Plummeting Ticket Prices

Bongorific

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All anecdotal, but...

I live in Nashua. 30 years ago we had 5 different Bambino (now Cal Ripken) leagues and a Little League in the city. Each part of town had its own league, with multiple levels and teams. Now the city has one league. There are 5 teams total in the 11-12 age group. Babe Ruth has shrunk from 20 teams to 4, and that's only because we opened up to some surrounding towns that couldn't put a single team together.

My son is a Freshman at a high school with 1700 kids. They couldn't field a Freshman team this year because only 7(!) Freshmen tried out. The program had no cuts and his JV team has 3 players on the team that have never played before at all.

As a coach, I never hear the kids talking about the Red Sox. Not ever. My son doesn't watch the games. I asked him how many current players he could name and he could only come up with Devers.

Now, he still likes going to Fenway for the experience, but him and his friends don't give a single shit about the Red Sox. That's from a sample of baseball players, I can't imagine it gets better with non-players.
This made me look up my hometown leagues (Framingham). When I played, Little League (T-Ball, Peanuts, AA, AAA, Majors), by the time we were in Majors (10-12 year olds?) we had an American and National League. 16 teams total. In Babe Ruth, at 13-14 year olds (I think) 12-ish teams.
Just looked it up, AAA has 6 teams and Babe Ruth has 4.
That’s unfortunate to hear. Our local baseball and softball leagues are booming. No idea why because I agree; I see far fewer baseball hats/jerseys on kids than basketball and football. Might just be a lot of local variation though. Our facilities are newish and quite large so they’ve been attracting a lot of regional and east coast tournaments. Parents keep signing their kids up because it’s a nice place to go and see people from town.
 

Yo La Tengo

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All anecdotal, but...

I live in Nashua. 30 years ago we had 5 different Bambino (now Cal Ripken) leagues and a Little League in the city. Each part of town had its own league, with multiple levels and teams. Now the city has one league. There are 5 teams total in the 11-12 age group. Babe Ruth has shrunk from 20 teams to 4, and that's only because we opened up to some surrounding towns that couldn't put a single team together.

My son is a Freshman at a high school with 1700 kids. They couldn't field a Freshman team this year because only 7(!) Freshmen tried out. The program had no cuts and his JV team has 3 players on the team that have never played before at all.
I think a key factor is the skill/interest loss caused by missing seasons/practice due to COVID. It is really hard to be 11 years old and miss a year of baseball and then come back to play competitively. A significant number of eligible kids did not come back to our little league. That group is now entering high school and I've seen other local high school teams (in Maine) not being able to field a freshman team. The other factor for younger kids is travel baseball, which sucks, generally, and is damaging as it pulls kids from local leagues. Similarly, the American Legion teams were a huge deal in the 80s and 90s but have been almost completely replaced by pay-to-play options, with the only active legion teams in the more rural areas of the state.
 

dynomite

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So basically what you seem to keep pointing out is that as long as the total amount of tickets being sold and/or redistributed looks good on paper then the actual sport of baseball itself is doing fine.

So no apparent concerns for the long term sustainability of that product model when the underlying investment interest at the fan level in the said product, as more then a social gathering vehicle, seems to be on the steady decline?
No, what I’m trying to (apparently unsuccessfully) point out is that “baseball is dying” takes are as old as baseball itself.

So why are these “kids these days” takes (or one I’ve never heard before, that it is now a “social gathering vehicle”?) different than any of the identical takes over the past 100 years?

You seem to be dismissing ticket sales as a measure of the health of the sport.

Do you feel similarly about the fact that MLB (according to the stats I can find) was the 2nd most profitable sports league in the world (including the Premier League, La Liga, etc) in 2023, both in overall and per team revenue? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sports_leagues_by_revenue

As for “but the kids,” how about this, showing that even after the pandemic baseball showed the effectively no decline from 2018 to 2022 in participation among boys in high school?

Beyond golf, baseball experienced the best showing among top 10 boys sports from the 2018-19 survey with a decrease of only 1,736 – 482,740 to 481,004 – and remained fourth in popularity behind football, outdoor track and field, and basketball.
https://www.nfhs.org/articles/nfhs-releases-first-high-school-sports-participation-survey-in-three-years/

I’m not saying baseball is perfect. But I’m also not willing to just agree that “baseball is dying.”
 

