Off-Field Issues Today …

Earlier this week, I noted that the Rays would visit the Marlins for a 2-game series and that they are the two worst draws in MLB.  Then I wondered if the 2-game set would draw a total of 20,000 folks.  Boy was I ever optimistic…

  • Game 1 was in Miami and the box score for the game said the weather was 77 degrees and the roof was closed.  There were no weather-related events to hinder a crowd and the attendance for the game was 6,306.
  • Game 2 was in Miami and the box score for the game said the weather was 78 degrees and the roof was closed.  Once again, no weather impediments and the attendance for the second game was 5,947.  The total for the two games was 12,253 fans.  That is less than the average attendance for a single game for every MLB team except for the Marlins.

I wondered if on the night of Game 2 if there were minor league games with more than 5,947 fans in the stands.  It took me less than 5 minutes of Googling to come up with these numbers:

  • Norfolk at Toledo (AAA level) drew 10,100 fans
  • Bowie at Akron (AA level) drew 7,501 fans
  • Frederick at Wilmington (Advanced A level) drew 6,504 fans

It used to be the case – and so I assume it is still the case – that the visiting team in MLB gets a cut of the ticket revenue for their performance.  If that is the case, all the other 29 teams have to be unhappy when they have to go to Miami because they have to know in advance that this will be a meager payday.  I really believe that MLB needs to get out of Miami as soon as they can without legal entanglements; despite all the positive indicators for MLB in that area, it has not worked, and it is not working.

By the way, if and when that happens, the good folks in Tampa/St. Petersburg should take careful notice…

The WNBA has its first Commissioner; in the past, it has had a league President; and if you read the reporting, you will see that plenty of folks think this is a big step forward for the league.  You say tomato; I say to-mah-to.  Cathy Englebert – former CEO at Deloitte – is the Commish and her first order of business is to negotiate a new CBA with the players union.  Here are two opposing forces in that negotiation:

  • The WNBA is a losing proposition; it only stays afloat because the NBA pumps money into the league; team owners would all be “in the red” absent that largesse from the NBA
  • The WNBA players receive in salaries approximately 22% of the league revenue; that compares to about 50% of the revenue that goes to NBA players and NFL players under their CBAs.

In 2019, there is energy behind the movement for “equal pay for equal work” – as it should be.  In situations of public sector jobs and in situations where private entities are at least breaking even, there are no good arguments to deny women equal pay for equal work.  However, that goal is a bit murkier in terms of its righteousness when that business entity is a women’s league and the comparison to the comparable men’s league does not also include the profitability factor.  Ms. Englebert has an interesting challenge on her plate…

Oh, and there is another thing Madame Commish needs to do in her role as the custodian and protector of the league’s image:

  • She must make it clear to the players and the union that being a no-show for a scheduled game because the flight to the city got in late is unprofessional and unacceptable.  It happened once last year; that must be the last time it EVER happens if the WNBA hopes to be taken more seriously than the late but hardly lamented AAF.

I swear that aliens from the Xygork Nebula are observing humankind from nearby in the solar system and they have irradiated the water supply in NYC to see how humans react to this altered state of water.  It is the best explanation I can come up with for team behaviors there.

  • Two years ago, the NY Knicks fired Phil Jackson as their GM/team President about a week after Jackson organized and ran the Knicks’ draft and took Frank Ntilikina with the first pick.  That draft came only a couple of months after owner James Dolan extended Jackson’s contract – actually, l I believe he picked up an option in that contract – for several more years.  Two years later, the Knicks are no better off than they were when Dolan showed Jackson the door.
  • This week, the Jets fired their GM who – since the end of last season’s disappointing results – hired a new coach, signed free agents to the tune of about $150M, organized and ran the NFL Draft and traded for a much-needed interior lineman.  And they handed the job to the new coach that he hired who has never been in a GM role in his life.

Memo to NY Jets ownership:  The team name – JETS – is an anagram for JEST.  If your new coach is not the offensive guru you have made him out to be, he will be the franchise equivalent of an ADAM Bomb.  Take a deep breath and think before you make your next move…

Finally, Bob Molinaro had this comment in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot recently:

“Speculation that an NFL team would take a chance on Colin Kaepernick once he settled his collusion case against the league now appears to have been too optimistic.  The draft is over and so is most of free agency, and still he sits.  Never say never, but I don’t see him returning to the field.”

