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osfan83

Small Market Teams and Long Term Stars

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Been thinking a lot about why I don't enjoy baseball as much as I used to, and what might be driving the causal fan away. Sure length of the game, too many HR's Walks and K's, financial inequities are part of it. But I think another part is small market teams like the O's, Royals, Pirates, A's, Rays and others can't have long term starts anymore. I think in todays game you would never see:

-Cal Ripken play his whole career with Baltimore

-Willie Stargell play decades with Pittsburgh

-George Brett play his whole career with KC

These players would have to be moved to restock in order to compete. And this is hurting the causal fan. How many casual fans went to games just to see these guys play? You knew they would be in the All-Star game representing your franchise. You knew they would get some national recognition.

Manny Machado probably would have played his whole career in Baltimore if he came up in 1985. Would have been a perennial All Star, and maybe would have received some HOF talk towards the end of his career. Casual fans would buy his jersey and come to the OPACY to see him play a few times a year.

Trey Mancini is a great story. Fighting back from cancer, having a good season. Shining on the national stage during the HR derby. But we all know he is not long for Baltimore. Yes, trading him is the right move to rebuild the team. It might work. But the casual fan who just now is becoming a Mancini fan, has one more reason not to come to an O's game next year once he is moved. 

Is there any chance these small markets teams will have a 15+ year star, face of the franchise, possible HOFer moving forward? 

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Sure..first of all Manny could still be there if the Os weren’t cheap when they were negotiating a contract several years back.

Secondly, teams have to sign guys early.  Whether they can be here 15+ years is also dependent on if you actually want them here that long.  Declining skills and higher salaries in FA years make them usually poor players to keep that long.

I don’t see a reason we can’t keep our stars 8-12 years though, ala Markakis and Jones, for example.

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In MLB history, there have only been 180 players who have played at least 10 MLB seasons and spent their entire MLB career with one franchise. It's always been pretty rare. Here's the list.

I don't think its too important that a player spends their entire career with a team. But, as far as a fan/entertainment/sell-tickets perspective, I do agree its important to keep some guys around for a while so fans can establish a connection with them.

I think that's pretty common today - you have Miguel Cabrera in Detroit, Joey Votto in Cincinnati, Christian Yelich in Milwaukee, Tatis Jr and Machado in San Diego, Salvador Perez in Kansas City. The Rays/A's are just weird. The O's are doing a scorched earth thing currently - but as of recently, the Orioles had Adam Jones, Hardy, Markakis, and Chris Davis was "supposed" to be that guy.

Watching the All-Star Game last night, MLB has some really entertaining players. I mean Ohtani and Tatis Jr, you can't ask for more than that. I think MLB's biggest problem is 1) marketing 2) three-true-outcomes. The game can just be flat-out boring to watch now.

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46 minutes ago, Mr. Chewbacca Jr. said:

In MLB history, there have only been 180 players who have played at least 10 MLB seasons and spent their entire MLB career with one franchise. It's always been pretty rare. Here's the list.

I don't think its too important that a player spends their entire career with a team. But, as far as a fan/entertainment/sell-tickets perspective, I do agree its important to keep some guys around for a while so fans can establish a connection with them.

I think that's pretty common today - you have Miguel Cabrera in Detroit, Joey Votto in Cincinnati, Christian Yelich in Milwaukee, Tatis Jr and Machado in San Diego, Salvador Perez in Kansas City. The Rays/A's are just weird. The O's are doing a scorched earth thing currently - but as of recently, the Orioles had Adam Jones, Hardy, Markakis, and Chris Davis was "supposed" to be that guy.

Watching the All-Star Game last night, MLB has some really entertaining players. I mean Ohtani and Tatis Jr, you can't ask for more than that. I think MLB's biggest problem is 1) marketing 2) three-true-outcomes. The game can just be flat-out boring to watch now.

Thanks for the list...eyeballing it I see 3 players who played any part of this century that stayed with their small market team:

Gordan - KC

Mauer & Perkins - Min

 

I think the scorched earth strategy will be pretty much the only available for second tier teams. 

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Speaking from the perspective of my kids, who enjoyed going to games a few years ago - which coincidentally coincided with an exciting, winning team, they lost interest as we began losing.  And now that there are no players from back then, they are almost completely disinterested in baseball.  I'll be watching and they'll come into the room, "Oh, the Orioles are on?  Where's the key to the shed?" 

