Shooting Yourself In The Foot…

Last year, the LA Dodgers saw a significant decline in attendance. Many in the LA media explained that decline as the fans expressing their displeasure with the McCourts’ ownership of the team and with the way the McCourts used the Dodgers as an ATM to live a pair of outrageous lifestyles. About six weeks ago came the euphoria associated with news that the Dodgers had new owners and that the “front man” for the new owners was none other than the beloved Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Perhaps that euphoria was merely “premature exultation” on the part of some of the media folks. Attendance after nine home games is down almost 2600 fans per game below the already depressed numbers from last season. Then in yesterday’s LA Times, there was this column by T.J. Simers, which deserves to be read in its entirety.

The Cliff’s Notes version is this:

    Fans show up early to Dodgers Stadium and want to get autographs after batting practice.

    Stadium security has orders to keep them away from the expensive seats meaning they cannot get near the players to get autographs.

    When Simers tracks down the Dodgers’ GM and shows him what is happening, the GM brushes him off and does not resolve the problem. Simers does not ask some “flunky” to do something about this; he speaks directly to the General Manager who does nothing.

It seems to me that fans who show up early enough to see the home team take batting practice in the hopes of getting an autograph might also be fans who might go to one of the shops in the stadium and buy some stuff with a Dodgers logo on it. In sports management parlance, that is a revenue stream. That is what teams ought to be enhancing. But if you piss off those fans with ham-handed “security measures”, the revenue stream is going to be something other than enhanced.

There is an old adage that the LA Dodgers need to heed:

    Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel and newsprint by the boxcar-load.

Even in this era of declining newspaper circulation, there just is no reason to give a widely read columnist in your town that kind of “stuff” to write about…

Back in 2005, I suggested that all the major sports should strongly consider doing away with their All-Star Games. I continue to believe that all of them are a gigantic waste of time and do nothing more than to contribute to the ultimate entropy death of the universe. Therefore, you might well understand that I was happy to read a report by Mike Freeman on that the NFL and the NFLPA are seriously thinking about ditching the Pro Bowl.

Seriously, the NFL Pro Bowl is a travesty. Players do not even pretend to block or tackle opponents with any effort at all. In terms of “hitting”, you will see as much of that in a Lingerie Football League game as you will in the Pro Bowl.

There was a day when All-Star Games were special because fans in one part of the country rarely if ever got to see the star players on teams at the other end of the country. They might read of their exploits or see photos of those other star players, but weekly access to seeing those players in real games just did not exist. So, the All-Star Game was an attraction for fans if for no other reason. Today, that reason is as outmoded as a 56K dial-up external modem.

The league and the union supposedly are working on how to honor existing contracts with “Pro Bowl bonus clauses” in them and how to accommodate such revenue boosters for players in coming years. However, both entities seem to recognize that the Pro Bowl will be in a better place if it simply goes away.

    So let it be written; so let it be done.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am taking some enjoyment from the interpretations by various conspiracy theorists regarding David Stern’s suspension of Metta World Peace for 7 games after his “unintentional” elbow to the head of James Harden. The same action by David Stern can be used to prove two different theories and the two theories are mutually exclusive:

    Theory 1: David Stern wants to manipulate events to assure that the Lakers make it to the NBA Finals in order to keep TV ratings high. That is why he went so leniently on Metta World Peace who, after all, delivered the most violent blow on an NBA court since Kermit Washington and Rudy Tomjanovich had their encounter. This light suspension will let Metta World Peace get back in to the playoffs in the second round when the playoff competition gets a bit tougher.

    Theory 2: David Stern’s harsh penalty handed down to Metta World Peace demonstrates his deep and abiding East Coast bias. The idea is to make the Lakers expend a super-effort in Round 1 of the playoffs such that they cannot sustain the effort to make it to the NBA Finals where they would – - obviously – - beat whoever comes out of the East.

Personally, I think a 7-game suspension for that kind of action is a bit light. Given Metta World Peace’s history and recidivism with on-court violence, I think I would have suspended him for the rest of this season.

Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times has an interesting view of the Boston Red Sox fanbase and its relationship with Bobby Valentine:

“The glue is barely dry on Ted Williams new commemorative postage stamps, and Red Sox fans are already grumbling.

“As in, how many would it take to mail Bobby Valentine out of town?”

Finally, here is an interesting extrapolation by Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“[Florida International University] hired Rick Pitino’s son to replace fired Isiah Thomas as men’s basketball coach, after earlier hiring the son of former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena to coach soccer. FIU loves the bloodlines. I hear the new tennis coach is a foal of Secretariat.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Tenacious P  On April 27, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Yes, the days when the American and National League only met each other in the World Series; we have seen a lot of changes in our lifetimes. At least baseball all-star games were held in the middle of the season; NFL Pro Bowls were not even granted that dignity–nor could they be or Paul Tagliabue would have done so. What are the chances you could become the next NFL High Commissioner?

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm


    The Pro Bowl was never played in mid-season because of the fear of injuries to players who still had regular season and possibly playoff games to play. However, if the players are going to avoid hitting people to the extent that they did last year, there is little if any injury risk left in the game.

    The chances that I could become the next NFL High Commissioner are about as good as the chances that there will be a Beatles Reunion Tour sometime later this year.

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