Ale Xander

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Do you feel similarly about the fact that MLB (according to the stats I can find) was the 2nd most profitable sports league in the world (including the Premier League, La Liga, etc) in 2023, both in overall and per team revenue? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_professional_sports_leagues_by_revenue



I’m not saying baseball is perfect. But I’m also not willing to just agree that “baseball is dying.”
MLB is profitable because teams have too much (too long) control of young players with low salaries and because there are so many games, not because it's really that healthy.
 

8slim

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I’m not saying baseball is perfect. But I’m also not willing to just agree that “baseball is dying.”
It's not dying. The fan base of MLB has long skewed older than other major pro sports. It's the nature of the game. Yes, baseball was more nationally popular in the 70s and 80s when a lot of folks here were kids. But so was tennis, boxing, college basketball, etc. We've gone over the reasons ad nauseum.

I also think there's a bias to our perspective on the topic. Most of us here were gaga for baseball when we were teens. And it seems that many of us have seen that interest wane. I'm surprised at the number of people who post on a Red Sox message board who say that they don't watch Red Sox games on TV.

Most of us talk about how we fell in love with Fenway when we went as kids. And yet there's a ton of people here saying that they haven't fostered that same love in their own kids.

I suspect there's a Reddit forum somewhere with a bunch of 20-and30-somethings talking Sox, like this place was like 25 years ago.
 

RS2004foreever

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This made me look up my hometown leagues (Framingham). When I played, Little League (T-Ball, Peanuts, AA, AAA, Majors), by the time we were in Majors (10-12 year olds?) we had an American and National League. 16 teams total. In Babe Ruth, at 13-14 year olds (I think) 12-ish teams.
Just looked it up, AAA has 6 teams and Babe Ruth has 4.
I was involved in Florida youth baseball for 15 years. The bifurcation of baseball accelerated even in my time. Overall fewer kids, but the drop out numbers were sad. Kids would start in the 7-8 year old leagues and less than half would go on to little league. My town had ONE babe ruth team at the end - it began with an 8 team league. The irony is the number of SERIOUS baseball players was pretty stable - and by serious I mean those on AAU teams who had paid coaches and who traveled the state.

Most baseball fans had some success in little league. They can remember getting a hit or catching a ball. But most kids experience now does not last long - and is limited to playing the outfield and striking out. As a result they quit because THEY ARE BORED.

On the radio yesterday a guy was talking about not renewing his Patriots tickets. One reason - he couldn't get the price he paid on the secondary market. The times I have owned season tickets (I still own partial Lightning/Bucs tickets) one of the big attractions is the playoffs. I sold my half my playoff tickets to the Lightning and they paid for a major portion of the package when they made deep playoff runs. When the team isn't good enough to make the playoffs you lose that attraction, and per game prices are so over priced you can't make it up on the secondary market.

That's where the Red Sox are. Season tickets are overpriced - and the guarantee of World Series tickets looks pretty worthless. The tickets from the Red Sox are overpriced. This happened to the Bucs - they got Brady - and suddenly they were all sell-outs. Brady left and the Bucs shot through their STH waiting list and now you can buy any game from them you want.
 

nvalvo

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I just came back from San Francisco, and went out to Oakland. It was a half an hour from Union Sq in San Francisco, and was an awesome experience. They are insane to be leaving (though the city of Oakland is also insane to not let the owners develop the land in lieu of getting public funding to build the stadium).
I keep saying this on this site — that Oakland is an incredible place to see a ballgame — and people keep fighting me about it. Could the park itself be nicer? Sure. But building a ballpark and a multiuse arena at a multimodal transit hub that you were building to serve your airport is just a good idea.
 

Max Power

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It's not dying. The fan base of MLB has long skewed older than other major pro sports. It's the nature of the game. Yes, baseball was more nationally popular in the 70s and 80s when a lot of folks here were kids. But so was tennis, boxing, college basketball, etc. We've gone over the reasons ad nauseum.

