Recent Comments by dfleming

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

If you're a fan of watching teams fold like lawn chairs, the Raptors are in the midst of ensuring Dwayne Casey's going to be updating his resume tonight. They're a team with zero pride in their play right now.

posted by dfleming at 08:41 PM on April 26

Rangers Close to Trade with Angels for Josh Hamilton

It's not a bad precedent - effectively, the Rangers are dealing a modicum of salary relief and I assume some emotional value to the Angels in exchange for the potential services of Josh Hamilton.

I think the Angels are nuts in their valuation of Hamilton - they are effectively betting on Hamilton being a 1 WAR or less player over the next 3 years combined (despite his failings in LA, he contributed 3 WAR over two years.) Assuming he plays, he'll provide the Rangers significant value relative to their cost even if he's the 2014 Hamilton.

There's a potential argument that he's a negative in the clubhouse at this point (although I really question whether or not teammates care as much as the media and executives in MLB do about his drinking and/or drug use) but you could negate that by simply telling him to stay home.

The idea that requiring they send a 34-year-old AA-ball player the other way makes a deal substantially better is weird - it's window dressing. Why make teams make totally inconsequential moves in order to pretend like players aren't being sold from one team to another?

posted by dfleming at 03:34 PM on April 26

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Drayton Moore's response to Ventura:

"I think our guys have done an incredible job of managing some of the things that have came their way, early on in the season," Moore said. "It's not unexpected. When you win, those types of things happen. People are coming for you. That's part of it."

Yeah, the Giants are just brawling left right and centre. Oh wait...

posted by dfleming at 03:55 PM on April 24

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Rivera may have been the greatest relief pitcher ever (though I don't have the stats to prove that).

He was, but the best reliever in the world over 19 seasons is only a 57 WAR guy. Joltin' Joe's was a 78 WAR player, plus you could tack on about 18 (average of the two seasons before/two after) he lost having served in the military during the prime of his career. The other guys have double his WAR.

posted by dfleming at 08:38 AM on April 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Really happy to have picked up Yordano Ventura for this year's fantasy roster. A week after getting ejected for Brett Lawrie, now he's inciting a brawl in Chicago. He also cleared the benches April 12th by taking exception to a Mike Trout single. Yeesh.

posted by dfleming at 07:24 AM on April 24

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Happy to see Pete Rose where he should be.

Lots of these are mostly where they should be. But:


posted by dfleming at 04:06 PM on April 23

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I wondered who the Brunean (?) hockey player was, and it's getting by on a technicality - Craig Adams was born in Brunei, but spent his entire hockey career (from a small child) in Canada.

posted by dfleming at 11:55 AM on April 23

Remaining conviction against Barry Bonds is overturned.


(I'm off by four years, however.)

I imagine you standing in front of two cork boards - one, "statements I've made" and the other "truths" and yesterday, you peeled the cigarette from your parched lips, put it out in the cigarette tray next to you, and in a gruff voice whispered "you're going home, friend" as you moved another scrap of white paper to its rightful place.

posted by dfleming at 07:34 AM on April 23

Charles Barkley: Rick Carlisle should bench Rajon Rondo permanently.

I know the Lakers are desperate, but how can you watch this guy and even consider giving him a max contract at this point in his career? Sure his ceiling is high, but this kind of floor is not typical of a max contract guy.

posted by dfleming at 02:01 PM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Bautista then goes and flips a proverbial bat in the post-game interview:

"I don't understand why they keep throwing behind us and hitting us. Ryan Goins got hit today, all of a sudden. The guy is painting and hitting his spots, and then all of a sudden one fastball gets away and hits him square in the thigh, nowhere near the strike zone. For a team that complains and whines so much about when their guys get pitched inside, they should manage their pitching a little bit better."

posted by dfleming at 12:47 PM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I did - and while I absolutely love advanced metrics and predictive data, I found it really distracting during the game to have it on the screen. It is akin to the stock ticker at the bottom of the screen - yes, it`s information, but it`s mostly just forcing my ADD-addled brain to choose between watching a play and analyzing the play in real-time, and quite frankly I do enough of that as it is after-the-fact.