I really do think a huge component is that there are just not the number of young fans of sport in general.  There are soooo many programs available that sitting thru a game on tv without flipping is almost impossible and for kids that suffer from a lack of attention to one thing in the first place, baseball viewing is a difficult task.  Playing a sport is one thing, but even my own kids - who play soccer and lacrosse, exclusively - don't watch those sports on TV at all.

Watching sports used to be a luxury.  A day at the park.  Not so much anymore.  Altho there are holdouts like a lot of us. ;)

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What really made this list as small as it was, were the players, who for a few decades there, played for one team for years and then the last year of their big league playing went to another team for the final one year.  I was struck by this, and I do not remember who he was, but someone who played for the Cardinals for ever, it seemed, then for his final year of playing went to, of all teams, the arch enemy Cubs. I do not know if this tactic is used as much these days, I kind of doubt it.  

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I would love it if MLB was economically structured in a way that allowed fan favorites to play on one team for longer.  I'd love if MLB was economically structured in a way that teams would not need to tank for 5 years to get back being competitive.  

I'd also want MLB to be economically structured so that the players get the money they deserve. There have been too many instances in history of wage theft by MLB owners.  

It's a complex set of issues with complex causes.  

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1 hour ago, Mr. Chewbacca Jr. said:

In MLB history, there have only been 180 players who have played at least 10 MLB seasons and spent their entire MLB career with one franchise. It's always been pretty rare. Here's the list.

I don't think its too important that a player spends their entire career with a team. But, as far as a fan/entertainment/sell-tickets perspective, I do agree its important to keep some guys around for a while so fans can establish a connection with them.

I think that's pretty common today - you have Miguel Cabrera in Detroit, Joey Votto in Cincinnati, Christian Yelich in Milwaukee, Tatis Jr and Machado in San Diego, Salvador Perez in Kansas City. The Rays/A's are just weird. The O's are doing a scorched earth thing currently - but as of recently, the Orioles had Adam Jones, Hardy, Markakis, and Chris Davis was "supposed" to be that guy.

Watching the All-Star Game last night, MLB has some really entertaining players. I mean Ohtani and Tatis Jr, you can't ask for more than that. I think MLB's biggest problem is 1) marketing 2) three-true-outcomes. The game can just be flat-out boring to watch now.

Cabrera came up with Florida so kind of proves the point even though he did not sign with a major market team. Yelich, Votto, and ironically Chris Davis are probably the best examples. I think the Jones/Yelich contracts are the way to go *if* the player can be convinced to sign a team friendly deal a couple years before free agency. That is a tough sell. 

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18 minutes ago, crowmst3k! said:

I would love it if MLB was economically structured in a way that allowed fan favorites to play on one team for longer.  I'd love if MLB was economically structured in a way that teams would not need to tank for 5 years to get back being competitive.  

I'd also want MLB to be economically structured so that the players get the money they deserve. There have been too many instances in history of wage theft by MLB owners.  

It's a complex set of issues with complex causes.  

1). It is structured so you can keep fan favorites.

2) You absolutely don’t not need to tank for 5 years to get competitive.  That’s just a lie that teams have made people believe.

3). Players generally get what they deserve, it just doesn’t happen at the time where they actually deserve it.

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3 hours ago, osfan83 said:

Been thinking a lot about why I don't enjoy baseball as much as I used to, and what might be driving the causal fan away. Sure length of the game, too many HR's Walks and K's, financial inequities are part of it. But I think another part is small market teams like the O's, Royals, Pirates, A's, Rays and others can't have long term starts anymore. I think in todays game you would never see:

-Cal Ripken play his whole career with Baltimore

-Willie Stargell play decades with Pittsburgh

-George Brett play his whole career with KC

These players would have to be moved to restock in order to compete. And this is hurting the causal fan. How many casual fans went to games just to see these guys play? You knew they would be in the All-Star game representing your franchise. You knew they would get some national recognition.

Manny Machado probably would have played his whole career in Baltimore if he came up in 1985. Would have been a perennial All Star, and maybe would have received some HOF talk towards the end of his career. Casual fans would buy his jersey and come to the OPACY to see him play a few times a year.

