M’s fall to second place

DMZ · March 26, 2008 at 9:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

A’s win, and Harden looks great doing it.

I made a passing comment about how ridiculous this was, and it generated some good comments I’d like to address. My problems are, more or less:
- I don’t like having a single series this far early
- I don’t like that MLB fans here couldn’t easily watch, much less attend
- I don’t like having any team’s home opener in a different city
- It’s crazy that they’re following real games with more spring training games
- I don’t like that the two teams have to play through spring training, these games, and then go back to spring training and into the season under different roster constraints than everyone else

I absolutely support MLB’s attempts to broaden the game’s international reach. I love Japanese baseball, and thought it was great to see the crowds and everything. I just don’t like how this was done. That’s all.

Comments

25 Responses to “M’s fall to second place”

  1. thefin190 on March 26th, 2008 9:49 am

    I agree with everything pointed out. I enjoy the exhibition games against the professional Japanese teams, but the opening series just seems not very well thought-out. I am wondering if time-constraints with playing in a Japanese stadium could be the reason they had to make it so early.

    But it does take 2 home games away from the A’s, as well as 2 games from the Bay Area Chapter of the Red Sox Nation. Don’t know who’d be more disappointed.

  2. joser on March 26th, 2008 9:55 am

    Yeah, I don’t get why they didn’t do this on the weekend, as day games in Japan which would be simultaneously night games at the normal time on the west coast (albeit the day before). They could’ve done that to start the season (pulling back opening day to the weekend before as they’ve been doing for a while) and given both teams a two or three travel days (they’re also getting the benefit of crossing the date line coming back) to return to home openers in their respective ballparks.

    I know scheduling is horribly complicated and pulls in all sorts of details the casual observer would never think of (or think were important) but this looks really badly planned.

  3. msb on March 26th, 2008 10:18 am

    “Oakland is considered the host for the Tokyo games, so the A’s lose two regular-season games at the Coliseum, but the team is fully compensated for projected revenue, including gate receipts and concessions, for the two regular-season games, plus the three or four spring-training games they’ll miss.

    There is no additional payment to the clubs, other than covering all expenses and reimbursing anticipated revenues, although the players will each receive a minimum of $40,000 apiece for the trip. One condition the A’s set: They’ll get the Red Sox in town twice this season, April 1-2 and May 23-25.”

  4. smb on March 26th, 2008 10:32 am

    Couldn’t agree more, great idea, poor execution. They seem to have managed to annoy everyone with the way it was done.

    And screwing the A’s fans out of watching in person one of the two or maybe three home starts Harden will make this year before his arm implodes isn’t fair, either.

  5. pdb on March 26th, 2008 10:34 am

    I also wonder, along with Bobby Valentine, at the timing of this – the JPB season opened this week, as well, shouldn’t MLB respect the fact that Japan’s focus be on their own domestic league?

  6. galaxieboi on March 26th, 2008 10:41 am

    M’s fall to second place

    Well, that was fun while it lasted.

  7. xeifrank on March 26th, 2008 10:47 am

    Ok, so you don’t like how the games in Japan were handled. Then how would you have done it, or would you have nixed the whole idea of playing any games there at all? Criticism is easy, solutions take a little more thinking.
    vr, Xeifrank

  8. galaxieboi on March 26th, 2008 11:04 am

    Joser offers up so good ideas.

    I don’t think MLB has a marketing problem in Japan. Baseball is hugely popular there already. If they really wanted to promote MLB they’d play a series in Australia or Europe. I’d say ‘China’ but that’s not a discussion for a baseball blog.

    If MLB is simply celebrating the Japanese love of baseball, fine. But they’re saying it’s for marketing and to expand interest in the game.

  9. galaxieboi on March 26th, 2008 11:05 am

    Sorry, that should read “Joser offers up some good ideas”.

  10. Jar on March 26th, 2008 11:06 am

    6 days before the season starts and already in second place….

  11. smb on March 26th, 2008 11:09 am

    Here’s some thoughts, albeit probably ignorant of some factors that MLB had to deal with, but nevertheless…

    There’s no plausible excuse for playing official games and then coming back to play more exhibition games. If there was no other way to do it, it shouldn’t have been done.

    It’s tactless to have MLB games scheduled in Japan concurrent with opening day games of Japan League play. If you can’t schedule the MLB games to be played in Japan on a day where Japanese fans aren’t forced to choose between their homeland’s opening day games and an MLB showcase, then don’t do it. They won the WBC and have proven their talent stacks up with MLB–overshadowing their opening day smacks of elitism to me.

    So my solution would be, find a day that doesn’t cause those conflicts, or don’t do it. The long flights and the MLB team losing out on true “home games” are worthy sacrifices…and apparently aren’t even sacrifices in a financial sense anyhow. But the conflict with Japan League play really annoys me, and if there was no way to avoid it, I don’t think it should have been done.

  12. NBarnes on March 26th, 2008 11:20 am

    Oakland won game two? Well, that’s it, title defense is over, what a bunch of bums. Congrats to the !#$!#$ Yankees AGAIN. *slits wrists*

  13. thenatural on March 26th, 2008 11:27 am

    After hearing some of the brilliant and level-headed ESPN crew talk about Boston’s magical run at 162-0 after they won the first game, I was absolutely elated that they lost. Praise Allah!