I also think there's a bias to our perspective on the topic. Most of us here were gaga for baseball when we were teens. And it seems that many of us have seen that interest wane. I'm surprised at the number of people who post on a Red Sox message board who say that they don't watch Red Sox games on TV.

Most of us talk about how we fell in love with Fenway when we went as kids. And yet there's a ton of people here saying that they haven't fostered that same love in their own kids.

I suspect there's a Reddit forum somewhere with a bunch of 20-and30-somethings talking Sox, like this place was like 25 years ago.
I'm with you. I love baseball and I spend money to watch it on TV. My kids are small, but they still play Little League and are in the room when the games are on. It's bizarre to me that someone says they don't watch the games because they're not willing to pay for it and then blame the kids for not being interested.

It's not the 80s anymore. There are no newspapers laying around that kids can check out the sports section from, baseball cards are expensive big business and not for little kids, Sports Illustrated is gone. Everything comes through a screen and kids shouldn't be allowed to run free on that. As a result, the adults need to make an active effort to expose children to the game.
 

8slim

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I'm with you. I love baseball and I spend money to watch it on TV. My kids are small, but they still play Little League and are in the room when the games are on. It's bizarre to me that someone says they don't watch the games because they're not willing to pay for it and then blame the kids for not being interested.

It's not the 80s anymore. There are no newspapers laying around that kids can check out the sports section from, baseball cards are expensive big business and not for little kids, Sports Illustrated is gone. Everything comes through a screen and kids shouldn't be allowed to run free on that. As a result, the adults need to make an active effort to expose children to the game.
Great points. And these are all macro issues that don't have much of anything to do with the core topic of this thread.

Fenway isn't 1/3 empty right now because of expensive cable TV packages or Fortnite. It's because the Sox aren't very good, lack star players, and have a front office perceived to be indifferent to investing in the team's on-field success.

It's not magic, it's pretty much how ticket demand works for every sports team.
 

tims4wins

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Great points. And these are all macro issues that don't have much of anything to do with the core topic of this thread.

Fenway isn't 1/3 empty right now because of expensive cable TV packages or Fortnite. It's because the Sox aren't very good, lack star players, and have a front office perceived to be indifferent to investing in the team's on-field success.

It's not magic, it's pretty much how ticket demand works for every sports team.
Just to add to this - it's everything you said AND the fact that it's been a multi-year trend.

As we saw in 2021, Fenway will still bang out full capacity crowds and fantastic atmospheres if they're a playoff team.
 

Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
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I imagine as the season continues and the sox fall further behind the tickets will only continue to drop in price.

The days of this being a hot ticket are long gone right now, maybe they get it back but I'm not so sure that happens again with this ownership. They seem completely disinterested with the team these days..
 

HfxBob

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Nov 13, 2005
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I imagine as the season continues and the sox fall further behind the tickets will only continue to drop in price.

The days of this being a hot ticket are long gone right now, maybe they get it back but I'm not so sure that happens again with this ownership. They seem completely disinterested with the team these days..
I don't see how they can be disinterested in an asset that's worth $5 billion or more. I think it's more that they've committed themselves to doing things a certain way-rebuilding the farm and controlling payroll-but this entails a lot of risk of turning off the fans.

They seem conflicted about it. Werner didn't make that full throttle comment for no reason. Maybe he really did want to spend like the old days. But Henry is the one who has the final say.
 

Archer1979

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That aside, how in the hell didnt the Whalers have a TV deal? They couldn’t get games on a local UHF station?! Man, that’s negligent management right there.
WMass/Northern Ct was/is a tough market to get into as the sports allegiances tend to overlap between Boston-based and NY-based teams. My dad and older brother never became Patriots fans because they both grew up as Giants' fans.

My memory is woozy on the details here, so I had to look a lot of this up. The Whalers did have a TV deal outside of SportsChannel, but cable TV hitting WMass somewhat upended it. WVIT was the local NBC affiliate for the Hartford area, but WWLP was the local NBC affiliate for WMass so there was only one allowed and it went to WWLP. I'm not even sure if WHCT (Channel 18) made it onto our cable package. What I do remember of the pre-cable WHCT was that it was hit or miss in getting reception. In other words, the TV market was just the Greater Hartford area.

