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But Seriously Folks: The All-Star Game Friday, July 1, 2011

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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140 characters simply isn’t enough to contain my animosity for the All-Star game selection, which begins in earnest on Sunday.  Our votes have been cast, and the starting lineup will be announced then.  But at what cost?

Please note that if the All-Star game was truly the popularity contest it once was, I wouldn’t be complaining about any of this.  But in the words of Bud Selig himself, “it matters” now.  And home team advantage in the World Series is nothing to sneeze at.  In the 8 years since it’s “mattered,” the home team (5 of 8 times) has come out on top.

Where’s my beef? It has to do with modern stuffing of the ballot boxes.  This happens to a small degree in the National League, but the clear offenders have to be the persistent Yankees and Red Sox at the top of the ballot every year in the AL.  The winners have yet to be announced of course, but at last count, 7 of 9 starting positions for the American League were Red Sox or Yankees, with a potential of 8 of 9 a clear possiblity thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury knocking on the door for the final outfielder position.

The only non-YankSox player that clearly has a shot is the phenomenal Jose Bautista, but one has to wonder whether a sweep would be possible had he not found a recent penchant for the long ball and Carl Crawford’s supporters had pushed him higher in the voting.

In 1957, The Reds stuffed the ballot box and Commissioner Ford Frick had to step in and name a couple other players so they wouldn’t take over the AL roster.  Nobody big… just Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. And remember that this was back before the All-Star game “mattered.”

The way things have lined up recently, it’s time for Selig to get off his ass and take a stand. Clearly, this is nothing but a popularity contest, but there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s just an exhibition game.  Why we all have to deal with this nonsense because of Selig’s gaffe in 2002 is beyond me.  You want to continue this tradition?  Kill the home field advantage.  Lean on the amazingly popular home run derby, and let it be a straight out popularity contest.  Elect as many Yankees and Red Sox as you want, but don’t pretend that this game “matters.”

Griffey’s Triumphant Return Friday, February 20, 2009

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Griffey’s been all over the local news lately and only the national media seems to be spinning it negatively.  Still, even surrounded by such excitement, I feel compelled to write in response to those accusations that this is nothing but a publicity stunt.  So you can thank Keith Law for this post.

Is Griffey the same player he was in the late 90’s?  Of course not!  But for other sportswriters to portray Seattle fans as a bunch of bumpkins blindly buying tickets and assuming he’s the savior of Seattle sports is ridiculous.  Does he put butts in the seats?  Yes.  But this is about more than nostalgia: it’s about community.

Harold Reynolds’ and Willie Mays’ role in this story has been mentioned again and again, and the two-day decision that caused both Seattle and Atlanta fans to nearly pass out in anticipation was all over the news.  But not a single sportswriter, blogger or man on the street (at least in my futile Google searches) has mentioned what is really exciting about this story.  It wasn’t about money.

Griffey was choosing between a city he loved (a city he already mistakenly passed on once) and his family.  No one faulted Griffey for taking less money to return to Cincy years ago, and no one would have faulted him for choosing Atlanta now.  That’s what’s astonishing about this story.  No one has reported that Mariners’ fans watch a different type of baseball: one filled with community involvement and love for the game itself.  All those Mariner greats of the past? Buhner, Edgar, Moyer, Davis, Wilson, Valle, Raul…  They were all huge community activists.  They all made permanent homes in the Northwest.  They truly loved this city for more than their contracts; for more than the game itself, and this week has shown that that tradition will continue.

Thanks, Kenny.  Welcome home.

Ticket Prices Compared!! Sunday, August 17, 2008

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I’ve been thinking a lot about ticket prices with the M’s packing it in this year (worst season attendance in Safeco history so far) and I wonder just how much of that is due to the exorbitant ticket prices as opposed to the lousy performance…

So, to tally things out, let’s compare our prices for say… my favorite spot a few rows behind (not too close)the dugout on the third base side to the rest of the MLB and see how things square up. Now, to narrow this down, especially with price differentials for certain games and days of the week, I’m not including so-called “premium-priced” games (which were almost always Red Sox or Yankees) and I usually catch a game on a Sunday, so I’m only taking that day’s ticket prices here. Also, these will be “day of game” prices, not season ticket or pre-purchased tickets. Imagine that I arrive, find an available seat and buy it at the gate for whatever each team charges. Here goes, from highest to lowest:

