Counting The House During the Game?

The MLB schedule for tonight includes the start of a series in Miami wherein the Marlins host the Tampa Bay Rays.  Not to put too fine a point on this, but it seems as if just about no one wants to pay money to watch either of these teams play baseball.

In 2018, the Marlins ranked 27th among the 30 MLB teams in terms of average home attendance; the Rays were dead last in home attendance.  To date in 2019, the Rays are 29th in home attendance (14, 540 fans per game) while the Marlins are a distant dead last in that category (9,668 per game).  Marlins Park holds 36,742 fans; on average, 75% of those seats are empty when the Marlins take the field.

This series matches the two teams that people seem to want to see the least.  If Rays’ fans do not want to see them in St. Petersburg, I doubt that thousands of them will travel approximately 300 miles to go and see them play in Miami.  Marlins’ fans have shown that they are apathetic to cross a couple of roads to see the Marlins play.  So, here’s the deal:

  • Check the box scores for these games.
  • Unless there is a game with a no-hitter or a game where the final score is something like 18-15, ignore all the stats there except for the attendance figures.
  • This is a 2-game series.  If I set the Over/Under for Total Attendance at these two games at 20,000, are you taking OVER or UNDER?

Relevant to this topic, there was a headline at The Onion website last week that is particularly relevant here:

  • The Marlins are looking into eliminating the unprofitable baseball wing of the organization.

While on the subject of MLB, can you recall about a month ago when the Cubs started the season 1-6 and after a discouraging dozen games into the 2019 season, there were reports that Joe Maddon’s job might be in jeopardy?  I can – – and I can remember thinking that even an organization as historically inept as the Cubs could not possibly be thinking that was a good idea.  Well, check out the standings as of this morning:

  • Cubs are 24-14 as of this morning meaning that they have gone 23 – 8 since that 1-6 start to the season.
  • Joe Maddon is not the reason for the bad start just as he is not the reason for the surge since then.
  • The Cubs pitching got a lot better and the players started hitting better – – particularly Kris Bryant who has been on a tear for the last couple of weeks.

Moving on …  It would have seemed that the college basketball game of coaching musical chairs had ended several weeks ago; schools that wanted to get a new coach had already done so; it was now “recruitment time”.  Yesterday’s news informed us that the coaching carousel is going to spin at least one more time.  John Beilein is leaving Michigan (not a shabby program by any standards) to take the job of coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA.  Beilein has a 5-year deal with the Cavs; Beilein is 66 years old; Beilein would have made – reportedly – $3.2M at Michigan next year; terms of his deal with the Cavs were not announced, but the going rate for NBA coaches is significantly higher than that on an annual basis.

Beilein has been a winner at every level from high school through Divisions 3 and 2 and 1 at the college level.  Can he maintain that record in the NBA?  Frankly, I doubt it for reasons that have nothing to do with John Beilein himself:

  • The Cavs were 19-63 last year.  They have no superstar players on the roster.  The roster is Kevin Love, Colin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson plus a “buncha guys”.
  • It is nearly impossible to win 30 games in an NBA season without a superstar on the roster.
  • Absent some legerdemain at the front-office level, I suspect that John Beilein is confined to losing records – – or break-even records at best down the road – – in his NBA experience.

By all reports, the college coaching ranks is losing one of the “good guys” here.  Given all the huffing and puffing around the sordid process of college basketball recruiting, no one has ever suggested that John Beilein was one of the coaches to cut corners in all of that stuff.  Maybe distancing himself from all of those recruiting “irregularities’ done by his rival schools was a motivation to get himself a place on an NBA bench starting next year?  I don’t read minds…

In any event, Michigan is a sufficiently worthy coaching destination that it can get a coach from a recognizable school if that coach fits their hiring profile.  And that would set in motion the start of a mini-version of the college basketball coaching musical chairs game much later than normal.

Bonne chance, John Beilein.

There is something out there known as the Mascot Hall of Fame.  It honors those things that run around stadiums and arenas whipping up support for various teams while simultaneously annoying the heck out of fans like me.  I have argued here more than a couple of times that there are too many Halls of Fame and this one would certainly fall into the category of Why does the world need this?  Having said that, I do have a couple of observations about this Hall of Fame.  As of this morning there seem to me to be two glaring omissions:

  1. Sparty – the Michigan State mascot – is not one of the inductees.
  2. The Mariner Moose – of the Seattle Mariners – has not been recognized.

If this Hall of Fame is going to continue to exist, I want to know how to nominate future inductees because both of those mascots belong here alongside the 21 mascots already enshrined.

Finally, here is an observation from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times regarding this year’s NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis:

“A sex-trafficking sting operation led to nearly five dozen arrests during this year’s Final Four.

“Or as it’s now known in Twin Cities police circles: 58 shining moments.”

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



4 thoughts on “Counting The House During the Game?”

  1. I am not sure why Buzz, the Ga Tech mascot, or the Ramblin Wreck, are not currently in the HOF. They are certainly among the most recognized and long standing mascots in sports.

    Maybe it’s good that Chief Noc-A-Homa is relegated to some place other than the HOF.

    1. Doug:

      It would appear as if only people in fuzzy costumes are inducted here – – The Famous Chicken and the Philly Phanatic as examples. So, that would explain why the Ramblin’ Wreck and the Sooner Schooner are on the outs.

  2. A shame on the Rays. The Marlins stink. AAA team. The Rays play in a dump but they figure to win 90

    1. Ed:

      For the first game of their 2-game series in Miami, the attendance was 5,947 people. The Rays prevailed 1-0.

      There had to have been at least a dozen minor league games yesterday with a bigger crowd in the stands…

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