Yankees and Mets fans are unimaginative

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Freakonomics
— the book, the blog, the phenomenon — is basically about applying
economic theory to non-traditional things. Things like parenting and
sumo and the Ku Klux Klan and what have you. It’s pretty interesting
stuff, actually, that reminds people that economics is way more about
social and behavioral science than it is about money and numbers.

Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner was at the Mets-Yankees game last night, and he wonders why Yankees and Mets fans are so darn economically inefficient when it comes to their cheers and taunts:

A pattern quickly emerged. The many Yankees fans regularly broke
into their thunderous cheer: “Let’s go Yankees!” (clap-clap-clap-clap …
clap-clap). If you are a Yankees fan (we are; but we do not hate the
Mets), this was a sign of what might be called prideful hubris, or
maybe hubristic pride: we can come into your stadium and rock it very,
very hard.

How’d the Mets fans respond? Succinctly. In the space where the
Yankees fans did their rhythmic clapping, Mets fans shouted “Yankees
suck!” . . .This pattern was repeated all night. What surprised me is
that neither side found a way to improve their effort. I kept waiting
for the Yankees fans to fill in their clapping with some chanting that
couldn’t be hijacked by the Mets fans, and I kept waiting for the Mets
fans to either be proactive in their chanting or to move beyond
“Yankees suck!” But neither side budged . . . I fear not that we are
teaching our children to be coarse but that we are teaching them to be
uncreative and unskilled in the use of game theory.

I can think of no greater indictment of the new expensive ballparks in
New York than the fact that they have priced out one of the greatest
forces of nature in the universe: verbally abusive, yet incredibly
clever New York baseball fans.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.