an interleague tilt on the same night as a $1 hot dog and fireworks promotion was held, the Marlins dropped from an average of 17,399 to 17,341 while the Indians climbed to 17,521.

It isn’t likely to stop dropping. In fact, it's well on pace to being a historic attendance plunge.

Between the fire sale to the Blue Jays and the abysmal performance on the field that will likely have them, not the Astros, end with the worst record in baseball, attendance will continue to slide. In the meantime, all those clubs that have suffered through the cold, wet spring with open-air ballparks will begin to see increases as people flock to enjoy the sun during the summer.

Below shows the tale of the tape along with the supporting data through Sunday, June 16. Oh, and for those Indians fans and those looking at both Florida clubs’ attendance, as of Sunday, the Indians had also passed the Rays, meaning that Florida now has the dubious distinction of having the two worst attended clubs in all of MLB.

Marlins Sinking Attendance

Day

Date

Game

Attend

Avg

Monday

April 8, 2013

Atlanta 2, at Miami 0

34,439

34,439

Tuesday

April 9, 2013

Atlanta 3, at Miami 2

14,222

24,331

Wednesday

April 10, 2013

Atlanta 8, at Miami 0

13,810

20,824

Friday

April 12, 2013

Philadelphia 3, at Miami 1

17,923

20,099

Saturday

April 13, 2013

at Miami 2, Philadelphia 1

20,037

20,086

Sunday

April 14, 2013

Philadelphia 2, at Miami 1

21,412

20,307

Monday

April 15, 2013

Washington 10, at Miami 3

15,933

19,682

Tuesday

April 16, 2013

at Miami 8, Washington 2

16,200

19,247

Wednesday

April 17, 2013

Washington 6, at Miami 1

22,302

19,586

Thursday

April 25, 2013

Chicago Cubs 4, at Miami 3

15,394

19,167

Friday

April 26, 2013

Chicago Cubs 4, at Miami 2

16,017

18,881

Saturday

April 27, 2013

Chicago Cubs 3, at Miami 2

27,519

19,601

Sunday

April 28, 2013

at Miami 6, Chicago Cubs 4

19,817

19,617

Monday

April 29, 2013

at Miami 4, NY Mets 3

15,605

19,331

Tuesday

April 30, 2013

at Miami 2, NY Mets 1

15,018

19,043

Wednesday

May 1, 2013

NY Mets 7, at Miami 6

16,188

18,865

Tuesday

May 14, 2013

Cincinnati 6, at Miami 2

14,694

18,619

Wednesday

May 15, 2013

Cincinnati 4, at Miami 0

14,866

18,411

Thursday

May 16, 2013

Cincinnati 5, at Miami 3

16,680

18,320

Friday

May 17, 2013

Arizona 9, at Miami 2

13,444

18,076

Saturday

May 18, 2013

Arizona 1, at Miami 0

18,786

18,110

Sunday

May 19, 2013

at Miami 2, Arizona 1

20,206

18,205

Monday

May 20, 2013

at Miami 5, Philadelphia 1

13,231

17,989

Tuesday

May 21, 2013

Philadelphia 7, at Miami 3

13,996

17,822

Wednesday

May 22, 2013

Philadelphia 3, at Miami 0

15,520

17,730

Wednesday

May 29, 2013

Tampa Bay 3, at Miami 1

16,671

17,690

Thursday

May 30, 2013

Tampa Bay 5, at Miami 2

23,199

17,894

Friday

May 31, 2013

at Miami 5, NY Mets 1

16,493

17,844

Saturday

June 1, 2013

at Miami 8, NY Mets 1

16,283

17,790

Sunday

June 2, 2013

at Miami 11, NY Mets 6

18,434

17,811

Monday

June 10, 2013

Milwaukee 6, at Miami 1

13,259

17,664

Tuesday

June 11, 2013

at Miami 5, Milwaukee 4

13,110

17,522

Wednesday

June 12, 2013

Milwaukee 10, at Miami 1

13,468

17,399

Friday

June 14, 2013

at Miami 5, St. Louis 4

15,403

17,341

Saturday

June 15, 2013

St. Louis 13, at Miami 7

16,098

17,305

Sunday

June 16, 2013

at Miami 7, St. Louis 2

18,468

17,337


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Typo Gives Three "L"s to the Logo for the College World Series PDF Print E-mail
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Facility News
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 16 June 2013 18:51

Colllege World Series

"I'll take an extra consonant, Pat.”... How about three "L"s in the word "College"?

