The affects you almost not at all, but you will hear about it: the Angels are converting the press box in Angel Stadium to luxury seating, which in turn will push writers covering the team to a new press box down the right field line.
Needless to say, writers are not happy about it. Including the guy who will be president of the BBWAA next year:
Apparently this happened at U.S. Cellular Field a couple of years ago — the print media box is now down the right field line there too — and the consensus is that it’s the worst place for writers to cover a game. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer said that after the changes in Chicago, Bud Selig told writers that wouldn’t happen again. Hoynes suggested a BBWAA protest over it. Which, given that the BBWAA’s founding and, according to them, primary purpose, is to ensure reporter access to the ballpark, is probably the only avenue available.
I would expect such a protest to have approximately zero chance of success. Nothing that Bud Selig has done as commissioner suggests that he’s going to stand in the way of teams looking to maximize cash flow. And given that clubs and the league are less dependent upon the sporting press for publicity and information dissemination than they ever have been — and become less dependent upon it every day — what incentive do they have to cater to the ever-shrinking pool of sportswriters covering games from the press box?
In the meantime, know that if you snag some tickets on StubHub, you stand a much better chance of having a better view of things in Anaheim than the reporters do. And, unlike them, you get to have beer and cheer too.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.