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pmoehrin last won the day on September 25 2016

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  1. Again I would point to the fact that no team has gone belly up in MLB as evidence that they weren't aggressive enough. You look at the early parts of the NFL, NBA, and NHL histories and you see teams failing all the time. They got over it. At a certain point, you need to know what doesn't work in order to know what does. Now the amount of paperwork and legwork required to bring an expansion team in is ten-fold what it was 50 years ago, But even so, I look at a place like Austin and I notice Round Rock has been killing it attendance wise for the better part of 20 years now. There are no other pro teams in the market. The city is approaching 1 million in population. The metro area is over 2. Plenty of disposable income in the area. Other than the lack of a ballpark, will someone please tell me what the problem is here? If there isn't any, then the problem lies with the league, not the city.
  2. Minnesota had been talking to Major League officials throughout the '50s. Its a market that had not one, but two successful minor league teams (the Minneapolis Millers and the St. Paul Saints) that drew right up until the day the Twins came to town. Did the Twins come about simply because the Continental League offered them a team? Or where the wheels already in motion for a team to come to Minnesota, and the Continental League's potential creation just sped the process up? I'm very cautious about giving credit to a league that did nothing beyond having talks and signing some papers that never came to fruition. I much rather give credit to the people and players who spent decades laying down the groundwork for establishing fanbases that could match any existing MLB team in terms of passion and size from the day these cities got MLB teams.
  3. The Continental League is what put the gun to MLB's head to expand, but by the same token all four major sports leagues were going through expansions, so I don't know how much credit should go to the Continental League for getting the ball started on expansion. There's no question the League led directly to the creation of the Astros and Mets. The rest is a bit murkier. I mentioned Toronto earlier as being a market the MLB could have expanded to decades before they did. The Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League were playing in a 20,000+ seat stadium and outdrawing some Major League teams well into the 1960s. It shouldn't have taken until the mid-'70s for someone to pipe up and say, hey maybe that city with the million-plus population base and a decades-long track record of supporting baseball should get a team. Another market I didn't mention in my earlier post that MLB could have been first to but wasn't is Atlanta. When the Braves came into town, the team they displaced, the Atlanta Crackers had been in operation since 1892. But the second the NFL announces the Falcons (franchise awarded specifically to block AFL expansion), it's okay for an MLB team to go there. What should tell you is up until about the 1950s, no matter how strong a minor league market was, it didn't matter. They weren't getting a team. That's why when you study baseball history in the United States before the 1960s; you can't just focus on the MLB and ignore everything else. The sport was way bigger than MLB would let you believe because there were so many underserved markets, which is what gave rise to brainstorming tours, minor league dynasties and most importantly the Negro Leagues. Its a completely different world today, but I still see baseball twiddling their thumbs when it comes to cities like Portland, Austin, and Montreal. The built-in excuse now is we need all of our teams to be comfortable with their ballpark situations before looking into other markets. But name one year in the past 50 where this has been true across the league? You don't set unattainable goals if you're serious about doing something.
  4. American League, Federal League, Negro Leagues, and the PCL have all featured Major League, sometimes even Hall of Fame level talent. There just hasn't been a league to challenge the MLB since Branch Rickey's Continental League in which was supposed to launch in the early-60's but never got off the ground. Even though it never got started, Rickey's gameplan made a ton of sense for the time because he recognized MLB's financial model wasn't just falling behind, it had slipped back. One of the reasons I think baseball fell behind the NFL was because they were so stingy about expansion and exploring new markets. The league was still only operating in 10 cities as late as 1952. I can understand why it took so long to get out to places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. But the MLB could have expanded to Toronto, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Buffalo, and Baltimore as early as the 1920s. The fact that no MLB team has gone under since 1901 is proof they could have expanded to more cities at any point, before the first '61 expansion. The AFL/NFL either beat or tied MLB with bringing franchises to Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay. People frequently talk down about expansion, but it's the only way you can grow your league. If you don't take a city seriously when they are ready to be taken as a city capable of supporting a significant franchise, they will find another league that does. And you will be behind and trying to attract new fans, while the more established team has had potentially a 20+ year head start. Today, the same dynamics don't exist anymore. To seriously compete with Major League Baseball you would need at least $8-10 billion to start with, and that's assuming we're only running a six-team league. Looking at alternatives going family-friendly because you already have hundreds of Minor-League teams to serve that function. I don't think rules changes or a different presentation style alone would be enough to attract a younger audience that MLB isn't currently hitting. You could play playoff games earlier, but again I would look at them as ancillary issues and not something you can build a league around. The only thing I think you could do with regards to creating an alternative to the MLB would be to start up a Women's league. The fact that nobody has attempted to do so since Phillip Wrigley is surprising to me. I know how many female writers I've run into who got into covering in large part because of A League of Their Own and have met more than one softball player who would prefer to be playing baseball. I saw the amount of buzz and interest generated by Mo'ne Davis. There was enough interest in the idea of a woman playing in the Majors to get a primetime network show green light. I see a demand here for a product that nobody is providing. I see way more room for potential growth there than another football league, or a three on three basketball league.
