FanDuel - WFBC

June 22, 2005

Erstad Gets Dirty...: Darin Erstad, the Angelís first baseman and only MLB player to ever win a gold glove in both the outfield and at first base, plays the game like it should be played, with passion. If Johnny Estrada wants to play in the "bigs", he should expect to get knocked on his ass whenever he blocks the plate. Unlike most other first basemen who usually chit chat with the opposing teamís players who land on their base, Erstad rarely if ever talks to other team players. I know about the boys needing to have their fun and all of that, but with todayís inflated ticket prices needed to support the playerís high salaries, Iíd like to see more intensity and passion for the game like Erstad shows.

posted by tommysands to baseball at 02:01 PM - 31 comments

I've watched that play a bunch of times (go down to June 6th and choose "Erstad runs over Estrada"), and Estrada was not blocking the plate. He was in front of it and to the right. However, Erstad had decided to plow him from the moment he rounded 3rd base. You can definitely see Erstad alter his course to make contact with Estrada. If he continued his normal route (to the back part of the plate), he could have made a simple head-first hook-slide with his left arm and touched the plate without ever being interfered with by Estrada (who would have had to reach WAY back to apply the tag). That said, he's got every right to run over the catcher if he thinks it's going to be a close play. That doesn't mean I can't call it a dirty play, and dirty != passion in my books. but with todayís inflated ticket prices needed to support the playerís high salaries Ding! Thanks for playing "Let's Believe What the Owners Tell Us, and Not What the Economists Have Proven!". Your parting gift is a signed picture from Carl Pohlad holding a sign that says "It's in Minnesota's best interest to build me a new baseball stadium."

posted by grum@work at 03:40 PM on June 22

Hey, grum, I like your style. And your "ding" is well taken. I agree the owners are a greedy bunch and if I were a player, I'd negotiate for whatever I could get too. But, don't you think today's salaries are way beyond reasonable?

posted by tommysands at 04:02 PM on June 22

That's not the point: ticket prices and player salaries have no correlation. Quick game: you are the owner and I am the sole player on your team. A ticket price of $10 will maximize revenue in the stadium over the course of a year. If you charge less than $10 you will make less money. If you charage more than $10 you will make less money. Where does my salary enter into it? If I am willing to play for $1, does that change what you would charge?

posted by yerfatma at 04:31 PM on June 22

Ok... I have seen the play over and over... heard the complaints...Heard that just because he was former Nabraska FB player it was unfair.. The guy was a PUNTER! Estrada got nailed by a punter! Shez throw a flag for Erstad he didn't have the padding! Second you go in hard at the plate. You (especially if you have played the game) know never slide head first at the plate. He could has put a pop up slide on at any other base. Regardless of a slide or hard play at the plate, Estrada was a sitting duck! If he wants to be a catcher seems like a few more foul balls to unprotected areas his something he better get used to... and run over is part of it as well. Who ever said it was a non-contact sport has never played enough!

posted by Rob at 05:02 PM on June 22

Hey, ...fat.., your analogy limps badly. The correct formula is: profit = revenue - expenses. So, if owners pay players more (expenses go up), then they must get greater revenue (ticket prices go up). I beg to differ, but there is a positive correlation between salaries and ticket prices and a negative correlation between salaries and profit.

posted by tommysands at 05:29 PM on June 22

This play with Erstad is how the "real" game of Pro Ball is played! Once upon a time, when ballplayers had to actually work to make their money in life, this is how it was done...WITH PASSION!!! It's ok to be friendly with the enemy and still play with a winning attitude. All sports have become way too soft while the players are making so much more in money and endorsements and who is paying for that? I am and you are! I love the days of Pete Rose coming in head-first at any given catcher. That's what it's about, trying and doing the best job possible. If you can't deal with the competitive side of sports, there is always Horseshoes.

posted by melcarek69 at 05:35 PM on June 22

your analogy limps badly. The correct formula is: profit = revenue - expenses. My "analogy" is fit as a fiddle. The thing you're not seeing is the supply/ demand curve. There is a ticket price x which maximizes revenue. That price has no correlation to player salary. The only thing that affects ticket price is ticket demand and # of seats. Regardless of whether the roster costs the Red Sox $1 or $100,000,000 they're still going to charge x for a seat. Raising prices above x will reduce revenue. If ticket prices could be infinitely raised with no effect on purchases, prices would be a bit higher. There is no correlation between ticket prices and player salaries (I know the leagues and media insist there is, but there are a pile of Econ textbooks in my parents' basement that beg to differ).