When cable first hit, I know that there was a backlash with having to pay for TV to begin with and a lot of the families I knew back then paid for one or two premium channels at most. It was a BIG thing for me to talk my dad into subscribing to NESN so I could watch the Sox. Had to convince him by telling him that his beloved Bruins were on NESN as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Hartford_Whalers_broadcasters
 
Mar 30, 2023
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I don't see how they can be disinterested in an asset that's worth $5 billion or more. I think it's more that they've committed themselves to doing things a certain way-rebuilding the farm and controlling payroll-but this entails a lot of risk of turning off the fans.

They seem conflicted about it. Werner didn't make that full throttle comment for no reason. Maybe he really did want to spend like the old days. But Henry is the one who has the final say.
Henry doesn't actually have the final say anymore, though, and I think this is an important point most Red Sox fans and the media miss. When FSG brought RedBird Capital in as an investor, Henry's share of FSG dropped below 50%. He's still the largest shareholder, and together with Werner they can control the direction of the group if they're aligned, but he's no longer solely in charge of the Red Sox, and it's quite possible that RedBird invested with certain expectations of financial returns that FSG now has to meet.

It's quite possible that the answer to "what's been going on with the Red Sox"? over the last several years is simple and staring us in the face: RedBird Capital.
 

zenax

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Following baseball when I was a kid, a long time ago, generally meant reading the play-by-play account in the next day's paper because the majority of games were day games. In 1952, about 75% were day games: that slowly dropped down to about 60% by 1960. That meant that day games in April through May and half of June and most of September were likely to be over by the time I got home. Also, most of the games I was able to follow live were only on radio. But it was THE sport: there wasn't the overlap with other professional sports that we see today. We're currently about three weeks into May and haven't gotten to the finals yet in the NHL or NBA while the first game of the MLB season was on March 20th and the NFL is getting a lot of coverage.

My baseball glove was like today's cellphone: it went wherever I did; if I saw kids playing catch or having a pick-up game, I could join in.
 

TomRicardo

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I keep saying this on this site — that Oakland is an incredible place to see a ballgame — and people keep fighting me about it. Could the park itself be nicer? Sure. But building a ballpark and a multiuse arena at a multimodal transit hub that you were building to serve your airport is just a good idea.
I am probably going to start a thread about it because it is insane. I wanted to put some space to make sure it wasn't emotional in the moment but it is insane they are leaving that spot for the Trop.

Who has gone and fought that it sucks?
 

The Gray Eagle

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WMass/Northern Ct was/is a tough market to get into as the sports allegiances tend to overlap between Boston-based and NY-based teams. My dad and older brother never became Patriots fans because they both grew up as Giants' fans.
Yes, the Munson-Nixon Line lies somewhere in Connecticut.

The "Ticket plus Your First Drink for 29 bucks" promo is back for the May 30 game against the Tigers.
https://www.mlb.com/redsox/tickets/specials/tickets-and-a-drink

This one isn't an afternoon game, it's 7:10PM start on a Thursday. Surprising that this one is getting that deal.
 

Ale Xander

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Strike4

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All anecdotal, but...

I live in Nashua. 30 years ago we had 5 different Bambino (now Cal Ripken) leagues and a Little League in the city. Each part of town had its own league, with multiple levels and teams. Now the city has one league. There are 5 teams total in the 11-12 age group. Babe Ruth has shrunk from 20 teams to 4, and that's only because we opened up to some surrounding towns that couldn't put a single team together.

My son is a Freshman at a high school with 1700 kids. They couldn't field a Freshman team this year because only 7(!) Freshmen tried out. The program had no cuts and his JV team has 3 players on the team that have never played before at all.

As a coach, I never hear the kids talking about the Red Sox. Not ever. My son doesn't watch the games. I asked him how many current players he could name and he could only come up with Devers.

Now, he still likes going to Fenway for the experience, but him and his friends don't give a single shit about the Red Sox. That's from a sample of baseball players, I can't imagine it gets better with non-players.
I read this article, which gets into the issues that are separate from the fanbase stuff, awhile back and thought of it when reading your post:
How America Sold Out Little League Baseball
 

Light-Tower-Power

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All anecdotal, but...