  5. It’s not a good look, but it’s also something that will be forgotten about within a week. I wouldn’t read too much into it. Even if he has worn out his welcome so what? Reggie Jackson wore out his welcome in the Yankee clubhouse before ever even suiting up. They still won back-to-back World Series, because games are won on the field, not in the locker room. My main concern would be whether or not his defense will continue to be an issue. The early results have been inconclusive. Some metrics such as defensive runs saved sill rate Harper as the same putrid outfielder he was last year. But other metrics such as UZR put Harper right around average for the league. A lot of this difference can be explained away by small sample size, as well as the inherent flaws associated with each metric, which is why there is no one defensive stat. But that said, it is still odd to see the two metrics this far apart on a player.
  6. A bunch do, but I don’t know of any contract in Major League Baseball where incentives are the backbone of the deal. Neither players or owners want to see a question mark in the salary column, and that’s what would happen if you made performance incentives the basis of a contract. Paying players “what they’re worth” sounds nice in principle, but it would be a disaster if you actually tried it. How do you go about assigning value to a player for starters? You get paid what you negotiate for, not what your value is. That’s as true in baseball as it is in any other line of work.
  7. I would imagine their target demographic is roughly the same as a monster truck rally and minor league baseball — lots of kids and families who can't afford to go to NFL games. Its a niche market with limited room for growth, but is also a very sustainable one because they aren't relying on star players to attract eyeballs. The product sells itself, which in that sense doesn't make them that different from the NFL. The barriers of entry to create or own a team are much lower than those of the NFL because the associated costs are so much smaller. Player salaries are lower, and virtually every major city with at least 100K people in it has a suitable 10K arena to play in. You won't strike it rich owning an Arena team, but you won't lose your shirt either if things go sour. When the league expanded and tried to gain a National television presence, that's when they got in trouble financially because they got away from the business model that was working for them. A league that banks on families coming out to games, should not be trying to run 18K downtown NBA arenas, but the AFL did so because that's what they thought they had to do to be taken seriously as a National product. That mentality nearly bankrupted them. The best example I can site of this would be the New York CityHawks. They came into existence at the same time as the New Jersey Red Dogs who played across the river in the Meadowlands. The CityHawks played at MSG. The Red Dogs outdrew them by almost double. Why? A. Becuase they were a better team, but also because it is damn near impossible to market family-friendly events at a venue like MSG. Most family acts that come into the NYC-metro area will avoid running the Garden altogether for precisely this reason. You price people out just from the cost associated with turning the lights on. When Arena football came back to the NYC metro area in the form of the New York Dragons, they wisely picked to go to the Nassau Coliseum instead, and typical attendance was around 10K a game throughout their existence which lasted eight years. The biggest lesson I think you can take away from the AFL is that TV isn't everything, but location is. There's nothing wrong with trying to establish yourself in major markets, or even playing in a major arena. The Philadelphia Soul have been doing both since 2004. But understand where your target audience lives and what their price limitations are.
  8. It may not be a bad idea. It’s fascinating to look back on the USFL and the ABA to see what worked and what didn’t. One point both leagues got was the need to create new stars that weren’t just rejects of the other league. One thing to keep in mind is that the average NFL player was only making 100K when the USFL came into existence. The average team wasn’t worth $2.5 billion either. You still need that new star element, but the way you go about it needs to be more creative, because you will not win a bidding war for any player the NFL wants. A big reason why I would want to get away from NFL rules is to not make it an apples to apples comparison, because I can’t win that game or even come close. Any new league needs to be different, because the circumstances that gave rise to the USFL aren’t the same.
