Dependable Erection

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stupidest idea ever

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig appears to be increasingly in favor of proposing more playoff teams during collective bargaining with the union next year, which will determine the postseason format for 2012 and beyond.

“We have less teams than any other sport,” he said last month. “We certainly haven’t abused anything.”

One more mark on the Bud Selig is the evilest man alive tally. If the union goes along with this, Michael Weiner can join him on that list.



  • It's "fewer," Bud.

    I'm just holding out hope that some day MLB goes to a soccer-style promotion/relegation model.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 10:41 AM  

  • I've completely resigned myself to the fact that no one properly uses "fewer" any more.

    One less thing to worry about in my life.

    By Blogger Barry, at 10:44 AM  

  • BArry, this might be the only thing we ever agree on. Baseball on the pro level is dead to me until they bring back an independent Commissioner with a "for the good of the game" clause.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 AM  

  • I'd be OK with a promotion/relegation model, but given the long history of the current minor league farm system, and the guaranteed territory franchise system that baseball has, i don't see that ever realistically having a chance.

    what i'd do, if i were commissioner, is add two more teams, probably Memphis and Las Vegas, create four 8 team divisions in two leagues, with radical realignment. Mets and Yankees in the same division; same with Cubs and White Sox, etc. The same city different league phenomenon is a vestige of when the leagues were actually rivals, didn't honor each other's contracts, etc.

    No interleague play.

    Play each of the 7 other teams in your division 16 games, play the teams in the other division 6 games, for a 160 game season.

    Two rounds of playoffs, both best of 7, no wild card.

    Drop the designated hitter, and get rid of the All-Star game winning league gets home field advantage.

    Oh, and i'd pass a law that all teams had to own their own stadiums. None of this socialism where cities build stadiums for teams, but the teams end up with all the money. If your city can't support a major league team, then it goes under, and another minor league team steps up into the league. That could be a sly way to introduce promotion and relegation.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:35 AM  

  • I'd be good with most of the proposals there, except I'd probably go towards Portland and Brooklyn. (Memphis?!? For Major League Baseball?!?)

    More likely than promotion relegation, I'm hoping for the continued growth of the independent leagues, to the point that they may be able to start drawing players of note from MLB. That's a 20-year process, though.

    Nolan Ryan for Commish.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 12:35 PM  

  • I'll also chime in that the All Star decides home field rule may be silly, but it's still preferable to what preceded it, which was alternating home field between the leagues year-to-year. If someone wants to get rid of the All Star game deciding that, it better not be going back to the old system.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 12:48 PM  

  • Don't see the problem with alternating years, tbh.

    The 2-3-2 system is not a true home field advantage the way a 2-2-1-1-1 system is.

    In fact, i think the WS has only been won 3 times by a team that failed to win a game on the road. I know the Twins did it in both 87 and 91, and i think it's happened once again more recently. In 65, home field advantage didn't exactly play out for the Twins - they won the first two games in Minnesota, the Dodgers won the next 3 in LA, the Twins won game 6 at home, and Koufax pitched a 3 hit shutout in game 7 to win it for the Dodgers.

    2010 was somewhat of a statistical anomaly in terms of the number of teams who played poorly on the road. We'll seeif that trend continues next year.

    By Blogger Barry, at 1:04 PM  

  • It was the 2001 Diamondbacks - Yankees series that the home team also won all 7 games.

    By Blogger Barry, at 1:15 PM  

  • I'm not sure what's been worse...
    Steroids making a mockery of hallowed records. (Did I use "hallowed" correctly; grammar police are all over this blog...)
    The infamously mediocre Barry Zito getting a 7-year, $125M contact.
    The Pittsburgh Pirates not having a winning record in 18 years.

    I admit, I barely follow MLB anymore but was a huge fan 20-25 years ago. I miss that game, where the big scandals were Pete Rose and a fair amount of cocaine. You had to be really good over a long season to make the playoffs. Pitchers threw complete games. 30 home runs was a big deal.

    (I guess I DON'T miss the cookie-cutter/multiuse stadiums that have all gone away...I don't care who paid for the new stadiums; the old ones were travesties)
    I guess I can't be outraged against the possibility of expanded playoffs. It has been inevitable ever since MLB brought in the wildcard round.

