Articles matching tag: Baseball
- Column: Banned at The Ballpark: Smokeless TobaccoApril 7, 2016
Major League Baseball (MLB) kicked off the 2016 season on April 3 with the familiar sights and sounds of players in uniform, bats hitting balls, pitches plunking into catchers’ mitts, and fans cheering for their home team. But one thing is missing in seven of the 30 MLB ball parks: Smokeless tobacco. Baseball players have used smokeless tobacco for more than a century, since the days of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Although the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that smokeless tobacco use among baseball players has declined over the years, according to Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an estimated 25-30% of MLB players currently use smokeless tobacco. That number is surprising, considering that all tobacco products are banned at the high school, college and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) levels.
- Column: MLB Trying to Attract New GenerationMarch 24, 2016
Baseball has an age problem. According to data collected by Sports Media Watch, half the television viewers during the 2013 World Series were 55 or older. Those numbers are consistent with the age of viewers of all nationally televised games on FOX, ESPN, TBS and the MLB Network during the entire 2013 season, giving baseball the oldest television viewing audience of any of the four Major League team sports. And the 2013 season wasn’t unique. For the five year period leading up to 2013, the median viewing age increased by one year annually, which suggests to some observers that baseball is a dying sport. To counter that trend, MLB has made it a priority to reach out to younger generations in a number of ways. The goal is to introduce baseball to kids as early as possible, and for good reason. According to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, research shows that “The biggest and strongest indicator of fan affinity as an adult is if you played [the game] as a kid."
- Column: Barry Bonds Case Back in CourtSeptember 21, 2014
If you’re sick and tired of reading or hearing the name Barry Bonds, then this column isn’t for you. But if you’re interested in justice, and protection from an abusive government, read on. Bonds is in the news again because his 2011 conviction for obstruction is on appeal before an 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2013 a three-judge panel of the appellate court unanimously agreed with the District Court decision. But when Bonds’ attorneys appealed to the full court, a majority of the 28 judges thought a larger panel should hear the case. The saga began in 2003 when Bonds testified before a grand jury investigating the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. As a result of that testimony Bonds was indicted in 2007 on a number of criminal charges. The jury couldn’t reach a verdict on three charges of perjury but convicted Bonds of felony obstruction for giving a 234-word rambling response to a prosecutor’s question on whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, ever gave him “something to inject himself with.”
- Column: H of F Whiffs on Miller - AgainDecember 16, 2013
For the sixth time in the last 10 years the late Marvin Miller, founding executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), failed to garner sufficient votes for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The lack of support for Miller – he received no more than six votes from the 16 members of the Veterans Committee – came as a surprise to many observers. The last time he was on the ballot, in 2010, Miller received 11 votes, one less than the number necessary for election. Why Miller’s vote total fell by half in this year’s election is known only to the electorate. What we can be certain of is the voters embarrassed themselves and the H of F.
- Column: Congressional Bonding Through BaseballNovember 18, 2013
Can baseball foster cooperation between Democrats and Republicans and end the bickering and gridlock that permeates Congress today? Maybe not, but two members of Congress are intent on giving it a try. Roger Williams, a freshman Republican Congressman from Texas, along with fellow Congressman Mike Doyle, a ten-term Democratic legislator from Pennsylvania, have formed the first-ever Congressional Baseball Caucus. The group’s purpose is to transfer the relationship members of Congress enjoy on the field of play during the annual Congressional Baseball Game (CBG) to the halls of Congress. Williams was the coach of this year’s Republican team and Doyle was team manager for the Democrats.
- Column: MLB Franchise Values ExplodeOctober 28, 2013
Move over, Forbes. Bloomberg has compiled a list of estimated franchise values for MLB teams that is more accurate than anything previously published by Forbes. Bloomberg News analysts spent nine months pouring over data prior to publishing their findings on October 23. The conclusion: The average MLB team is worth $1 billion, more than 35% higher than previous estimates. Ten teams are worth more than $1 billion each. Those numbers pale in comparison to NFL team values, where all 32 teams are worth at least $1 billion. But the fact that so many MLB teams are worth as much as an NFL team came as surprising news to many analysts. Not surprisingly, the Yankees topped the list at $3.3 billion. The Yankees are the sport’s most successful and most recognizable franchise, play in the largest market, had the highest team revenue in 2012 at $570 million, the fourth highest attendance in 2013 at 3.3 million, the highest average ticket price and own a significant portion of their regional sports network (RSN). The Dodgers rank second at $2.1 billion and are largely responsible for the higher overall valuations in MLB.