There are typos, and then there’s this.

At the College World Series in Omaha, the logo for the event picks up one of the most glaring typos ever, an extra “L” to the word “College”. It’s one thing to have someone paint it incorrectly. It’s another for all the people that surely must have been at the ballpark in Omaha prior the event starting miss it as it was on top of one of the dugouts.

This isn’t the first (or last) time typos will be seen in sports. In 2009 Majestic Athletic accidently sent Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn jerseys that read “NATINALS” instead of “NATIONALS” and of course there was a great Snickers commercial where the end zone has Kansas City Chefs. But, this one smacks of ironic. After all, if you can’t get an education in “colllege”, where else can you?

For those thinking this might be someone getting tricky with Photoshop, think again. It was captured by multiple people, and this one is from an Associated Press photographer in the pressbox.

As this clever person on Twitter said, maybe there’s a solution for it all… “The losing team takes the extra L with them.”


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Bruce Bochy, Jim Leyland Announce 2013 MLB All-Star Staffs PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 13 June 2013 10:02

2013 MLB All-Star Game

National League All-Star manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants and American League All-Star manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers today announced the managers who will serve as their coaches at the 84th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.

Bochy has named Mets manager Terry Collins and Washington Nationals skipper Davey Johnson, who guided the Mets to the 1986 World Series Championship, as his N.L. coaches. Collins will be an N.L. All-Star coach for the second straight season, having also been asked by N.L. manager Tony La Russa last season, and for the third time overall (his other appearance was at the 1995 All-Star Game in Texas). Johnson, the 2012 N.L. Manager of the Year, managed the NL in the 1987 All-Star Game in Oakland, and he served as a coach for Whitey Herzog at the 1986 All-Star Game in Houston. Johnson managed the Mets from 1984-1990, and his 595-417 (.588) mark represents the most wins and the best winning percentage in club history. Bochy’s Giants staff – third base coach Tim Flannery, bullpen coach Mark Gardner, first base coach Roberto Kelly, hitting coach Joe Lefebvre, hitting coach Hensley Meulens, pitching coach Dave Righetti and bench coach Ron Wotus – will assist with batting practice and other field duties. Head trainer Ray Ramirez of the Mets and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz of the Nationals will tend to the N.L. All-Stars.

Leyland has invited Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura and Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons to represent the American League. Ventura, in his second year as the manager of the White Sox, was a two-time All-Star third baseman, including for the Mets in 1999, his first of three years with the club. He was a part of the Club’s National League pennant-winning 2000 season. Gibbons will serve as an A.L. coach for the second time, having worked for A.L. manager Ozzie Guillen at the 2006 Midsummer Classic in Pittsburgh. Gibbons was a catcher who played 18 games for the Mets in 1984 and 1986 before working as an instructor, coach and Minor League manager in the Mets system from 1991-2001. Leyland’s Tigers coaches – Rafael Belliard (first base), Tom Brookens (third base), Toby Harrah (assistant hitting), Jeff Jones (pitching), Gene Lamont (bench), Lloyd McClendon (hitting) and Mike Rojas (bullpen) – will work with the American League All-Stars. Head athletic trainers Ron Porterfield of the Tampa Bay Rays and Rick Jameyson of the Boston Red Sox will round out the A.L. All-Star staff.

The 2013 Midsummer Classic will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th.

Source: Major League Baseball


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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PETA Picks Phillies' Citizens Bank Park as #1 Vegetarian MLB Ballpark PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 15:18

Phillies Peta

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) has come out with their annual ranking of top vegetarian ballpark fare, and for the 12th year, ranked the their listing of the Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Major League Ballparks out of the 30 clubs.

Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, has was been (yet again) selected #1, making them winners six of the past seven years. In addition to veggie dogs, black-bean burgers, and meat-free burritos, the Phillies offer faux-chicken patties and mock beefsteaks as well as hummus with pretzels and more.

Rising one notch from last year to grab second place is the Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park. The park boasts mock Italian sausage, vegan riblet sandwiches, and a vegetarian sushi platter.