  9. My point is more the mentality a new league needs to have to be successful, rather than getting into any actual specifics. I wouldn't want a league that looks like Arena Football either. I want something that isn't out there, and that can mean any number of things. As far as the bare bones operations comment, that's the main reason why I would want to mirror my league so much around it. I think with both the AAF and the XFL, a big reason why they failed so soon is that their start-up costs were so high. Both leagues were running full 50-man rosters in pro level stadiums across major cities. Regardless of what you pay your players, the production costs associated with that are going to be high, and there's no need to do any of them. Just rent out a warehouse or two (maybe a small stadium), throw a couple of thousand seats in, and film every game there. You can add in TV production values as you want and it would have the side effect of giving it a different look from the NFL. It may not be as glamorous or look as good as what the NFL does, but you wouldn't have to worry about travel costs, you don't need as many operations people, and you would have complete control over how the product looks on TV. That makes more sense in my head then relying on each team to build up their loyal fanbase when they've existed all of five minutes. Are there? No major sports league has more player turnover than the NFL. Its nothing for a team to turn over 80% of the roster within three years. It's not why people tune in. There's only a small handful of players capable of moving the PR needle, and most of them are QB's. My worry wouldn't be about finding quality players; my concern would be about finding players people are going to want to see. Nobody cared about Rod Smart until he put He Hate Me on the back of his jersey. That's the type of attention a new league is going to have to generate to grow at least initially.
  10. I think there is a fanbase to be found that likes football but doesn't care for either NFL, NCAA or High School. But the only way to reach that group is to be radically different from any of the three organizations described, and with both the AAF and the XFL, all I see is NFL-lite. If it were me, I would try to have a league look as much like a video game as possible. No game is going for more than two hours. I'm eliminating kicking. I'm probably going to eight on eight, possibly flag. I wouldn't just allow, but encourage players to be on social media during the game. Allow guys to cut wrestling style promos if they want. Encourage over the top celebrations. I would probably shoot the thing in a studio rather than going across the whole country. Above all else, a new league like that needs marketable stars to attract viewers. I would focus on that first, then figure out how it plays into building fan loyalty for specific teams. A lot of that sounds like arena football, and that it wouldn't be far off from the model I would want. You have to be doing something right to survive for three decades, and I think the key to their success is they don't try to emulate the NFL. To me, that's the only avenue of success a potential league like that can have. A traditional football league with the same presentation and feel of the NFL and the same rules in place is simply not going to work.
  11. The WWE was/is willing to give Dean Ambrose seven figures a year. If they're willing to do that for a borderline main-eventer, I don't think money will be an issue for Gronk because he will get way more than Ambrose. You are right in that the toughest thing for him is going to be starting. The first few months of his wrestling career are likely going to be spent inside an empty warehouse. You are going to have to hide him for at least the first six months until he is ready for his PPV debut match. That's the level he needs to come in at. He's never going to be Shawn Michaels in the ring, but he doesn't have to be either. As long as he's passable, the marketing machine behind him and his personality will take care of the rest. Whether or not he could get to that point remains to be seen, but he would not be the first former NFL player to start late in wrestling and make it. He will just have more pressure on him to succeed than anyone since Bronco Nagurski laced up a pair of boots. All of this is speculation, but I'm curious to see what's going to happen going forward.
  12. My guess is Gronk ends up in the WWE. In terms of athleticism, personality, look, and attitude, Gronk has everything you would want in a pro wrestler. From WWE's perspective, I can't think of a better cross over the figure to bring in. With their Fox deal, they will have the money to match what he was making in the NFL. Plus he's still young enough to where he can have a 10-15 year career if he chooses to. We'll see what happens going forward, but I see a guy that still wants to be involved in sports. I think he's just tired of middle linebackers trying to take his head off while cornerbacks and safeties go for his knees.
  13. Virginia currently down by 12 to #16 Gardner-Webb and playing with the mental toughness of a 14-year old after a bad breakup. If they lose, it may not be a bad idea to suspend the program.
  14. As he should. I know the over the top send offs have became clichéd and overdone in recent years. But this one was deserving. This is the first baseball player in history you can definitively say had a HOF-worthy career on two different continents. It may never happen again. In the states, Ichiro will be remebered as someone who had a great career. But in Japan, Ichiro’s legacy will rival if not surpass that of Sadaharu Oh for the title of greatest Japanese player of all-time. As baseball fans, we should all be grateful for Ichiro’s decision to come to the states, and give us a big taste to what made him so special. Him going out to a hero’s ovation in his home country brings his legacy full circle.