The perceived velocity vs. actual velocity and arm angle thing was kind of new to me (as I could see it not only on fastballs, but other pitches) but I`m not really sure I care that much about lots of the data it`s giving me. A moment-by-moment win probability stat I think I`d be all for though.

posted by dfleming at 10:38 AM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Incidentally, a friend of mine is a Reds fan and expressed today he's seen "uncomfortable amounts of Kevin Gregg" so far this year. I commiserated, as my own upper bound for Kevin Gregg appearances is 0.

posted by dfleming at 04:28 PM on April 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Yeah - like, isn't the first thing you do when you cut a guy is call him into your office to tell him? It seems like Mr. Price was trying to game other teams by controlling information for a period of time and it backfired - which considering the dumpster fire that is the Reds right now, seems like a worse use of his time than encouraging his sorry team to play better.

posted by dfleming at 04:27 PM on April 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Bryan Price, manager of the Cincinnati Reds, went off on a bizarre, profane-laden rant yesterday at a Reds beat writer for reporting all the things he finds out about the Reds - particularly, players who are either being sent down and/or called up and haven't been notified by the team yet.

Particularly interesting is when Price lectures the writer on his own job: "Your job is not to sniff out every f****** thing is about the Reds and f****** put it out there for every other f****** guy to hear. It's not your job."

posted by dfleming at 01:19 PM on April 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

"From the people who bring you food at school, hospital, and prison cafeterias comes - food that's shitty at the ballpark! Film at 11."

Seriously though - how bad do you have to be as a company to fuck up something I made to perfection at 5-years-old?

posted by dfleming at 11:40 AM on April 21

Fan Hit in Head by Foul Ball Through Home-Plate Netting

This is completely contrasted by the woman who caught a ball in her beer and then, sensing the moment, chugs the beer on camera.

In general, I couldn't imagine attending a game without a glove on - one, to actually snag a ball, but two, even if you're quick to bare-hand, a ball moving 90 MPH or more is a great way to end up with a decorative hand for the next few weeks.

posted by dfleming at 11:02 AM on April 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Chip Kelly's also signed two deals in the process - one with ESPN, to exchange a ratings boost until training camp in exchange for the nickname "Roster Whisperer" - and another with God, where he's agreed to employ the second-coming in exchange for two miracle catches and a pardoning of Riley Cooper on his way to the afterland.

posted by dfleming at 10:00 AM on April 21

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

This whole meme that the Oilers ruin their prospects is just complete Bullshit.

That's not the meme - the meme is that the Oilers are perpetually awful despite the amount of elite talent they are able to draft and the constant stream of good players on the horizon who are seemingly unable to move the dial on actually winning games - and thus these players are being totally wasted on a team that can't even sniff at the playoffs.

The Oilers will get another elite, top-3 forward, and yet they'll still be about four D and a goalie short of being an actual contender. Will they skirt into the post-season soon? Sure, but that's a bloody embarrassing goal to have 5 years after drafting Taylor Hall and three other #1 overalls.

posted by dfleming at 10:42 AM on April 20

NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Atlanta Hawks in 5 Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 Chicago Bulls in 6 Washington Wizards in 6

Western Conference: Golden State Warriors in 5 Houston Rockets in 5 San Antonio Spurs in 7 Portland Trailblazers in 6

Lebron James - 28.4 James Harden - 29.2 Ejected: Matt Barnes Moneyball: 29.2

posted by dfleming at 01:44 PM on April 16

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Mark Stone has a microfractured wrist and his availability is questionable as a result of the two-handed PK Subban slash - reports from TSN insiders are Subban won't be suspended, and reports from the arena are that Chris Neil was the first guy on the ice today for the Senators.

It was a blatant and successful attempt to injure and the kind of play, suspend-able or not, that just makes hockey that much more dangerous for everyone.

posted by dfleming at 12:14 PM on April 16

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Now

Ottawa in 7 Islanders in 6 Blackhawks in 5 Flames in 7 Rangers in 5 Tampa in 6 Blues in 6 Anaheim in 5

Top scorer: Rick Nash

posted by dfleming at 07:42 PM on April 15

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

If that all is true, the Bruins upper management knows it and Chiarelli's a sacrificial lamb.

I'm a degree of separation from it (hometown and all), but in addition to Horton, it was pretty clear to a bunch of people on the team that the combination of Marchand and Seguin off-ice at clubs had the potential to totally derail his career. Bad influences and all.

posted by dfleming at 02:35 PM on April 15

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The thing is - I don't think Chiarelli lacked the knowledge that Seguin could have been the guy he has been the last two years, but in Boston he just wasn't that guy when he was dealt. His work ethic and off-ice partying were the kind of thing that could go either way for a young player.