    I can't see expanding to 32 teams with so many long-suffering teams, and this economy is a bad time for anyone to relocate. Memphis and Vegas probably could support teams much better than Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

    By Blogger toastie, at 1:55 PM  

  • If it doesn't matter, then what's wrong with having the All Star game decide it?

    There are three metro areas in NC that could support a team considerably better than Memphis. I don't see the point of adding a team there unless we want to create another Kansas City or Pittsburgh situation. And a sport as stodgy as baseball isn't going to be the first one to cozy up to the casinos and put a franchise in Vegas.

    Brooklyn, on the other hand, has twice as many residents by itself as the entire Memphis metro area. And Portland is apparently a baseball crazy city, and has chased a team in the past.

    FWIW, I don't think it will be a baseball team, but it's only a matter of time before Norfolk gets a major league team.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 5:07 PM  

  • @MB-
    Just curious, what's the third NC metro?

    By Blogger Rob, at 5:18 PM  

  • i assume he's talking the Triangle, the Triad, and Charlotte.

    Memphis has a pretty nice stadium already, right downtown, walkable neighborhood and all that. don't know if it could be expanded to a 30,000 seater, though.

    I'd love to see a team in Brooklyn. The Cyclones are apparently drawing very well. Not going to happen, though.

    Could also contract to a 28 team league, with 4 seven team divisions. Play each of the other teams in your division 16 times, and 8 games against the 7 teams in the other division for a 152 game schedule.

    Suppose, just for a minute, that Bengie Molina had gotten the game winning hit in the All-Star game, giving the NL the 4 games should the WS go the full 7. Now he's playing for the other team. I couldn't handle the irony. I assume there's some revenue advantage to hosting WS games. Some of the money goes to the pension fund, and some goes to the bonus pool, and some gets shared amongst the clubs, but the winning teams have to be seeing some of that. Better to share that randomly with an alternating year schedule than tie it to the All-Star game. Which should be, imo, a meaningless exhibition game. I don't care if it ends in a tie, to be honest.

    By Blogger Barry, at 5:57 PM  

  • Rob: what Barry said. Not that any of them could support an MLB team well, but the Memphis MSA has like 1.2 million people, a shrinking shipping industry, a stagnant railroad industry, and no major corporations to support an MLB team. I think the Grizz is about what they can support, pro sports wise. All three of the big NC metro areas have better corporate support, more people, and are growing significantly faster.

    If you are going to contract, I think that's the perfect opportunity to create a second tier with promotion and relegation. Hell, contract to 24 teams, and create a 12 team second tier, with Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay (after they lose all their free agents and go back to the cellar), and until they get their act together, Arizona, Baltimore, and Seattle. Add Portland, Brooklyn, Louisville, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, and Durham (hee hee). First tier is two leagues with two divisions of six teams each, second tier is two sub-leagues with a single table, with a single slot promoted/relegated from each league.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 9:44 PM  

  • One point about baseball in Memphis: The Triple-A team is very successful, and it's also very unusual in that it's a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

    I'd like to see more community-owned sports teams, so I'm not eager for MLB to award a franchise there in place of the Redbirds.

    By Blogger David, at 10:30 AM  

  • Interesting story in the Guardian this week on community owned sports teams.

    Did not know that about the Memphis team.

    By Blogger Barry, at 8:29 AM  

  • Ah, I missed that. Thanks for that link. It makes me want to join FCUM. Not such a great acronym, though.

    Over the summer I read a book by that Guardian reporter, David Conn, called THE BEAUTIFUL GAME? It's basically an evisceration of the Premier League, demonstrating that it was rigged to keep Manchester United and Arsenal rich, to the detriment of the entire English football pyramid.

    So effective was Conn's argument that I resolved to tune out EPL this season—although I'm still keeping up with Villa and watching the big derby games. Otherwise, I'm watching the more politically palatable Bundesliga!

    By Blogger David, at 9:33 AM  

  • "Fundraising is targeted to raise £500,000 and the club is applying for other sports-based grants but the largest single element of funding is a planned £1.5m investment from supporters and others who want to see the club succeed. The "community shares", designed by Kevin Jaquiss, a partner at Cobbetts, lawyers for the co-operative movement, invite investors to support the project for the long term.

    . . .

    The share offer preserves the democracy of FCUM; however much investors put in, as members of the club they will still have the same single vote as others who have paid their £12 annual membership fee."

