October 17, 2012

Baseball gentrification

GL Piggy offers an analysis of class at baseball stadiums, triggered by the decline in cheering at New York Yankees home games, featuring this quote:
The new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, at a cost of $1.3 billion to build. To pay for it, the Yankees established a block of field-level box seats that cannot be accessed by fans in cheaper seats, who were able to bring their children down to the front row to pursue autographs before games in the old stadium. ... 
O’Connor, author of the biography “The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter,” remembers sitting just behind that moat with his son this season and watching as Jeter jogged in from batting practice with a ball he was looking to present to a youngster, something he often did in the old stadium. But there were no children around the dugout. 
“So he ended up flipping the ball to Donald Trump,” O’Connor said. “I think that’s the perfect example of what’s happened.

Jeter is good at making quick decisions. Out of all the billionaires in attendance, Trump was no doubt the most childlike and therefore got the biggest blast out of having Derek Jeter toss him a baseball. Chuck writes:
In a simple model of a team’s fan base, you have proles and fat-cats.  The Yankees are probably the best example of a team which has appealed to both groups.  The storied history of the team is a source of pride for locals of all classes, and transplants are able to leech off of this legacy of success by donning a Yankee cap. 
But fat cat fans are reserved, not just in their seating arrangements but also in their ballpark demeanor.  The polite opera-friendly behavior cited in the pieces above is a good indicator of the trend.  On the flip side, prole fans are tribalists out for blood.  They are the heart and the spirit of any team.  Fat cats appreciate that the proles are in attendance.  They add diversity and authenticity, but NIMBY – over in the cheap seats instead (while they last). 
Fat cats increase revenue, but proles increase the type of experience valued by what are the baseball version of the music-snob hipster.  As with the arts and other modes of culture – of which New York City is the U.S.’s chief manufacturer – there is a feedback loop between the two groups.  Proles provide a lot of the color; fat cats provide the funds.  The two groups have maintained a silent if not contentious balance, and any tilt towards one extreme or the other threatens to uproot the symbiotic relationship. Building a fancy new stadium full of comfortable amenities is a shock to this relationship.

A few comments:

White American proles were always much better behaved at sports events than, say, British soccer fans, whose awful behavior twice led to massive death tolls in the 1980s. (British soccer then went upscale with vast success.) If you go back to baseball in the 1890s, when the Irish influence was at its peak, there was a fair amount of violence in the stands (and on the field). But even then, British custom of using sports events as pre-planned occasions for communal riots was alien.

(By the way, riotousness was one reason for the founding of the American League in 1901 and its rapid success. Ban Johnson intended for the American League to be the clean, orderly alternative to the riotous National League. Johnson gave absolute backing to umpires and in general put out a product appealing to respectable middle class Americans.)

A baseball franchise can coast for a long time on the myth of prole tribalism. For example, when I was living in Santa Monica in 1981, I went to a local version of the play "Bleacher Bums" about Cub fans at Wrigley Field on Chicago's North Side.. The play was dreamed up in 1977 by the Organic Theater Company of Chicago, and launched the careers of Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz. But by the time I first went to a Wrigley Field game in 1983, however, it was clear that Wrigley Field fans tended to be yuppies like myself, looking for a sociological excuse (let's pretend to be proles!) for daytime drinking in a place where you could (prudently, like the good yuppies we actually were) walk home without getting a DUI or getting mugged by locals.

In contrast, the White Sox's Comiskey Park on the South Side really did attract prole fans, but it was almost never fashionable. I attended the last game at that historic ballpark in 1991, which I always found better-looking than the overrated Wrigley Field, but Comiskey was next to a depressing black housing project of vast scale.

Another difference between Wrigley and Comiskey was that the Cubs had started broadcasting all their homegames on the cable superstation WGN during the 1970s. The White Sox had stuck with the traditional view that giving games away on television would drive down ballpark attendance. That era is when Wrigley ascended to cultural icon status. Why? Because it was on TV.

