March 5, 2014
There’s been a lot of talk about tanking in the NBA all season thanks to the deep draft class expected this year. That talk has heated up after the trade deadline with a few teams appearing to have given up. The 76ers have lost 15 in a row and show little sign of hope to win again. As someone who follows the 76ers (I don’t pay too much attention to NBA games not involving them), I’m perfectly happy with this strategy. Finishing each season between 6th and 10th in the conference wasn’t going to get us anywhere besides the 2nd round of the playoffs on a rare occasion.
I’ve seem some suggestions on how to fix tanking, if it’s even possible. The wheel is the most common idea referenced. The idea is that the draft order is set and rotates in some way each season. If there are 30 teams in the league, you’ll have the #1 pick once every 30 years, guaranteed. You’d get that pick if you were the worst team in the league or if you just won the championship. I like the idea for its creativity and discussion it has created. I don’t like the idea so much as a complete solution. It’s hard enough to turn a franchise around through drafting and free agency, taking away a draft advantage makes things a whole lot harder.
How do you tell if a team is tanking? There’s no clear way. Is a team just bad or purposely bad? Did a GM make a trade just to make the team worse? You’d have to weigh the long term value of the trade. Is a team faking injuries? You can’t ask that.
Let’s assume that there is no difference between a tanking team and a really really bad team. A tanking team is trying to not win games. They want to lose to everyone. Meaning they will lose to the bad teams and get blown out by the good teams (and maybe some bad teams too). What if we just don’t count games where they get blown out? Make the lottery a ranking of the teams with the most non-blowout losses.
I took the current lottery teams (as of last night) losses, then looked at what the draft order would look like if blowouts were removed. Now, choosing what counts as a blowout is just a guess. I tried 20 points and 15 points. (more…)
August 29, 2013
Wrapping up my recaps of my trip to Wisconsin with the main reason I went: Reds @ Brewers, Sunday, August 18th.
I think this may have been my first tailgate for a non-Penn State game, certainly my first baseball tailgate. Brewers tailgating seemed different than what I saw at a Phillies game a few years ago. This is something they’ve always done, not just when they got good, because, well, the Brewers haven’t had much of a run.
For the tailgate, we had some brats along with the previously mentioned Bavarian mustard. The nice family next to us even came over to chat. They were very Wisconsin (the accent) and I guess noticed that we weren’t very Wisconsin.
When it came time to go in, I had only half finished my Gatorade, we also had some brats left. My friend said to just take it in. What? My bottle was already open, and it’s not water. Sealed bottles are the only type of beverage I’ve heard are sometimes allowed in stadiums. I was assured it would be no problem. And it wasn’t. Nobody questioned me on my way in.
I had posted previously that during August home games, the Brewers were giving $10 vouchers to everyone and they could be used on food or merchandise. With the tickets being $15 on StubHub, that is altogether a pretty good deal.
The first reaction, even from the outside is how large it is with that retractable roof. Inside, you get the feeling that they didn’t go cheap on putting this thing together. I believe the only other retractable roof stadium I’ve been to is in Seattle, where they spent a fortune since they had to secure it against earthquakes.
Everything else is standard fare for the new stadiums. The seats are all great and there is plenty of space to walk around on the concourses.
Another thought, and this applies to many newer stadiums, is the open views in the outfield when there isn’t much to be seen. The other similar one is Kansas City. I guess having seats out there doesn’t make a lot of sense, smaller cities have trouble filling what they have. Still, I like the upper levels to connect via walkway.
Bernie’s Slide – I did get to see a Brewers home run and I did get to see Bernie go down the slide. Hats off to Bernie. He’s always standing out there, ready to go as soon as a ball clears the fence.
Sausage Race – It was a relay the day I was there. Kids as mini-sausages were ready for the hand-off. I think the excitement level would have been amped up if I had a favorite in the race.
Ice Cream Helmet
Here’s where it all fell apart. My friend already has a Brewers Ice Cream Helmet. So I didn’t consider it being a problem. In line, I didn’t see any helmets. Then I started seeing people getting ice cream in dishes. I saw someone at a closed register and went up to ask. He was very knowledgeable and said that they don’t have them any more. My only option was a huge helmet filled with nachos. Don’t have them any more? Were people not happy with them? Did they cost too much? This should be a ballpark staple. If you are cutting costs that much, just keep some around and charge an extra dollar.
I went around the whole stadium to see if maybe there was a stand left. I came across one stand that was ice cream only, but they didn’t have them. I was tricked by old Dippin’ Dots stands that are now used to sell popcorn or nuts. So much for the future, eh, Dippin’ Dots?
The current list of helmet fails: San Francisco, Oakland, LA (although that may have been a ticket issue), and now Milwaukee.
Can I call a meeting of stadium owners so they can start to make an effort on lines at these stadiums? The only excuse to not have enough concession lines that it never gets more than two or three people deep, is a lack of space. Miller Park is not suffering from this issue. More lines means more revenue. The markup on these concessions makes the expense of paying someone next to nothing. There has to be solution. I’d like to see more attempts at trying different approaches. One item per stand? Try it. Separate lines for cash or exact change? Pre-purchase vouchers for items, or have machines to buy the vouchers so credit cards don’t take too much time? Just try something.
Overall, I liked the stadium. I’m not sure there is a bad stadium left in the majors. The Twins and Mets have newer stadiums (I didn’t like the old ones) and I didn’t mind Tampa Bay. It is hard to differentiate yourself at this point. You can only do so much with the in-game experience if your team has been out of the playoff race most of the season.
August 20, 2013
Back from my weekend trip to Wisconsin. I probably don’t need to explain the purpose of the trip because when someone takes a trip in the summer, Wisconsin is usually at the top of the list. I went because my friend is in a Phd program at UW – Madison and I haven’t seen a Brewers game at Miller Park yet (I was at the stadium a few years ago, but the Brewers were on the road). I’ll try and share some posts over the next few days to recap the trip.
flickr set (warning, pretty much all the pictures are from Miller Park and none of them feature people)
May 29, 2013
Minor League Baseball is having a contest to determine the best ballpark food. To be socially relavant, they are calling it a #foodfight. It’s the sort of thing I have to warn you in advance that you will become hungry or drool on your keyboard.
It’s broken down into four categories: Gut Busters, Hots N Dogs, Local Legends, and Scrumptious Sandwiches.
Your natural instinct might be to stick with Gut Busters, but don’t sleep on the other categories. You might even find something local. I’ve been to the State College Spikes, but I had no idea they had a spam pizza (nominated in the Local Legends category).
But really, must go to Rochester and haz cheeseburger plate.
October 9, 2012
Favorite story from the weekend.
This happened in Scotland at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which looks to be an event on the European Tour. So this wasn’t just a random country club occurrence. It may have been during a Pro-Am since the story mentions the golfer being partnered with Michael Phelps. The golfer was Paul Casey and he was lining up for an eagle putt when a dog ran onto the green and took the ball!
A spectator stopped the dog and got the ball back. There was no penalty.
A dogs often hanging around major events? Casey said this one showed up at the tee and followed them to the green before it saw an opening on the green to get the ball.