I live in Nashua. 30 years ago we had 5 different Bambino (now Cal Ripken) leagues and a Little League in the city. Each part of town had its own league, with multiple levels and teams. Now the city has one league. There are 5 teams total in the 11-12 age group. Babe Ruth has shrunk from 20 teams to 4, and that's only because we opened up to some surrounding towns that couldn't put a single team together.

My son is a Freshman at a high school with 1700 kids. They couldn't field a Freshman team this year because only 7(!) Freshmen tried out. The program had no cuts and his JV team has 3 players on the team that have never played before at all.

As a coach, I never hear the kids talking about the Red Sox. Not ever. My son doesn't watch the games. I asked him how many current players he could name and he could only come up with Devers.

Now, he still likes going to Fenway for the experience, but him and his friends don't give a single shit about the Red Sox. That's from a sample of baseball players, I can't imagine it gets better with non-players.
I grew up playing Nashua South Cal Ripken in the late 90s and early 2000s when it was booming, and umpired throughout high school, and it's unfortunate that interest in youth baseball has shrunk to the point where there is only one league in the entire city. I remember there being a lot of interest and discussion about the Red Sox when I was playing, but that was during peak Red Sox fever and when the team had a bunch of highly marketable stars in Pedro, Nomar, Manny, Ortiz, etc. Today's team is just not that interesting and other than Devers has no fun to watch marketable stars, if you'd even consider him fun to watch, so it doesn't surprise me that the kids don't give a shit. Watching the Sox is a snooze-fest.
 

AlNipper49

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I think a key factor is the skill/interest loss caused by missing seasons/practice due to COVID. It is really hard to be 11 years old and miss a year of baseball and then come back to play competitively. A significant number of eligible kids did not come back to our little league. That group is now entering high school and I've seen other local high school teams (in Maine) not being able to field a freshman team. The other factor for younger kids is travel baseball, which sucks, generally, and is damaging as it pulls kids from local leagues. Similarly, the American Legion teams were a huge deal in the 80s and 90s but have been almost completely replaced by pay-to-play options, with the only active legion teams in the more rural areas of the state.
We are up almost 40% on pro-COVID numbers. It's been fairly remarkable.
 

scottyno

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MLB is profitable because teams have too much (too long) control of young players with low salaries and because there are so many games, not because it's really that healthy.
If you have a multi billion dollar annual tv deal you're pretty damn healthy
 

Yo La Tengo

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I read this article, which gets into the issues that are separate from the fanbase stuff, awhile back and thought of it when reading your post:
How America Sold Out Little League Baseball
Bernie Madoff wished he had come up with something so easily profitable as travel baseball.

As an aside to this aside, the absolute, monotonous sameness of youth travel baseball is remarkable: same swings, same eye black in a cross or v, same foolish sunglasses, same backpacks with two bats sticking up topped with cleats, same weird vocal burn cheering from the dugout. During a recent drive to DC, we saw what looked and sounded like the exact same team in travel stops over and over and over. The desperate, conspicuous consumption that comes from hoping the next $500 bat will be the tipping point that leads to the holy grail of a college scholarship.
"$5,000 worth of bats in that dugout but couldn't muster up 5 hits" is a favorite refrain.
 
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Yo La Tengo

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We are up almost 40% on pro-COVID numbers. It's been fairly remarkable.
I don't know the exact numbers, but we are beyond pre-covid numbers as well. I think high schools are still feeling that impact as those impacted kids filter up and through.
 
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astrozombie

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As a lapsed Sox fan, I have a whole bunch of reasons why I have fallen off with the Sox. But the two that stand out in my mind are the lack of NESN (I have YoutubeTV) and the fact that the team is mediocre. Since the team is mediocre I am not going to shell out extra for NESN and since I don't watch NESN, I have no connection to this team. It's a vicious cycle. Most years when I had NESN, even if the team wasn't doing great, I would catch a few innings a few times a week and sometimes even stick around for the whole game.
 

