Poor attendance expected to cost Dodgers about $27 million

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Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times has some startling figures on how much money the Dodgers are losing because fans stopped going to games.

According to Peltz “the sharp drop in attendance at Dodger Stadium this year is likely to cost the Dodgers at least $27 million in reduced ticket sales, concession, and parking revenue for the 2011 season.”

That represents nearly a 10 percent drop in total revenue, which comes mostly from announced paid attendance being down 7,900 tickets per game. To put that in some context, the Mariners have the second-biggest drop in announced attendance this season at 4,200 per game.

And the Dodgers’ drop of 7,900 tickets doesn’t count all the no-shows who aren’t paying for parking or food or beer or those stupid foam fingers that claim a 52-61 team is still “No. 1!” I went to two games at Dodger Stadium last month where the announced attendance was above 30,000 and the actual attendance couldn’t have been more than 20,000. Maybe.

For a team with a payroll around $105 million the loss of $27 million in revenue could have a huge impact on the roster next season.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.