Tag Archives: money

Fixing Baseball For Us, Or For Football Fans?

Tom Verducci at SI.com posted an argument for baseball adding a second wild card team and having the two wild cards play a win-or-go-home playoff game at the end of the regular season.  The thesis of his argument is that baseball needs to do more to ‘fix’ its September calendar, which (according to Verducci) rarely contains drama and too easily gets overwhelmed by the start of football season.

I agree with aspects of his essay.  Imagining his system, Verducci makes the strongest argument for his idea:

The Yankees and Rays are in a real race. Now it’s much more important to win your division than the wild card, in which you could get knocked out of the playoffs with one game. It keeps meaning in September games for runaway leaders.

Of course, Texas’s 7-game lead is not seriously challenged by any other team in their division, so this format won’t help all runaway leaders play meaningful games in September.

Other aspects of Verducci’s article are worrisome, however.  Take this quote:

Every NFL game has the feeling of being self-contained, with the stand-alone quality of say a movie as opposed to the serial quality of a baseball series. Baseball games rise to that level of urgency when they are “ultimate” games.

Many baseball fans and writers (this one included) have an inferiority complex in relation to football.  Football is glamorous, sexy, arrogant, and made-for-television.  Yet one of the best parts of baseball is the 162-game schedule, the grind of the season.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Photo finishes are exciting, sure, but they are much more exciting when they happen at the end of a marathon.  Baseball will never be like football, and we shouldn’t change our game to resemble football for the sake of trying to appease football fans.  Please baseball fans first.

Verducci, as a serious baseball fan, is probably quite interested in this September’s games.  Seven of the Yankees’ last 20 games are against the Rays.  Atlanta and Philadelphia have been jockeying for first place for a month, and with Philly, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco, Colorado, and St. Louis all within 6 games of each other, winning the NL East is very important indeed.  San Diego’s collapse has suddenly made the NL West a 3-team race.  All this is exciting to any fan who follows the baseball season, or is a fan of any of these teams.  And the notion that the Wild Card makes winning a division less meaningful?  Ask the 22 teams going home in October if  winning the division is meaningful.

The real question here is money, as it usually is with high-level baseball decisions these days.  How much does baseball want to tailor itself to casual fans?  Would baseball tamper with aspects of the game cherished by season ticket holders in favor of the few million disinterested households who would watch an out-of-market elimination playoff game?  From which group does baseball stand to make more money?

Verducci frames his argument with numbers about baseball’s increased TV numbers for the recent elimination playoff games.  In this particular instance, I agree with the proposal to “revamp” baseball’s playoffs.  As long as the extra game did not push the playoffs irretrievably into November, I’m for it.  But we baseball fans who view ourselves as guardians of, and witnesses to, a hallowed sport should analyze our motivations whenever we consider changing the game’s constitution.  Are we improving the game for ourselves?  Or are we sacrificing our values in trying to please an ambivalent football audience whom we will never truly satisfy?

Google’s most valuable commodity

Just saying: I’m not sure there is more valuable advertising space anywhere in the world than on Google’s home page.

It's expensive to not develop valuable land

The lack of clutter only makes it more valuable.  Well played, Google.

Fake Jacksons, Baby

Dear lady marking my $20 bills at the grocery store with the magic pen,

What do you think is going to happen if one of them comes up….what?  Pink?  Is that what happens when the vigilant pen detects a fake $20?  What will we do then?  Will you accuse me of being a counterfeit artist?  Will you not accept my money?  Will you call the cops?  I got that money from someone else.  If it’s a $20, I probably got it from an ATM.  I was none the wiser, and neither was the guy who gave it to me.  The money chain before me found it acceptable currency.  You and I can agree to treat it as such, (money is, after all, only valuable because we agree it’s valuable), and the bill can continue on its way.  Your register will even out, and I’ll have my Basic 4 and orange juice.  Nobody needs to know.  Whomever forged that bill is long gone with his illicit purchasing power anyhow.

Why are you even checking these things?  Did SuperGrocerCo contract with the U.S. Treasury to be some kind of counterfeit fisherman, trolling the country’s petty cash to sweep up fake bills?  How many times have you, the cashier, marked a bill with that pen?  Has it ever identified a fake bill?  How much do those pens cost?  The way you treat them, it can’t be much.  Much less than the $20 you are treating with suspicion.  If one of my bills comes out pink, maybe I’ll suggest that the pen is the counterfeit.  Or maybe I’ll be offended right now that you’re implying I may be passing off fake bills.  What then?  Am I taken to see the manager?  Do we rumble in the condiments aisle?

Someday I will write a screenplay centered on the premise that all $20s are fake and the counterfeiters have been inserting fake pens into the grocery stores of the nation.  That, or those pens give us cancer.