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MLB's Big Market Problem. Atlanta is 7th largest media, Houston is 8th.

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Really, in baseball, the NY and LA markets are so dramatically larger than the others - when teams like Houston and Atlanta make it to the WS at 8 and 7 sizes, they should be considered mid-market teams.    

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And it's awesome when unknown guys like Rosario and Matzek are the heroes.  Rosario had arguably the best league Championship Series of all time, and Matzek maybe the best ever by a reliever who's a non-closer - the situations he came in were harder than their closer's (Will Smith).  Rosario was OPSing well under .700 and was injured when he was traded to Atlanta at the trade deadline, and Matzek was out of MLB for 4 straight seasons until last year.  2 of Atlanta's all-time all-timers - Hank Aaron and Phil Niekro - Hammerin Hank and Knucksie - who are the reasons I grew up a Braves fan - died less than a year ago - hopefully they're enjoying front row seats.    

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3 hours ago, Hazmat said:

If I were in charge of MLB, I'd be in every city promoting and organizing Blitzball leagues for kids.  If you haven't watched Blitzball videos on Youtube, check them out.  Looks like a ton of fun and a great way of introducing kids to the game of baseball.  This may be happening to an extent as I see MLB players playing Blitzball in some videos.  In fact, on the Blitzball website, there is a video that includes M. Givens on a team of MLB players.

https://www.blitzball.com/

Yes, this is a great idea. Kinda like how the NFL is pushing flag football. Less equipment and easy for the regular person to play. 

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On 10/24/2021 at 10:54 PM, Moose Milligan said:

Well if you don't have cable (are satellite dishes still a thing?  They are the WV state flower, I suppose) or a streaming service and consider TBS, TNT FS1 backwater channels...That sounds like a @waynebugproblem.  My parents are old and tech adverse, they still didn't have a problem finding the playoffs.  

Baseball is losing in popularity because people these days have the attention span of a gnat.  That's one of the reasons, anyway. 

KC won a World Series a few years ago.  Tampa is always, always competitive.  Small markets are able to do just fine in the MLB.  

 

The response about TV availability is right on.

The response about small v. big market teams is flat wrong.  KC won a WS six years ago.  Since then its been four large market teams (LA, Boston, Houston, and Chicago) and one mid market team (Was).  Before KC it was SF twice and Boston.  So you are sighting one year out of 10 as proof of health.  Oh and it gets worse if we go out to the final 4.

Also, let's get real about TB, because I see them cited far too often as proof of small market competitive health.  TB is a year in and year out competitive team.  They also might be the least healthy franchise (bottom 3) in the game.  They have the second lowest valuation.  They were third to last in attendance.  They are bottom ten in cable revenues with no ownership.  They have not had a player on their team for 5+ years other than Longoria and Kiermier.  They struggle to maintain significant fan enthusiasm.  Their presence in high profile post season games is bad for interest at large due to their lack of name recognition.

And yet for some reason MLB is able to get intelligent fans like yourself to carry their water for what is a massively broken competitive system.  The fact that Boston made it to the final four in what was a "rebuilding" year (still had a $200 million payroll if youblook at all the back end stuff) shows how skewed the system is, that allows large market teams to "reload" while holding small market competitive teams up as "proof of parity" only to allow them to sink back into obscurity when they have to enter 5-7 year rebuilding cycles.

MLB is not healthy, not by a long shot, and as a life long baseball fan I can tell, and I hope others can as well, that its not heading in the right direction.  

Sources: 

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-update-the-estimated-local-tv-revenue-for-mlb-teams/

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/majors/2021-misc.shtml

https://www.statista.com/statistics/193637/franchise-value-of-major-league-baseball-teams-in-2010/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Series_champions

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57 minutes ago, Camden_yardbird said:

The response about TV availability is right on.

The response about small v. big market teams is flat wrong.  KC won a WS six years ago.  Since then its been four large market teams (LA, Boston, Houston, and Chicago) and one mid market team (Was).  Before KC it was SF twice and Boston.  So you are sighting one year out of 10 as proof of health.  Oh and it gets worse if we go out to the final 4.

Also, let's get real about TB, because I see them cited far too often as proof of small market competitive health.  TB is a year in and year out competitive team.  They also might be the least healthy franchise (bottom 3) in the game.  They have the second lowest valuation.  They were third to last in attendance.  They are bottom ten in cable revenues with no ownership.  They have not had a player on their team for 5+ years other than Longoria and Kiermier.  They struggle to maintain significant fan enthusiasm.  Their presence in high profile post season games is bad for interest at large due to their lack of name recognition.