Perhaps he matured immediately or he just needed a different fit of friends/coaches, but Seguin looks a lot more like the guy everyone expected him to be when he was drafted #2 than the guy he was when he was dealt. There's a scenario like this for a lot of other young guys which doesn't end this way.

It's worth considering as well what the Bruins might've been the last 3-4 years if Marc Savard had've been healthy - to extract a clear #1 center from any roster in his prime and still building a very good team is worth noting.

posted by dfleming at 02:32 PM on April 15

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Perhaps the Leafs will go out and get Chiarelli just to avoid any future hoodwinks.

posted by dfleming at 01:06 PM on April 15

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Nolan Arenado gives us an early contender for play of the year by making a ridiculous catch and then having the immediate wherewithal to almost turn it into a double play.

posted by dfleming at 10:11 AM on April 15

Ex-NFL Running Back Suspected of Killing Cellmate

What a total train-wreck of a human being.

posted by dfleming at 10:20 AM on April 14

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Seriously - for $3.5m, to get that kind of work ethic and game experience into your dressing room is an absolute bargain, let alone being a lock for 15-20 goals and decent possession numbers.

posted by dfleming at 03:02 PM on April 13

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Hunter would be an inspired choice - it's a pipe dream to think someone like Babcock joins a squad in a multi-year rebuild process (and the pressure to go out and sign a bunch of guys would go up), and they need a guy to own the dressing room and team culture, and Hunter's well-respected enough to be able to whip whatever veteran presence is left on this team by the end of the summer.

The Leafs have had a long-standing culture of paying full retail price for guys who are skill-wise 70-80% of what the particular position (star forward, #1 center, #1 defenceman) actually demands because they were always in need-to-improve-immediately mode. They routinely took the best they could get at whatever price it cost. It's good to see most, if not all, the guys involved in that process are now on the open market, as old habits die hard.

There's a lot of work to be done, but the Leafs are a 1/5ish chance away from getting one of two guys in this draft that is a top asset that 30 teams would ache to build around. They'll get young assets (probably not elite given the culture problems that they're responsible for as top guys in the dressing room) by dealing Kessel, Phaneuf, and maybe JVR. Lupul's contract probably sits on the books one more year, and if he's healthy, maybe you can move him at the trade deadline for a part.

They just need to stay the course, accept another horrifically bad season, deal what they can for assets, draft another elite young guy, and hire a guy to get Kadri, Reilly, Gardiner, Nylander, and the other few young guys with upside to play up to their potential, both as skilled players and as leaders. Hunter makes a lot more sense if you go that route than chasing Babcock and turning the gas back on their short-term expectations.

posted by dfleming at 11:55 AM on April 13

Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend

It's not like their rookie seasons were so great that you'd miss them if they weren't there.

I suspect every Cavaliers fan who watched LeBron go 20/5/5 his first year (one of four people to ever do that as a rookie) would've missed him quite a bit.

posted by dfleming at 02:30 PM on April 08

Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend

Are soccer and baseball suffering from teams signing 16-year-olds?

posted by dfleming at 02:26 PM on April 08

Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend

From the NBA's perspective there isn't much reason to be drafting 18 year olds.

The NBA's perspective should be that the best possible product is the 450 or so best players are playing in the NBA each season and they're maintaining some level of parity of opportunity for each city that has a team. I can't imagine a scenario where one year less of LeBron James is a perspective a league concerned primarily with the product would have.

The reality is, however, that profit motive is behind the draft and the rookie contract scale, and it's in place largely to recompense the richest players and the owners through the CBA negotiations. If guys enter the league at 19, rather than 18, then their service time/contracts go out another year and effectively reduce the number of potential free agent years.

It's not a perspective that's particularly fan-focused and thus not one I'm speeding to endorse. If an owner doesn't think 18 year olds are appropriate in the NBA, they can elect to draft more seasoned players like the Spurs do.

posted by dfleming at 01:45 PM on April 08

Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend

I can't operate on patients until I earn a degree from medical school either.

That's a false equivalency. Doctors have a licensure body which is concerned with consistent, safe skill-sets and capacity to act within the bounds of the profession. It's what separates professions from non-profession jobs - a quantifiable set of skills for which that designation endorses you as having.

