The Dodgers will pay Frank McCourt’s company $14 million a year to rent parking lots

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Matt Kemp will begin making $20 million a year next season. The Dodgers second-highest obligation? Frank McCourt! Or at least his company, which will get $14 million a year from the team for rent on the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium.

How much of that actually goes to McCourt is not clear — others own the company that owns the parking lots along with him — but suffice it to say, he’ll be making millions off the Dodgers, basically indefinitely.

Bill Shaikin has the details of the land use agreement which was part of the team’s sale but which, due to some legal wrangling over their confidentiality, were not known before now. I imagine the amount of lucre that McCourt is making despite his feckless management of the Dodgers is the sort of thing everyone would want to keep quiet as long as they can. I’d be embarrassed anyway.

McCourt got rich off parking lots in Boston. He was an abject failure as the owner of a baseball team.  He’s going to make what amounts to a separate, independent fortune off parking lots in L.A.  He’s a walking embodiment of the Peter Principle.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.