Archive - May 2017
- Column: Baseball Justice Dumb and DumberMay 25, 2017
Pardon me if we’ve been here before, but baseball beanball wars are dumb and, for emphasis, dumber. As we’ve said before, pitching inside is a recognized and effective tactic that’s both legal and accepted. Hitters who crowd the plate or lean over it as they swing should expect to be pitched inside. But what took place in back-to-back series between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles earlier this season is unacceptable. In the eighth inning of a 2-0 win by Baltimore on April 21, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado slid aggressively into second base and spiked the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia. If Machado intended to injure Pedroia, you could have fooled everyone in the ballpark, save some of Pedroia’s teammates as it turns out. When Machado saw what he had done, he seemed genuinely concerned about Pedroia’s condition and immediately attempted to help him.
- Column: Do Taxes Affect Winning In Professional Sports?May 18, 2017
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Attributed to many. The phrase quoted above is often used to describe the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster a weak argument. Which brings us to Erik Hembre, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Hembre grew up in the great state of Minnesota rooting for his favorite team, the NBA’s Timberwolves. The ‘Wolves entered the NBA in 1989 and since their inaugural season they have the worst record in the entire league. The ‘Wolves aren’t the only professional sports franchise in Minnesota without a championship. Neither the NHL Wild – or their predecessors, the Stars – nor the NFL Vikings have ever won their league title. The only exception is MLB’s Twins who won World Series titles in 1987 and 1991.
- Column: MLB Franchise Values Continue To RiseMay 11, 2017
“The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Mark Twain, 1897 For years, polls and pundits have suggested that baseball’s popularity – and economic vitality - is dwindling, especially when compared to football. Based on the most recent estimated MLB franchise values published by Forbes, nothing could be further from the truth. Thirty years ago 23% of sports fans named baseball as their favorite sport, compared to 24% who chose football. According to the most recent Harris Poll published last year, football trumps baseball by 18 percentage points, 33 percent to 15 percent. However, the poll results only tell one story and the numbers are hardly a reflection of the financial state of MLB.
- Column: Dale Jr.'s Retirement A Huge Blow To NASCARMay 4, 2017
The day after one member of the media opined that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was “stuck in neutral” in his comeback from concussions, the NASCAR icon suddenly announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season. Last week’s stunning announcement was hardly the kind of news NASCAR needed. Junior will be the fourth top name to retire from the sport in the past three years – Jeff Gordon in 2015, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards last year, and now Earnhardt, Jr. The sport can hardly afford to lose such star power at this critical time. NASCAR is suffering from a double barrel of disappointing business news, experiencing declining attendance at the track and diminishing television ratings over the past three years. Losing Junior, a 14-time winner of the most popular driver award and two-time winner of the Daytona 500, has led to predictions of doom and gloom for the sport.