posted by yerfatma at 05:36 PM on June 22

I say "amen" to mel and to rob, "Who ever said it was a non-contact sport has never played enough" reminds me of another old adage: "the ball really doesn't curve, it's an illusion".

posted by tommysands at 05:39 PM on June 22

Yo, ...fat.., I think we're talking about two different things here. I agree with your maximum revenue theory. But, regardless of that, if owners pay higher salaries, they by definition will realize less profit. Agree?

posted by tommysands at 05:42 PM on June 22

Fat....To say that ticket prices have nothing to do with player slaries is kind of out there. Look at the New York Yankees. They have the highest payroll in the majors and the highest ticket prices. It is not all that easy, but owners (alot of the time) don't get much from consessions or parking so they have to make their money somewhere. Now when they cry that they are loosing money, that is a lie. Making less money one year then the year before is not loosing money. When you can't pay the bills because you are paying your closer 19 million dollars while they recover from Tommy John surgery (ie. why guaranteed contracts is what is ruining sports) that is the teams fault, no need to raise ticket prices to cover it. We will see what happens next year with thier ticket prices. But like Tommy said, you are right, but it is not that cut and dry.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 06:09 PM on June 22

Well, I just saw the play and it looks like a very legitimate hit by Erstad. Estrada would have put him out if there had been no contact, and as a runner, you don't have much time to decide: slide around or into the catcher. The hands first slide at home is one of the most riskiest plays for any runner, many injuries have happened that way.... your safest bet is to lower your shoulder and go right into the catcher.... Iím sorry, but thatís baseball, and itís in no means dirty, specially if the catcher is on your running lane. Now you can see that Erstad makes his decision to tackle toward the very end, when he notices he will be out otherwise, a good heads-up play. I love that type of playing style.

posted by zippinglou at 06:10 PM on June 22

Yo, ...fat.., I think we're talking about two different things here. I agree with your maximum revenue theory. But, regardless of that, if owners pay higher salaries, they by definition will realize less profit. Agree? I'll agree to that, but there is an important distinction to make. The difference isn't between "no profit" and "some profit", it's between "some profit" and "more profit". There is obviously a minimum price they have to charge for tickets in order to help cover their expenses. They have other revenue streams to do this as well (like concessions, tv/radio rights, advertising, parking, merchandise, "revenue sharing"), but we'll just ignore that for the sake of this discussion. Let's assume that in order to make ANY profit at all ($1), their accountants calculate a ticket price of $10 would do the job. This would guarantee the revenue (ticket price * tickets sold) would give them the minimum profit ($1). Obviously, they aren't looking to make the smallest amount of profit, they are looking to make the biggest amount of profit. That's when their accountants say that the best ticket price (the one that guarantees the highest revenue stream = price * sold) is $33. They calculate this based on how the DEMAND for the tickets. This DEMAND has (99% of the time) NOTHING to do with the team's payroll. How many times have you heard someone's primary reason to refuse to buy a ticket to a baseball game because the team's payroll was too high (or too low)? It's simply not a factor, and therefore it's a scam for the owners to say "We need to raise the price of tickets because our payroll is too high." When is the last time you saw a team lower their ticket prices and tell the public it was because their payroll was so low? They lower the ticket prices because the demand for the tickets isn't there anymore and they can't sell enough of them at the higher price. It had nothing to do with the payroll. If payroll was really an important factor in determining ticket prices, how come a team doesn't jack up the price of tickets in the middle of the season when they acquire a high-priced rent-a-player for the playoffs? The hands first slide at home is one of the most riskiest plays for any runner, many injuries have happened that way.... your safest bet is to lower your shoulder and go right into the catcher.... Iím sorry, but thatís baseball, and itís in no means dirty, specially if the catcher is on your running lane. Hold up. You're telling me that it's safer (less likely to cause injury) to run into another human being (wearing padding and plastic shin guards) at full tilt, head first, than it is to slide on the ground? And I'll remind you, there is no way the catcher is in the "running lane" in this instance. That is, unless Erstad was intending on running to first base or the dugout after touching home. He hits him IN FRONT of the plate. Now you can see that Erstad makes his decision to tackle toward the very end, when he notices he will be out otherwise, a good heads-up play. I love that type of playing style. Tackle? I'm pretty sure "tackling" isn't allowed in baseball. If Estrada was in the way (which I'm saying he wasn't), then he can run into him. But "tackling" ain't allowed. (just like trying to slap the ball from a glove with your open hand) And I repeat, he wouldn't have been out if he simply went for the back part of the plate (which is where the normal path after rounding third would take you anyways). Estrada was too far forward to be able to beat Erstad to that part of the plate and apply the tag. All in all, it's not an illegal play in anyway, but that still doesn't make it "clean" in my books. If I was the Braves, I'd have plunked him on the ass the next time he faced them in the batters box.