There's no argument to be made that there's a standard like that for athletes - i.e., you don't need to prove you can shoot 40% from the three in order to be designated a basketball player...they are similar to how an economist doesn't have to do anything other than prove to their employer that they're capable of doing the job, but an engineer needs to prove they're licensed AND capable of the job.

posted by dfleming at 08:44 AM on April 08

Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend

Teams are forced to invest heavily in players who have talent but can't really play.

Well - forced is a strong word to use there. There are teams like the Spurs who almost exclusively draft guys with 2+ years college experience or who come from Europe to high-ceiling one-and-dones. Cory Joseph is the one exception to this in the first round since before Duncan was drafted.

I'd have been really interested to see if the Spurs had Jonathan Bender et. al. on their first-round board at all, or if they're gaining from other teams consistently jumping early on these tools-y, athletic, minimal track record guys so they don't end up doing it later. They haven't drafted in the top 20 since Duncan, so it's hard to tell if their strategy at 8 would be the same as theirs is in the 20s, but in general they have avoided those kinds of investments for some reason.

posted by dfleming at 04:28 PM on April 07

Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend

And it's so interesting that in the discussions on this topic, there is hardly a person to be found who will come forward to vigorously argue the merits of one-and-done.

That's because the perspectives is the owners saying "please protect us from our own shitty draft and development capabilities" and the players association saying "jobs for existing members over future ones." Both are protectionist over their individual interests, rather than the game's interest, which would be the broader audience's general point of view.

An argument might be made that folks getting an education/maturing before getting millions of dollars is a good thing, but the argument can't be made about the time it takes to go from 18 to 19 and experiencing life as a freshman in college. That doesn't change shit in a guy's life.

My crazy idea is to divorce the NCAA from its tenuous academic ties, let schools retain the brands and revenues, and turn it into a paid development league. Similar to the CHL in hockey, guys get drafted by age, but they can remain in the development league for a while if the teams choose, and/or if they want to get a degree they can simply not sign a team offer and become a free agent after 4 years in the new NCAA.

posted by dfleming at 03:21 PM on April 07

LA Dodgers set MLB payroll record.

Neither of them will see time in the majors this year unless the current second baseman (Howie Kendrick, $9.5million in his final year under contract) is injured/implodes, as they are both listed at that position.

Heck, the Dodgers might've bought one year of Hector Olivera recovering from Tommy John surgery...which is especially nuts considering he's already 29.

With Rollins at short and Uribe at third, the left side of the Dodgers' infield is playing chicken with father time (both on injury and effectiveness.) If Guerrero's flexible enough to play SS and 3B in addition to 2B, I don't think it'd be totally unreasonable to expect 60 starts even without injury subbing out for those positions. They're stuck with him regardless of his play because of his contract structure.

It's weird to see all that $$ and see them start the season with four healthy starters (including paper mache Brett Anderson and one-healthy-season Brandon McCarthy) and no established closer who's healthy. It's also not unreasonable to expect that Andre Ethier and/or Darwin Barney/Guerrero get major playing time because a guy who gets hurt regularly got hurt.

posted by dfleming at 10:48 AM on April 07

Tiger Woods Falls Out of Top 100 in Golf

Don't challenge the golf course as much; play sound, smart golf within your physical limitations; compete to win, not to dominate.

I haven't followed golf in a few years, but is there a guy out there right now following this sort of formula? It seemed for a while there if you weren't long off the tee and aggressive with your irons you weren't typically in contention very often because the courses were getting longer, and pin placements more ridiculous. Has that changed?

posted by dfleming at 04:39 PM on March 30

Tiger Woods Falls Out of Top 100 in Golf

Honestly, I'm not even sure Tiger's legacy stands to gain much from him continuing to get back some of his former glory. If he's playing for the love of the game, great, but even if he came back and wins 4 more majors and becomes the all-time leader in majors and wins, I'm not really sure it changes that much.

People are going to remember two Tigers for as long as we remember sport stars - the red shirted, fist-pumping, untouchable one, and the one who fell apart in the public eye in a form and time frame that is possibly unprecedented. He was the best at his time (and arguably had the best multi-year run ever), and one of the best of all-time, but I don't think he's got time left to put up a record that will make him the undisputed best-of-all-time.

posted by dfleming at 01:57 PM on March 30

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah - it seems like a lose/lose for players and teams to have a rule that you can get around by sending a guy down for two weeks. Fixing it will be a battle, but once it's fixed it will be better for everyone.