Rounding out the top five are Nationals Park (Washington Nationals), AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants), and Angel Stadium (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). In the minor leagues, the portobello mushroom burger, tofu noodle entrée, and homemade veggie burgers on pretzel buns made the Tulsa Drillers' ONEOK Field a big winner.

CLICK READ MORE TO SEE 6-10 AS SELECTED BY PETA

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Complete Details for all 30 Clubs in MLB First-Year Draft PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 14:20

MLBThe 2013 First-Year Amateur Draft concluded last week, and now the process of getting players signed is underway. We’ve pulled the data for all the players drafted along with press release details from all 30 clubs to give you an insight into each club’s picks. We’re providing a snapshot for each club to view, plus a PDF of the entire draft.

A total of 1,216 players being chosen in the 40 rounds, two Competitive Balance rounds and one Supplemental round.

Pitchers were the most frequently chosen players, with 657 being selected (475 RHP, 182 LHP). The rest of the 2013 pool was comprised of 276 infielders (including 122 shortstops, 56 third basemen, 55 first basemen and 43 second basemen), 184 outfielders and 99 catchers.

The University of Arkansas had 11 players selected, the most in the Draft, while Louisiana State University had nine and the University of San Diego had seven. Ten schools produced seven players apiece, including Arizona State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Mississippi State University, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Florida, the University of New Mexico and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Players were selected from 47 states, with Maine, North Dakota and Wyoming being the states to not produce a draft selection. The states that had the most players selected were California (216), Texas (135), Florida (126), Georgia (48), Arizona (40), Illinois (39), New York (37) and Washington (30). Forty foreign-born players were selected in the 40 rounds, including 19 players from Puerto Rico; 18 players from Canada; and one player each from the Bahamas, Curacao and Italy.

SE:ECT READ MORE TO SEE SNAP SHOTS FOR EACH CLUB, PLUS A PDF WITH EVERY PLAYER SELECTED

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Will the Little Fish in the Biogenesis Scandal Help in Suspending A-Rod and Ryan Braun? PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 12:36

Alex Rodriguez
The chances of Alex Rodriguez being suspended as part of the Biogenesis
investigation aren't that high, but that could change.

When the story broke and it was deemed the “East Coast BALCO” by the press, some laughed. They probably aren’t laughing now.

Last night ESPN reported that Tony Bosch, the man at the center of Biogenesis, the Miami-area anti-aging clinic that reportedly has become a boutique where as many as 20 MLB players got synthetic testosterone and possibly hGH, has decided to turn informant to the league. In exchange, the league will drop their lawsuit against Bosch and try to prevent any federal investigation against him. The league won’t be able to guarantee any federal investigation won’t occur, but Bosch appears to have been worn down, even though MLB’s lawsuit against him, Biogenesis, and others, is weak.

Today on Baseball Prospectus, I break down the technical aspects of the suspension process based on the latest Joint Drug Agreement between the league and players. The story talks about the players that could be suspended, the amount of financial cost to players (and savings to clubs) could be involved, and how the MLBPA will react.

After the story was published, Michael Weiner, the Executive Director of the MLBPA released the following statement:

“The Players Association has been in regular contact with the Commissioner’s Office regarding the Biogenesis investigation.  They are in the process of interviewing players and every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the Players Association.  The Commissioner’s Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed.  It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations.

The Players Association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint program. We trust that the Commissioner’s Office shares these interests.”

As mentioned in the Baseball Prospectus article, the league will have an uphill climb getting the suspensions past the appeals process on just the word of Bosch. At the heart of it, Bosch will be portrayed as someone simply looking to get out legal hot water.

Where the suspensions might gain some traction ties into the number of players involved.

According to multiple reports, a total of 20 players could be potential Biogenesis clients. If all the players were suspended, it would mark the largest number of drug-related suspensions in the history of professional sports, and eclipse the most MLB players suspended in one year. Currently, that number is 12 players in 2005, the first year there was mandatory drug testing in Major League Baseball.

The biggest names allegedly linked to Biogenesis are Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. Those players aren’t likely to simply cave if Bosch testifies that he supplied PEDs to the players. Where matters could change would be with some of the lesser-known players allegedly involved.