posted by grum@work at 06:19 PM on June 22

grum, they tried to knock Erstad on his ass the next time he came to the plate. Erstad ducked and any more of that would have led to an ejection for the pitcher.

posted by tommysands at 06:32 PM on June 22

but with todayís inflated ticket prices needed to support the playerís high salaries, Iíd like to see more intensity and passion for the game like Erstad shows. Side note: Erstad's "intensity and passion" are costing the Angels over $7,750,000 for .765 OPS at 1B. That's good enough for 22nd place among regular 1Bmen in the majors this year. His contract is one of the biggest albatrosses in MLB this year.

posted by grum@work at 06:32 PM on June 22

I love this game!

posted by melcarek69 at 07:08 PM on June 22

Funny thing is, almost any other player in that situation that has a true passion for the game would have done the same thing. That is one of the things they teach young catchers. "If your going to block or intend to block the plate, HOLD ON TO THE BALL BECAUSE YOUR GOING TO GET YOUR BELL RUNG!!"

posted by jtrainhoopster at 07:22 PM on June 22

The Erstad-Estrada dust-up was a clean play. You'd expect the Braves to bark. After all, it was their man who was sent to the cleaners. If it was a Braves player pounding into the Angels catcher with the same results, the Angels would yell. The runner's goal is to score. It doesn't matter where the catcher is if he is able to tag him out. If the catcher has or is getting the ball ahead of the runner, the runner plows into him to score and hopes that he hit that catcher hard enough to make him drop the ball. That's just good baseball. And every catcher knows it, Estrada included. Sure, the catcher's teammates will call it a dirty play or whatever. But bashing into the catcher in that situation has always been part of baseball. Not dancing around him or executing the proper slide so as not to hurt him.

posted by roberts at 07:46 PM on June 22

The thing that gets me is it's illegal for the catcher to block the plate, but that's a call that never gets made (and good thing too: Varitek is one of the best in the league at that).

posted by yerfatma at 08:19 PM on June 22

"tackle? I'm pretty sure "tackling" By tacklin I just meant lowering the shoulder before the collision, not wrapping his arms around him like in football :)! As for going for the back of the plate, in my opinion, that would have been an easy out! Good call by the runner.

posted by zippinglou at 08:27 PM on June 22

There is very little corrolation between ticket prices and payroll. Especially in baseball, where tickets are one of many revenue streams. Teams make these calculations every year - In order to maximize stadium revenue, do I charge less and get more people, or charge more for less people? Payroll, really doesn't factor into it on any level - it's not about how much money the team needs to make, but how much they can make given their market. The Yankees can afford to charge exorbinant rates (like the Red Sox) because the demand for their tickets is high. The Reds, cannot. If the Yankees had 100 million less on their payroll, would ticket prices go down?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:10 AM on June 23

If the Yankees had 100million less on their payroll would their prices lower, hell yes they would. They would have to to get people in the stands. Take the Angles for example. The new owner lowered the prices on beer and upper level tickes to get more people in the standa so he could get big free angents like Colon and Vlad. Simple business peeople. Baseball is a game for kids and weekend hackers. It is a business first and a game second to these filthy rich owners. Mark my word, they will never loose money, only trade the money makers away to keep their pockets filled. Again, not making as much as the year before is not loosing money........

