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October 20, 2008

[Business Day One] Shaken Faith

Filed under: Baseball,Business Day One — Tags: , , , , , — Serpico @ 10:12 am

The prevailing emotion in Boston today isn’t anguish. Aaron Boone was anguish for Boston. Brady-out-for-the-year was anguish. Last night, a good team lost to a great team. It happens all the time. Lowell was out, Varitek got old and Ortiz was playing with one arm. Pluckiness got them to game 7, but pluckiness alone can’t win it.

Personally, I thought the Gods of Sport would wield their divine power to drive both the Red Sox and Dodgers into the World Series and create the greatest storyline of the last ten years. But the Gods crapped the bed, and The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles wimpered and fell. I should’ve known that They would not do any favors for the Sox.

Now the world braces for the excitement of a Phillies/Rays World Series. I don’t like Philadelphia because the city is awful and I don’t like the Rays because I just don’t like the Rays. I have absolutely no interest in watching the World Series, and I plan on actively avoiding it or any references to it.

For 90% of the country, the countdown has begun until Pitchers and Catchers.

June 30, 2008

[Business Day One] Cousin Manny

Filed under: Baseball,Business Day One — Tags: , , , — Serpico @ 10:12 am

We all have that one cousin.  We talk about him on the carride to the family reunion, wondering if he’s going to insult your grandmother or puke in your aunt’s bathroom or say something unbelievably racist at a restaurant.  Any day that he behaves himself is a little victory and every so often, he’ll string enough good days together that you think he grew out of it.  But then he’ll barrel through a ten year old nephew during the family wiffleball game and you realize that he’s not going to change.

 

The city of Boston has a cousin like that too.  And his name is Manny Ramirez.  Sure, it’s better to have a self-absorbed idiot in the family than, say, a criminal.  But it’s just rough to have to keep rationalizing away his actions.  The most recent was a physical altercation with the team’s traveling secretary.  Allow me to sum up what happened: Manny asked for a high number of tickets (16) on the day of the game, and the traveling secretary said it might not be possible.  An argument started and the poor employee was shoved to the ground.  One closed door apology later and all is forgiven.  It is, of course, important to note that a similar player-on-office staff fracas happened resulted in a player being fired a week earlier.  Granted, that was a general manager that Shawn Chacon shoved instead of a humble traveling secretary, but violence in the workplace is still violence in the workplace.  Well, at least on paper.

 

This incident just reminds us that Cousin Manny can do whatever he wants to do while part of the family.  A few weeks earlier, he took a swing at Youkilis.  That’s two acts of physical aggression in the month of June.  And each is just washed away.  Washed away like every other bafflingly moronic thing that he’s done for the past ten years.  It’s not going to stop.  Fans and faithful have been aware of this for as long as he’s been in Boston.  But with violence in the equation now, it is very unfortunate that even that doesn’t give anyone pause.

 

If this was any other player on the Red Sox, he’d be suspended.  But it’s Cousin Manny.  And Cousin Manny can do whatever he wants, making a generally proud and decent organization a pack of hyprocrites.  But they’re not thinking too much about that, I suppose.  They’re probably too busy prying Manny’s butt out of the punch bowl again.

May 27, 2008

[Business Day One] Sent Down

Filed under: Baseball,Business Day One,Rules — Tags: , , , , — Serpico @ 12:32 pm

Until this weekend, I’ve never seen a minor league baseball game.  It was one of those things I felt bad about as a fan of the sport, but not bad enough to remedy the situation.  I compared it to a movie buff that just never got around to watching the Manchurian Candidate or the third Godfather film.  Unfortunate, but assuredly not inexcusable.  Still, with spring slowly taking on the shape of summer, it was time to get sent down to AAA.

McCoy Stadium, home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, was built in a quirky little town in New England.  Pawtucket sits in the northeast corner of Rhode Island, but might as well be in the middle of the country.  It’s a town with one big factory, a diner, and an old mill, all easily accessible off I-95, which splits it down the middle.  In other words, the Perfect Place for a minor league stadium.  I drove down, parked for $2 in a lot a block away, and followed the crowd into the park.

The Scoreboard at McCoy

There was one main concourse at McCoy, which stretched from first base line to third base line.  While the legends of $1 hot dogs and nearly free sodas at minor league ballparks were grossly exaggerated, the prices at the concession stands were still reasonable.  Six bucks for a personal pepperoni pizza, four for fried dough and another four for ice cream in PawSox batting helmet dish.  Not a bad investment at all.

Aside from the abundance of decently priced food, the thing that struck me immediately was the sheer volume of children there.  Bringing an entire little league team to Fenway or Yankee Stadium would break the bank.  But at $6 a ticket, the place was teeming with kids.  The impact of a much higher percentage of pre-teens in the stands to the fan experience is dramatic.  There’s less average sports knowledge in the stands, so questions bounce around with regularity.  Nearly everyone has a glove.  Though there isn’t as much emotional investment in the game, there’s just as much cheering per capita, since children like the yell loudly in a consequence-free environment. (more…)

April 22, 2008

The Blood of Patriots

Filed under: Baseball,Hockey — Tags: , , , , — Perich @ 8:02 am

Here’s some Boston-related sports news:

First, some kind of marathon. The ESPN coverage hints at but doesn’t really spell out how close the final half-mile was between the Russian, Alevtina Biktimirova, and the Final Fantasy VII villain Dire Tune. Tune and Biktimirova covered that last eight blocks in a dead-out sprint. They wove in and out of each other’s paths. People screamed. It was epic.

On the men’s side, the race belonged to four-time winner Cheruiyot from at least Newton on. He led a small knot of about four runners for a good stretch, then just broke away from them a second at a time. After that, nobody could even touch him for the remaining miles. He pumped his fist after crossing the finish line and counted out one-two-three-four, thus proving he’s no stranger to Boston post-victory culture. Bill Belichick’s got his eye on him.

Not all was joy in Mudville, however: the Canadiens trapped, shot and skinned the Bruins last night, knocking them out of the championship contention. Montreal rookie goalie Andrei Kostitsyn had the game of his life, not letting a single one of Boston’s 25 shots on goal get by. Thus another Bruins’ season ends in disappointment, which isn’t really “news” in the traditional sense. Think of a workplace safety board being updated – “X Days Without an Incident”; that’s the kind of story this is.

Finally, undaunted by their stunt’s unexpected success last year, Jordan’s Furniture is once again offering free furniture. This time, though, the Sox can’t just win the World Series – they have to sweep the first four games. They paid for this with an “insurance policy” last year, which I have to imagine is secret code for “gigantic sports book” as I can’t picture Citigroup writing off baseball-related furniture losses.

Can this stunt pay off?

The MLB.REDSOX contract is going for 14.00 on Tradesports. There’s no “REDSOX.SWEEP” contract posted, but let’s assume, for the sake of blogging, that the odds are similar. A contract on Tradesports pays $100 $10 if the conditions it describes come true. So to “insure” one million dollars worth of furniture, Jordan’s Furniture would need to buy 10,000100,000 shares of MLB.REDSOX. If they bought today, that’d cost them $140,000. (Edit: fixed some math)

I don’t know much about inventory and wholesaling, but I say that’s not a bad bet.

(If there’s any interest, I’ll talk more about Tradesports and other “idea futures” in another post)

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