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Thursday, February 19, 2009

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These players better sign somewhere. Half of my fantasy team is unsigned right now.

The amount of unsigned free agents gives me hope that the Phils reported blanket offer to Beimel, Reyes, and Ohman will force one of their hands to jump at a guaranteed gig out of fear of remaining unemployed.

Thanks JW, we needed a new thread.
I guess Burrell & Abreu can attest to your point on the free agent market.

NEPP - "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. I'm sure she was more interested in sending a message than penning a timeless classic.

How hard do you think Burrell is laughing that he is gonna make more than Bobby this year. He was quite smart to jump on that deal when he did.

****NEPP - "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. I'm sure she was more interested in sending a message than penning a timeless classic.****

Yeah, I know. The point was that she kept trying to say it wasn't really about him...yeah, sure it wasn't.

Good thread, JW.

Hey, if salaries come down, maybe teams will pass the savings on to fans by lowering ticket prices..............oh, wait

On a different note, I'm not a BP subscriber, but the have an article on Chase Utley's hip and how his recovery affects the Phils' chances to repeat.

Link here to the first 2 paragraphs.

Maybe someone else can describe the content in the rest of the article.

****Hey, if salaries come down, maybe teams will pass the savings on to fans by lowering ticket prices..............oh, wait****

Rarely will I defend the Phillies FO but the ticket raise was completely warranted...here's their ranks for the past 4 years on prices

2008: 11th
2007: 7th
2006: 5th
2005: 4th

They were being completely honest when they said they had kept prices down for few years and were merely adjusting for inflation. I believe their 09 prices have them back in the 4 or 5 range...right where they should be...especially coming off a WS win.

Guess raising tix prices are to paid for big increase in their salaries. Heck of a line for Philly fans buying tickets for season games.

count me as one of the many who could careless how many less billion dollars the owners make during a recession.

"How hard do you think Burrell is laughing that he is gonna make more than Bobby this year. He was quite smart to jump on that deal when he did."

As hard as I am that Burrell went into FA asking for 3+ years and not to be a DH.

Considering the off-season, and what others ended up getting, I think Pat will be okay.

Trying to get tickets for the same kind of games I usually get during the annual 'secret' presale and all the seats for games I checked were in the 400s instead of downstairs. At least in terms of tickets, looks like our Phils will do OK.

A friend and I are splitting 2 partial season ticket plans:

The Sunday Plan and Plan B - 31 games.

We bought them yesterday, because we had a feeling single game seats would be tough to get in areas we wanted.

After going on line this morning just to check out what was available, it seems we were right.

I got stuck in a queue for about 7 minutes when I first tried.

I'll make this prediction about the 2009 Phillies:

Dave Montgomery will be wrong if the Phillies are in contention all season:

They will draw more fans than they did last year.

My guess is that the Phillies will probably come close to selling out every game this year.

One thing never mentioned in articles on this topic is the amount of good minor leaguers coming onboard. Hence, more players for the same amount of jobs, but at different prices.

NEPP, you're missing the point of AWH's statement. Its not about where the Phillies rank as far as ticket prices, but the cost of tickets (and concessions) for baseball games in general. Baseball survived previous recessions because a day at the ballpark was an affordable distraction from hard times. That is no longer the case today, and thats why the teams will all suffer in this recession.

They averaged 42,254 last year and the compacity of CBP is around 46,600...not too shabby. I guess is a record attendance for them in 2009. There's simply too much interest in the club for them not to...in spite of the current economy.

****NEPP, you're missing the point of AWH's statement. Its not about where the Phillies rank as far as ticket prices, but the cost of tickets (and concessions) for baseball games in general. ****

Good point. It was alot easier to go to the game when a 200 level ticket was $16 and you could get upper deck tickets for around $5 each...cheaper if you had that coupon from the Phillie Franks package.

Ticket prices will go down in areas where they don't sell.

They'll offer two for ones, or coupons, or something, to lower the price if demand isn't there. (And with stubhub, they can probably sell tickets below face value and pretend it's some other fan you're buying the tickets from).

Maybe the face value won't change (yet) but they have ways of getting tickets out at lower prices.

Correction, I meant to say the capacity of CBP is around 43,600, not 46,600...typo on my part. They pretty much were pushing the max capacity all season of 08.