And yet for some reason MLB is able to get intelligent fans like yourself to carry their water for what is a massively broken competitive system.  The fact that Boston made it to the final four in what was a "rebuilding" year (still had a $200 million payroll if youblook at all the back end stuff) shows how skewed the system is, that allows large market teams to "reload" while holding small market competitive teams up as "proof of parity" only to allow them to sink back into obscurity when they have to enter 5-7 year rebuilding cycles.

MLB is not healthy, not by a long shot, and as a life long baseball fan I can tell, and I hope others can as well, that its not heading in the right direction.  

Sources: 

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-update-the-estimated-local-tv-revenue-for-mlb-teams/

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/majors/2021-misc.shtml

https://www.statista.com/statistics/193637/franchise-value-of-major-league-baseball-teams-in-2010/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Series_champions

Agree. How many times in the last 10 years have the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers missed the playoffs? How many times have the Pirates, O's, Royals, Marlins, Brewers made the playoffs? Sure the smaller market teams make it every once and a while. Talk to me when KC, Pitt and Milwaukee make the playoffs 8 out of 10 years. 

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4 hours ago, Moose Milligan said:

I think another reason is that the NBA and NFL promote their players better.  And the nature of those sports is that one guy can take over and dominate a game.  I don't watch Tampa Bay because of their team, I'm watching for Tom Brady to go 30/40 for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns.  I watch the Bucks for Giannis getting 30 points at 15 rebounds.

I could watch the Dodgers to see Mookie Betts but what if he goes 0-4?  Same with Ohtani.  The game I went to this past summer, I went to go see him and he was relatively disappointing.  

That's a good point. I guess MLB's version of that is marquee pitching matchups, Scherzer vs. Kershaw for example. But, those are pretty rare due to injuries and things not lining up with five-man rotations. When they do happen, they often don't last past the 6th inning. 

Maybe I'm just romanticizing things, but I feel like MLB was better at drumming up the Petite vs. Pedro matchups of yesteryear. Now you don't really hear that type of marketing as much.

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1 hour ago, Camden_yardbird said:

The response about TV availability is right on.

The response about small v. big market teams is flat wrong.  KC won a WS six years ago.  Since then its been four large market teams (LA, Boston, Houston, and Chicago) and one mid market team (Was).  Before KC it was SF twice and Boston.  So you are sighting one year out of 10 as proof of health.  Oh and it gets worse if we go out to the final 4.

Also, let's get real about TB, because I see them cited far too often as proof of small market competitive health.  TB is a year in and year out competitive team.  They also might be the least healthy franchise (bottom 3) in the game.  They have the second lowest valuation.  They were third to last in attendance.  They are bottom ten in cable revenues with no ownership.  They have not had a player on their team for 5+ years other than Longoria and Kiermier.  They struggle to maintain significant fan enthusiasm.  Their presence in high profile post season games is bad for interest at large due to their lack of name recognition.

And yet for some reason MLB is able to get intelligent fans like yourself to carry their water for what is a massively broken competitive system.  The fact that Boston made it to the final four in what was a "rebuilding" year (still had a $200 million payroll if youblook at all the back end stuff) shows how skewed the system is, that allows large market teams to "reload" while holding small market competitive teams up as "proof of parity" only to allow them to sink back into obscurity when they have to enter 5-7 year rebuilding cycles.

MLB is not healthy, not by a long shot, and as a life long baseball fan I can tell, and I hope others can as well, that its not heading in the right direction.  

Sources: 

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-update-the-estimated-local-tv-revenue-for-mlb-teams/

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/majors/2021-misc.shtml

https://www.statista.com/statistics/193637/franchise-value-of-major-league-baseball-teams-in-2010/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Series_champions

Payroll inequality is certainly an issue and frustrating to fans like us who are on the short end of the stick. And I agree with you, baseball isn't healthy.

But, I don't think it's really a big deal when we're talking about growing a national audience that watches regardless - like what the NFL, Premier League, and to a certain extent the NBA has. 

I really doubt more people in Baltimore would be tuning in to the World Series if the Brewers made it because they would feel some small-market camaraderie. There's more parity in the game now than ever before; dynasties and repeat champions were much more common when baseball was more popular. 

I think the big issue comes down to MLB's ineptitude in marketing its product. Like why are baseball's biggest games on the same channel that only shows 90s sitcom reruns? 

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2 hours ago, Porky said:

There's more parity in the game now than ever before

Saying it is one thing.  Proving it another.  Keep in my relative parity is not parity.  Thats like saying there's less racism in the U.S. now than there was so everything is hunky dory.