The competitiveness of the big league game takes a hit for what could easily be a straight rule on whether or not a guy plays a particular year or not. Similar to the option rules, they often mean lesser players are in the bigs for roster management reasons.

Sure, there might be edge cases where a guy gets 10 at-bats, gets hurt, and then the team loses a year of eligibility, but in general simplifying these rules would make it more likely the right guys are the right levels for the right reasons.

posted by dfleming at 03:30 PM on March 26

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Bloomsburg baseball player booted for offensive Mo'ne Davis tweet

It takes a real special kind of douchebaggery to call a 13-year-old a slut.

posted by dfleming at 10:53 AM on March 23

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

I mentioned that as one of the two conditions where it creates economic impact in my first comment - people travelling from one market to another.

But you spending money in other cities in Florida doesn't do anything for the state budget (sales tax in Viera or Orlando or Jacksonville all go to the same state, minus any local surtaxes, but those don't go to the state either), which was the whole thing that I started with - the governor of the state claiming it would cost the state $10m is a patently ridiculous statement.

With teams bordering around them in Kansas City, Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Chicago all in close proximity, and the Rams having been so lousy for the last decade, it's pretty unlikely that they are drawing thousands of out-of-state fans to the state for Rams home games. They may be drawing folks from local counties in, but that does nothing for the state budget.

posted by dfleming at 09:35 PM on March 22

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

Why do you find it hard to believe that a person who likes a specific form of entertainment will spend money on that when it is available, and keep the money when it isn't?

Because I've looked at the data on saving and spending habits. Those questions are vague because we're not talking about all the spending on one Sunday, but the spending of citizens over a year in their cities. Do they spend the same amount of money they make each year, regardless of what it's on? Yes - primarily they do.

I'm also not inventing this out of belief - I'm saying the majority of people don't do what it is that you're suggesting, no matter how irrational it is. People in towns spend almost all of their money every month regardless of whether or not it's on sports teams.

What you seem to be envisioning if the Jags leave is 50,000 people in Jacksonville who just sit at home quietly in a room on Sunday afternoons and don't consider anything else they might do with their time and money. They don't go to sports bars to watch games, or watch other sports live, or take their partners on dates, or take their families to the movies or to an amusement park, or do anything else.

And what I'm suggesting is, based on all economic data and trends I have seen to date, people have not one thing they wish to do with their money, but many things, and when one preference is unavailable, they find others that maximize the happiness of their lives in the present. People who used to go to LA Rams games do other things today than they did then.

posted by dfleming at 12:28 PM on March 20

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

When I attend sporting events, I don't usually think about whether I've refrained from other spending to make up for it.

You don't consider what your current Visa balance is at when deciding on future purchases? You've not once thought that a particular month's expenses were high, and you might rein it in for a little bit to compensate?

It's not a direct "this, therefore not that" thought process that most people use as their decision-making mechanism. It's either hitting their credit card limit (therefore I can't buy other things), a review of their bank balance, or a desire to not be perpetually in deficit that causes people to decide not to eat out that week, not to drop by the pub after work, not to grab Starbucks, etc.

The things we've bought absolutely help to dictate what it is we buy in the future.

Some people will hang onto it because none of the alternatives are enough to motivate them to part with the money they used to spend on a NFL team.

If you actually look at the data on what people do with their money, this is categorically untrue for all but a small percentage of the population.

Most people spend how much money they have, and very few look at the variety of other consumption options (including housing expenses and upgrades, electronics, food and beverage, cars, and servicing other debt) and think "well, there are literally no other options other than Jags tickets that will satisfy me. I guess I will bank that $500."

If they did, the savings rate would create significantly more stable retirement funds for all but the wealthy than exist now. Most people's net worth is the equity in their house - they aren't building it through monthly cash flow or savings theory, which is why we have to do things like incentivize 401k contributions and other things to get them to.

posted by dfleming at 09:15 AM on March 20

Can popularity ruin a sport?

Yeah, there's a certain segment of folks at any event who act as though the event exists exclusively for them and they're happy to elbow you out of the way and block your view and forget about common courtesy because it's their world.