RS2004foreever

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I lived in New Canaan during the late oughts - and it always kind of blew me away how many Red Sox fans there were. It was like Yankees 60% Red Sox Fans 25% Mets Fans 15%.
 

8slim

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I lived in New Canaan during the late oughts - and it always kind of blew me away how many Red Sox fans there were. It was like Yankees 60% Red Sox Fans 25% Mets Fans 15%.
Living in Fairfield County now I think there’s a decent chunk of the population who grew up in other, Red Sox-hospitable, parts of CT that moved here. Along with folks who grew up in the rest of New England. Its definitely Yankees/Giants/Rangers country but the Sox/Pats/Bruins fans are numerous.

Related, you can’t get NESN in Fairfield County. Gotta pony up for MLB.tv.
 

Mike473

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I think attendance at a lot of activities picked up a lot after the lock downs ended. Concerts, vacations, sports and so on. Time will tell if that trend holds as we getter further and further away from being stuck at home for such a long period of time.

A couple thoughts on some other factors. How about the work from home trend? People are not working in the city everyday, or maybe not at all anymore. Commercial real estate is suffering from this trend, and I suspect it will impact just about all business in these big metro areas.

How about inflation overall? In the early 1990s, my group of friends drove out to Boston from Western, MA regularly to see games and got decent seats most of the time. We were at Umass in those days working 20 hours a week and had little issue affording to go to the games. Today,
 

nvalvo

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I am probably going to start a thread about it because it is insane. I wanted to put some space to make sure it wasn't emotional in the moment but it is insane they are leaving that spot for the Trop.

Who has gone and fought that it sucks?
Plenty of people, probably mostly in Game Threads of games in Oakland. Who knows how many people were just basing it on reputation and it not being the world's most telegenic park.

The craziest part is that Fischer asked the City and County for $850m in infrastructure and tax incentives as part of a $12b waterfront redevelopment with the ballpark as its centerpiece, and they responded with $750m — and he walked away! A $100m difference on a $12b project! He could have been the king of New West Oakland — imagine the views! — but he decided to be minor player in Las Vegas nightlife. I don't get this guy.
 

cymru sox

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I hope you don't mind an outsiders view on this as I didn't grow up with the game. I purchased two tickets for games at the end of April from a resale site at what now looks like an exaggerated price. Didn't mind as I wanted to guarantee that I went to the games as this was the primary reason to visit the city.
Both games had tickets left, a lot in the case of the Giants game. The atmosphere against the Cubs from the grandstand was far better than we witnessed against the Giants in the bleachers. I thought this would be the opposite.
My wife and I had a great time but found a lot in the bleachers who seemed younger were more interested in chatting than observing the game.
Probably due to the nature of the game with the breaks between innings this neuters the atmosphere somewhat so I can understand how a youngster would prefer the spectacle of a NHL or NBA game.
I loved Fenway Park and can't wait to go back as its quirky like a lot of the old soccer grounds in the UK before the Premier league took over and soulless money pits were built in their place. Did look for tickets at tropicana field in September when I hope to be in Florida and there were a lot available and at a far cheaper price than what I paid for Fenway
 

Tokyo Sox

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I keep saying this on this site — that Oakland is an incredible place to see a ballgame — and people keep fighting me about it. Could the park itself be nicer? Sure. But building a ballpark and a multiuse arena at a multimodal transit hub that you were building to serve your airport is just a good idea.
I am probably going to start a thread about it because it is insane. I wanted to put some space to make sure it wasn't emotional in the moment but it is insane they are leaving that spot for the Trop.

Who has gone and fought that it sucks?
I haven't fought and don't wish to fight @nvalvo but the Oakland Coliseum is one of the biggest shitholes I've ever seen a game at. What a dump. It was about 20 years ago, but I can't imagine it's gotten nicer since.
 

8slim

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Saw this in Front Office Sports this morning:

2.1%
MLB’s overall attendance lift for the 2024 season after a May 17–19 weekend that averaged 34,465 per game and was the league’s best before the end of May since ’14 (excluding season openers). MLB last week also had its best pre-June Tuesday and Wednesday attendance totals since ’16 as fans continue to embrace elements introduced last year such as the pitch clock. After prior gains at the gate this season were largely the work of a small handful of clubs, 18 of 30 teams are now showing attendance growth.