- Column: A-Rod's LawsuitsOctober 7, 2013
If a good defense is indeed a good offense, then Alex Rodriguez and his high priced team of lawyers have the playbook memorized. On Thursday A-Rod filed a lawsuit against MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig claiming they have attempted to destroy his reputation and career. The legal basis for the lawsuit is called “tortious interference,” which in this case means the defendants interfered with A-Rod’s ability to perform his contract with the Yankees, action which may prevent him from collecting the $116 million remaining on the contract. The suit was filed on the fourth day of an arbitration hearing to determine if the 211-game suspension A-Rod received for his various roles in the Biogenesis case - alleged by MLB to include the use of performance enhancing drugs, the attempted destruction of evidence, and the recruitment of additional players as clients of the South Florida anti-aging clinic - should be reduced or overturned. Thirteen of the fourteen players who were suspended by MLB accepted their fate without an appeal.
- Column: Yankees' Uncertain OffseasonSeptember 30, 2013
On the last weekend of the 2013 season when the Yankees faced off against Houston, it would be easy to conclude that the 51-111 Astros were the most disappointing team. But it’s not that simple. The Astros weren’t expected to compete this year, not with a rookie manager, new ownership, league and players, most of who should have been in Triple-A, and a season-ending $8 million payroll, less than a third of what the Yankees paid Alex Rodriguez. And A-Rod is only one reason why the Yankees actually had a worse season than Houston. With a $257 million payroll – including a luxury tax payment of $29 million - the Yankees were expected to contend in the American League East. For the first five months of the season they did contend, due in large measure to skillful roster moves by General Manager Brian Cashman and adroit lineup manipulations by manager Joe Girardi. But the team faded down the stretch, finishing 85-77, twelve games behind the first place Red Sox. A-Rod was out for most of the year recovering from his second hip surgery in three years along with other physical maladies that are the bane of aging athletes. Derek Jeter, the heart and soul of the Yankees for the past nineteen years, appeared in only seventeen games this season after suffering a broken ankle in last year’s playoffs. First baseman Mark Teixeira was out for all but fifteen games with a wrist injury. Centerfielder Curtis Granderson played in only sixty games during an injury plagued season. An assortment of other injuries decimated the team, forcing Girardi to play mix and match with a lineup that wasn’t much better than the one the Astros fielded on most days. But that’s the good news.
- Column: There's No Celebrating in BaseballSeptember 22, 2013
“We gonna celebrate and have a good time.” Celebration, Kool and the Gang 1980 “There’s no crying in baseball.” That line, uttered by Tom Hanks as manager Jimmy Dugan in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, a tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, is rated 54th on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest film quotes of all time. As we’ve learned in the past week, along with no crying in baseball you can add “no celebrating” to the list of prohibitions. With the highest payroll in MLB, the Dodgers were in last place in their division on June 21 with a record of 30-42, 9 ½ games behind the first place Arizona Diamondbacks. Shortly thereafter the team caught fire, going 58-23, a streak of historic proportions. When the team clinched the National League West crown on September 19, the players understandably wanted to celebrate. But as luck would have it, the Dodgers were denied an opportunity to celebrate with their hometown fans, finishing off their worst-to-first run on the road against the D’backs. After a brief celebration on the field, the Dodgers retired to their clubhouse to drench each other in champagne. When most of the fans at Chase Field had left the ballpark, about half the team emerged from the clubhouse - dressed in their championship t-shirts - and made a beeline for the swimming pool in right center field for an impromptu pool party.
- Column: MLB Must Protect CatchersAugust 19, 2013
Major League Baseball recently announced the league will expand replay next year to include everything but balls and strikes. MLB’s goal to get all calls right, laudable as it may be, is nonetheless controversial. Purists believe baseball is eliminating the “human element” by imitating the NFL. But that may not be such a bad thing, given that football is the most popular sport and the NFL is the highest grossing professional league in the country. Erroneous calls by umpires are an infrequent – albeit much publicized – occurrence and have little overall impact on the outcome of games. The biggest influence on the outcome of a game is not whether a ball is caught or trapped, fair or foul, but the home plate umpire. Every umpire has a different strike zone and until baseball is prepared to use robots to call balls and strikes the home plate umpire will continue to have more to do with which team wins and which one loses than anything else that takes place on a baseball diamond.