It turns out that what modern Americans want to do is to see with their own eyes the things they've seen on TV a lot, such as Wrigley Field. This explain the economics of the lecture circuit, on which the highest paid are the people who are on TV the most and thus presumably have the least new stuff to share with paying in-person audiences.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Yankee$ fans are cheering, they're just not clapping. They're rattling their jewelry!

Anonymous said...

It turns out that what modern Americans want to do is to see for themselves the things they've seen on TV a lot, such as Wrigley Field.

That's what drives Donkey Show attendance as well. Lots of people have heard about it on TV, so that's why they want to go visit Tijuana.

Severn said...

A friend of mine went to see a Giants game in the Meadowlands recently. His group were in decent but not great seats near the half-way line. They cost $300 apiece.

It's eye-popping what sports tickets cost these days. With prices like those, there's probably not a lot of "proles" at the Giants games either.

anony-mouse said...

According to the Steve-o-sphere a greater number of foreign workers coincides with a reduction in salaries/wages for American-born workers.

Yet in baseball a rise in the number of foreign workers (players) has coincided with not just a rise but a huge rise huge rise in salaries for everyone, including American-born workers.

Anonymous said...

"It turns out that what modern Americans want to do is to see for themselves the things they've seen on TV a lot, such as Wrigley Field."

This reminds me: the most influential political commentators in America are the people who have their own shows on cable news channels. After them come the guys who appear regularly on such shows. Years ago I watched cable news every day, but I don't anymore. A question to the people who do: have you ever seen O'Reilly, Hannity, Matthews, Maddow, that boar-like fellow on MSNBC or any of the others mention Steve? How about any of their guests? I'm curious.

Auntie Analogue said...

Then it's a good thing that U.S. TV doesn't televise bullfights, huh?

What about televising high-speed police pursuits? Because they might get on TV do more police-chased drivers put the pedal to the metal in a bid for fifteen minutes of small screen glory?

Clutch cargo cult said...

Speaking as a native I remember going to Cubs games in the late 70s early 80s. The neighborhood was mildly Hispanic and working class, enough to make my suburban 12 yo ass nervous. The neighborhood at Comisky wasn't much better(black as today) but the crowd was working class white. Of course the big event in my youth was the Steve Dahl disco demolition at Comisky. The crowd was decidedly white and working class. Franchises were worth 10 - 20 million. We now have at least three MLB teams worth a billion plus. This year the white sox were in first place almost the entire summer but couldn't draw 20k. The Cubs wallowed in last almost the summer and drew 3miilion. The Cubs are what separate the proles(but aspiring elite) from the working class whites. They would rather watch terrible baseball than associate with the white sox. Another factor gentrification of the housing projects around Comisky was rejected by the Daleys who wanted to protect Bridgeport. Wrigley is now totally upper class.

Anonymous said...

A little bit off-topic but this reminded me of an unusual John O'Hara short story. O'Hara's fiction captures the quality of pre-1960s American society better than any other writer I can think of. Most surprisingly, he wrote equally accurate portrayals of all classes from the very rich to the socially marginal. One of his most interesting short stories involved baseball and a Negro father taking his son to his first game in Philadelphia. Although Jim Crow didn't exist in Philly at the time segregation was very strongly enforced. (It was even in the late '60s when I was a grad student at U Penn.) O'Hara creates a palpable sense of anxiety as the father takes his son out for the first time into a White venue. This culminates when a ball is hit right at the father and son and the father is terrified they might get caught in a white mob fighting for it. Fortunately the ball disappears and violence is averted. Not until they're back in their own neighborhood does the son reveal that he caught and hid the ball. The father quietly rejoices that his son has learned how to get by when out among whites. I think it was Richard Ellison who said that a short story by OP'Hara was the best ever written by a white man about American Negroes. I suspect that whover said this was referring to this story. I only read it once when I was in my early twenties. It made a profound impression on me then and I've always wanted to re-read it but I've never run across it in any O'Hara anthology I've read since. Would someone out there happen to know the story I'm talking about and give me a lead to it.