NEPP, not to nitpick, but this is from the Phillies' website:
.
.
"SEATING CAPACITY: 43,500; Seats are angled toward the infield by a combination of bowl geometry and redirected seating."
.
.
I think they can also sell up to 2,000 SRO tickets the same morning of a game (It might only be 1,000 for some games, I'm not sure).

But at 43,500/game x 81 games = 3,523,500.

If they sell another 2,000 SROs then they would be able to draw another 162,000 on top of that, for a total of 3,685,500.

According to b-r.com last season's attendance was 3,422,583 (4th of 16).

That only gives them room to sell another 262,917 tickets this year, or 3,245/game.


My guess is they won't sell out every game, but I'll bet they do draw more than last season.

In my defense, I am pulling the numbers from memory...not actually googling it...that's why I said "around".

The first game I checked on the other day is now listed as SRO.

timr & NEPP

Old Connie Mack Stadium. $1.50 for grandstand and $0.75 for bleachers.
Best of all - No Mets Fans!(since the mets didn't exist just yet)

Every game I checked for in May says SRO, even midweek vs the Marlins.

EF, yep. They sold out more than 40 games last season.

I'll bet that they have over 20 sellouts this seaosn BEFORE the first game.

If they are in contention from July - September, I'll bet ever game is a sellout from August 1st onward.

NEPP, no worries, As I said, I wasn't trying to nitpick.

It's not as id you're a troll, after all.

One item to keep in mind:

They sold 20% more season tickets this year than last.

That means that even before tix went on sale today, there were 4,000 less available for every game.

Great link JW. Actually though the insight into the player and business operations behind the DBacks was actually more insightful than even the current economic situation in Phoenix.

I was really interested in this particular quote:

"Before every series, the Diamondbacks prepare a detailed dossier on opposing hitters. Byrnes's staff typically invests 25 to 30 man-hours in each of the 50 dossiers produced over a season."

So basically what this is saying is that the DBacks essentially target what they think are the best 2 or 3 hitters on the opposing team and build a dossier on them.

Couple of questions I wonder:

1. Do the Phils do the same? - I would say yes although probably not as statisically inclined as the DBacks. There were a few times the Phils were very successful at doing this last year.

Two examples that quickly come to mind - Cards series in July vs the Phils controlled Pujols. Same with Manny in the August series vs. the Dodgers.

2. How actually is the dossier used besides taking with Snyder? My bet is that Dbacks share this info with their starting pitchers, pitching coach, and manager but only key them on a few takeaway points. Likely Powerpoint style but a piece of paper. Would love to see what the Phils do here.

3. Is the dossier filed away and updated during the season? I would bet yes on both.

4. How do the DBacks gather data for the dossier? My bet is that they use some of their own stats but subscribe to a service like Baseball Stats to get the raw quant numbers to crunch.

I would be interested though to find out where they get their video resources from.

I'm not certain, but it seems to me that ticket prices have well out-paced inflation. Moreover I would bet that it's the been the conscious policy of major professional sports organizations to make live-viewership the province of the upper-strata, believing along with the rest of society in the idea of infinite economic growth.

So perhaps a serious, prolonged downturn will make sports once again plebeian. That's good, I guess.

There are some many interesting articles that can be written during the first 2 weeks of spring training. Couple of mind come real quick on the Phils:

1. It is readily apparent that a few Phils are coming into camp into much better shape. They also came off a year where they remained largely healthy with a minimal amount of injuries. I would love to see some interview Scott Sheridan and Doug Lien. No dice so far.

2. Phils must have some thoughts on what they are hoping to see out of some of their hitters this season including a few new acquistions in Paulino and Ibanez. I would be curious to actually hear what Milt Thompson has to stay about what he is looking for early in spring training.

3. Instead of asking Amaro the same old questions about acquiring a RH-handed bat (which they aren't going to do) I would love to hear him asked if he has made any changes to the scouting dept this season or any other touches on operations mgt.

Instead we get the same largely stupid fill-pieces we get everytime this year. The Mets/Phils talk in particular is largely inane and foolish.

It would be nice if the Daily News/Inquirer writers (who as a whole are pretty unoriginal and uninspiring most times) would actually do some interesting pieces for a change before spring training games start instead of the same fluff they put out every year.

"Moreover I would bet that it's the been the conscious policy of major professional sports organizations to make live-viewership the province of the upper-strata, believing along with the rest of society in the idea of infinite economic growth."

