Howard Lincoln sure can spin a tale. Jim Moore (the Go2Guy) wrote a column where he talks to Lincoln and Lincoln.. well, he lies.
The column (possibly conveying Lincoln’s argument) points out that after the Angels won the World Series in 2002, they raised ticket and concession prices. Their payroll went up by $17m as they tried (wrongly) to bring everyone back around for a second run. So you’d be excused for thinking there was some kind of causation.
Ticket prices and concessions are driven not by payroll (or tickets, food, and drink would be free at Husky games, and they are not), they should be driven by supply and demand: the Angels drew many more fans at the end of 2002, and there was money to be made hiking prices when they came back. But in reality, they’re not even driven by supply and demand, pricing models, or anything: it’s driven by guesses. The Angels saw the Mariners making a ton of money and copied everything, down to the concession prices, which are lower.
If you ever get a chance to talk to someone who does this for a living, ask them how they set concession prices. They pretty much look at other sports venues in the area and then add a quarter or two to every item. Seriously.
Lincoln roasts this chestnut about the family atmosphere:
“We provide a fan-friendly atmosphere,” Lincoln said. “We have staff people who are trained to watch for excessive drinking. We’re not Yankee Stadium and we don’t plan to be Yankee Stadium. We don’t want to have that kind of environment.”
Beer at Yankee Stadium is $7. If Lincoln thinks that beer prices drive conduct, we should already be Yankee Stadium. Or, Yankee Stadium should have all the charming atmosphere of Safeco Field.
Maybe, and I’m just speculating here, Yankees have a rabid fan base (too rabid, perhaps) in no small part because they have throughout their history invested heavily in their teams, won championships, and built a tradition passed through generations.
So he’s right there — Safeco Field’s not going to be Yankee Stadium.
Here’s the whopper:
“The idea that this ownership group is somehow getting a dime out of this business is not true,” he said, adding that he wants to win a World Series as much as the fans do.
This is a total, absolute lie. The team made $10m last year in profits above and beyond the $30-$40m the team admitted they took out in another line item to defray past claimed losses. And that’s just what they fessed up to. If anyone can tell me where the Mariners spent that extra $10m — as Lincoln maintains, player acquisition, player development, scouting, or something else — I’ll give them a dollar, because the M’s are not spending $10m more on anything this season.
Still, as much as I’ve ragged on him before, I have to tip my cap to Moore for taking up a cause I’m interested in and at least attempting to go after Lincoln. It would have been nice, though, if he’d been well-informed enough to argue with Lincoln at the time rather than leave after 15 minutes feeling defeated.
It is unfortunate to me that we tolerate lying for a purpose in mainstream society, that we think “well, what did we expect him to say?” when considering the falsehoods of someone like Lincoln. If having major league baseball is a great community booster, something that transcends being a simple business, doesn’t that also carry with it an equal responsibility to act morally, and to conduct yourself in a forthright manner?
Or, to paraphrase Lisa Simpson’s dentist, “Why must you turn our baseball field into a house of lies?”
Apparently John Olerud is no longer interested in retiring at the end of the season. And while I wish him the best of luck, I certainly hope he won’t be back with the M’s in 2005.
In other news, Chris over at At Least the Red Sox Have 1918 has developed a new stat. Using this new calculation, he determined that Jay Buhner’s 1997 season sucked the 4th most ass of all-time. I beg to differ — Buhner hit 40 homers (4th in the AL), got on base at a .383 clip and walked 119 times (2nd in the AL) that season. The M’s aren’t going to get that kind of production out of any of their outfielders this season.
Hey, Derek just beat me to that one. It’s the news nobody wanted to hear, but fortunately it’s only his hamate bone, a pretty common injury for hitters which generally doesn’t have lasting effects. If anything, it’ll slow him down and get him a (mostly) full season at AAA, whereas before there might have been the temptation to rush him.
In baseball news, Snelling broke again. D’oh.
I don’t have to be at work until 2pm, and I still went to bed at 9 last night. Hmm. If anyone’s pushing 40 here, it’s me.
Soooo… I want to return to something I posted and took down.
I wrote about the Primeys and said… well, it’s been re-posted around, so —
As others have noted, the 2003 Primeys were awarded. The good ship U.S.S. Mariner placed fourth in “Best baseball site – weblog”. We were the only team-specific site to make the finalists, so that’s cool. I placed fourth in best baseball writer with a whopping 6.8% of the vote, which I believe was just behind Dennis Kucinich (who deserves better than to be the constant butt of jokes like that).
