Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Things Never Change...

I was watching the highlights of the White Sox vs. Oakland last night (a 3-0 shutout by Jake Peavy) when I witnessed a familiar, comforting sight... a vast array of green, empty seats in Oakland. When Dan and I attended a day game a few years back in Oakland and saw our totemic skull tattoo man = Baltimore the place was almost entirely empty, with vast portions of the upper deck seemingly permanently covered with a tarp.

For last nights' game not only were the upper decks empty, but pretty much the entire stadium seemed vacant, with a smattering of folks directly behind home plate. It is amazing to me that MLB leaves a franchise in that crumbling stadium in Oakland with the 3 fans who regularly attend (it reminds me of that Family Guy clip when they ask the single WNBA fan in the stands why he likes the league). Even the dimmest of the dim can see that broke-down Oakland can't support an MLB franchise - they can barely support their legal pot growing businesses. While other cities invest hundreds of millions in new stadiums even "Moneyball" can't save the A's. They need to pack it in and sell that franchise or somehow invest in a gleaming new ballpark where the fans from the nice side of town (I'm kidding) can buy large, expensive luxury boxes like they do everywhere else.

In general baseball's slow pace is not exactly luring in the next generation of fans, who grew up on football and basketball and now NASCAR and UFC. It is amazing to contrast the short, sharp entertainment value of UFC vs. the pleasure of spending hours and hours watching a game in a cavernous stadium where not much happens. But I'm sure that those that run MLB will come up with a plan that unites the fans and injects passion and intensity back in the game. Not.

8 comments:

Dan from Madison said...

You are not looking at the big picture. Every league needs patsies, and a lot of them, to help the huge teams do well and reach the playoffs year after year - it is all about TV revenue. MLB has a fantastic revenue sharing model and their internet/web business is an enormous success. The owners of the A's probably don't care if they end up in the cellar every year as long as the sharing payments come in. Who cares about stadiums anymore - the municipalities are so dumb that they get soaked for those anyways and we both know how much they put into that luxurious "Commitment to Excellence" in Oakland.

Dan from Madison said...

And by the way the WNBA is subsidized by the NBA - WNBA has never been self sustaining since day 1. Surprise! not.

Carl from Chicago said...

Ha ha I agree on the patsies but the league could make MORE money if the patsies didn't play in absolutely rock bottom excuses for a stadium like Oakland.

The MLB has been sprucing up almost all of their ballparks in recent years look at your beautiful one in Milwaukee.

I think just about the only serious dump left in MLB is Oakland but that probably is juice for a post some time. You can't count Wrigley as a dump because that is part of its charm as the worlds largest open air bar.

Carl from Chicago said...

BTW since I'm not drinking this summer I am going to go STONE SOBER to a Cubs game on maybe a Saturday and walk into every bar taking pictures and buy a seat and walk around the stadium taking pictures of MORE drunks for DBF and THEN I am going to stay out late and visit all the bars. You should SEE it for a 1:20pm game at like midnight for Cubs / Sox on a Friday or Saturday it is completely epic open air bars like the size of Wal-Marts.

It is kind of like that Wisconsin football game vs. Nebraska except no one road trips and damn they don't fill the lots at 5am for a 7:30pm start.

Dan from Madison said...

haha that is good journalism. And no, not many places do it like Wisco.

As for Milwaukee, not only did taxpayers get soaked for a major portion of the new stadium (which is a friecking cathedral) we got a new and good owner who sunk a lot of $$ into the team. They even draw on Monday nights now - but a HUGE part of the allure is the wonderful tailgating area as we have described.

Trooper York said...

Did I tell you lately that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl?

Dan from Madison said...

So we heard. Congratulations on your 9-7 season and random winning streak just like the Packers the previous year.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Attending a major league game with few fans in the seats is depressing. While I hate crowds it makes for a more engaging experience when the stadium is closer to capacity.