Posted on: May 8, 2009 3:58 pm

Finally, a scape goat!

The Diamondbacks season continues to wallow in chaos as manager Bob Melvin was been fired late Thursday after the team returned home form losing an extra innings game against the Padres.  Thursday’s game was like so many other Diamondback games this season, featuring solid pitching, non existent offense, and a very mediocre opposing pitcher asserting dominance against hapless Diamondback hitters.  Chris Young’s 86 mph fast ball proved too much and unfortunately Dan Haren gave up three whole runs, far too many for this team to overcome.


Bob Melvin was truly a victim of circumstance.  He was given a team with no proven hitters and no front relievers and expected to compete with a team that has a payroll $26.5 million dollars higher.  Never mind that the team’s Cy Young pitcher has been on the DL since his first start, or that one of the more consistent offensive players, Stephen Drew, has also been out for over half the season.


The trigger on Melvin was pulled too quickly, but team president Derrick Hall and GM Josh Byrnes had to make a move because this team was sliding fast.  The only other option would be for them to admit that the players they have staked themselves to just don’t cut it, and that the “potential” they have talked about for the past three years isn’t there.  Chris Young, Chris Snyder, Eric Byrnes, and Conor Jackson may not be enough to beat the Dodgers.  They may not even be enough to beat the Padres or Rockies. 


There are plenty of black marks on the front office’s record already over the past three years.  Take for example Eric Byrnes, the highest paid player on the team by about three million dollars.  Eric “pop fly” Byrnes needs some help hitting the ball.  Perhaps he should seek hitting advice from Dan Haren, Doug Davis, and Max Scherzer, because they all have better batting averages than him.  If GM Josh Byrnes had actually said out loud, 60% of my starting rotation has a better batting average than my highest paid player maybe Bob Melvin would still have a job.


The criticism on Melvin was that he was too soft, too much of a players coach.  The team needed someone like third base coach Chip Hale, or Dodger’s third base coach Larry Bowa to come in as a hard nosed enforcer and motivate these players.  The new manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks will now be A.J. Hinch.  Who?  Oh, you mean the vice president of player development with a professional coaching record of 0-0.  Get ready, get set Dbacks fans, it’s going to be a long, hot summer. 

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 13, 2009 5:41 pm

Small Market or Large Market

Yesterday Robert Sarver, owner of the Suns, was being interviewed on the radio.  He stated at one point that Phoenix was a small market, at which point I yelled at the radio.  This lead me to question if Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the US is a small market, what constitutes a large market.  Population of the city, attendance, what? 


Below I have compiled information on the 8 largest cities in the US, and also included Boston and San Francisco.  This includes the population of the city, and the % of overall (home and road) attendance the team draws.  So 100% would mean the team is selling out their home games, and all their road games average to sell outs as well.  95 would mean that for the total seats for all the games the team plays, 95% are sold. I used this to see how the team is followed on the road.  I realize this is not a perfect examination of a team’s national following, because teams such as the Red Sox, sell out every home game no matter who the opposing team is.  Although it’s not perfect, I felt it was a decent interpretation with out examining apparel sales, TV ratings, etc.


So, who are the largest markets?


By population it is New York, LA, and Chicago.


For basketball, it is LA, Boston, and Phoenix.  So the small market that Robert Sarver cited is somewhat of a misnomer.  Out of the eight largest cities, as well as Boston and San Francisco, Phoenix ranks 3<sup>rd</sup>. 


For baseball its, Boston, Chicago (Cubs), and New York (Yankees).  No real surprise there.  Unfortunately the Diamondbacks are next to last.  The Diamondbacks do, however, get very good TV ratings statewide.


For football, guess what, there is a reason that this years Super Bowl was the highest rated ever.  The Eagles, CARDINALS, and Giants, are the largest. 


For hockey, Chicago, New York (Rangers), and the Sharks have the largest markets.  This does not include Canadian markets, and Detroit was not included.  Coyotes, like the Diamondbacks, are second to last. 


Again, just the eight largest cities by population were included, and then I wanted to look at the other two markets.  So next time someone tries to tell you that Phoenix is a small market for football or basketball, you can call them a liar right to their face.