I wonder, though, if mobs are representative of how many people really want to break stuff all the time or how many people would break stuff once a bunch of people already are and their own behaviour is now part of a collective. I suspect belief in the latter and it being about exponential growth is why I feel safer in smaller venues - more followers than leaders out there.

posted by dfleming at 01:41 PM on March 19

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

I wish we were able to nail the "investing in long-term benefits is sexy" narrative bill, but sadly, the collective "we" really love shiny new things. If we were, maybe the water and sewer infrastructure throughout North America wouldn't be crumbling daily.

posted by dfleming at 01:39 PM on March 19

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

Any time you bring tens of thousands of people to an event there are going to be increased business for grocery stores for tailgate supplies, gas stations, restaurants, bars, parking lots and stadium concessions, all of which help those businesses and their employees and generate sales taxes. Local newspapers, radio and TV stations also benefit because the team draws more eyeballs and they can sell them to advertisers.

This only works if you're enticing people to spend money they aren't spending already in the area - either by attracting people to the area, convincing them not to leave the area, or convincing them to cut their spending rate and to spend more money. The area, in the case of the Governor, is the state of Missouri.

It's the same argument that is used when a Wal-Mart opens up - that it creates jobs and tons of economic impact. Lots of economic analysis (this one is on a Lowe's where 115 jobs were created, and as many as 163 jobs were destroyed) suggests all it does is shave it from other businesses and centralize it in this one place, and very little (if any) new money is created, and often times, jobs are destroyed. In the case of big entertainment - it's money that might've been distributed at a variety of other places.

So - my point is that, while there is a centralized and clustered spending pattern that occurs in places in and around the stadium, if the Rams weren't playing that Sunday, it would be spread out at other retailers, restaurants, etc. throughout the week. The 5.5% saving number that yerfatma cites is not a normally-distributed dataset (I have a couple of local Canadian studies behind a university paywall that are similarly-focused) - it's a small number of people saving a lot, and a lot of people servicing debt like mortgages, student loans, and credit card debts, and spending the rest on survival and luxuries with nothing left over.

Similarly - if you're in a market where the governments spend all, if not more, than they earn - the capital spending on the project also is not new money. We typically shave from other budgets to accommodate a stadium build, which means that money was already cycling through the economy at status quo.

The majority people aren't spending new money at the stadium, but instead cutting back on other spending to compensate for their day out. I've made this argument to deaf ears at the local and provincial level as an economist in Canada.

posted by dfleming at 10:41 AM on March 19

Can popularity ruin a sport?

Great article - thanks for sharing.

You could sub a whole whack of stuff in there - politics, music, entertainment, ideology - and it holds that it is as though it exists for some people as an outlet to yell at others. Unfortunately, that shit is what enough people watch in droves and that means losing all the reasonable people in the process isn't bad for business.

I think it's always been this way on a micro scale, it just happens in today's day and age that the volume's gone from 2 to 11 and it's drowning everything else out. It used to be that your sporting experience might be marked by a couple of shows on TV, folks at the bar, the people in your stadium section, and your friends and family.

It wasn't that long ago (heck, it still happens in soccer) where yelling racial epithets, hurling batteries, talking about people's ugly wives, and chanting about people's dead mothers was part of the in-sport experience. Now it's done largely anonymously via the internet, and the volume of it is such that it dwarfs the reasonable folks out.

My last two stadium experiences - Foxboro and Yankee Stadium - left me feeling unsafe and largely disinterested in the in-game experience. We met a group of rough looking 49ers fans on the way to Foxboro who turned out to be really lovely people, but once we got in our section, my internal conflict turned out to be thinking about telling the Pats fan two rows down to stop yelling the N word at a bunch of 49er fans in the section below. He was ready for a fight, and quite honestly, it ruined the entire experience to think that I had to chose between being a coward or getting in a fight - both things I loathe. The game itself was awesome, but I had a lousy time.

The good news, at least, is the niche market for reasonable sports experience is out there. SpoFi, however small in the grand scheme of things, is a really great resources - in part because the moderation have been brilliant at discouraging the tribalism that begets hatred and anger here. Podcasts as a collective seem to do better than video, and there's a relatively robust analytical community in all sports that delights me to no end.