It sure seems like that, at least living in New York with these new stadiums and their ridiculous new ticket prices. I used to be able to go see the Phils at Shea at least a few times a year, but I don't know if I'll be able to afford a day at Bailout Field. Certainly not at the New Yankee Stadium, where they basically have assumed that all the big corporations and Wall Street types will buy the season tickets that average people can no longer afford.

With the strong ticket sales, it looks like a good bet to see the Phils on the road. The only problem is that when I did a quick look on the schedule there really aren't many favorable close locations to catch the Phils.

Mets are in a new stadium so tickets will be tough. O's play the Phils at CBP this year. Pirates away series is in middle of the week in August.

Only real bet is to drive down to DC to catch a game it looks like.

****NEPP, no worries, As I said, I wasn't trying to nitpick.

It's not as id you're a troll, after all.
****

Its all good. I do kinda miss the days of being able to go down to the stadium on gameday and get good seats. Though the team sucked then so that's the tradeoff. I remember in 2004, my brother and I walked up to Jacobs Field on gameday during the first week of the season and were able to get seats maybe 8 rows back directly behind homeplate. We were surrounded by MLB scouts for the game...it was pretty sweet to talk baseball with scouts for 3 hours. Beautiful stadium in Cleveland too.

****With the strong ticket sales, it looks like a good bet to see the Phils on the road. The only problem is that when I did a quick look on the schedule there really aren't many favorable close locations to catch the Phils.****

I'm looking at Toronto in late June...the exchange is really good again and its about 6 hours from where I live in VT...not too too bad. Their tickets are cheap too...and plentiful.

The last 2 preseason games at CBP vs Rays are available on the Phillies.
Pat the Bat makes his debut as a visitor.

David Murphy is reporting in "High Cheese" that Uts could be looking good for opening day.

Check out Tom Verducci's article on si.com about "pitching health".

It's linked on the upper right, and also

HERE

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/tom_verducci/02/18/spring.parity/index.html?eref=writers

So does Pat getted cheered when he returned? He sure as hell better. Maybe they'll actually mention and show it on the national news so we can finally put the "Philly has the worst fans in the country BS" to rest.

Of course he does and of course it won't.

Prediction:

Standing O when he comes to bat the first time.
And a good natured round of boos when he strikes out the first time.
National media will show the booing.

When do they hand out the WS rings? Will they give Pat his that day?

The recession will cut deeply into the growth of MLB revenues, but the effect will be selective. It won't be a factor in towns such as Philly, Boston or NY, at least not to the same extent as in economically distressed regions or tourist-dependent areas. Where fan interest is high, ticket demand will remain strong. The net effect of the bad economy will certainly be evidenced in the free agent market, where big contracts for middle-of-the-pack players will become less frequent. The greater impact will be upon trades in which the objective becomes unloading higher priced talent to teams willing and able to pick up the contract. Simply put, there will be more and more unequal trades for the purpose of cost-cutting. The currency is low-cost players or prospects, plus the ability of the more affluent time to pick up the increased payroll. While all of this is true today, the disparity in the exchange of value will become much greater.

The question from the Phils perspective is how to position themselves over the next few years to take advantage of the buyers' market. In addition to holding on to their best prospects, they need to plan which high-ticket players they trade or let walk over, say, the next three years. The names of Howard and Myers come to mind first. The problem is that they need to clear salary room, then patiently wait for give-away trades to occur. Of course there is risk, but the risk is mitigated by an economy that seems to be in for a rough ride. Moreover, this only works if the fans in Philly keep showing up.So, when teams like the A's or Marlins, etc. do another house cleaning, the objective is for the Phils to get in line ahead of the Cubs or Mets.

Pat will absolutely be cheered. I'll bet it will be an awesome moment, maybe even overwhelming emotionally for Pat.

Also, glad to hear that Griffey is headed for Seattle and not Atlanta. Even at his reduced capacity, he still could have helped the Braves. Plus its better for his legacy.

NEPP: Me and some buddies are looking at those Toronto games, too. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

MG: the only interview I want to see with Dong Lein is his exit interview after being fired.

Hitman - You are making a couple of questionable assumptions though including that the Philly MSA and areas area it won't be that affected, that the Phils have some more room on salary, that ticket sales will remain as strong next year if this team doesn't make the playoffs again, etc.

I would have loved to see Griffey at CBP for 9 games. By far and away my favorite player as a kid back in my baseball card collecting days. Opening a pack and seeing his card mixed in with a bunch of duplicate Chris Sabo's was just as good as Christmas.

