03.30.10

Abraham : No (F’ing) Way To The A’s In San Jose

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down, The Marketplace, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:10 pm by

Citing an unnamed source, City Bright’s Zennie Abraham claims Major League Baseball is about to issue an official recommendation the Oakland A’s pursue relocation to San Jose, CA, an edict Abraham takes considerable exception to.

The reasons why MLB would pick San Jose over Oakland will be listed in the report set to be released within three days (unless MLB elects to delay the release of the report after this blog post). But the array of information required and the template that information fits in is not complex or vast. One can guess that San Jose has a more complete stadium development plan. But if Major League Baseball even uses the term “marketing” or “ticket sales” as a San Jose advantage in the report then the stadium committee itself doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

Let’s be more clear. If the stadium committee mentions that San Jose, which is just 30 miles from Oakland and in a smaller population center of the Bay Area (remember, Oakland is at the center of the East Bay, which has 3 million people), but still in The San Francisco Bay Area, and competing with the SF Giants Fan base for ticket revenue, is better for selling tickets, then this blogger will assert that Major League Baseball itself does not understand marketing a stadium product in the 21st Century.

The Oakland A’s fan base is really Worldwide. It just hasn’t been tapped by the Oakland A’s. The Athletics best marketing partnerships are with air travel agents, airlines, convention and visitors bureaus, and hotels. Getting tourists to make baseball-special trips and taking advantage of business travelers who will want to go to MLB rivalry games is the base for ticket sales. It’s as important as local sales. Luxury boxes should be considered as right for a national market, where people in Boston can buy part of an Oakland luxury box for Red Sox games. Multiply that approach times the teams in Major League Baseball the A’s will play and there’s a submarket to go after.

If the key to generating revenue is tourism and “rivalry games” (and I’m pretty sure the A’s have no trouble selling tickets to Red Sox or Yankee games at Network Associates Coliseum), how could any team in MLB be having trouble? Or more to the point, can Abraham name one single baseball fan interested in purchasing a time-share on an out of town luxury box? Deftly dodging Abraham’s somewhat insane argument, Field Of Schemes’ Neil de Mause describes Zennie’s scoop as “barely rising above the level of a rumor”.

That Selig’s Gang of Three would recommend San Jose as an A’s destination, if true, wouldn’t be surprising, given its further-ahead stadium deal and relatively untapped market; the bigger question remains what price Selig will make A’s owner Lew Wolff have to pay to the San Francisco Giants if he wants to get a deal done. Is Rob Neyer right that the commission report won’t be released until Selig has worked out a deal acceptable to all parties? We could maybe find out this week ” unless, as Abraham insists, “MLB elects to delay the release of the report after this blog post.” It takes a clever blogger to take credit for predicting things that don’t happen…

(3/30/10 ADDENDUM :  Abraham was previously credited in this post as a SF Chronicle contributor.  This was an error on my part  ;  Abraham’s blog is hosted at SFGate.com but he’s not a Chronicle employee, nor are his posts subject to the Chronicle’s editorial control.   Sincere apologies to the SF Chronicle for my suggesting otherwise.)

Class Warfare, Chicago Style

Posted in Baseball, Cinema at 11:21 am by

If the above trailer is anything to go by, filmmaker Bryan Bankovich’s 2009 short, “A Crosstown Classic” might be the Cubs/White Sox version of Jeff Krulik and John Heyn’s “Heavy Metal Parking Lot”. I’ve read nothing to indicate there are cameos from Ben Schwartz or Rob Warmowski, but I do understand there are sometimes difficulties obtaining a signed release agreement after embarrassing footage has been shot.

New York Magazine Contributing Editor Reveals Less Depth, Insight Than The Average WFAN Caller

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism, Will Leitch Sucks at 11:01 am by

It’s been a rough spring for Jose Reyes. First, the Mets SS had to contend with the screwy suggestion from his own manager that he’d be better off hitting 3rd rather than leading off. Shortly after, Reyes learned he’d be on the shelf for perhaps as long as two months due to a previously undiagnosed thyroid condition. Now, after amidst a flurry of speculation regarding his fitness, Reyes finds his fortitude being questioned by former Men’s Health scribe Will Leitch (above) via New York Magazine’s The Sports Section :

You will be relieved to know that Jose Reyes did not dissolve yesterday in a poof of smoke after being hit by a pitch. In fact, people were so enthused by his hitting yesterday that today he’s going to run the bases. Jose Reyes is such a delicate flower that we are complimenting him for basic human functions, like the morose neighbor boy you’re just happy to see out of the house in the sun once in a while.