Mr Lomez said...

"In a simple model of a team’s fan base, you have proles and fat-cats..."

That's not really true at all outside of a few select cities. Baseball fandom is DOMINATED by white, middle class men. Even at Dodger stadium, which is notorious for the Mexican thugs inhabiting its bleachers, the rest of the crowd is pretty much SWPL. Only New York, Boston, and Chicago (White Sox, not Cubs) have a large ticket-buying prole fanbase. Everywhere else its white guys 25 and up with careers and mortgages.

As for the fat-cats pricing out the the so-called "average" fan, again, this is only true in New York and Boston. These playoff games in San Francisco and Oakland have made this abundantly clear. Those crowds are white, rich, and LOUD.

Anonymous said...

To pay for it, the Yankees established a block of field-level box seats that cannot be accessed by fans in cheaper
...and billions in tax payer subsidies, land grabs and hand outs. ...

Anonymous said...

the problem isn't baseball isn't profitable, they just want it to be MORE profitable....

Anonymous said...

Cominsky park. Obama wanting to appeal to some voters, but displaying true colors.

Anonymous said...

As with the arts and other modes of culture – of which New York City is the U.S.’s chief manufacturer...

I honestly can't think of a single important artistic or cultural achievement - in my lifetime - which came out of NYC.

I dunno - MAYBE Glenn Gould came to town, when I was a little boy, for some recording sessions [and it does look like he returned to CBS-NYC for the 1981 re-recording].

But I've always thought of NYC as being the least cultured and least artistic and far and away the least innovative big town in the entire country.

It's like a giant empty void - a black hole - as far as culture and art and innovation are concerned.

Anonymous said...

"British soccer fans, whose awful behavior twice led to massive death tolls in the 1980s."

I hope you're not refering to Hillsborough here... because if you are, this may be the most politically incorrect position you've ever taken.

Everyone, up to the British PM, has recently exonerated the Liverpool fans of misconduct and apologised for the smear.

Prepare to be hated by Scousers - a feisty lot, and real Scots-Irish to boot.

Gilbert P.

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, I read that article about how everybody is apologizing to the soccer fans for implying that their crushing 80 or 90 of their mates to death said anything the slightest bit bad about any of them and how they weren't more drunk than was usual at a British soccer game in the 1980s, and so forth and so on.

Steve Sailer said...

Similarly, let me apologize to all those Who fans in Cincinnati in 1979 who crushed 11 other Who fans to death for every letting the slightest negative thought about them flit across my consciousness.

Steve Sailer said...

Also, allow me to apologize to the vast mob of Russians who trampled 1,400 other Russians to death in the 1890s at a public celebration of the royal marriage when a rumor went around that there weren't enough pretzels for everybody.

After all, who doesn't go berserk over a pretzel shortage?

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine went to see a Giants game in the Meadowlands recently. His group were in decent but not great seats near the half-way line. They cost $300 apiece.

It's eye-popping what sports tickets cost these days. With prices like those, there's probably not a lot of "proles" at the Giants games either.


Tickets near the half-way line are typically expensive.

Also, football tickets are hard to get because they're generally sold as a package of season tickets since there are only 16 games. So they tend to be expensive.

Anonymous said...

But by the time I first went to a Wrigley Field game in 1983, however, it was clear that Wrigley Field fans tended to be yuppies...

In contrast, the White Sox's Comiskey Park on the South Side really did attract prole fans, but it was almost never fashionable.


Donkey Show attendees tend to be yuppies rather than proles as well.

Anonymous said...

I dunno - MAYBE Glenn Gould came to town, when I was a little boy, for some recording sessions [and it does look like he returned to CBS-NYC for the 1981 re-recording].

Apparently Jon Manasse studied at Julliard, but I don't know where he was born, or where he grew up.