Yasmani Grandal of the Padres may be one such player. Grandal just got done completing a 50-game suspension for elevated levels of testosterone, and a second or third suspension related to the Biogenesis case would have profound implications. For a second offense, Grandal would see a 100 game suspension. A third suspension could mean possible permanent suspension from the league. At the very least, a player has to wait an entire year to apply to be considered for reinstatement and moved off the restricted list for a third suspension of the drug policy, but there’s no guarantee that would happen as it’s tied to the Commissioner’s Office. In that, a player could see permanent banishment from not only MLB but Minor League Baseball.

A player such as Grandal could add credibility to any testimony that Bosch has. He or others could corroborate information in interviews with Bosch, and therefore make a more compelling and credible case on the league’s side. The league is already looking to interview other associates of Biogenesis to bolster their case. If other players were to turn, it could make a suspension for Rodriguez and/or Braun—the two “big fish” implicated— more likely.

There’s a lot of “what ifs” to consider, which makes the idea of any quick resolution to the suspension process in the case seem unlikely. What is certain is that Bosch appears ready to cooperate, something federal investigators could not get out of Barry Bond’s trainer Greg Anderson in the BALCO case from beginning in 2002. From that standpoint, Bosch is similar to the Roger Clemens case with Brian McNamee. The difference was McNamee was the lone witness in the case against Clemens. If MLB is able to pull in not only Bosch, but other Biogenesis associates, and possibly one or more players being implicated, then MLB’s case to uphold any suspensions in a grievance become much stronger. It will be several weeks before any of this fully unfolds, so stay tuned.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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The Psychology of Sports Uniform Changes PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 04 June 2013 14:59

Todd Radom
Todd Radom has been part of some of the
most recognizable sports logo designs in all
of sports

The uniforms that athletes in sports wear are more than just some random selection. In pro sports, a design can define a club for generations. Many designs are a reflection of a city or region, while others instill a sense of competitiveness or have some deep tie to history.

And then there are the redesigns.

Beyond general tweaking to add some flavor and drive up new merchandise sales, there are rebranding efforts that are done for other, more direct reasons, according to Todd Radom, a graphics designer that has created logos for the Washington Nationals, Super Bowl XXXVIII, the Los Angeles Angels redesign in 2002, the World Baseball Classic logo, and many more (see http://www.toddradom.com/, he also designed The Biz of Baseball logo). With the psychology of uniform change occurring often in pro sports (the Carolina Hurricanes introduced new ones today), I thought it would be interesting to get Radom’s take on the psychology behind rebranding in sports. - Maury Brown

Are there psychological reasons an established club changes uniform branding?

Rebranding generally happens for one of two reasons. Either, 1) a change in ownership and the desire to institute proprietary look, or; 2) a visual reboot in a time of failure on the field of play. Relocation is also a reason, of course, as is the move to a new facility (Twins in 2010, Brooklyn Nets.)

What, in your opinion, are some good examples?

For ownership, take a look at the recent Jacksonville Jaguars change, the New Orleans Pelicans scenario, and the Houston Astros. For the desire to reconnect with the fan base look no further than what's happening in Dallas with the Stars today, look at the Tampa Bay Lightning, or the Cleveland Cavaliers a couple of years back, etc.

How many of the rebrands are tied to getting fans to remember"the good old days?"

Right now it's the thing to do. I have a theory that difficult economic times and societal uncertainty lead all sorts of consumer brands-including sports franchises-to look backwards. Consumers crave "comfort food" in times like these. The Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Buffalo Bills and Sabres-all have retrenched toward imagery from their respective pasts. When the Atlanta Braves essentially threw back to their Milwaukee roots in 1987 they started a movement that cannot really be called a trend-trends are by nature fleeting and ephemeral.

What are the best uniform redesigns?

This is a purely subjective question! I personally love what the Blue Jays did a couple of years back-a wonderful refresh of all of the elements that made their original identity great; both relevant and reverent to their unique visual culture.

Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Todd Radom from 2009, plus our interview with him from 2006.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Is Daily Interleague More Popular Than Intraleague in MLB? PDF Print E-mail
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Ticket & Attendance Watch
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 03 June 2013 10:51

MLB Attendance

Since it became a regular facet of Major League Baseball in 1997, the question has been, does interleague play in Major League Baseball have a higher level of popularity than traditional intraleague play? The question has always been difficult to answer as the league had pegged a short series of interleague games in May followed by a longer stretch in June. Prior to 2005, all interleague play occurred in June prior to the All-Star Game, so factors such as weather, weekend play, school being out, and key match-ups were difficult to match-up with attendance across the rest of the season.

