Introducing the "Stop Making Fun of Rays Fans" Index

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In light of David Price’s and Evan Longoria’s comments (and Mitch Williams’ and many, many others), reader Steven Luck decided that he had had enough of the back and forth and set out to try to quantify the level of Rays fan apathy. He submitted it in the comments, but I figured it needed its own post, so I present it with only cosmetic edits below. Based on my vast knowledge of statistics, geography, sociology and psychology, I can say that his formula is absolutely perfect.*

*Note: I have no such knowledge whatsoever.

Enjoy. Just don’t ask me what, exactly, it’s supposed to measure. I guess it’s enthusiasm per capita or something akin to it. And, yeah, I’m guessing it favors smaller cities. But who cares? The real value of this will be to see what reputable media outlets steal it and pretend that it says something scientifically valid!
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Rays apologists have always reminded me of the joke Woody Allen tells at
the beginning of “Annie Hall.” Tampa residents are all unemployed and
there are just so few of them.

With that in mind I created the Jonah Keri Memorial “Stop Making Fun of
Rays Fans” Index.* Surprisingly, the Rays come out looking pretty good.

Methodology:

The formula for calculating a team’s JKMSMFoRF is:

[Average Home Attendance]*81/(([Metro Area Population]/[Number of Teams in Metro Area])*(1-[Metro Area Unemployment Rate]))

Results:

Milwaukee                       1.948
San Francisco                   1.568
St. Louis                       1.304
Colorado                        1.243
Minnesota                       1.057
Cincinnati                      1.049
Kansas City                     0.859
San Diego                       0.780
Tampa Bay                       0.770
Pittsburgh                      0.749
Cleveland                       0.746
Oakland                         0.737
Boston                          0.725
Chicago Cubs                    0.714
Baltimore                       0.704
Seattle                         0.678
Philadelphia                    0.677
Detroit                         0.659
LA Dodgers                      0.635
LA Angels                       0.577
Arizona                         0.518
Chicago White Sox               0.515
Atlanta                         0.494
NY Yankees                      0.434
Houston                         0.433
Texas                           0.419
Washington                      0.357
Toronto                         0.323
Florida                         0.307
NY Mets                         0.306

Congratulations Milwaukee, you folks really, really love going to
baseball games!  (Or there may just be nothing else to do in
Milwaukee.)  Tampa Bay finishes in a respectable ninth place. Oakland
and San Francisco compensate for their moderate attendances by
sharing a medium sized metropolitan area.  Also, it is possible that
literally every man, woman and child in the Milwaukee, St. Louis and
Denver metro areas has attended one of their respective baseball team’s
home games this year.

*Note: Jonah Keri is not dead, but we can memorialize him anyway. A good way to do that is to pre-order his certain-to-be-awesome book about how the Tampa Bay Rays used Wall Street strategies to turn themselves into a winning bunch.

Reds’ manager Bryan Price extended through 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 28: Manager Bryan Price #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 28, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.

This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.

Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.

From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.

I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.

Dusty Baker calls the Nationals “a baby making team.” Whatever that means.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 31: Manager Dusty Baker #12 of the Washington Nationals looks on before the start of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 31, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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When the Nationals fired Matt Williams a year ago, it might’ve been a safe assumption that they were going to go with that new breed of young, handsome recently-retired player-turned-manager who, despite a lack of experience, allegedly knows how to deal with modern players better and knows how to handle a clubhouse. Those assumptions have proved largely off with these guys — Williams was a disaster, Matheny wins despite himself and Ausmus looks like he’s perpetually on the verge of a breakdown — but that’s the all the rage these days anyway.

Instead, the Nats hired Dusty Baker. Though Baker had tremendous success as a manager everywhere he went, he was maligned by some for some pitcher handling stuff in Chicago (which said pitchers have long denied was an issue, but let’s let that lie). He was also, more generally, thought of as a “retread.” Which is what people who prefer younger folks for jobs tend to call older people, even if the older people know what they’re doing.

And yes, I will cop to thinking about managers that way a lot over the years, so I’m not absolving myself at all here, even if I was pretty OK with the Dusty Baker hiring. I’ve evolved on this point. In no small part because of how Dusty Baker has done in Washington. Flash forward a year, the Nats are division champions and Baker may be a top candidate for Manager of the Year. That, in and of itself, should show you how wrong the haters were.

But if it doesn’t, this sure should:

I have no earthly idea what that means and Castillo gives no further context. All I know is that it sounds cool as hell and of any current manager, only Dusty Baker could say that and pull it off.

Because he’s Dusty Baker and has nothing to prove to you. And if you don’t like it, shoot, he’ll just go back home to his winery or whatever and live out the rest of his days being cooler than you.