And now that I think about it, Maynard did record Live at Jimmy's in NYC.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

You really should read up about what happened at Hillsborough before publicly making an @ss of yourself. It was a clear case of the police and other authorities not doing their job and then blaming the victims. You are descending into Murdoch/The Sun levels of douchebaggery here. Not cool.

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems you've eschewed the plausible deniability option, and doubled down.


Gilbert P.

Beecher Asbury said...

According to the Steve-o-sphere a greater number of foreign workers coincides with a reduction in salaries/wages for American-born workers.

Yet in baseball a rise in the number of foreign workers (players) has coincided with not just a rise but a huge rise huge rise in salaries for everyone, including American-born workers.


A clever observation especially if you are trying to use this as some sort of reason to open the borders.

But keep in mind there are exceptions to general rules and one shouldn't use the example of a peculiar situation to project those results onto the general economy.

Most people who read this blog will tell you that that a price increase on an item will lead to a decrease in its demand. However, certain goods, e.g. Rolls-Royce, don't behave this way. A price increase on a Rolls-Royce will generally not see any diminished demand.

Should Chevy or Ford see this and attempt to emulate, they would likely be run out of business.

Likewise, the labor market for major league ball players is limited and unique. First, the business of baseball is all about the labor. The labor is the defining characteristic that determines which clubs win and which do not. Second, there are only about 1200 men on the active roster of the thirty MLB clubs.

Those 1200 players, who are the industry, get the lion's share of the spoils of modern TV contracts and other streams of revenue that baseball didn't have years ago.

Unfortunately, there are not many labor markets in the world where the workers enjoy this unique position. Most people work in fields where labor is considered a cost of business, and in some cases a variable cost at that. In those markets more workers, whether foreign born or domestic, will check and curtail wage growth.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, I read that article about how everybody is apologizing to the soccer fans for implying that their crushing 80 or 90 of their mates to death said anything the slightest bit bad about any of them and how they weren't more drunk than was usual at a British soccer game in the 1980s, and so forth and so on."

I saw a show on this in the late 90's and to me it didn't look like any fans were acting badly. They were in a standing area that had too many people in it. The fans just kept walking in and they were crushed against the wire fence.


There really wasn't any violence. It was just circumstances that led to this.

Gerrard's cousin died in that by the way.

Here's a video of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUuSHrhPQyk&feature=related

Eric said...

A friend of mine went to see a Giants game in the Meadowlands recently. His group were in decent but not great seats near the half-way line. They cost $300 apiece.

My grandfather was a huge boxing fan. He would go to see the fights at every opportunity and glued himself to the radio for the ones he missed. But even though he was a lumberjack he could afford to go to the fights in person. Now all the hyped matches are on PPV, ringside seats cost a mint, and only rich old people can afford to follow the sport.

Professional sports need young fans. Will kids ever get hooked on baseball if the stadiums are all box seats for rich people and corporations?

bluto said...

Football has been expensive for as long as I can recall. We used to sell my grandparents tickets for the Seahawks in the 80s for $50ish ticket. Our high school band played a half time, and it was the first time many of even the die hard fans had ever been to a game.

Anonymous said...

Dallas Cowboys' fans complain about the quiet, rich crowds at Cowboys' stadium.

goatweed

hailtoyou said...

"It turns out that what modern Americans want to do is to see with their own eyes the things they've seen on TV a lot"

And thus was Barack Obama elected.

DCThrowback said...

@severn The NYG are known for their wealthy, older fanbase. Of course, they have just won 2 Super Bowls in 5 years. A tougher ticket to get than normal - and that's with more folks than usual eschewing the NFL Stadium experience to watch every game Sunday at home w/ the advent of the Red Zone Channel.

@anony-mouse As Steve has articulated before, unions work best the harder/rarer it is to be a member. Turns out not just everyone can throw a ball 92Mph or hit a curveball. Further, in the age of the DVR, live sports is indeed king ($2Bn for the Dodgers, etc).