I agree here; however, I think now his absence from football is of his choosing.  I think he has moved on to other things in his life.

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





12 thoughts on “Off-Field Issues Today …”

  1. Miami draws 9,000 a game. Iconic Camden Yards draws 15,000. A rat infested, urine stinking, out of date fire trap in Boston draws 35,000. I have been to Tropicana field dozens of times and it’s a clean,well lit stadium with state of the art electronics and great concessions. The stadium is not the issue that drives attendance.

    1. Except for its location… I agree it is a nice place to watch a ballgame.

      Florida sports fans are becoming famous for their tendency to stay home these days, especially when the local teams are mediocre. Even Gator and Seminole football have suffered at the gate in recent years.

      1. Gil:

        Back in 1899, the Cleveland Spiders drew such meager crowds early in the season that other teams refused to play there because their cut of the gate would not even cover hotel costs. So the Spiders had to play most of their games on the road as relocated home games. In 2019, I cannot believe that whatever the Rays got as a cut of the attendance for that 2-game series would cover their travel expenses to the game. Now imagine you are the Nats or the Phillies or the Mets and have to play 10 game a season in that low-revenue status…

    2. david:

      Even when Miami fans “support” the Marlins, the team rarely draws 25,000 fans; this year, the team will struggle to average 10,000 per game; currently then are drawing 9,360 per game that is less than 800,000 for the entire season. That is in a new stadium; the support for MLB is not there in Miami.

      Tampa/St. Pete draws more fans AND the Rays have been far more successful/exciting than the Marlins have been over the past several seasons. However, the attendance figures for the Rays are not laudatory – – nor are the ones for the A’s in Oakland or the Indians in Cleveland.

  2. I believe the Las Vegas Aviators are drawing better at home than the Marlins. The Aviators are the AAA affiliate for the Oakland A’s. The ballpark, called Las Vegas Ball Park is brand new and beautiful.

    1. Rich:

      If that were to prevail over an entire season, that would be mightily embarrassing for any MLB club…

      1. Noting your comparison above, a few years ago the then-San Diego affiliate Lake Elsinore Storm (high A) bet that they could beat the Padres (in one of their periodic reconstructions) in attendance on a given date, and did.

        A lot of interest has to be related to the quality of the team. If fans think it is hopeless and if Marlins Park is in a less (ahem) “exclusive” part of town no one is going to risk getting their car broken into to watch bad baseball.

        Any comments on the Preakness, noting that the top four finishers (one DQ’d) are bypassing the race? I can’t think that is a good sign for Pimlico, especially since a horse died there today.

  3. Any comment of the marlins must acknowledge the abuse that semi-rich owner wannabes have invoked on Miami fans in the name of fleecing MLB and the south Florida municipalities (not forgiving the naivety and greed of the local politicos). David Sampson regularly goes on the LeBetard show and acknowledges their deception and apathy to the sport. Manfred allowed an over leveraged Sherman and Jeter to take it over and you don’t have to look far to read about Jeter’s missteps regarding Yelich, Stanton, etc with nothing to show for it. Take a look at attendence figures for 97 and 03 seasons in a huge football stadium to see that, while the community can be considered fair-weather, they appreciate a great baseball product. The accountability of attendance figures should be placed with who truly owns it.

    1. Joey:

      Welcome aboard.

      Indeed, the 2019 version of the Marlins is horrible – and it could be historically horrible. But the Marlins have been attendance flops for years – – even when the team was merely average or slightly below average. The Marlins have not had a history of “great ownership” by any means – – but those attendance figures cannot be explained away as fans refusing to show up in order to “get even” with some guy who used to own the team.

    1. Jolly:

      Welcome aboard.

      The stadium in Miami has a roof – – so bad weather or good weather is not a problem at the ball park. The fact that the weather may be excellent in South Florida does provide folks there with myriad other things to do with their time and it appears that many of them choose to do something other than go to the Marlins’ games.

    2. Well, it’s like living in your shower this time of year. There is usually a daily thunderstorm you can set your watch by and it’s muggy the rest of the time. This will last until late November.

      Hurricane season starts June-ish.

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