(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, March 01, 2015

On the Philadelphia Phillies

Pitchers and catchers have reported.

The best players, according to WARP, are your 36 year-old catcher and your 36 year-old second baseman, both of whom are injury prone.  Your first baseman is recovering from physical and mental injuries, the latter resulting from an awful fight with his parents and brother over the management of his money.  For Ryan Howard, that had to hurt worse than the popping of his Achilles' tendon at the end of the NLDS in 2011.  You traded the best shortstop in team history, and your #1 starter wants out.  Your #2 starter is thirty-five, coming off injuries and close to retirement, but you have to bet that he might welcome a change of scenery to a team, well, that isn't predicted to have the worst record in the Majors.  Atop that, according to Baseball Prospectus, the Phillies are projected to score the least amount of runs in the Majors since 1971.  And, to make matters even worse, ESPN the Magazine rated you dead last in terms of reliance on analytics to help make the team better.  And that's somewhat ironic, given that GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. has a degree in, of all things, economics, and, from all places, Stanford.

Tickets will be plentiful and inexpensive.  About 5 years ago, you couldn't get a full- or partial-season ticket plan.  Today, the team e-mails current and former subscribers offering them single-game seats -- including among the best in the house -- for any game.  You want Hall of Fame Club against the Red Sox?  You got 'em.

But the fans just might not be biting.  Instead, they'll accept funding from those fans who still have season tickets and who offer them for sale on secondary markets like StubHub.  Why?  Because while the club might sell you a Hall of Fame club seat for its face value, roughly $85 (don't hold me to that), you'll probably be able to get some for about $60-$65 dollars apiece depending on the game and how long you are willing to wait.  

In 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, there was demand.

In 2015, there is supply.

And watching both Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley play out their distinguished careers, while Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee toil in too many 2-1 losses.

What a difference 5 years makes.


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