And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Rockies 11, Padres 10: It’s long been obvious that the Rockies
are charmed this year, but when they win despite a horrible outing from
their starter and a bullpen meltdown and still win, that just seals it.
Inside the park homer for Barmes, though it took Edgar Gonzalez
dislocating his shoulder while diving for it to make it so.

Yankees 6, Angels 5: The Yankees clinch. They also came back after blowing five-run lead and held on for a rare win in Anaheim.

Diamondbacks 10, Giants 8: Mark Reynolds broke his own strikeout
record. Which shouldn’t be a big deal given that he’s got a .922 OPS,
but that didn’t stop the dude in front of me on the plane Monday night
going on and on about how Reynolds sucks “because he can’t make
contact.”

Reds 10, Pirates 4: I have a friend with Pirates season tickets
for some reason. This is him via Blackberry during the game “I’m behind
home plate @ Pirates v. Reds – about 5 real players – this sucks – kill
me now.”

Athletics 9, Rangers 1: It’s easy this time of year to sort of
write off every team that has had a poor season as a wreck and feel
sorry for their fans and generally just want it to all end quickly (as
many of my recaps today suggest). But you have to remember that there
are still games to be played and that games, on an individual basis,
still matter. People still enjoy them for their own sake and haven’t
simply moved on to football or the hot stove season or whatever. That
was brought home to me during my trip this past weekend, as many people
I talked to in the Bay Area were rather excited about the A’s strong
September. They’re not showing up in droves, but people are watching
and listening and are simply happy to have baseball.

Cardinals 11, Astros 2: Often at this time a year I wonder if
teams can’t simply pay some fee to the league office that would allow
them to simply forfeit every remaining game rather than go out and
embarrass themselves the way Houston is as the season comes to a close.

Royals 5, Red Sox 1: Zack Greinke pretty much sewed up the Cy
Young award with this one, right? His 15th win in front of the
influential Boston press corps. puts the exclamation point on a strong
finish.

Dodgers 14, Nationals 2: Three . . . thats the magic number. Yes
it is. Its the magic number. Somewhere in this hip-hop soul community,
was born three Mase, Dove and me, and that’s the magic number.

Phillies 9, Marlins 3; Marlins 3, Phillies 0: Joe Blanton gave
up two hits in seven innings in the first; Anibal Sanchez allowed two
hits in eight innings in the second. I like symmetry.

Mariners 4, Rays 3: Tampa Bay is eliminated. The team, not the bay itself. That would be catastrophic.

Tigers 3, Indians 1: Some wonder
whether Edwin Jackson is hurt or tired or is tipping his pitches or
whatever, but it seems he simply hasn’t faced the Indians enough.

Braves 3, Mets 1: Jair Jurrjens allows only one run on five hits
as the Mets painful season draws closer and closer to a merciful end.
The Braves have won 10 of 12, but it’s going to be too little, too late.

Twins 8, White Sox 6: The Twins have won eight of nine, and are
showing themselves to be a better overall team than the Tigers, but can
they close the 2.5 game gap? Whatever happens, we can thank them for
giving us an actual race as the season winds down.

Cubs 7, Brewers 2: The Cubs won their third straight since
suspending Milton Bradley for the season. Coincidence? Doesn’t matter,
because it will not be viewed as such when it comes time to decide what
to do with the guy next year.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 5: See Houston comment above.

The Yankees attendance and revenue is down, but it makes sense

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There’s a long article in the New York Times today noting that the Yankees attendance is down and that, based on financial figures released as part of their stadium bond disclosures, ticket and suite revenues through last season have fallen by $166 million since the end of 2009.

There is a lot of talk in the article about the exciting young team the Yankees have put together and how much they’ve won so far in the early going. And there is a lot of talk about marketing and demographics — Hal Steinbrenner talks about baseball’s “millennial problem” — but the story of the Yankees’ box office issues, such as they are, is pretty straightforward.

All teams suffer attendance and revenue decline when they play poorly. While the Yankees have not been bad for a long, long time, that’s a somewhat relative thing. They Yankees have sold themselves and sold their fans on the idea that nothing short of a championship is acceptable, so missing the playoffs for three of the past four years is bad for them. Fans don’t want to go see a bad team, be it Yankees fans, Rays fans, Royals fans or whoever.

Despite the recent lack of success, the Yankees have still, perversely, continued to price their tickets, concessions, parking and everything else as though they’re the only game in town. When demand falls and prices remain super high, fewer people are buying your product. Even if you’re the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are good this year. What’s more, they’re good in that exciting way that only young promising players bursting out onto the scene can deliver. It’s a wonderful thing for marketing and stuff, but even under the best of circumstances, ticket sales tend to lag on field success, often by as much as a year. Go back and look at World Series winning teams — especially the surprise winners — and you’ll see that it’s the year after on-field success when the real attendance bumps happen. I expect, if the Yankees continue to play well, their gate will get really nice by the end of the summer, but I suspect we’ll also see a more dramatic bump next year.

Taken all together, this is a dog-bites-man story. The Yankees are not some transcendent institution, immune from market forces. They’re just one of 30 Major League Baseball teams competing against other entertainments for a finite amount of the public’s money and attention. Nothin’ to see here.

David Price had a rocky rehab start last night

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Red Sox starter David Price has been rehabbing a left elbow injury since early March. Last night he made his latest rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket. It didn’t go well.

Price allowed six runs — three earned — on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings, requiring 89 pitches to do it. His velocity was good, but otherwise it was a night to forget. This was supposed to be Price’s last rehab start before returning to the Sox’ big league rotation, but one wonders if he’s ready for it.

Price didn’t talk to the media after the game, but Pawtucket’s manager said he was “upbeat” and “felt good.” For his part, John Farrell, upon hearing about the outing, said this:

“There’s no announcement at this point. We’ve got to sit with him and talk about what’s best for him, best for us as we move forward.”

The Sox could really use Price back in the rotation given their injury problems, but rushing him back if he’s not ready is certainly not ideal.

Stay tuned.