Monday, September 21, 2009

Odds and Ends

As the 2009 season draws to a close (14 days remaining), here are just some factoids and tidbits I've been compiling over the year that didn't really warrant an entire post.

- In July, the Wall Street Journal released a "Cooperstown Code" that I think is worth a look for any avid baseball fan. It's a computer-generated formula that calculates a player's probability, based on statistics and any outside factors such as drug use, of whether or not he will make the Hall of Fame. It seems to be pretty accurate and ingenious. For example, a shoe-in guy like Trevor Hoffman was calculated at 86% probability, whereas maybe a guy that might get in on his 10th ballot like Mike Mussina was calcuated at 47.8% probability.

- A couple weeks ago, Erik emailed me an article entitled "Can a Ballclub's Record Justify its Beer Prices?" This article points out that, as you may expect beer price to be affected by the quality of the stadium and the team as ticket prices are, it is not always the case. The Phillies were noted to have the best beer value in the majors, based on them being the best team charging the least per ounce (31 cents, or $6.75 for 21-oz beer). The cheapest beer overall is in Pittsburgh, as you'll only pay $4.75 for 21-oz beverage. Fenway Park, Nationals Park, and Citi Field top the list as the most expensive beer. In Boston, you'll spend an attrocious $7.25 for only 12 ounces. One flaw I found in the system was the souvenir cup factor - I am willing to pay the second highest price in the majors at Nats Park because they offer three varieties of souvenir cups - at least they did when we were there in 2008.

- Keeping an eye on the Northwoods League as I always do, the league announced a yet-unnamed expansion franchise in Willmar, Minnesota will begin in 2010. To make an even number of teams, probably one of the league-owned teams (Brainerd, Battle Creek) will cease operations, or Waukesha, Wisconsin's Frame Park proposal will go through and get built for a new team, or some combination of these. The Green Bay Bullfrogs are also fielding proposals for much-needed new stadium. The Madison Mallards achieved the highest attendance of any college summer league team in America by quite a substantial margin, for the 3rd year in a row.

- In other ballpark news, Marlins Park looks to be a go as ground was broken in July, and there are some pretty cool renderings out - finally a park that seems to deviate from the beloved brick retro style! Erik and I look forward to visiting the park on the site of the old Orange Bowl in 2012. Meanwhile, the Athletics and Rays parks look to be going nowhere. The Rays had planned on building on the site of their spring training home, Al Lang Field, and the A's are now fielding proposals for a joint MLS-San Jose Earthquakes/Oakland Athletics stadium. Wisconsin's two minor league teams, the Timber Rattlers and Snappers, are also both exploring options for new stadiums. As regular readers may know, I think that Pohlman Field is a disgrace, so Beloit's proposal talks are coming not a moment too soon.

- A sad day for baseball fans and preservationists everywhere, as the final remaining pieces of Tiger Stadium were demolished yesterday. Like Detroit has anything else going on right now that they needed that land ASAP? What, a big Ford expansion?

- For anyone who has not picked up "The Yankee Years" yet, it is a great read and I highly recommend it. It's over 400 pages but reads very easy - I read it in about 5 days. I'm also looking forward to picking up a copy of "The Machine" (about the Big Red Machine, obviously), which came out this week.

- Ever notice that injuries are getting weirder and weirder every year? Oblique strains, post-concussion syndrome, tired arm, anal fissures, and who could forget this year's blessure du jour, anxiety disorder! This year, the Mariners' Adrian Beltre took the cake, after recently coming back from a 30-day stint on the DL with a bleeding testicle. Maybe he'll think about wearing a cup next time.

- Last but certainly not least, Major League 4 is becoming a reality - the writers and directors from the original, as well as Bob Uecker, are already signed on.

Brewers 74-75, -10.5 wc (3 v. Cubs, 4 v. Phillies)
Reds 69-81, -16.0 wc (3 @ Pirates, 3 @ Astros)
Twins 76-73, -3.0 (3 @ White Sox, 3 @ Royals)

Erik - 41 (+21 worked)
Peter - 59

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