@anon No one mentions Steve, but at least Ann Coulter and Dave Weigel follow him on twitter. Obviously there is much speculation over who reads him. Steve himself thinks many members of the hoi-polloi write their columns trying to refute him without identifying him. Courage!

@Mr. Lomez Spot the f**k on. Here hear. I also thought the crowds in Baltimore and DC were hearty as well (not after the 9th inning in game 5 v. the Cards, but you get my gist). STL & DET always represent as well.

Anonymous said...

How anyone can stand more than 15 seconds of baseball is beyond me. Late 19th century rubbish, about 1/100,000,000th as interesting as a 2 bit vaudeville skit.

Anonymous said...

football tickets are hard to get because they're generally sold as a package of season tickets since there are only 16 games.


Yes. These tickers were resold for less than face value.

What sort of person can afford to buy a seasons worth of tickets at $300 or more per ticket? I believe you also have to cough up several thousand dollars for the privilege of buying these tickets.

Anonymous said...

The Hillsborough disaster of 1989 occured because its unsuitability due to its design which was not noticed in the 1988 FA Cup semi-final when the crush turned out not to be fatal nor the one in 1981 nor when Everton played there in an FA Cup match in the late 80s.

Anonymous said...

How anyone can stand more than 15 seconds of baseball is beyond me. Late 19th century rubbish, about 1/100,000,000th as interesting as a 2 bit vaudeville skit.

Baseball, especially postseason baseball, can be extremely interesting and exciting if you want a certain team to win. Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals this past weekend was very exciting and intense.

Anonymous said...

Which British disaster is "massive death tolls in the 1980s". If you are referring to Hillsboro you maybe unaware that the government has accepted responsibility and offered an apology to the families of the fans. Lies were told at that time to transfer blame to the fans.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that Mr. Lomez has never been to Fenway Park. The Pink & Green Hat Nation, as local baseball fans call the SWPLs that infest the stands, are now the rule there. True proles need not apply.

The Red $ox have the highest average ticket price in the major leagues, $151 American, $43 dollars per ticket more than the second highest, the Cubs at $108. I gave up my participation in a season ticket package with 3 friends in 1998, when our grandstand seats went from $10 to $25. These seats are now $60 each, quite a number for being 40 rows back halfway down the first base line. Ownership just announced that ticket prices, for the first time in a while, wouldn't be going up after the team's stellar performance (last place) on the field this year.

All that said, Fenway is everything a ballpark should be and the fact that it's a vacation destination helps support the price point.

Robert Holmgren said...

While the New Yankee Stadium is unique with regard to the box seats, baseball has always featured box seating. So fans are used to separation by class. Aspirational seated was further extended by the advent of skyboxes and other luxurious amenities. Acceptance of these shows that people readily adapt to class structuring. America's pasttime consists of knowing your place.

Straight/Bizarre said...

The Dodgers bleacher-creature culture made a semi-star out of Wild Man Fischer, a schizophrenic who sang to the upper deck crowds and gained the attention of Frank Zappa, who signed him to his vanity label for a couple albums, I think, until Fischer attacked him (either verbally or physically, I can't remember). I bought one of the Fischer albums when it was rereleased on CD in this century. It sounds exactly like what you'd think an album by a schizophrenic would sound. I believe Chicago had its own version of Fischer more recently, Wesley Willis, though I don't think Willis had any baseball connections.

kaganovitch said...

Anonymous wrote "It made a profound impression on me then and I've always wanted to re-read it but I've never run across it in any O'Hara anthology I've read since. Would someone out there happen to know the story I'm talking about and give me a lead to it."

I think the story you are referring to is "Bread Alone"

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1939/09/23/1939_09_23_017_TNY_CARDS_000178046

It was Richard Wright rather than Ellison who praised it though.In general I agree that O'hara is somewhat underrated, especially as a master of dialogue

josh said...

Why is steve letting the donkey show comments go thru? To show that proles and elites also come together here?I laughed,so...

pat said...

Put this article in a time capsule. Unless I'm very wrong, baseball is doomed.