This season that all changed. With the Houston Astros moving into the AL West, and the league looking for a balanced schedule, “daily” interleague play was added to the schedule. There would still be “rival” play—those stretches of games in May and June that feature predominantly local and regional match-ups, but as soon as the season started, at least one interleague series would take place alongside intraleague play.

Beginning on April 1 of 2013, the Los Angeles Angels played the Reds in Cincinnati on Opening Day, and paid attendance numbers started racking up.

Leading up to the first set of rival interleague games that started on Memorial Day (May 27), a total of 57 interleague games were sprinkled amongst intraleague play. Those games saw an average paid attendance of 29,479 compared to an average of 28,896 for intraleague play. The data shows that interleague at the beginning of the season leading up to Memorial Day was averaging 583 more in paid attendance per game than intraleague, an increase of 2 percent. So, there is slightly more interest in interleague than intraleague play in the first year of having interleague play on a daily basis.

What has skewed the numbers in prior years still holds true in 2013: the time set aside for “rival interleague” play is more popular than traditional intraleague, and also more popular than daily interleague.

A total of 58 interleague games were played from Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day) to Thursday, May 30 (the schedule had 60 games slated, but there were two rainouts). Those games that saw local and regional rivalries such as the Orioles against the Nationals, Mets vs Yankees, and Angels vs. the Dodgers drew an average of 30,876 or an increase of 1,980 per game more than intraleague and more than 1,397 more than daily interleague.

The numbers skew further toward rival interleague when just looking at May when rival interleague occurs. Daily interleague in May saw an average 27,591 or an average of 3,286 less than interleague during rival week. The numbers need to be tempered with knowing that there were some series that didn’t scream box office seller. The Indians were in Philadelphia, the Rays in Colorado, the Mariners in Pittsburgh, and the Padres were in Tampa Bay. Still, rival week continues to see the Mariners and Padres match-up, even though few see the pairing as “rivalry” based on history or locations of the markets.

All this is looking at paid attendance data till the end of May. We’re not into summer yet, the real pennant races don’t even begin to become clear until after the All-Star break, and differing daily interleague and intraleague data will provide more context by the end of the 2013 regular season. But, if the early numbers hold throughout, MLB will have a compelling case to make that interleague—at least in 2013—is more popular than intraleage play. We’ll look at this again at the All-Star break.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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MLB, MLBPA Fail to Meet Deadline for Creation of International Draft PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 31 May 2013 14:44

MLBThe long-sought international amateur draft in Major League Baseball will be waiting further. The sides could not reach certain aspects of it by the June 1 deadline that is outlined in the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Without an international draft, the status quo will be retained for the acquisition of prospects outside North America.

A statement by the league said, “The Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association have discussed various issues regarding international amateur players, including the possibility of an international draft. While both parties discussed an international draft, an agreement was not reached on some of the mechanics and procedures related to such a draft. Thus, an international draft will not be implemented in 2014. The parties intend to continue to discuss international amateur talent issues, and the current system of international talent acquisition as described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in place at this time.”

The union for the players seemed to edge more toward saying there was concerns from the players about the addition of the new draft, not just to mechanics of it.

 “At this time, the players are not prepared to accept an international draft,” stated MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. “The MLBPA will continue to discuss with players and the Commissioner’s Office the many issues facing its international members.”

As defined in the latest labor agreement, Michael Weiner, as well as Rob Manfred, the MLB Executive Vice President for Labor and Human Resources where the two served as co-chairs of the International Talent Committee to try and hammer out a draft. Each of them had three additional members of the Committee. Those members included Mets GM Sandy Alderson, Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman, and Kim Ng from the Commissioner’s Office. For the MLBPA Weiner was joined by Tony Clark, Stan Javier, and MLBPA senior adviser Rick Shapiro

The complexities of implementing an international draft are vast. The CBA outlines what the International Talent Committee needs to tackle:

1. If there is an international draft, whether international players should be part of a single worldwide draft (including players currently covered by the Rule 4 Draft) or a separate draft (or drafts).