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Did anyone notice that last nights game which was really one sided took over 4 hrs because of all the pitching changes?  The trend of multiple relievers being used every game is a problem for the game.  At one point I used to tune in just to watch games where I really liked the starting pitcher.  Remember, at that point you didn't have to throw 95 plus to be a starter.  I loved watching Maddux, Mussina and others of that ilk work their way through a lineup 3 or 4 times. It was to me what made a 9 inning game interesting, especially for games where I maybe didn't have that rooting interest.  Now we are at the point where they pull a starter before they ever get around to the third time in a lineup regardless how well they seem to be pitching.  Even worse is if some bullpen arm throwing 96 gives up a bomb he gets pulled for some guy that can come in and throw 98.  Is this what pitching has come to in baseball?

The game is going the wrong direction between all the strikeouts, shifts and bullpen usage.  I realize that the changes are all driven by SABRmetrics so the science supports the changes but at least in my opinion it makes it way less entertaining.  

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5 minutes ago, turtlebowl said:

Did anyone notice that last nights game which was really one sided took over 4 hrs because of all the pitching changes? 

I agree 100%. Who on the East Coast, or even Central is staying up to 11:30-12:30 for a game outside of Atlanta/Houston? Zzzzzzz

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On 10/26/2021 at 4:31 PM, Porky said:

That's a good point. I guess MLB's version of that is marquee pitching matchups, Scherzer vs. Kershaw for example. But, those are pretty rare due to injuries and things not lining up with five-man rotations. When they do happen, they often don't last past the 6th inning. 

Maybe I'm just romanticizing things, but I feel like MLB was better at drumming up the Petite vs. Pedro matchups of yesteryear. Now you don't really hear that type of marketing as much.

You're also talking about 20 years ago. Nearly everyone had cable TV. Not only did they do a good job of drumming it up, most people had an accessible means to watch it.  

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On 10/25/2021 at 1:30 AM, DrinkinWithFermi said:

Yup, and they are ruining the game chasing after the gnat brains- the extra inning runner on second, the 3 batter rule for pitchers, the possible (read: probable) implementation of some sort of pitch clock in not-sp-distant future, etc.

I'd really like to hear the opinions of fans from 100 or 75 or even 50 years ago about the gnat-sized attention span of modern fans, and today's 3+ hour regular season and often four hour postseason games.  In 1920 an average game was about two hours, in 1950 about 2:20 and when I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s just over 2:30.  In the Orioles' dynasty years they'd often play doubleheaders in 4-5 hours, In June of this year they had a nine-inning game against Houston that went 4:19.

I don't know about you, but when I have to get up to work at 5:45 I'm just not staying up until midnight to watch a baseball game.  And kids today, the next generation of fans... what responsible parent is going to let them watch past the 3rd or 4th inning of most of these World Series games?  My kid catches the bus at 6:45am.

On 10/24/2021 at 10:54 PM, Moose Milligan said:

Well if you don't have cable (are satellite dishes still a thing?  They are the WV state flower, I suppose) or a streaming service and consider TBS, TNT FS1 backwater channels...That sounds like a @waynebugproblem.  My parents are old and tech adverse, they still didn't have a problem finding the playoffs.  

Baseball is losing in popularity because people these days have the attention span of a gnat.  That's one of the reasons, anyway. 

KC won a World Series a few years ago.  Tampa is always, always competitive.  Small markets are able to do just fine in the MLB.  

 

Small market teams can compete if a lot of things go their way and they're really, really efficient.  The Yanks or Dodgers can have an off year and win 88 or 92 games.

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On 10/26/2021 at 11:44 AM, Moose Milligan said:

I think another reason is that the NBA and NFL promote their players better.  And the nature of those sports is that one guy can take over and dominate a game.  I don't watch Tampa Bay because of their team, I'm watching for Tom Brady to go 30/40 for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns.  I watch the Bucks for Giannis getting 30 points at 15 rebounds.

I could watch the Dodgers to see Mookie Betts but what if he goes 0-4?  Same with Ohtani.  The game I went to this past summer, I went to go see him and he was relatively disappointing.  

OTOH Seeing the big stars fail sometimes can also be entertaining. One time I caught an As/Angels game.  The As had a one run lead in the 9th with Treinen on the mound. Trout came up to bat with a runner on base, but couldn’t get a hit and the As won.

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On 10/26/2021 at 2:47 PM, Camden_yardbird said:

The response about TV availability is right on.