I remember when I went to the game in 2004 when Griffey was sitting on #499 and they benched him so he could hit his 500th HR at home. To say the least, the crowd was a bit pissed. Especially since the benching occurred at the last minute. Ryan Freel played CF in his place and he got heckled mercilessly for the entire game...the Phans were brutal.

Has anyone seen any info on the actual prices at the 2 new parks up in NY? I wonder if they've scaled back any prices at all. Doubt it. But damn, no place has been hit as hard as NY economically. I would expect both teams to easily top 4 million in their first years in the new palaces, but one has to wonder.

100 level tickets (not behind homeplate) are $325 a game each...ouch. That's a brisk $26 K per seat for a full season.

Correction, it includes behind homeplate but not right up on the field...those are the more exclusive tickets that mere mortals cannot buy.

my friend got a subscription to Baseball Prospectus and was showing me some stuff. One thing I found cool is on each 'player card' they list what their comments on a player is from the beignning of the previous year. Phils cards are actually free to all.

In 2005 and 2006, it insists the Phillies should trade Howard, and then says "good fortune is sometimes a residue of incompetence" when he was called up and mashed the ball, and in 07 and 08 only speaks of how fast he'll decline.

Also, if you take the top 90% percentile of his projections, PECOTA only has him at 118 RBIs and oddly enough only predicts 148Ks in his bottom 10th percentile projections.

Nice playlist, Weitzel. That first Futureheads album and Frances the Mute are two of the best records of the decade, I'd say.

best thing is the 6-pack plan. i scored the ring ceremony game, games vs the sox, dogs, cubs, mutts & final day.

In taking a look at the 2 new ballparks being built in NY, it seems that once again the Yankees have trumped the Mets.

They can be viewed on the repective team's mlb.com site.

The Yankees, despite the cost of the premium seating, will have outfield bleachers seats priced at $12.

That is not a typo.

At least one team in NY believes a working class family should still be able to go to a ballgame every once ina while.

AWH: "every once in a while" is the operative phrase there. Even fairly wealthy families who've had season tickets for generations are getting priced out of them in the new Yankee stadium.

But yeah, cheap bleacher seats are a great idea, but I wager they'll all be sold for ten times the face value in the end, thanks to stubhub.

AWH: "At least one team in NY believes a working class family should still be able to go to a ballgame every once ina while."
They care so much that they are moving season ticket holders out of the seats that they have had for years to seats that are not as good and cost almost double what they were paying before. All so the good seats can be had by some corporation or ticket scalpers. The Mets also did the same thing. Also working class people can not afford baseball in NY because the concession prices are going up as well. When you have to pay $9 for a beer, this is not friendly to the working class.

The one thing about living up here and going to Mets or Yankee games is that it makes me appreciate the Zen so much more.

"The one thing about living up here and going to Mets or Yankee games is that it makes me appreciate the Zen so much more."

Amen, Reverend!

What a difference a couple years makes...The Indians just cut one-time Uber-prospect 3B Andy Marte.

So much for the next great 3B, eh?

NEPP, Marte got DFA'd.

Should the Phils ahve any interest if they think he can be turned around?

Sophist? clout? anybody?

Also, I get the point on beer prices and people getting moved out of seats.

I hadn't realized that, so I stand 'somewhat' corrected.


Makes me glad I'm a Phils fan!!!!

NEPP: Yes, and Andy LaRoche is on the edge of the "prospect" precipice, too. There was a time Braves and Dodgers fans would disparage anyone who even suggested trades for either guy. Baseball is a humbling game.

****NEPP, Marte got DFA'd****

You're right of course...I apologize for my misleading term usage.

He hits Lefties pretty well but he doesn't have much else going for him...and by pretty well, I mean at least he has an OBP over .300 against LHP.

I honestly think baseball is the hardest sport to make it in. Every other sport you pretty much can tell who's gonna be a star by the time they're graduating college.

NEPP: Tell that to the 50% of first round NFL draft picks that go bust!!

But, on the whole, I agree that it's tougher to make it into the majors in baseball and be successful.

CJ and NEPP, do either of you know what the percentage is of 1st rounders (both MLB and NFL) who actually 'live up to their billing'.

By that definition I mean that they play well enough to be selected as an All Star of Pro Bowler at least once in their career.

I use that as my definition of 'living up...', because IMO if someone is a first round pick, the expectations ought to be pretty high.