2. The appropriate age at which international amateur players should be signed to professional contracts.

3. If there are to be multiple drafts, whether players from Puerto Rico should remain in the Rule 4 Draft or instead be part of an international draft.

4. The development of appropriate country-by-country plans for playing and development opportunities for players prior to draft eligibility, including expansion of the El Torneo Supremo.

5. The development of appropriate plans to provide undrafted or unsigned players (including players age 18 to 21) from Latin America with an opportunity to continue their development, including the creation of a new league or leagues, or the addition of centrally-operated Clubs in the Dominican Summer League (“DSL”).

6. Whether and how regulations should be put in place regarding representation of international amateur players (e.g., “independent trainers” and agents).

7. Improving the education and acculturation programs of Clubs at their international academies.

8. What safeguards should be established in relation to any signing bonus payments made to international amateur players.

9. The laws of the countries from which international players are signed and how those laws should affect the actions of the parties.

10. What actions are necessary in order to achieve the negotiation of a revised agreement between MLB and the Mexican League that allows players greater choice of where to play and promotes a fair and open system of player movement.

11. What actions are necessary in order to achieve the negotiation of revisions to the protocol agreements with the Korean Professional Baseball League, the Japanese Professional Baseball League, and the Taiwan R.O.C. League to accommodate a draft.

12. How Cuban players should be treated under an amateur talent system in light of the legal and political factors that affect their signability.

A key part of the international draft would have been the implementation of a slotting system such as the current First-Year Player (Rule 4) Draft now sees.

This isn’t the first time MLB and the MLBPA have discussed an international draft. As part discussions leading up to, and after the 2003 CBA was reached, an international draft was discussed with the creation of a "World-Wide Draft Committee." As was the case now, the sides could not get past some of the technical hurdles and talks withered on the vine. Whether that is the case now after missing the June 1 deadline remains to be seen. The current labor agreement between the players and the league expires on December 1, 2016.

better to base their opinions around the strength or weakness of a league’s popularity.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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12-Year Look at MLB Attendance Shows New Ballparks, Key Clubs Factors in Growth PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 30 May 2013 17:09

MLB Attendance

Each year, those watching paid attendance numbers in MLB announce how total or average sales ebb up or down from the year prior, and with it, assign whether the sport is increasing or decreasing in popularity. This is an understandable approach (note, we at The Biz of Baseball do so), but does not paint a clear picture as to why.

A failing by some is that the analysis given assumes the league is static. Rarely—if ever—do reports take into account how off-season moves, the win-loss record, or opening of new ballparks account for fluctuation.

While every nuance is difficult to capture such as how scheduling from year-to-year can skew the numbers, some key factors can.

Below shows average paid attendance over the course of 12 years from 2001 to 2012.

MLB Average Attendance

Tied to the graph is supporting data that shows not only average attendance for a given year, but total attendance, and if any new ballparks opened in that year:

YEAR

LEAGUE TOTAL

TOTAL GAMES

MLB AVG

BALLPARK OPENINGS

2001

72,530,213

2,423

30,058

Miller Park, PNC Park

2002

67,858,176

2,420

28,134

None

2003

67,688,994

2,424

28,052

Great American Ballpark

2004

73,022,969

2,420

30,401

Citizen Bank Park, Petco Park

2005

74,925,821

2,415

30,974

None

2006

76,078,766

2,425

31,425

Busch III

2007

79,503,175

2,421

32,785

None

2008

78,591,116

2,419

32,543

Nationals Park

2009

73,385,022

2,402

30,324

Yankee Stadium, CitiField

2010

73,053,807

2,413

30,138

Target Field

2011

73,451,522

2,412

30,352

None

2012

74,859,268

2,413

30,895

Marlins Park

With the exception of three ballpark openings (Mets, Yankees, Cardinals), attendance in the year that they opened was up from the last year in a club’s old ballpark. The Cardinals, who moved from Busch II into Busch III saw a nominal drop (3 percent), with the large drops coming from the Yankees (down 13 percent) and the Mets (down 22 percent), but this was expected. In the instance of both New York clubs, there were not only deep cuts in overall seating capacity (-6,649 for the Yankees, and a massive drop of 15,333 for the Mets) but fans flocked to both old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium to send them off.