The response about small v. big market teams is flat wrong.  KC won a WS six years ago.  Since then its been four large market teams (LA, Boston, Houston, and Chicago) and one mid market team (Was).  Before KC it was SF twice and Boston.  So you are sighting one year out of 10 as proof of health.  Oh and it gets worse if we go out to the final 4.

Also, let's get real about TB, because I see them cited far too often as proof of small market competitive health.  TB is a year in and year out competitive team.  They also might be the least healthy franchise (bottom 3) in the game.  They have the second lowest valuation.  They were third to last in attendance.  They are bottom ten in cable revenues with no ownership.  They have not had a player on their team for 5+ years other than Longoria and Kiermier.  They struggle to maintain significant fan enthusiasm.  Their presence in high profile post season games is bad for interest at large due to their lack of name recognition.

And yet for some reason MLB is able to get intelligent fans like yourself to carry their water for what is a massively broken competitive system.  The fact that Boston made it to the final four in what was a "rebuilding" year (still had a $200 million payroll if youblook at all the back end stuff) shows how skewed the system is, that allows large market teams to "reload" while holding small market competitive teams up as "proof of parity" only to allow them to sink back into obscurity when they have to enter 5-7 year rebuilding cycles.

MLB is not healthy, not by a long shot, and as a life long baseball fan I can tell, and I hope others can as well, that its not heading in the right direction.  

Sources: 

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-update-the-estimated-local-tv-revenue-for-mlb-teams/

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/majors/2021-misc.shtml

https://www.statista.com/statistics/193637/franchise-value-of-major-league-baseball-teams-in-2010/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Series_champions

Two points that I think are critical to understanding the competitive imbalance that is built into the current structure of MLB.

First, the advantage that certain teams have is not based solely on the size of the markets they're in. What gives a team an advantage is its ability to bring in more revenues than its competition. Those revenues, other than shared TV money, come from (a) gate receipts, which in turn reflect the number of tickets sold and the average price of a ticket, and (b) proceeds from the sale of media rights, essentially cable TV revenues plus profits from RSNs for teams that own all or part of those RSNs.

The population of a team's metro area is, in most cases, the predominant factor in its ability to bring in revenue, but there are other factors as well: the strength and longevity of its fan base, the ability to expand the fan base geographically, on-field success, the location and attractiveness of the home ballpark, and the number of wealthy  individuals, large corporations and service firms who will buy season tickets (and keep them even in bad times for the team). St. Louis has a relatively small population, but the Cardinals have high revenues due to a number of these other factors. Tampa-St. Pete is the 12th largest TV market in the U.S., but the Rays are not able to bring in revenues consistent with that population for a number of reasons. Incidentally, Houston and Atlanta are both large metro markets. In addition, both the Astros and Braves are able to draw fans from large geographical areas and those cities, as de facto regional capitals, have lots of corporate and service companies.

Second, most of the baseball season consists of competition within the six divisions. Because the Blue Jays compete with the Yankees for 162 games, the huge gap in those teams' revenues thwarts the BJs' ability to compete for a division crown. The Nats compete with the NYYs only in a very limited way (in acquiring talent), so the fact that their revenues are far below the NYYs' has virtually no impact.

If you line up teams' reported revenues by division, the competition is pretty reasonable in the NL East, other than Miami, which should be able to do better (though the Mets, if they get a decade or two of competent ownership, may pull away), and in the AL Central. There's more of a spread in the AL West, but the four teams other than Oakland are not too far apart. The revenue gap is larger in the NL Central, where the Cubs and Cardinals are pretty far ahead. And the largest revenue imbalances are in the NL West and AL East, where six of the ten teams, 60% of the competitors -- the Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles, Padres, D-Backs and Rockies -- have won a total of 10 division titles in the past 20 years (25% of the total), and four in the last ten years (20 percent of the total). And there haven't been a lot of near-misses. The large differences in resources in those divisions can be overcome, but not easily and not very often. 

Maybe the networks that carry playoff games prefer the enhanced probability of having the NYYs, RS, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs and Cardinals reach the post-season. But I don't see how you can avoid the conclusion that the current situation creates a problem with attracting and retaining fans in those six cities (nine if you include, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh). It would take someone with extreme tunnel vision and/or a well developed sense of dishonesty not to see and acknowledge that. Like, say, Rob Manfred. 

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14 hours ago, DrungoHazewood said:

 

Small market teams can compete if a lot of things go their way and they're really, really efficient.  The Yanks or Dodgers can have an off year and win 88 or 92 games.

Sure, and that's fine.  I'm a big fan of efficiency.  

**** the Yankees but let's not pretend that the Dodgers don't do the little things correctly that a small market team like the Rays do.  Except they can pony up and keep their talent.

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