It's just a shame that we have not figured out how to keep the humanity in things as they scale in size. I now shy away from large music festivals, political rallies, and sports events, and find myself getting excited about obscure pro-ball games simply because there's a safety and human touch still left in the experience. It sucks to no longer be able to catch a live performance of a band or player because their audience has scaled, but I'd rather not have to deal with racism, sexism, tribalism, and violence just to enjoy something. It's not worth it.

posted by dfleming at 09:57 AM on March 19

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Jerry Jones: November 11th, 2014 - "There's no question in my mind, the emphasis we have on spousal abuse in the NFL and the lack of tolerance for it. It's intolerable and will be adjudicated accordingly."

Jerry Jones: March 18th, 2015 - 'Well, unless we get a bunch of sacks out of the deal.'

posted by dfleming at 04:30 PM on March 18

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has said losing the Rams would cost the state at least $10 million a year.

No - they gross $10m a year in revenue. They cost the state in terms of infrastructure (stadium capital costs; busses and roads/tax breaks on land that might net higher property tax/etc.) - costs that will likely escalate if it takes a new stadium to keep them.

Considering most people spend every cent of their pay cheque anyways, the argument it stimulates activity in the local economy is bogus. People eating out on Sunday instead of Tuesday doesn't generate any new money. People shopping at this Wal Mart near the stadium vs. that Target in a business park doesn't do anything for the economy. The exceptions are:

a) Keeping dollars that would otherwise be spent out of Missouri in Missouri; or
b) Attracting dollars from other states for gamedays/sales tax on merch.

To which, as far as I can tell, the Rams are unlikely to be massive movers in either category.

I don't know why guys with control over these massive public budgets can't fucking figure out that gross revenue =/= net revenue. If you spend $12m/year on a capital project for whom there are next to no other possible tenants (therefore meaning it's Rams rent or bust for this huge, expensive stadium), and it nets you $10m a year in direct revenue, it's a god damned cost to taxpayers.

posted by dfleming at 12:19 PM on March 18

49ers Linebacker Retires at 24, Says NFL Isn't 'Worth the Risk'

There's a thread down here.

posted by dfleming at 10:26 AM on March 18

SF 49er rookie Chris Borland retires at age 24 due to worries about his future health from concussions.

I kind of wonder whether or not even base-level NFL salaries are now at such a point where the reward is enough over a couple of years to give up the long-term risk.

Borland only made a few hundred thousand last year, but he's got a free college degree and (presumably) a positive balance sheet at 24. There aren't very many people in the U.S. who weren't born rich who can say that, and he now can enter another career with a bit of a safety net under him.

These are all pieces of anecdata where guys are leaving money (MJD and Locker, a little; Worilds, Borland and Willis, a lot) on the table. It's certainly not a trend yet, but it's really inspiring to see even a few guys in their 20's analyzing research and listening to the older pros and choosing the long-term over the short-term. It's the only way the game will truly be reformed - if the star power dulls a little and the NFL can't ignore it anymore.

posted by dfleming at 12:09 PM on March 17

Tim Tebow Working Year-Round on Throwing Mechanics

Honestly, I'm not surprised that with that much dedication to his mechanics that Tebow got a look. Quarterbacking depth is so poor in the NFL and guys like Vince Young and Josh Freeman are still on the periphery because of it. It takes an hour to evaluate Tebow to determine whether or not the rest of his skill-set goes with a consistent left arm now. The prospect of that, coupled with all his "intangibles", is a lot more worthwhile than evaluating Tyler Thigpen for the umpteenth time.

These guys should pay a tithe to Kurt Warner for making GMs believe it's indeed possible for a late 20's quarterback to emerge from his previous mediocrity as Cinderella.

posted by dfleming at 10:48 AM on March 17

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves

I think if Bradford's healthy and the offensive line gets filled out well, he'll be a pretty good compliment to a strong, multi-headed running game. Ertz and Sproles in a play-action, ball-control scheme will help limit how often he's dropping back deep in the pocket and getting killed, which has been his career to date.

If Bradford was the guy they've wanted for months, though, it makes zero sense to me to re-up with Sanchez and not to chase one of the more game-manager type veterans on the market. Sure, he knows the system (despite the fact 50% of the playmakers are gone), but he's not going to plug-and-play into an accuracy and tempo based system if Bradford goes down.

posted by dfleming at 12:04 PM on March 13

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves

Now I'm more confused, mainly because $14 million per year for Revis doesn't seem crazy to me. That said, they may feel like it's a lot to shell out for a guy who will be 33 at the end of the deal and won't be worth the cap constraint after the first year or two.