As to the decline in seating capacity, as part of new ballpark design, lowering capacity (and with it, the idea that demand will increase) has been part of every upgrade in the 12-year study:

Club

Ballpark

Year
Opened

Yr Prior
Attendance

Yr. 1 Avg

%
(+/-)
Prior to Yr
One

Winning %
(Yr 1)

Prior
Ballpark

Cap Prior

Cap New

Cap (+/-)

Brewers

Miller Park

2001

19,427

34,704

79%

.420

Milwaukee County Stadium

53,192

41,900

-11,292

Pirates

PNC Park

2001

21,591

30,430

41%

.383

Three Rivers Stadium

47,952

38,362

-9,590

Reds

Great American Ballpark

2003

22,911

29,077

27%

.426

Riverfront Stadium

52,952

42,059

-10,893

Phillies

Citizens Bank Park

2004

27,901

40,125

44%

.531

Veterans Stadium

62,306

43,647

-18,659

Padres

PETCO Park

2004

25,063

37,244

49%

.537

Qualcomm Stadium

67,544

42,500

-25,044

Cardinals

Busch III

2006

43,691

42,589

-3%

.516

Busch II

49,676

43,975

-5,701

Nationals

Nationals Park

2008

23,998

29,005

21%

.366

RFK Stadium

45,596

41,546

-4,050

Yankees

Yankee Stadium

2009

53,070

45,918

-13%

.636

Old Yankee Stadium

56,936

50,287

-6,649

Mets

CitiField

2009

49,902

39,118

-22%

.432

Shea Stadium

57,333

42,000

-15,333

Twins

Target Field

2010

29,466

39,798

35%

.580

Metrodome

46,564

39,504

-7,060

Marlins

Marlins Park

2012

18,772

27,400

46%

.426

Sun Life Stadium

38,560

37,442

-1,118

When adding the “honeymoon effect” (that period after a new ballpark opens when fans attend to see a team’s new home) and when the effect wears off in the lower seating capacity, the outcome becomes a spike and then lower attendance in subsequent years if winning is not the norm. And, large swings can occur when multiple ballparks open in a given year, or when there are new ballparks opening in close proximity year after year, as has been in the case under Bud Selig’s tenure leading to artificial gains.

In the midst of all this is, of course, winning and losing, something that for all but a few is a cyclical affair. If winning seasons happen with large market clubs that see sizable seating capacities, it can bolster the whole. The Phillies in recent seasons have been a good example. Leading the league in attendance in 2012-11, and #2 behind only the Yankees in 2009 and behind the Yankees and Dodgers in 2008, Philadelphia assisted in keeping attendance fairly steady when the national economy was anything but healthy. They also offset the Dodgers in the final year of the Frank McCourt tenure when LAD went from a key attendance bellwether to dropping out of the top 10 in overall attendance in 2011. The Dodgers are always key as they sit in baseball’s second largest market, as well as boast largest seating capacity in the league with Dodger Stadium at 56,000.

So, as these large market, storied brands go, so does the league. While there will be spikes and valleys with other clubs due to winning or new stadiums, the league’s attendance performance hinges on how well the likes of the Yankees, Dodgers, and Phillies perform. The league is also tied to those storied brands in markets that are not as large, but boast solid fan bases. The best example of this is the St. Louis Cardinals, seen as one of—if not the best—fan base in all of baseball.

So, with this as the backdrop, is baseball really “a dying sport”? Hardly, but don’t expect much growth in attendance any time soon.

Since 1991, there have been 23 new ballparks build, and key renovations to two others (Fenway Park, and Kauffman Stadium). With only the Chicago Cubs actively on the edge of getting Wrigley Field renovated, no other new ballparks are on the horizon as the Athletics and Rays continue to be in limbo. That means the league will not have honeymoon effects for new ballparks artificially edging numbers up. What it will mean is that depending on winning or losing and weather issues that can plague the league in Spring and early Fall, attendance will ebb and flow in the next few years by as much as 2-3 percent. Short of a “perfect storm” (a strike or lockout, key clubs performing poorly over a period of two or more seasons) should fans and analysts should not expect to see any dramatic downturn.

To the analysts that may take pictures of empty ballparks and bemoan (falsely) that baseball is a dying sport, let’s hope they can take a broader view than a single season, look to elements that impact attendance, and provide something better than pictures to give fans and the media something better to base their opinions around the strength or weakness of a league’s popularity.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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