posted by jtrainhoopster at 02:39 PM on June 23

If the Yankees had 100million less on their payroll would their prices lower, hell yes they would. so long as the yankees (or any team for that matter) put a team on the field that people want to see, they'll continue to average 45,000+ a game no matter is their payroll is $200 million or $100 million or $50 million. and if that many people continue to go there's no reason for ticket prices to go down. if their current state of play continues for another year or 2 i could see attendance going down. then they may lower prices. they would probably have to pull less than 3 million a year though before that happens. but with only another 4 seasons or so left at this stadium before they build the new one i don't see that happening. i'd say there's a good chance for them to break 4 million tickets sold soon. the yankees make their money from merchandising and cable deals and things of that nature. (they have their own network fer chrissakes.) i would think that most of the money brought in from tickets and concessions goes to operational costs, not player payroll. if you have to decrease ticket prices just to draw those 45,000 per game, you still have to pay the operational costs but now you have a smaller pool of money to use.

posted by goddam at 03:21 PM on June 23

The new owner lowered the prices on beer and upper level tickes to get more people in the standa so he could get big free angents like Colon and Vlad. He lowered prices on beer and upper-level tickets under the assumption the corresponding rise in sales at a lower price would offset or exceed sales x the higher price. Which is to say, he maximized revenue. It had nothing to do with who he wanted to sign. He would have tried to maximize revenue regardless. If I visit your lemonade stand and tell you I'd be willing to pay twice the price and so would everyone else, would you continue to sell at the lower price? Keep in mind, as goddam suggested above, ticket sales are a small percentage of overall team revenue, especially for the large-market teams like the Sox, Cubs, Braves and Yankees who own their own tv channels (or are owned by one). A 5% change in ticket prices isn't going to affect who they can sign. It is a business first and a game second to these filthy rich owners. And it would be for anyone else who owned a team. Otherwise there'd be a decent chance you'd go out of business. As for "filthy", which side are you on, the side of filthy business or filthy anarchists?

posted by yerfatma at 04:08 PM on June 23

Maybe you mis understood what I meant about lowering the costs of things at the stadium. Buy doing so, more people would come to the games and buy more beer and seats. You are %100 right about that, it is a BUSINESS move and that is it. I am on the side of the guy who wants to take his kids to a ball game but has to pay $250 bucks for a family of four to go. I am a season ticket holder 3 seasons now and luckly I can afford to do that. By lowering beer prices, more drunk fans will buy beer because "its cheeper so we can by more" that is brilliant marketing, but that is how he made most of his money.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 06:41 PM on June 23

As far as the Yankees having their own network, if their product was not that good, or that of the Royals, people would not come to the games and thus no money to get these things. But if you spend the money, you get the players. The yankees are known for buying the best team they can. It is noce to see it blow up in their face. Now if only those Red Sox can play strong for a whole season the crumble will be complete. :0)

posted by jtrainhoopster at 06:43 PM on June 23

But if you spend the money, you get the players. Show me that this is true, that there is a 1:1 correlation between payroll and performance. Used wisely, a high payroll makes things easier, but there are plenty of recent examples of expensive teams that sucked. Think Peter Angelos and the Os of the late 90s to early Aughts. if their product was not that good, or that of the Royals, people would not come to the games and thus no money to get these things. Again, this is not accurate. The teams with TV networks receive hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenues. Yes those revenues rise and fall depending on team performance, but the variance isn't as great as you'd think. Additionally, all teams get a piece of the national TV contract regardless of their performance. And they get 20% of road gate receipts. So there's plenty of income for any team, no matter how they play.

posted by yerfatma at 07:03 PM on June 23

So there's plenty of income for any team, no matter how they play... For the best evidence of this reasoning see Donald Sterling and his Clippers.

posted by lilnemo at 07:04 PM on June 23

This post started as a testament to Darin Erstad and look what you guys did to it!!!

posted by tommysands at 08:40 PM on June 23

Well, we were going to talk Dodgers . . .

posted by yerfatma at 09:02 PM on June 23

That's a different post, isn't it?

posted by tommysands at 12:15 AM on June 24

Tommy you are %100 correct, and I am sorry about that. Coming from an ex hardcore player, I saw the play coming a mile away and so should have the Braves catcher.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 02:18 PM on June 24

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