Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Ball's In Bud's Court Edition

MLB hasn't made a decision on the stadium yet. They're waiting to see what the final language actually looks like, as the DC Council transcriptionists try to decode the cuneiform.

The Times, however, says that MLB is 'very concerned'. That could be taken a number of ways, but I'll take it in the best light possible, as it relates, I think, more to paragraph one here than any concern with the lease. Besides, it wouldn't be MLB if they didn't bluster.

  • Marc Fisher writes about the drama around the vote. I think he's a little unfair with the flipfloppers because there was (allegedly) a difference between the two votes in terms of who would be on the hook for the overruns. The original lease could've left the city holding the bag. The new one appears to force MLB to pony up. (Note my use of weasel words to demonstrate authority now, but leaving enough room to back out when proven wrong later!)

  • Another article in the Post tries to look at the same issue, and get to the heart of what exactly happened between 6 PM and 1 AM.

  • If you missed the hearing, sometimes pictures do tell the whole story:
    We feel your pain, Vincent!

  • Dave Sheinin writes a nice piece on how another off-season in limbo has affected the team:
    Tavares said the team's renewal rate -- from its 2005 season-ticket base of around 22,500 -- is between 80 to 85 percent, well shy of the goal of 90 percent, and the Nationals attribute much of that to the political wrangling that filled much of the winter.

    Additionally, the team has done virtually no advertising locally and likely will not broaden its penetration into the local television market, with perhaps only 90 or so games to be broadcast locally in 2006.

    "They won't have much more exposure in '06 than in '05, and it will probably be the least exposure on TV of any team in baseball," said one person familiar with the team's broadcast efforts.

  • And not to get in the way of all the off-the-field fun, Todd Jacobson writes about stuff that could actually affect the team on the field:
    --Sosa's contract offer, as we surmised, is not guaranteed.
    --That's basically the Nats' best offer.
    --Jacobson indicates that Sosa making the team is even more of a long shot than the assumption we've been working with.
    --Alfonso Soriano's arbitration hearing is today in Florida. The Nats offered $10 million. He wants $12 million. The arbiter will pick one. And the Nats will be poorer regardless. (Your Rocket Bill Fun Fact o' the day: Soriano averages over 130 strike outs a season!)

  • Federal Baseball is hosting today's open my non-obsessive readers won't have to wonder why the Matt Lecroy thread has 40 comments in it.


    • Everybody to Basil's place for blueberry squishies and microwave burritos! [/Apu]

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 2/09/2006 11:45 AM  

    • I'm actually surprised the season ticket renewal rate was as high as 80-85% with all things considered. You have people dropping off the lists because of protests about the ownership situation, or the political wrangling, or just because the season tickets were bought because of the novelty of baseball returning to the district.

      We had what, about 22k season-equivilant tickets sold last year (or whatever the phrase is they use when they add up the full tickets and adjust all the half and quarter tickets)? Even going with the lower number, an 80% retention is going to give us a baseline of 1.4+ million fans before a single individual ticket or new season ticket is sold.

      By Blogger thurdl, at 2/09/2006 12:13 PM  

    • I was just discussing this with a friend...

      The lower bowl was almost exclusively full season tickets. Those people are most likely going to renew come hell or highwater because they'll want those seats for the new stadium. I bet they've had a 90+ renewal rate there.

      It's the miniplan people in the upper deck that are probably dragging that total way down. I know 5 people with plans, and only two of us are renewing. Anecodtal, of course...

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/09/2006 12:17 PM  

    • Thinking about people with ticket plans:

      Chris: renewed (?)
      Ryan: dropped
      Brian: renewed (part of group)
      misschatter: renewed (part of group)
      DMCj: renewed
      me: dropped

      Obviously I'm missing people. Did Rocket have tickets last year?

      By Blogger Yuda, at 2/09/2006 12:22 PM  

    • I was game by game.

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 2/09/2006 12:23 PM  

    • Although, thinking about it, I think misschatter was in the rich-people seats downstairs.

      By Blogger Yuda, at 2/09/2006 12:28 PM  

    • And I think that DMCJs are in the mezzanine level -- not sure if you'd include that with us $10 schlubs. ;)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/09/2006 12:33 PM  

    • Well, if we actually get an owner when it's still possible to buy them, I could be one of a cadre of new miniplan owners. And am I correct, Yuda, that you were wiling to go in for a new plan (albeit dropping from half to quarter season) if there was actually ownership in place other than MLB?

      By Blogger thurdl, at 2/09/2006 12:51 PM  

    • Yeah, if an owner is named before opening day, I'll probably buy a 20-game plan.

      By Blogger Yuda, at 2/09/2006 1:10 PM  

    • The pictures seem to demonstrate that Ms. Schwarz is a MAN, BABY!

      By Blogger D, at 2/09/2006 1:51 PM  

    • I'm renewing my plan, which is to say XM . . .

      By Blogger Basil, at 2/09/2006 2:00 PM  

    • That sure looks like a yawn from Mr. Orange...

      By Blogger Rocket1124, at 2/09/2006 2:51 PM  

    • If there's a poll being taken (or reported, I had two of the $15 full-seaason variety. I dropped one because of the 20% price increase and the miserable-to-non-existent customer service. Unless something amazing happens this year, I'm dropping the other one next year.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/09/2006 3:10 PM  

    • We've missed your cynicism, Mr. Wary Fan! It's been a while...

      It is interesting that there are that many of us 'diehards' who are changing our ticket-buying habits.

      I wonder what the 'average' (read: non-obsessed) is doing.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/09/2006 3:12 PM  

    • That's a slight upgrade -- but still not a good sign.

      I wonder how that'll work out.

      I still want to know how any potential lobbying reform package would affect this. (A thought that probably turns Tavares' knuckles white!)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/09/2006 3:14 PM  

    • The acquaintance from whose season ticket plan I have bought about 20 games-worth got upgraded from Section 320, Row 11 to Section 311, Row 7. So, I'd say there was significant attrition in the 300 level season ticket plans.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/09/2006 3:14 PM  

    • I'll tell you why I didn't keep my seats: a completely gratuitous ticket price increase.

      What makes these tickets worth $500 more than the equivalent last year? Is the team better? (no) Is the second season inherently more exciting than the inaugural one? (no) Are the parties increasing the ticket cost also making major renovations to the ballpark, using the increase to fund the renovations and make the ballpark a more pleasant experience? (no)

      Then why the increase? I couldn't see a reason for it, other than good old-fashioned greed. So, I didn't renew. I was honestly hoping they would miss their target by more, truth be told. Send a message.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/11/2006 3:54 PM  

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