As Beetlejuice once said "Dead, dead, deadski."
 

SumnerH

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Has Legion baseball fallen that far ?
I wouldn't take anything related to that as necessarily indicative of baseball: The American Legion is crashing in general, membership is less than 60% what it was in the 1990s, and over the past decade or so it's dropped precipitously.

The American Legion had two real heydays, according to membership director Matthew Herndon. Membership hit an all-time high of more than 3.3 million veterans in 1946 when World War II ended, and reached a similar level in the ‘90s, Herndon said.​
"Now you're you're looking at an organization of almost 2 million members," he said.​
The American Legion has lost more than 700,000 members over the last decade. The VFW has seen a similar decline. Between 2017 and 2021, membership dropped from 1.2 million to just over 1 million, according to VFW data.​

legion.png
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
22,122
Rogers Park
I haven't fought and don't wish to fight @nvalvo but the Oakland Coliseum is one of the biggest shitholes I've ever seen a game at. What a dump. It was about 20 years ago, but I can't imagine it's gotten nicer since.
A shithole perhaps, but an extremely affordable shithole in a US city with like a top-three combination of climate, cuisine, and culture.

There's excellent transit access, a great fanbase, and a perennially interesting ballclub drenched in history that has employed many of the very greatest and most colorful players ever to play the sport, from Eck to Rickey to Blue to Canseco to Tim Hudson to, like, Miguel Tejada and Matt Olson and Marcus Semien and now Mason Miller.

(Hell, one time I saw Manny Delcarmen strike out Frank Thomas in a decisive spot to preserve a lead after I think Josh Beckett got in trouble in the middle innings.)

Maybe the sport's best complete set of uniforms, too. OH, AND MC HAMMER.

But let's dwell on the cost issue. I've spent more on tickets for AA games. I grew up in the Boston suburbs and I spent my 20s paying San Francisco rent on a doctoral student's stipend, and I think I've probably seen more baseball at the Coliseum than at Fenway. People in this thread are complaining that the sport is withering; that younger fans won't connect with it. Yeah, because half the games aren't available on TV and the cheapest tickets to see a Dodgers game are $40 each—that's a tough sell in the group chat. When I was in my mid-20s, THE A's HAD $2 NIGHTS MOST WEEKS, and the upper deck was full of East Bay youth drinking Gordon Biersches in hooded sweatshirts, having fun: watching the game, sure, but also getting a helmet of nachos and drinking and cuddling under blankets. It was a cheap night out, and it was fun.

We need more Oakland Coliseums, not fewer.

This Vegas situation, if it ever materializes, will be an absolute nightmare. The owners are delusional to have voted to approve shifting a team to a considerably smaller and poorer MSA to produce a deeply unclear stadium boondoggle for a team that it's not clear anyone in Vegas even wants. Does anyone think the A's will spend longer in Vegas than they did in Oakland? 1968 to 2024 is 56 years. How many people will still live in Vegas in 2080? Hell, that's a long time; how about when the stadium bonds reach maturity? Do you think I could get some action on 2050s Lake Mead water levels from one of the sociopaths who just almost torpedoed the career of the greatest active ballplayer?
 

loneredseat

New Member
Dec 8, 2023
97
"Today, few boys hike six miles to school. Motor cars, elevators and telephones have softened many of our embryo Ty Cobbs…Baseball is dying in our high schools. It is losing ground in our colleges to high-pressure football."

New York Daily News, 1939

"If baseball is dying out, as many claim, it may be because the game has slowed down to a snail’s pace in recent years. Right or wrong, moderns are restless, fidgety and always in a hurry, extremely impatient with delay. And the average baseball game of today is characterized by delay, from start to finish."

Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 1955

"More young fans are seeking the instant gratification provided by the dunk-a-minute pace of pro basketball, the search-and-destroy machismo of pro football."

St. Louis Post Dispatch, 1992

All of these available here: https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/08/29/baseball-is-dying-history

I'm not saying you're wrong here, @loneredseat. Maybe this time the "baseball is dying" takes will be right. But I think baseball will be just fine.

