April 18, 2014

While We’re Waiting… Wild Card’s factor in MLB attendance

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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This article focuses on Cleveland and other MLB wild card contending teams struggling with attendance: “Baseball’s addition last season of a second wild card playoff spot in each league was supposed to help teams like Cleveland by elevating their chances of contending and increasing the importance of September’s schedule. The Indians currently trail the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League wild card by a game and a half. Yet the town, like other towns whose teams are in the thick of things, seems to be yawning.” [Tom Van Riper/Forbes]

Also, there’s this Michael Bourn-based attendance article for you all to marinate on a few different possibilities for the drop: “The attendance issue has been an issue since 2002-2003. And because it’s been an issue for that long, those on either side of the argument have entrenched themselves to the point where nobody’s listening to each other. I think it’s very possible that both these arguments are correct: 1. The Cleveland/Northeast Ohio economy is such that the typical family doesn’t have the means to go to 3-4 ballgames a season any more. …” [Ryan/Let's Go Tribe]

Oh hey, your favorite Cleveland Browns actually have one of the eight cheapest beers in the NFL. Winning. [Nate Scott/For The Win]

Always enjoy an article like this that describes how fortunate the Indians likely were in acquiring the Brazilian sensation Yan Gomes: “While the trade obviously looks bad for Toronto in hindsight, enough people probably understand what a disaster J.P. Arencibia has been on both sides of the ball this season that there is no point in once again twisting the knife. Moreover, few would have seen this coming from Gomes, who actually played college ball with Arencibia at Tennessee. Even when our own Marc Hulet cautiously saw Gomes as a potential contributor upon his call-up to Toronto last season, he hardly endorsed him beyond being a possible utility bench bat who could fill at the corners and occasionally at catcher. At all of those positions, Hulet remarked, his glove was “average-at-best.”” [Matt Klaassen/FanGraphs]

The Baltimore Sun (!!) interviews our very own Scott about this week’s Browns-Ravens game: “If this past Sunday is any sort of indication, in a world where the only item of importance is a win, there will not be much different with this year’s incarnation when compared to those of yesteryear. The offense has been abysmal, even with the addition of two offensive minds; the defensive backfield (was) shredded. That said, in the spirit of fairness, the Browns’ revamped front seven looks very, very good. Under the tutelage of Ray Horton, the Browns new 3-4 scheme led to several sacks with only three- or four-man rushes. They held the Dolphins to just 20 yards rushing on 23 attempts, this without stud defensive end Athyba Rubin, who was out with a calf injury. If there’s any silver lining to this perennial disgrace, it’s the trenches on the defensive side.” [Scott Sargent and Matt Vensel/Baltimore Sun]

The most recent Dan Gilbert/Cavs/downtown Cleveland-based piece of this incredible multi-part series on Cleveland and its sports: “Citizens of Cleveland know this, and they’re doing what they can. For a while, they had a hero, a man who was fully invested in changing the city’s downtown landscape. He might have even put the planning PowerPoint documents in Comic Sans.” [Will Leitch/Sports on Earth]

A fun read on why the Buckeyes band is also heading out to Cal this weekend: “The Ohio State University Marching Band will report for duty at 4 a.m. Thursday morning. After a trip to the airport, a flight across the country to Los Angeles, some afternoon sightseeing, a Thursday evening performance at the Bel-Air Bay Club, a Friday morning ride (in six buses for the 230 band members) up the Pacific coast, a rehearsal with the Cal band Friday afternoon, a performance for an alumni group in San Francisco on Friday night, and a pregame alumni performance on Saturday, TBDBITL will then report for duty at Memorial Stadium, just like the OSU football team.” [Doug Lesmerises/Cleveland.com]

I know our very own TD has written about this intriguing comparison several times, but this is a really, really detailed look: “My argument was the lack of conditioning over the years caused a premature end to the career of Carlos Baerga, who fell apart at the age of 27. At the time I was looking at a possible trade to the Diamondbacks or the Cardinals for Asdrubal Cabrera since he had been a hot trade rumor guy. I looked at the data, compared their careers and saw a reason to be concerned. I argued that the Indians needed to trade Asdrubal now because it really struck me that he could be in for a collapse.” [Jeff Ellis/Indians Baseball Insider]

  • mgbode

    why do the Royals always get left out of the attendance discussions? the Indians “could” catch them in the rankings and they are competing for the same slot.

  • mgbode

    and that Gomes article doesn’t even touch on the SP’s difference in pitching stats with him instead of Santana. the writer jokes that Gomes was the difference in being in contention this year, but he might be somewhat correct if the pitch-framing and game-calling that ‘seemed’ so dreadful w/ Marson & Santana has truly been improved with Gomes.

    seemed – only used because it’s tough to nail down specifically without more information. it’s like OL blocking. we can see when it’s good or bad, but without knowing the play/pitch calls it’s impossible to know “how” good or bad it truly is.

  • boomhauertjs

    Asdrubal was never as good as Baerga was in their respective primes. Of course, Asdrubal had Jose Lopez hitting behind him instead of Albert Belle.

  • WFNYJacob

    Wow. Didn’t realize KC was fifth-worst in baseball at 21,415 despite a recently renovated stadium, a higher payroll than the Indians and their best season in years.

  • WFNYJacob

    Agreed. Defensive metrics are already suspect, let alone those for catchers.

    FWIW, I wrote earlier in the year on the team’s atrocious wild pitch rate (http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2013/06/wfny-stats-info-indians-wild-pitches-stats-history/). For whatever reason, perhaps just typical regression, that hasn’t been much of an issue of late.

    First 77 games — 44 wild pitches, .595/game, worst ever
    Next 68 games — 24 wild pitches, .353/game, slightly better than league average

  • mgbode

    alot of people seem to think that KC is just “more of a baseball town” because of the support closeby StL gets for their team. I understand why KC likely has a very tiny season ticket base (20 tough years), but they need to at least get mentioned in articles like the one above.

  • mgbode

    and for some reason all the players across MLB in the 90′s seemed to have better hitting numbers.

  • Natedawg86

    TB and Oakland are way low, but their payrolls are 57 and 60

  • Natedawg86

    Who is Marson?

  • tsm

    Read the article about the reasons for the poor attendance. In my opinion, the team has always chosen the short term over the long term. Baseball is a family game, and fans are developed from ages 8-15 (generally). They need to do whatever is necessary to get these kids to 10-12 games each year. Many parents can’t afford to pay the high prices, so the team needs to be creative and have sections where the adult buys a ticket and the kids are free, or some such idea. These kids will then buy their own tickets when they become adults. I have 4 sons, and was part of a season ticket program in the 90′s. My boys went to lots of games and became hard core fans. Unfortunately, 3 of them live in other cities, but when they come home, they go to games. There is simply no excuse fo the team to have the upped areas of the outfiled empty, when they could virtually give away the seats and create future fans.