Still, it is worth noting that besides a link on the sidebar amongst thousands of other blogs, we’re almost never linked by Baseball Primer and my work, here and on Prospectus, is never, ever linked there (okay, like once), be it by chance or decision (cough), so it’s actually shocking that I got any votes at all, since my work’s not exposed to their audience ever. It’s all the more impressive that Joe Sheehan, who also doesn’t ever get linked from Primer, got 20% of the vote.
All of which is to say thanks to everyone who’s supported us.
I took it down after a friend of mine told me it read really badly, and after going back I realized he was right, and I didn’t have time or desire to re-write it. I meant to say “Hey, it’s really cool that the U.S.S. Mariner was even nominated, and even more cool that we did so well. I’m glad people appreciate it.”
And it’s the same on my own voting — I would have voted for Rob Neyer if I’d voted. I don’t think I somehow deserve a higher rating. I wanted to say “Wow, I’m fourth behind those guys? That’s surprising.”
The comments on linking… well, I came off badly, but it’s true. I don’t make the decisions about what BP puts in front or behind the subscription wall. And I don’t want to argue about whether or not I’ve written things that merit linking any more than I want to say “my stuff rocks so hard you should vomit with excitement”. But I think Joe’s a fine writer at Prospectus, and I’m disappointed that he gets fewer links than that yahoo in Toronto who quotes Gord Ash every column. And whether it’s by chance or decision… I shouldn’t have gotten into that. My own view is irrelevant, because I don’t have any idea beyond knowing Clutch Hits doesn’t link to articles behind the subscriber wall. I really should have just shut up. I tried, but to quote NewsRadio “You can’t take something off the Internet. It’s like trying to take pee out of a pool.”
Part of the problem, is that I’m not in on the discussions, so I don’t know. I don’t post on Primer, and in general prefer not to discuss the subject of why at all. There are many reasons but a large part of it is the raw volume of noise and abuse, and whether that’s driven by my writing or past conflicts between Baseball Prospectus and the orginal crew over there… I don’t know, and I don’t care. It’s one of many fan forums where I just don’t go anymore. I found that it was draining and unrewarding. I was particularly disappointed that people took stuff I put up on my home page (like, for instance, anything personal I thought people might think was kind of cool, like how I sold a story to Paramount that became a Star Trek: Voyager episode) and used it as material to work into insults. I know that sounds like I’m whining about persecution, but it sucks to (say) get email about what a dork you, or your wife, or your brother look like because there’s a picture of you floating around. The more I tried to engage in discussion, the worse I felt. In the end I gave up, and now I answer email as much as I can and leave it at that. That’s probably what the people who ruined the discussions wanted, but at some point I had to cede the field. But it was my choice, so I take the blame for being a Neal Stephenson-style hermit, except that I come out for pizza feeds to drink with readers and enjoy their company.
And this post is an example of why I don’t like engaging in conversation. I wrote something here, ran it, and boom, I’m an ass, and people quickly divide into camps of whether I knew I was being an ass, am inherently an ass, or just didn’t come off well, and then when I (siding with my friend and so, independently, the third camp) took down the post, everyone got to argue about whether that supported their viewpoint…
– I’m a pretty decent guy. I’m not going to put up testimonials or anything, so trust me, or don’t.
– I have spent five years trying to be a better writer, listening to any suggestion sent my way. I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress.
– I’m also a little full of myself, yes. I think writing’s inherently arrogant: I’m posting because I hope that what I’ve written is worth your time and effort. I try to keep this in check with humor and self-deprication, but people who don’t like my stuff send me this complaint more than any other. I don’t know what to say except that I’m working on it.
– I come off like a jerk sometimes, especially in being aggressive about my point.
And I know this post, my apology for writing something off-the-cuff and bad, is probably going to be taken by some as me whining. I don’t know how to solve that one either.
And Shredder, I do too respond to your emails sometimes.
Ahhh, the Mariners are in today’s Prospectus Triple Play. Check it out, it’s free, so even if you don’t have a subscription, you can enjoy it.
And here I am, showing up to work at seven AM to get more work done like a sucker.