  14. Carson on March 26th, 2008 12:20 pm

    Jayson Stark made an excellent point. Why are we trying to sell a product to another country who possibly loves the product as much, if not more, than us?

    I could stomach England, France, Germany, something like that. But at this point, season opening games in Asia and the Caribbean don’t make a ton of sense.

  15. Graham on March 26th, 2008 12:30 pm

    I wish they’d opened the season in London.

  16. okobojicat on March 26th, 2008 12:41 pm

    I wish they’d opened the season in London.

    Paris. So much better.

    Or even in Brisbane, and then made to play on an Australian Rules Football field. That would have been awesome.

    I did watch the game this morning live. Harden was fantastic. Arm angle reminded me of Peavy a little bit. If he is that good all year, the M’s will be fighting might hard for second.

  17. zzyzx on March 26th, 2008 12:41 pm

    My main problem with these games is the Tokyo Dome. How much foul territory does a stadium need? It makes the stands of the Oakland Coliseum look close.

  18. msb on March 26th, 2008 3:58 pm

    Caple on the Japan series ….

  19. Gomez on March 26th, 2008 5:02 pm

    A good idea might be to do it in midseason, to push back the start of the season a couple days, and push the end of the season forward a couple days, so that you can give the teams in question a 4-6 day gap in the schedule where they could travel to Japan and play a 2 game series, in season, without creating this illogical situation and without exceptionally burdening them any more than you already would in having they play such a series, or taking away too many normal days off in the season schedule.

    It would involve some schedule re-rigging, and to keep things consistent you may even have to lighten the game schedule for those first few and last few days for everyone else, but it could probably be done.

  20. James T on March 26th, 2008 8:39 pm

    Harden looked great but the Sox offense looked out of sync both games. One of the Boston beat writers said, on TV, that the players are all very tired.

    I agree with an earlier poster, that playing in europe would be better. Plus they’re, what, 5-6 hours ahead of us here in Massachusetts which would be much easier to deal with than games starting at 6 am. I thought I’d read that there was a french game called “theque” which was sort of their version of cricket and at least somewhat related to baseball.

  21. rdave on March 27th, 2008 4:53 am

    Some comments:

    - I don’t like having a single series this far early
    — Propose something else that the MLPA won’t veto

    - I don’t like that MLB fans here couldn’t easily watch, much less attend
    — Again propse somethine else that is consitant with your ending comment where you approve of the gesture.

    - I don’t like having any team’s home opener in a different city
    — Agreed, they aren’t really home games. But I’m sure that the A’s got a lot more money from the game playing in Japan than a mid season game. Plus they will have a real home opener later.

    - It’s crazy that they’re following real games with more spring training games
    — agreed. too wierd.

    - I don’t like that the two teams have to play through spring training, these games, and then go back to spring training and into the season under different roster constraints than everyone else
    — agreed. This is too wierd. But I don’t have any thoughts on how to do it better yet. The only “fair” way to do it is to have all of the teams play their first 2 games abroad (which may not be a bad idea for MLB).

    Maybe because I live in Australia, I’m more used to games at odd times etc, but I applaud the effort to broaden the market, even if there is a lot of room for improvement.

    In regards to the comments on Jayson Stark, I think that he is a little ambitious. MLB had to prove the market. Can you imagine playing “opening day” in London to a crowd of 40,000 vs Japan with 110,000. Baby steps, I don’t even think that there is British team in the 2009 World Tournament. Also, China is a much bigger market which I’m sure it more attractive to MLB than all of Europe.

  22. DMZ on March 27th, 2008 8:23 am

    — Propose something else that the MLPA won’t veto

    I’m not proposing alternate solutions here, but noting my reaction to how the end result went. I agree with other commenters- I feel like if the choice was doing something like this or doing nothing, MLB should have done gone ahead with the season at it normally does.

  23. theberle on March 27th, 2008 8:50 am

    I also thought it was tacky that they sold ads on the players helmets. If they really had to literally “sell out” to get the game played, then I don’t think they should have played a regular season in Japan.

    Also, I don’t think there would have been any less interest if it wasn’t a regular season game.

  24. msb on March 27th, 2008 9:08 am

    I also thought it was tacky that they sold ads on the players helmets.

    thus looking like a Japanese baseball team :)

  25. Karen on March 27th, 2008 2:58 pm

    xeifrank said: “Ok, so you don’t like how the games in Japan were handled. [...]“

    I’d be much happier if MLB just totally lost this idea of having pre-Opening Day (or Opening Day, as bizarre as the timing was) games in Japan. After all, don’t the World Series winners/2nd place teams go over to Japan during the post-World-Series offseason to play exhibition games?

    Surely that should be enough, even for Selig and Co. (but, obviously not).

    Next thing we know, Bud and his Buddies will be sending a troop of 4 teams all around the world to play to our boys in Iraq, to open up new territory in Russia’s Gulag, and to tour China a la Bingo Long and the Travelling All-Stars and Motor Kings, ending up with an exhibition game against the Survivor All-Stars.

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