    Funny, all of that sounds vaguely familiar...

    Maybe after I'm done with this DCM gig, we'll get a co-op together to buy the Bulls... :)

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 11:13 AM  

  • Michael--How about if you bring your DCM experience to building a soccer team in Durham?

    BTW, I've been meaning to sign up with DCM for ages. I promise I'll do that before I sign up with FCUM.

    By Blogger David, at 11:23 AM  

  • David -- if someone wanted to do a PDL team in Durham, I could talk to them about co-op ownership. Seems like running it out of Durham County Stadium wouldn't be too hard...

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 6:05 PM  

  • Sucks they just put gridiron turf in that stadium, though. (Well, sucks for soccer, but perhaps a desired improvement for the primary athletic events that go on there.)

    There *IS* a stadium near the farmer's market that's kept in pristine condition, despite the extremely infrequent baseball games...

    By Blogger David, at 12:31 AM  

  • @David-
    Too bad DAP is too small for futbol

    By Blogger Rob, at 8:10 PM  

  • Is it too small? It might make the bare minimum of length--110 yards plus some buffer. Google Maps tells me the distance from home plate to left field is just that, about 330 feet. And that doesn't include the foul territory on the first base side.

    Or are you talking about the seating, which is designed for baseball, not soccer?

    By Blogger David, at 1:05 AM  

  • I guess I didn't realize that the DAP has more than 330' to the fence. I thought it was considered very short by AAA standards.

    By Blogger Rob, at 12:09 PM  

  • Don't forget, that's just the distance from home plate. there's about 20 25 feet between the plate and the seats.

    But given that MiLB won't allow the events the city promised us we'd be able to have at the DAP (Blues Festival, Beer Festival, Bimbé), there's simply no chance that the DAP will ever host a soccer match.

    Could there be room in the Triangle for a second WakeMed sized soccer field? Where could it go? You'd think the marketing people would want it where it could draw from both Durham and Orange/Chapel Hill, and they'd probably want it on the 15/501 corridor.

    Which would be the kiss of death, as far as i'm concerned. One of the car dealerships near the DBAP? Probably too expensive to acquire the land these days, and where would you put the new parking deck that someone would think you would need to accommodate a new stadium?

    Personally, i think that an entertainment complex in east Durham, accessible to the East End Connector whenever that gets built, makes a lot of sense. No reason it could host a mid-sized soccer only venue, with a decent complex of training/youth fields for the soccer clubs of the community. Maybe not so convenient for Chapel Hill folks, but it would be closer than WakeMed field by a long shot.

    By Blogger Barry, at 12:22 PM  

  • What kind of "gridiron turf" did they put at DCS? An artificial turf that's too long for soccer or something? The field appears to be permanently lined with soccer boundaries, in addition to the gridiron lines.

    I'd be afraid to put another WakeMed-sized field in Durham, simply because it's not yet clear that the Triangle is going to support one second tier soccer club, much less two. The thing that would make sense to me in Durham, as I said, is something at the Professional Developmental Leagues stage, that you could stock with Duke and UNC players during the summer. And if you're going to do that, you may as well either use DCS or the Duke soccer field.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 3:12 PM  

  • Michael:

    I didn't know they included soccer lines on the DCS turf. Still, watching soccer on a football field is a ghastly experience. I have very little interest in watching games at gridiron Astroturf on a regular basis.

    The other problem with American football fields is that they are significantly narrower than soccer fields. In many cases--DCS, O'Kelley-Riddick, Carter-Finley, etc--the bricks-and-mortar of the lower grandstands preclude even a temporary soccer field of a proper width.

    (The standard minimum is 110 X 70 yards, or 100 X 64 meters. For top-level international play, it's 105 X 68 meters.)

    If you guys want to talk about local soccer markets sometime, let's do it over a beer at Bull McCabe. I personally think that a division 2 team would draw better in downtown Durham than in a suburban Wake County stadium.

    By the way, the RailHawks played for the league title Saturday night. They lost to Puerto Rico, but the stadium was nearly full: 5,000+. A great night—except for the losing part.


    By Blogger David, at 4:57 PM  

  • Barry:

    Good point about the Blues Fest and other uses. I'm curious... what are the terms of the city's agreement with MiLB? Is it online anywhere?