If Marte is out of options doesn't he have to accept the assignment, and if so, doesn't he have to pass through waivers where the other 29 teams can grab in in order of last season's finish - bottom to top?

If he rejects the assignment doesn't he bocome a free agent?

Hitman -- about "The problem is that they need to clear salary room." I figure that $30mil or so can or will come off the books at the end of 2009, much of it marginal or useless: Jenkins, Eaton, Thome, Feliz, Myers. Should have them in good shape going forward.

The reason Marte was so hyped is that he hit .281/.336/.492 in the Sally League at age 18. That's pretty impressive.

In double A his OB and SLG improved but his AVG went down and in Triple A, he sort of stagnated. Still, he was always young for his level.

His career minor league BA was .271. That's pretty good assuming he was as young for his leagues as his age says. But if he were 2 years older at each level? Then that makes him a fringe prospect who could be expected to struggle in the big leagues.

AWH: Yes, yes and yes.

Valo- With incentives and backloaded contracts, the Phils may not realize even half of the dollars coming off the books in the next two years. It's hard to say with certainty how it will play out because of trades which might be made. My general point is that the recession will create buying opportunities in which higher paid players will become available as salary dumps. The Phils need to be in on some of these opportunities.

Re: Phillies payroll going down next year.
It won't go down as much as people think. Eaton, Jenkins, Feliz, Park and Eyre come off the books at about 25mm(-2m in buyouts). You can't count Myers because you would probably either extend him or spend just as much on a comparable pitcher to replace him.
A bunch of the Phillies signed players get huge raises next year. Howard, Ibanez, Hamels and Werth alone get 15mm in raises. Victorino, Blanton and Ruiz will get arb raises. Rollins and Utleys salaries escalate each year.
The whole 22mm coming off is going right back to guys already on the team. The only way the Phillies payroll goes down next year is if Carrasco, Marson, Donald and Bastardo replace Myers, Ruiz, Feliz and Eyre and the team signs NO free agents.

Not sure if anybody mentioned this - ESPN.com's said Giles took ground balls exclusively at third today.

Regarding ticket prices: the demand for tickets dictates the price more than anything else. Suppose the Yankees were to offer $1 seats in the bleachers. If there is enough demand for those tickets that people are willing to pay $100 for the ticket, the original buyer of the ticket is still "paying" $100 for it ($1 in actual cost, $99 in foregone opportunity cost that he incurs by not reselling his ticket for $100).

Chris: Not if one's iterated rational calculus doesn't care about the $99 "loss" and actually likes going to the game.

****CJ and NEPP, do either of you know what the percentage is of 1st rounders (both MLB and NFL) who actually 'live up to their billing'.****

I have no idea...my off the cuff guess would be 3-5%???

You mean 1st rounders who become AS/Probowlers, right...even that guess is probably high.

I'll stand by my prediction that the Phillies aqttendance in 2009 beats 2008.

From mlb.com:

"Overall, more than 450,000 individual tickets have been sold to date. This total includes pre-sales, Phillies Six Packs and group sales. The Phillies have also sold over 24,000 season tickets and are currently at 2.4 million tickets sold for the 2009 season."


Not too shabby for February 19th.

There is little doubt that the Phillies will outdraw what they did last year. I mean they would totally have to fall flat on their faces and be out of it around the All Star break for them not to. If they get off to a hot start in April I think we are looking at a 95% sellout rate this year. I see they have cut back on the giveaways and dollar dog nights too.

I went yesterday and picked up tickets for July 3rd and 4th vs. the Mets. 400 level was the best they had. When I got my six pack the 2nd day they went on sale all I could get was 400 level, as well. I don't mind the 400 level, especially if you get in the first couple of rows. It is a really nice overview of the field and you can always move down to the box seats later in the game. I do prefer some 300 level games though and no shot of that this year. Last year it was pretty easy to get 300 level against everyone.

The days of walking up to the ballpark at 6:55 and getting some seats are probably over. It looks like it'll take a little planning this year. The Phillies are definitely going to survive this recession.

Owners are still going to make their money. Look at the Phillies, 2.5 million tickets sold already and we haven't even had a spring training game yet. They used the recession as an excuse to not hand out big deals...and it was needed. It was only about 2 years ago when scrubs like Gil Meche and Carl Pavano were strong arming teams for 5 year / $50 million dollar deals.. I am glad the owners win for once.

Check out this Phillies fan forum http://phillykeith.com/phillies

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