Trey Mancini is a great story. Fighting back from cancer, having a good season. Shining on the national stage during the HR derby. But we all know he is not long for Baltimore. Yes, trading him is the right move to rebuild the team. It might work. But the casual fan who just now is becoming a Mancini fan, has one more reason not to come to an O's game next year once he is moved. 

Is there any chance these small markets teams will have a 15+ year star, face of the franchise, possible HOFer moving forward? 

My general thought is that winning is the most important thing to keeping fan engagement high and while it's nice to have players that you are constantly rooting for, I would rather have the names changing every few years to consistently have a good product on the field have a homegrown star struggle through missing making the playoffs for 5+ years straight (ala Cal).

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3 minutes ago, Runs2the1Show said:

My general thought is that winning is the most important thing to keeping fan engagement high and while it's nice to have players that you are constantly rooting for, I would rather have the names changing every few years to consistently have a good product on the field have a homegrown star struggle through missing making the playoffs for 5+ years straight (ala Cal).

Staying competitive like the Rays is more important to me over having to keep your franchise players. And I don’t believe the Orioles need to as frugal as the Rays. Like Seinfeld said ultimately we’re rooting for the clothes.

And as Sports Guy pointed out the Orioles blew a chance to sign Manny to an early extension. Even if the O’s were still going to trade Manny, he becomes a much more valuable trade chip if he’s signed to a long term contract. 
 

 

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Very few players are worth keeping around for 10 years. But overall i'd be fine with extending players through their age 31-32 season. But anything longer isnt usually a smart decision.

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3 hours ago, osfan83 said:

Thanks for the list...eyeballing it I see 3 players who played any part of this century that stayed with their small market team:

Gordan - KC

Mauer & Perkins - Min

 

I think the scorched earth strategy will be pretty much the only available for second tier teams. 

Not sure how complete this list is.   Just off the top of my head, Ryan Braun played his whole career with the Brewers.  

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5 hours ago, osfan83 said:

Been thinking a lot about why I don't enjoy baseball as much as I used to, and what might be driving the causal fan away. Sure length of the game, too many HR's Walks and K's, financial inequities are part of it. But I think another part is small market teams like the O's, Royals, Pirates, A's, Rays and others can't have long term starts anymore. I think in todays game you would never see:

-Cal Ripken play his whole career with Baltimore

-Willie Stargell play decades with Pittsburgh

-George Brett play his whole career with KC

These players would have to be moved to restock in order to compete. And this is hurting the causal fan. How many casual fans went to games just to see these guys play? You knew they would be in the All-Star game representing your franchise. You knew they would get some national recognition.

Manny Machado probably would have played his whole career in Baltimore if he came up in 1985. Would have been a perennial All Star, and maybe would have received some HOF talk towards the end of his career. Casual fans would buy his jersey and come to the OPACY to see him play a few times a year.

Trey Mancini is a great story. Fighting back from cancer, having a good season. Shining on the national stage during the HR derby. But we all know he is not long for Baltimore. Yes, trading him is the right move to rebuild the team. It might work. But the casual fan who just now is becoming a Mancini fan, has one more reason not to come to an O's game next year once he is moved. 

Is there any chance these small markets teams will have a 15+ year star, face of the franchise, possible HOFer moving forward? 

No.

Lots of reasons why not but no. The rays have the right idea. The Orioles is not one person. At best we can speak of the Brooks “era” but Every era ends.

If we were to look over the last 10 years and choose a “Mr. oriole”, it would probably be Markakis, And even he left. And they leave, and we move on. So no.

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A good team cures all ills.   I enjoy watching veterans who’ve been with the team a long time, but I also enjoy watching young players who are still learning and getting better.   If you told me that the O’s would have a perennial contender but would never keep a player longer than five years, I’d sign for it in blood.   

I think we need to understand though that baseball is a zero sum game.   Not every team can contend every year.   Smart teams can outperform rich teams, but if both teams are smart, bet on the rich one.   With the current economics, probably a realistic thing to hope for is that we will contend a decent percentage of the time and not be terrible when we aren’t contenders.   In other words, be in a position to rebuild pretty quickly when we aren’t contending.   That means having a good talent pipeline and being decisive about when the team needs to reload.  
 

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