That's my thought - it's a fine annual rate, however the third year guarantee is a big gamble. Not a lot of corners can maintain elite level skill AND elite health into their 30s. If he's Revis Island for 42-48 games in that time, it's a great deal, but I think with the cap situation in NE and the guys they need to keep, it reduces the flex they'll have in setting those deals up in years 2 and 3.

The Pats a season ago had, more or less, this secondary minus Malcolm Butler's one-off heroics. They were prone the big play, particularly against tall, elite receivers. Browner's a #2 for sure, but he's a guy whose physicality at the line can at least match up and slow 'em down. If you look at who's left on the board - Cromartie, Tramon Williams, Chris Culliver, Pat Robinson - none of them give you either #1 coverage or help you in size matchups, with the exception or Cromartie who's near a deal with the Jets, and is older and will (in theory) be more expensive than Browner.

posted by dfleming at 02:29 PM on March 11

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves

The Revis money remains silly - but I don't understand hardballing Browner. There isn't much left on the market even as a #2 corner and the Pats have a lot of small guys in their secondary. He's been on the last two Superbowl winners and is surely going to get more money than he was cut for.

The other piece I think they're going to miss is Vereen - occasionally, when Edelman was covered, passes all over the field to Vereen were what sustained drives.

posted by dfleming at 09:22 AM on March 11

Baseball's fight with fatigue

I wonder how much the heat has to do with this - 7 of the 10 hottest years ever in the U.S. (I know that's not isolating for the ball season specifically) have been in the last 13 years and 3+ hours in increasing heat everyday is going to take a toll on guys.

posted by dfleming at 10:54 PM on March 06

Bears Receiver Brandon Marshall Traded to Jets

At least they're giving what is likely Geno's do or die season a real good shot - if you can't throw to Decker/Marshall/Amaro (even assuming Marshall's problem last year was a decline in skills rather than Cutler/Claussen syndrome), you aren't going to cut it in the NFL.

The whole Kerley/Cumberland era was one thing, but now there are legitimate NFL tools around him. Time to produce.

posted by dfleming at 01:29 PM on March 06

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I like your rationale yerfatma - McCourty was also publicly in favour of the franchise number (it's higher than all but two safeties in the NFL, I believe), which to me seemed like a bit of a peculiar negotiation move.

posted by dfleming at 08:57 AM on March 06

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah - when they didn't franchise him, it meant the Pats were going to have to do a big-dollar, longer-term deal with a guy in the secondary which they pretty rarely do. Plus - Jason's been working on him to come to Tennessee, who's got the cap room.

It's entirely possible that they work some magic with all three in the next few days (and Mayo and Solder on lower cap extensions, although Mayo's got an injury guarantee which means they can't get him below $4.5m guaranteed until he passes a physical which is a few months out), but I'm not optimistic with a shallow pool of talent in all three positions once they hit the open market that the Pats will be able to make it work.

posted by dfleming at 03:29 PM on March 05

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah - on the one hand, I like the "don't overpay anyone" system for its results, but when you watch guys like Devin McCourty and Vince Wilfork put on other jerseys, it's hard to not to hate it. Even the guys who bloody hate the Pats with a fiery passion like those guys.

I also remember the year when Wilfork was hurt, and thinking about that D minus McCourty (and no real free agents that replace Revis, McCourty and Wilfork with equivalents out there) it's easy to see the Pats slip a lot this year. Brady's not quite as able to throw the team on his back, and some version of that leaky Pats D is really going to make it tough to compete against the elites of the NFL.

posted by dfleming at 11:16 AM on March 05

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

That's more or less making an auction out of bowl and playoff games, which is probably happening on the black market anyways - now it's just the university keeping the money.

You can log in to your loyalty account and see how much of a donation you need to make in order to move up in the rankings - but, keep in mind, someone else might go above you yet again! Better give more just in case!

It irks me the idea that, if this succeeds, in order to go to anything special I'm going to need to create an account that tracks me and rewards me for being a good boy in the future. Maybe I'm not a normal customer (as they claim this is responding to fan desires), but all I want in terms of customer service is to pay a fair price to go to a thing, not to add more game theory to my weekends.

posted by dfleming at 12:27 PM on March 04