Thursday, May 15, 2014

What It's Like to be a Tribe Fan

I am out of town at a store, proudly wearing my Cleveland Indians shirt.  The guy working there stops me and says,

"Are you an Indians fan?

I say, Yes, I am.

He says, "sorry" and walks away.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why the Indians Attendance is Down

The Indians are near the bottom in Major League attendance, and the total numbers are well off from the glory days of the 1999s and 2000s.   Certainly, the teams lackluster record and second half crashes have a played a role.  Fans are waiting to be convinced this team is really competitive before the come down to Progressive Field in droves.

Revenue Maximization

However, this is only part of the story.  I want to introduce you to a concept called Revenue Management, or Revenue Maximization.  It is used by airlines and hotels, and now Cleveland has brought it to baseball. The team started with the concept a few years ago by charging more for individual tickets to premium games.
Premium games being any game that they could charge higher ticket prices for.

For instance, if the Yankees were coming in, or the Tigers had a weekend series in July, the Tribe increased the price of those series.  This year, the team has taken it a step further, and the prices of individual game tickets fluctuate by game, and vary by substantial amounts.

For example, I went to a weekday game and was able to buy Viewbox seats (those in the first rows of the upper deck) for $30.  I went back for a Saturday night with fireworks and those seats were selling for $58!! Almost double the price.  Other sections showed similar jumps.  The team has made a decision to sell fewer tickets at higher prices.

As a matter of fact, they are choosing to not sell lower priced seats in the upper deck.  (See picture).  There are good reasons for this, but it does force fans into the higher priced seats.

Is it a good idea?  Team management will have to make that judgment, but for every fan that decides to skip the game because of the high prices, the team loses out on potential concession revenues along with the ticket price.

So, next time the players, announcers or management laments the low attendance, remember that the team is doing their part to keep fans from the park.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Is Nick Swisher a Good Addition to the Tribe

My friends and I have spent a fair amount of time discussing Nick Swisher.  He brings a fair amount of power, averaging 23 home runs a season throughout his career.

It's one thing to say he hit them in Yankee Stadium, which favors lefties and offers an otherwise stacked lineup.  But he has been pretty consistent even in his days in Oakland and Chicago.  He doesn't drive in a lot of runs, but he walks a fair amount, and has a good OPS.

Some players drastically fall off after 35, but most good players don't crash.  They may see a slow dropoff as they near 40, but at 35, without major injuries, a player will likely not lose more than 10% off the average.

It's different for power hitters than fast players.  Guys that depend on speed can go all at once.  I remember Brady Anderson, who the Tribe picked up at the end of his career.  When his speed went, he had nothing left.

The rest of the outfield doesn't scare me. The pitching scares me, but that's as a Tribe fan. More later.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Yankees and Bad Umpire Calls

Two words:  Jeffrey Mayer

In Game 2 of the ALCS, the umpire blew a call against the Yankees that led to a Tigers 2-Run eight inning.  The Tigers were already leading and the Yankees never did score, so the runs were not really important.  Girardi made the weak case that the insurance runs changed the tone of the game, taking pressure off the Tiger relievers.  Still, Detroit handled the pressure fine in the first seven innings of the game.

The Yankees are imploding, and all non-New York fans are likely pretty happy.  As a Cleveland fan, I certainly have no love for Bronx Bombers.  We lost a whole lot of games to their high priced line-ups.

I still like CC Sabathia, by the way.  He was traded away (for very little) and he likely would left through free agency, anyway.

No doubt Yankee fans will spend half the time bemoaning this call, along with skewering the overpriced Alex Rodriguez.  They quickly forget the calls that go the Yankees way, including the one referenced above from 1996 when a fan interfered in the game and no call was made.  Just last week against Baltimore there was another questionable call on a home run that went to the Yankees.

So, no tears here for the Yankees.  A blown call, yes.  But it made no difference in the game.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Terry Francona Named Indians Manager

I guess he will be an OK hire. He shouldn't have to deal with all the prima donnas he had in Boston. Just a bunch of extras and chorus girls.

My issue is, what is the big hurry? They interview two guys over two days and make their decision? When a business hires a upper level leadership position, it takes months, and they interview at least a half dozen candidates.  

As far as whether a manager can make a big difference, I would come on the yes side of that.  Not so much in game decisions.  Maybe a genius can gain a game or two based on replacing the pitcher at the exact right time.  Chances are the new pitcher that comes in will do no better or worse than the guy he replaced. 

The difference is in talent evaluation.  A good manager can see quickly that a player doesn't have it.  In working with the GM and front office, they can get the better players.  The GM can work to bring them in, but the manager makes the decisions on playing them or getting them out.  The best example here was the Hargrove-Hart tandem.  They didn't like each other, but worked well together. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Why Does Baseball have an Infield Fly Rule?

In baseball, if there are men on first and second and less than two out, an umpire can rule that a pop fly to the infield is subject to the infield fly rule.  In this case, the batter is automatically out.   The fielder does not have to catch the ball.  It is played as if the ball was caught.  In that case, the runners can advance after tagging up.

The reason for this is that a fielder doesn't attempt to get a cheap double play.  If there were no such rule, a fielder could intentionally drop a an easy fly and double up the runners at third and second, who would be at risk for being doubled off if they strayed any distance from the base.  It is to protect the integrity of the game by letting a fielder gain an advantage by intentionally dropping the ball.

In the Cardinals - Braves Playoff game on October 5, 2012, the extra right field umpire called the infield fly rule for that purpose.  However, it really wasn't a good call, as this wasn't an easy catch, and the fielder was so deep that he could not have easily doubled up any runner.  The call was made late, but before the catch was made.  So there was no way they could have overturned it.  It is possible that the shortstop heard the umpire call the runner out, and thought it was the outfielder calling him off.

That game is being played under protest, but it is unlikely to be upheld.

Friday, September 28, 2012

No More Manny Acta to Kick Around

Manny Acta was fired yesterday.  It's almost always too bad when a manager gets fired, but usually it's not his fault, it's a matter or not enough talent to fulfill the expectations fans have for the team.  For the Indians, expectations wouldn't have been very high except for the great starts that the team had in the last few years.

The total collapse in those years, particularly this year, have to blamed on someone, and it seems to fallen onto Acta.  It is a bit surprising that Mark Shapiro continues to be coated in Teflon.  No criticism is allowed for him.  Even I have a hard time blaming him, because he clearly is strapped for cash to invest in players.

It is a vicious cycle.  As the team gets worse, fewer fans come out, and that means less money to spend on good players, so that team gets even worse.  All that allowed, the choices that the team made this year, like resigning Grady Sizemore, and picking up Derek Lowe did nothing to help the team.  If they are going to commit to the future, what is Jack Hannahan doing here?  Chisenhall should have been playing for the whole year.

As for Chris Perez, you do have to admire how Eric Wedge would have handled that.  Perez would have shut up or been pitching elsewhere by midseason.

So, wishing all luck to Sandy Alomar, but if we don't either get some cash or superior ability to judge talent, the team is going to continue to be stuck at the bottom of a weak division.