I'm sorry to keep posting these ancient stories. I just love baseball, and I know all of us in here do too (or at least used to). And if anything, I hope this gives some of us permission to just enjoy baseball's present without worrying so much about its future, and perhaps give us permission to share that love with younger folks without unnecessary caveats ("I know it seems boring, but...").

Edit: Personally, I think baseball is incredible right now, even if its best brand isn't being played in Boston every night and (like the rest of us) I have issues here and there (umpire strike zones, ticket cost, etc.).

The best player in the game right now is by some measures the best player in MLB history, a Japanese Babe Ruth who hits 40 HR, steals 20 bases, and (when healthy) throws upper 90s as the staff ace. With the rule changes we saw the most stolen bases in a season since 1987. Last year we saw the first 40 HR, 70 SB season in MLB history, and this year there's a 6'5" shortstop in Cincinnati on pace to hit ~40 HR and steal 90+ bases. The best pitching prospect in baseball just came up in Pittsburgh and threw 17 pitches at 100 mph or faster... joining his fellow Pittsburgh prospect who also throws 98-100 mph. Complaints about the cost and blackouts aside, you can now watch (almost) any broadcast of (almost) any MLB game on your phone (almost) anywhere. There's a remarkable amount of parity across the league, as teams like the Orioles and Mariners and Royals and others contend while longtime powerhouses (Cardinals) struggle. Attendance at MLB games was up almost 10% last year. And the league continues to be restocked every offseason not just with HS and college kids, but with enormously talented Japanese, Korean, Dominican, Cuban, etc. players.

Again, who knows? Maybe it won't continue. But I'm enjoying the hell of out this era of baseball. I just wish Casas and Story were healthy for it.
Thanks or the response and sorry for waiting so long to respond (been busy).
And you're probably right. Baseball is a great game (my personal favorite) and it's not going anywhere. If, in the future it is less popular than it is or has been, so be it. It isn't going to make going to a game, or listening to or watching a game any less enjoyable.
 

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
26,008
Unreal America
Saw this in Front Office Sports this morning:

2.1%
MLB’s overall attendance lift for the 2024 season after a May 17–19 weekend that averaged 34,465 per game and was the league’s best before the end of May since ’14 (excluding season openers). MLB last week also had its best pre-June Tuesday and Wednesday attendance totals since ’16 as fans continue to embrace elements introduced last year such as the pitch clock. After prior gains at the gate this season were largely the work of a small handful of clubs, 18 of 30 teams are now showing attendance growth.

As Beetlejuice once said "Dead, dead, deadski."
More news via Front Office Sports...

"1,688,731. MLB drew an average of 37.5K fans across its 45 games this weekend -- making it the league's best weekend attendance since 2008"

The idea that MLB is a zombie sport continues to be unsubstantiated by facts.
 

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
26,008
Unreal America
I'm more interested in weekends where the games aren't Yankees-Red Sox, Cubs-Cards, Phillies-Orioles, and Rangers-Mariners and it's not Father's Day.

Let's see how it does then.
I mean I literally quoted this in what I just posted:

2.1%
MLB’s overall attendance lift for the 2024 season after a May 17–19 weekend that averaged 34,465 per game and was the league’s best before the end of May since ’14 (excluding season openers). MLB last week also had its best pre-June Tuesday and Wednesday attendance totals since ’16 as fans continue to embrace elements introduced last year such as the pitch clock. After prior gains at the gate this season were largely the work of a small handful of clubs, 18 of 30 teams are now showing attendance growth.
 

The_Powa_of_Seiji_Ozawa

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2006
8,226
SS Botany Bay
That aside, how in the hell didnt the Whalers have a TV deal? They couldn’t get games on a local UHF station?! Man, that’s negligent management right there.
I think SportsChannel was eventually included in regular cable in the 90s prior to the Whalers' departure.

But without any TV outlets, it was an opportunity to listen to the glorious Chuck Kaiton calls the games on the radio. "This is Hartford Whalers Hockey."

P.S. I would also mention that the Whalers were doubly blessed with Rick Peckham and Gerry Cheevers doing PBP & Color on TV. Nobody did "He Scores!" better than Rick Peckham.