Baseball is a contrivance that balances a physical field with strategic markers against the attributes of the human body. Now of course we have learned how to change those attributes. It is doubtful that the game - at least as we have known it - can endure.

It's happened before. Basketball was invented as as an indoor sport for the winter months. The basket was set at ten feet - above the reach of any human - so Naismith thought. The game was popular and fun. It emphasized the virtues of teamwork. But then whites allowed blacks to play and blacks could routinely reach the basket. Furthermore they could spring up off the floor to shoot.

When I was a kid in the suburbs of Washington DC, I watched basketball on TV. I followed the Celtics because we didn't have our own team. Height was still an advantage. Tall white players had an advantage with their two hand set shots. Centers had to be tall for rebounding also. But the Celtics won every year it seems because they had more elaborate plays. Remember basketball plays?

Black superior jumping ability killed off the basketball I first knew, just as now steroids look to kill off traditional baseball. So save this article as memorabilia.

There will be some new sport better attuned to the new emerging juiced athlete.

I know that this is minority opinion here, but sports fans are by their very nature conservative. I just threw out all my huge heavy books of baseball statistics. I had several books with batting statistics back to the 1900s. I'll bet Steve still has his.

It's better to read or watch some Sci-Fi. Wolverine has these spikes that come out of his hands. I imagine that we we see some MMA fighter with something similar soon. Technology comes to your favorite sport whether you like it or not.

Lance Armstrong may be forgiven. If not, he will still be copied. Soon all sports stars will juice.

Albertosaurus

Salopian said...

Ah heck Steve, in the English media at the moment having an “incorrect” opinion on the Hillsborough disaster would get you in more trouble than discussing HBD. The correct thing to say is it was the police’s fault, then they lied about the fans being drunk and unruly and falsified witness evidence, something that has only just come to light. This cover up was at the behest of Mrs Thatcher as a quid pro quo for the police’s role in the 1984-5 miner’s strike.

In truth the disaster was caused by multiple factors covered in depth by the interim Taylor report published soon after the disaster. It was scathing regarding the complacency of the police and football authorities and forced changes in the design of football grounds (which were extensively rebuilt in the space of a few years) and the way that the often unruly crowds are handled. However it needs to be said that the flaws in stadium design and the policing at Hillsborough were exacerbated by the very real of public disorder from football hooliganism, and Liverpool fans were sadly amongst the worst of the lot.

There has been a powerful media campaign from the get-go to bring criminal prosecutions against the police (unjustly IMO), for those without connection to Liverpool the motivation in part seems to be the rabid hatred of many of the establishment to the government of the day.

Since 1989, crowds haven’t so much become more middle-class, as more middle-aged as a result of demographic changes and increased ticket prices. There are still plenty of idiots going to the match, but they are on average older (more to lose if involved in trouble, less testosterone) and better managed (CCTV, trouble-makers easily traced if in a seat).

Reg Cæsar said...

I visited many major league parks in the late '70s and '80s, and Comiskey was by far the most appealing.

I was there the day Irving Berlin died. One was able to walk right up to the organ booth and chat with the legendary Nancy Faust. (Common question: Who the hell cares who's playing the organ? Answer: That's the point. She made you care.) She graciously autographed my scorecard. I considered asking her to play "God Bless America" in addition to the usual anthem, but chickened out. Shoot, could've been part of baseball history!

The next season I drove to a September night game in a van which I bought from my brother and which still sported his Florida plates. Bad move. The club was at the time flirting with some place called "Tampa Bay" and threatened to move to that body of water if the Sucker taxpayers didn't cough up for a new ballpark.

That's probably why I returned to find my van egged.

That same van broke down in Paul Ryan's hometown as I headed to two of Comiskey's last four games. (Still have the uncut tickets.) The mechanic was Mormon. Wonder who he's voting for.