New York 8.2 million, Knicks 93.6,  Yankees 86.2, Giants 100.6, Rangers 102.2

LA 3.8 million, Lakers 99.8, Dodgers 80.3, NA, Kings 89.8

Chicago 2.8 million, Bulls 94.6, Cubs 90, Bears 96.3, Blackhawks 104.5

Houston 2.2 million, Rockets 93.2, Astros 78.3, Texans 99.8, NA

Phoenix 1.5 million, Suns 96.2, Diamondbacks 68.9, Cardinals101.4, Coyotes 90

Philadelphia 1.4 million, 76ers 79.7, Phillies 84.6, Eagles 102.3, Flyers 96.1

San Antonio 1.3 million Spurs 92.2, NA, NA, NA

San Diego 1.2 million, NA, Padres 73.7, Chargers 94.5, NA

Dallas 1.2 million, Mavericks 95.3, Rangers 57.6, Cowboys 99.9, Stars 92.8

San Francisco 764k, Warriors 91.6, Giants 77, 49ers 94.3, Sharks 96.5

Boston 599k, Celtics 99.1, Red Sox 92.9, Patriots 99.1, Bruins 93.9





Category: NBA
Posted on: February 11, 2009 5:10 pm

The Cost of Success

Adam Dunn has found a new team, the Washington Nationals.  Congratulations to Dunn on his new 2 year $20,000,000 contract.  He’ll be joining a team that won 59 games last year, a mere 22 games under .500.  The Washington Nationals most likely will not do any better this year, having a starting rotation consisting of Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera, and John Lannan as their top three pitchers.  Not to mention that they are in a division with the Mets, Phillies, and Braves. 


After spending his entire career with the Reds and never playing in a post season game, Dunn had said he was excited to be playing in a game that mattered in September after he was traded to the Diamondbacks last season.  Unfortunately the Diamondbacks did not make the playoffs and his post season absence streak continued.  Due to limited payroll space the Diamondbacks declined to offer him arbitration and he hit the free agent market.


Dunn made $13 million last season, and due to economic conditions he will be taking a $3 million dollar pay cut this season playing with the Nationals. There may have not been much interest in Dunn as all teams are limiting their spending right now, but it begs the question, when is the money not worth the losing, as I’m sure that he could have signed for less money on a better team.


Dunn has made $36.6 million since 2002.  Even if he put that money in a checking account with no interest that would allow him to spend $611,000 every year for the next 60 years.  With that in the bank, how much of a pay cut would he be willing to take to play on a winning team? How much is success worth?  I understand that $5 million is a great deal of money, but after you are set for life wouldn’t you rather play for $5 million on a team that will be a contender than for $10 million on a team that has absolutely no chance?


I’m not sad the Diamondbacks didn’t sign him; he wasn’t the best fit on a team with a third of the line up in the top ten in the league in strikeouts.  It seemed to me that after saying what he said last season he may have decided to sign with a contender for less.  I guess that success isn’t worth that much after all.

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 4, 2009 5:30 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks Experience

Arizona Diamondbacks


Fans at the Diamondbacks games are usually pretty well mannered.  Certain teams, i.e. Dodgers, bring out fans that really behave poorly.  There are a few intoxicated people, and you may sit next to someone swearing, but in my experience that is rare.  It is a great place to take a family.  The fans generally respond to exciting situations, but many times there will be two strikes and two outs on an opposing batter and the crowd will be silent. 


The Diamondbacks also have very good prices.  Upper level seats can be had for under $20; most lower level seats are under $40. 


The Diamondbacks have the best food and the greatest variety of food of any team.  Burritos, subs, burgers, foot long chili dogs, pizza can all be found at Chase Field.  This is really the only stadium that I feel the food is decent.  There is also the greatest variety of beer.  There are specialty beer stands everywhere, selling 24 oz. bombers of Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Corona, etc.  The large bombers go for $10, a regular domestic draft is $7.50.


The traffic is also ok at Chase Field.  The real benefit is that there are a large number of smaller lots scattered around the field so it spaces out the cars.  Depending on where you park you can get out very easily.  If you park in the Washington St. garage you have to wait a little longer to exit, but it flows pretty steadily.  Parking within a half mile of the stadium goes between $10-20, with the majority of lots being the former. 

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 4, 2009 5:27 pm

Best Value in Phoenix Sports

The Phoenix area has all four major sports teams, all vying for the fans money.  Where is the best value, which venue provides the best experience for the money?  I’ll take a look at the ticket prices, fan atmosphere, parking, and stadium amenities to determine where you are most likely to have a good time.  This does not take into account the actual sport being played, just the atmosphere at the game.

I'll post this in four parts, one for each team. 

Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com