    I have to say that I'm not sold on whatever the current plan is, because the result seems to be a barely used field in the heart of downtown.

    By Blogger David, at 5:23 PM  

  • Using my trusty Google Earth measuring tool and the now-updated overhead shots of DCS, it looks like the field is 65x110 yards, for whatever that's worth. So yeah, probably not wide enough.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 9:39 PM  

  • Right... However, many American clubs--especially at the PDL level, but also at MLS teams like DC United at RFK Stadium-- play on football fields for lack of alternatives. I think you're right about Duke's soccer field being a possibility for PDL play. The main drawback to playing on school grounds is restrictions on alcohol sales. Austin just lost their D2 team largely because the owners couldn't make money from beer sales, as the team played on a high school football field (which had all the other disadvantages, as well). The structural obstacles are formidable everywhere, unfortunately.

    By Blogger David, at 10:22 PM  

  • [I feel a little sheepish wandering so far off-topic in the comments section of a blog post titled "Stupidest idea ever," but here goes.]

    My curiosity about the current use of DAP led me to this article (by Indy freelancer Mike Potter), in which we learn that as of Sept. 3, 2010, there were 116 baseball games this year. That's amazing to me because I rarely see any activity taking place aside from grounds-keeping. But there you go.

    By Blogger David, at 10:18 AM  

  • Lots of games on Saturday mornings - not sure of what league is represented though. Rarely anyone in the stands.

    I think it would be tough to argue that the DAP is being put to its maximum use.

    As i recall, Beer Festival, Blues Festival, and Bimbé were explicitly referenced as uses for the DAP when Durham voters gave the go ahead for renovations.

    Backtracking, Selig yesterday reiterated his support for expanding baseball playoffs to a minimum of 10 teams. Christ, game 4 of the Series couldn't even beat the Steelers/Saints mid-season game on Sunday night football. Who does he think is going to watch a three game playoff between a couple of third place teams, or pay attention to a World Series that runs 'til Veterans'Day?

    By Blogger Barry, at 10:36 AM  

  • As far as which draws better, I don't have any disagreement that a downtown stadium draws better and makes more sense. But WakeMed is there, and from everything I've heard, is an exemplary soccer stadium for its size. Also, there's no way you could build a soccer complex with an additional six full-size playing fields in a downtown environment, which is a big part of why that complex got built.

    Using the same Google Earth tool, I can't quite manage to fit a 100x64 meter field onto the green area of the DAP (and I'm including the sanded infield in "green" here). You'd have to have at least one of the corners of the field extend onto the warning track, which is certainly not optimal, given how much critical play can happen in the corners and along the end lines.

    Taking another look at DCS, it's not actually the football field that causes the problem, but the fact that the field is inscribed on a standard 1/4 mile oval track. Within the green, there's actually space for a 64 meter field width, but it would leave like 18 inches of green over the touchlines before you got to the track, which I'm assuming is pretty unsafe. (The measurements I noted above were for the field as it's currently lined.) Come to think of it, my guess is that's exactly why gridiron fields are shaped the way they are -- they're made to fit inside a track oval, given that track was far and away more popular when gridiron football was in its formative stages.

    And now I've spent half an hour flipping around Google Earth looking for places to put a field that would be accessible in particular to Durham's Latino population but would have enough room. None of these are optimal, but things I saw, in no particular order:

    - Bulldoze the southern end of the K-Mart plaza shopping center off Avondale north of 85 and put it there by the beaver pond. (requires new construction)
    - The field behind the Holton Career Resource Center on Driver (not really enough width -- just barely enough for the field)
    - On the existing competition-sized field at Oak Grove Athletic Association (my favorite so far, but way out east).

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 11:08 AM  

  • Still playing with Google Earth -- interestingly enough, I don't know if it was foresight engendered by the just-hosted World Cup in 1994, but Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte appears to have fully sufficient room within its boundaries for a full international field. I wouldn't be at all surprised if an MLS team opened there in the next decade.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 11:19 AM  

  • An afterthought to this discussion: I was in the neighborhood of Durham County Stadium yesterday and drove up to take a look. The renovations look very nice, as it happens. And it would be a perfectly good place to put a PDL team, notwithstanding the football lines and narrowness.

    By Blogger David, at 6:25 PM  

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