Comiskey's prole highlights? Bill Veeck's picnic ground under the left field bleachers, complete with a pissing-boy fountain. And the bar across the street which Babe Ruth would visit between games of a doubleheader. That was still standing in 1988.

jody said...

i believe this gif says it all.

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/510555/baseballyankeefans.gif

jody said...

"According to the Steve-o-sphere a greater number of foreign workers coincides with a reduction in salaries/wages for American-born workers. Yet in baseball a rise in the number of foreign workers (players) has coincided with not just a rise but a huge rise huge rise in salaries for everyone, including American-born workers."

in this case the 2 phenomena are not related. they are only coincindent.

NFL and NBA salaries skyrocketed during the same time period, but under a 95% american labor force.

NHL is the opposite of MLB. 50% (or more) of the labor force has always been foreign, yet salaries again skyrocketed during the same time period MLB, NFL, and NBA salaries skyrocketed.

jody said...

"Put this article in a time capsule. Unless I'm very wrong, baseball is doomed."

baseball is getting more popular worldwide, not less. i don't think any of the main 8 or 9 international sports has gotten less popular over the last 30 years. athlete participation rate, live attendance, and pay have increased in all of them. every sport has settled into at least a 1% or 2% growth rate long term. none of them are actually declining in those 3 metrics i mention.

what does fluctuate over time is the popularity of a sport relative to the others, so that 20 years ago, sport A was bigger than sport B, but now 20 years later, that's reversed.

however, if SPECTATOR interest levels fluctuate in the united states, and television ratings change, american (and only american) commentators begin the steady drumbeat about how "Sport X is doomed" or "Sport Y is dead".

thus the large chasm i occasionally point out between participation rate and level of play in a sport, versus spectator interest as measured by television. they often diverge, leading to mistaken ideas about what's actually going on in a sport.

there can be great excitement and fanfare over a decade's worth of television if what's being televised is a contest revolving primarily around a couple american athletes. then only another decade later spectator interest can plummet as the next generation of americans is getting beat out by a jumble of random foreigners. the level of play has increased signficantly, but spectators were more interested when the players were worse but at least they were american.

Frank Winston said...

Hey Brits, Americans have never heard about and don't care about the Hillsborough thing. We were talking about family-friendly baseball.

Anonymous said...

Reg Cæsar, great comment.

I think baseball is shooting itself in the foot by scrounging for every single penny it can, pricing out people both on television and in the stands. It's capitalizing now on 50 yrs of baby boomer nostalgia, but what happens after that? I think they should get smart, realize what a windfall they're getting from TV contracts, and make the stadium experience extremely cheap and family friendly to have fans for generations to come.

Related, I think the NFL does so well because, every Sunday, any dope without cable can turn on CBS or Fox and get his local team's game.

Anonymous said...

"There has been a powerful media campaign from the get-go to bring criminal prosecutions against the police (unjustly IMO), for those without connection to Liverpool the motivation in part seems to be the rabid hatred of many of the establishment to the government of the day."

I don't know why they want to prosecute the police. On what grounds-criminal negligence for opening a gate and letting fans in? Seems silly.


What about the design of the stadium and the owners of the clubs?

Anonymous said...

>Ban Johnson gave absolute backing to umpires

And it is time to get rid of it, just like other old-fashioned rules.

Umpires are becoming the cancer of baseball, making one outrageous gaffe after another.

Only middle-aged white men think they are necessary; well, they are as needed as a tail behind your butt.

Time to get rid of them and replace them with sensors, just like some less well known sports.

Norville Rogers said...

I'd be curious as to Bob Putnam's assessment of 10-cent Beer Night

Canadian Observer said...

Steve, you make a great point of about Wrigley Field. I visited it for the first time last year. With respect, I found the stadium to be filthy and aesthetically unpleasing to the eye. I left after 6 innings.

The new Comiskey Park, however, is a great place to watch a game.

Steve Sailer said...

The new Comiskey is great if you are an expert mountaineer. Otherwise, the slope of the upper deck is pretty terrifying if you are trying to lead a 4-year-old to your seats.