New York Yankees – $380

Los Angeles Dodgers – $130

Boston Red Sox – $90

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – $85

San Francisco Giants – $85

Chicago Cubs – $80

Washington Nationals – $75

Seattle Mariners – $65

Toronto Blue Jays – $65

Atlanta Braves – $60

Arizona Diamondbacks – $60

Texas Rangers – $60

Cleveland Indians – $55

Baltimore Orioles – $55

San Diego Padres – $55

Chicago White Sox – $55

Houston Astros – $50

Oakland Athletics – $50

Philadelphia Phillies – $50

Minnesota Twins – $50

Milwaukee Brewers – $45

Florida Marlins – $43

Tampa Bay Rays – $42

Cincinnatti Reds – $42

Detroit Tigers – $42 (And kudos to the Tigers for the simplest ticket prices)

Kansas City Royals – $37

Pittsburgh Pirates – $27

St. Louis Cardinals – Seats Not Available For Single Game Purchase

New York Mets – Seats Not Available For Single Game Purchase

Colorado Rockies – (Too lazy to figure it out… The site lists $47-$100 without laying out the differences)

Interesting, no?

And now, to get a vague (and I mean VAGUE) idea of which place has the best deal, let’s arrange the teams by last season’s win record!

Boston Red Sox – $90 (96-66), Won Division, Won ALCS, Won Championship

Cleveland Indians – $55 (96-66) Won Division

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – $85 (94-68), Won Division

New York Yankees – $380 (94-68), Won Wild Card

Arizona Diamondbacks – $60 (90-72) Won Division

Colorado Rockies – (Too lazy to figure it out… The site lists $47-$100 without laying out the differences) (90-73), Won Wild Card, Won NLCS

San Diego Padres – $55 (89-74)

Philadelphia Phillies – $50 (89-73) Won Division

Seattle Mariners – $65 (88-74)

Detroit Tigers – $42 (And kudos to the Tigers for the simplest ticket prices) (88-74)

New York Mets – Seats Not Available For Single Game Purchase (88-74)

Chicago Cubs – $80 (85-77), Won Division

Atlanta Braves – $60 (84-78)

Toronto Blue Jays – $65 (83-79)

Milwaukee Brewers – $45 (83-79)

Los Angeles Dodgers – $130 (82-80)

Minnesota Twins – $50 (79-83)

St. Louis Cardinals – Seats Not Available For Single Game Purchase (78-84)

Oakland Athletics – $50 (76-86)

Texas Rangers – $60 (75-87)

Washington Nationals – $75 (73-89)

Houston Astros – $50 (73-89)

Chicago White Sox – $55 (72-90)

Cincinnatti Reds – $42 (72-90)

San Francisco Giants – $85 (71-91)

Florida Marlins – $43 (71-91)

Baltimore Orioles – $55 (69-93)

Kansas City Royals – $37 (69-93)

Pittsburgh Pirates – $27 (68-94)

Tampa Bay Rays – $42 (66-96)

Do different parks offer better amenities than other parks? Yes, of course. Will you find me complaining about prices at Safeco anyway? Yup. But for all those Mariner fans out there who keep complaining and complaining about our team and keep insisting that good fans would stay away from the park to cause ticket prices to drop, I have only one thing to say. You’re a bunch of idiots. You can see on this chart a vague representation of how better teams usually charge more and lousy teams usually charge less, but you’re mixing up cause and effect. Ticket prices are only slightly affected by results. It’s more a matter of how big a fan base is. Need some examples? Check out Baltimore and D.C. (And that’s with them competing AGAINST each other in the same market!) Don’t kid yourself that Washington D.C. and Maryland are hotbeds for upper-class baseball fans. Have you ever been to our nation’s capitol? Not quite Wall Street elite…

And you’re really forgetting about how amazing it is to watch a game at Safeco. You think this is a lousy team? It’s lousy, but it’s only been truly lousy for ONE season. Get over yourself. Suffer through the bad times. You want bad teams? You want pathetic? There was celebrating in the streets in ’91 when the M’s finally broke .500! No, I’m not kidding. I remember it!

And now I’m finished ranting. If anything, I’ve created a chart of how much it would cost to sit in the same seats in 30 different stadiums. Woohoo!