It remains a mystery why New York Mag feels compelled to employ an avowed Cards fan to come up with the sort of thing that wouldn’t get past “Mike’d Up”‘s call screener on the grounds of redundancy. Would a St. Louis glossy allow a lifelong Mets fan to routinely skewer the Redbirds’ boozed-up skipper or Bunyanesque fraud of a first base coach? Not if they wanted anyone to take them seriously.

03.29.10

Pimping Ain’t Easy : A Salute To Clyde At 65

Posted in Basketball at 10:54 pm by

Hall Of Famer Walt Frazier was presented with a 65th birthday cake by the Jazz prior to tonight’s New York vs. Utah tilt (in which the hosts improved to no. 2 in the Western Conference with a 103-98 victory). Since I can’t bake a cake to save my life, Clyde will just have to settle for my cheap embedding gesture (above). Watch and learn, Charles Oakley.

Zelkovich’s Awful Announcing Audition

Posted in Basketball, Hockey, Sports Journalism, Sports TV at 7:17 pm by

(SMOOCH!)

“It’s as if somebody decided that speaking English makes for bad broadcasting,” sneers the Stars’ Chris Zelkovich after days observing the NHL and the NCAA men’s hoops tournament. “Or maybe it’s that all these guys heard somebody else use these phrases, figured he must know what he’s talking about and followed suit.” Mind you, this was without any exposure to MSG’s Kelly Tripucka.

A weekend of hockey-watching produced a torrent of mind-numbing phrases. There were references to puck presence, puck support, puck poise, puck pressure and net presence. Outside of an obvious love for alliteration, those who utter these words may have no better idea of what they mean than do the poor saps at home.

On Saturday night, Hockey Night In Canada’s Kevin Weekes talked about the Toronto Maple Leafs’ “neutral zone posture,” which apparently had nothing to with straight spines.

Later in the evening, analyst Garry Galley praised the Florida Panthers’ “comeback capabilities.”

And when did the boards become “the wall” and what the heck is “a saucer pass?”

The mysterious musings of CBS’s Bill Raferty from Sunday’s NCAA coverage will no doubt end up as part of some university curriculum. When a Tennessee player scored a basket, Raftery growled, “Taking his Ritalin.”

When another brought down a rebound, Raftery told viewers the player “provides a little bit of a lift and load-up.”

After a charging call, he offered this: “Those black chargers are bang-bangers.”

And when a player scored while driving to the basket, he thundered: “To the conclusion, with the smooch.”

Harrison NJ’s New Soccer Stadium – Surely The PATH Train’s More Crowded Than This?

Posted in Football, Ugly New Stadiums at 4:58 pm by

Congrats to the former Metro Stars on winning their 2010 MLS home opener against Chicago Saturday night, a match that marked the unveiling of Red Bull Arena for its first non-exhibition contest. While the venue is receiving mostly high marks from those in attendance, surely I’m not alone in finding the above clip unnecessarily arty and solemn.  Where’s the intense, Kronos Quartet-scored commercials touting PATH rides to Maxwell’s?

Tat’s All, Folks : Mushnick Vs. The Body Art Craze

Posted in Basketball, non-sporting journalism at 3:35 pm by

It would be nice to think that in 2010 an athlete —- professional or amateur — could be judged on their performance (or the content of his or her character) rather than on something as flimsy as whether or not they’ve opted for a tattoo (or 8 dozen). For the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick — presumably tired of bitching about overpriced sneakers, cornrows and doo rags — said alterations indicate (gulp) a lack of smarts. (“I don’t care what your position is on this pop-cultural ‘advancement’ — whether you recognize that it’s another mainstreamed gift from our prison systems and street gangs — but you’ll admit that it seemed half the starters in this year’s tournament were covered with tattoos”)

Until biology and history majors can show and prove otherwise, the most susceptible to modern fashion seem to be on basketball scholarship to America’s most esteemed universities.

Heck, there were three guys who played for Tennessee yesterday whose exteriors looked as if they’d been held down and assaulted by a merciless mob of Etch-a-Sketches.

That makes me wonder. Having covered your arms, legs, chests, backs, hands and necks with permanent patterns and words — some fellas seem to have the Preamble of the Constitution (or Miranda Rights) inscribed down the length of their arms — how do they read what they had written, you know, to check for spelling?

If one is to look down at his tattoo, he sees it upside down. If he tries to admire it in a mirror, he sees it backward. Those grieving fellows who salute in skin art a deceased friend or relative may be startled to look into a mirror and read his memorial as “P.I.R.”

Anyone know, by chance, if Eric Hinske received a basketball scholarship? From this vantage point, it would either seem Phil’s not spent much time out of the house over the last two decades, or he takes special relish in mocking the intellectual capacities of a bunch of young people who just happen to be mostly black.