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Member Since 25 Jun 2012
Offline Last Active Jan 29 2014 11:18 AM

Topics I've Started

Moving to the Burbs...

26 January 2014 - 02:32 AM

I'm posting this reply (agreement) to 5412 here because it's late and will get buried in the comments section (1/26 is my wife's and my 23rd anniversary and I may not get here much on Sunday):
"Maybe a suburban city or county would pitch in some money..."
In what I would consider a weak offer (i.e. there would be much better offers) Rosemont has already offered free land for the Cubs to build upon--roughly 25 acres.  Cities would bend over backwards to bring in the revenue that having the Cubs play in their city would bring.  
"...remove the luxury tax..."
Rahm has recently had the temerity to discuss RAISING the amusement tax--screwing over CUB FANS.  Rosemont collects a 3% amusement tax (all of that is county tax, not Rosemont).  Rosemont is against taxing it's venues (All-State Arena and Rosemont Theater) and spent years in court fighting the Cook County AT.  Chicago collects a 12% AT (3% for the county and 9% for Chicago).  The difference in 2011 would have been $12.75 million dollars (per year).  As the Cubs raise ticket prices and and Chicago raises it's portion of the AT that cost will only rise (a 20% rise in ticket prices ($54 per ticket)) would mean Chicago would bring in $20.4 million in AT from the Cubs (on 2011 non-sellout figures).  A 2% rise in AT would jack that up to $23.8 million.  Rosemont would just cost $5.1 million (assuming same ticket price increase and same attendance).  That's $18.7 million per year to Chicago/Cook county for absolutely nothing (the Cubs pay for their own policing, traffic, clean up and "neighborhood improvements"). 
That's $12.75-18.7 million of what I call "Impossible money" (It would be impossible to get Chicago to lower the AT so the Cubs will never generate that revenue at Wrigley--it's impossible money).           
$12.75-18.7 million of impossible money.
"Reinsdorf has been quoted as saying he can draw 300,000 less than the Cubs and make more money because he gets parking revenue also."
While Reinsdorf is fudging his numbers (the Cubs would make $22.5 million on 300k in gate/concessions at current rates and Reinsdorf doesn't come close to that in parking revenue), the Cubs clearly COULD make $20 million on 1+ million cars parked per year (less than 1/3 of attendees).  Some parking would be closer to the stadium and premium, covered $25 parking and some would be less.  Some optional parking for season's ticket holders could be reserved with name plates (cost factored into the tickets).
That's $20 million more impossible money at Wrigley (impossible to replicate in Chicago).     
"As far as location goes, I don’t see that as an issue. Put a consistent winner on the field and they will come."
And come they will.  Especially if the new facility has zero restrictions on night games (more impossible money in terms of both gate revenue AND ad/TV contract revenue)...  
Unknown impossible money but tens of millions.
Zero restrictions on concerts (more impossible money)...
And a retractable ROOF would allow for zero rain outs (more impossible money), zero lost revenue because it's too damn cold in Chicago to play ball in April (more impossible money) AND concerts, conventions, etc. during the WINTER (more impossible money). A new facility would allow be configurable for football games which would allow Northwestern and other teams to play a game or two there (more impossible money--they tried and the football field didn't fit).  
Another "impossible money" situation would be naming rights.  Whatever the new park would be named would be open to naming rights of around $20-30 million per year.  Eventually the Ricketts could sell naming rights on Wrigley--if they win a World Series or two (TR could walk down Michigan Avenue naked with bells on if he won a World Series).  The value of renaming Wrigley wouldn't be anywhere near what they could get for a new park (the Sears tower folks literally (and I mean literally) GAVE those rights to the Willis folks--Sears, Wrigley, etc. are already too branded to have much value to re-brand).  While the Cubs are branding areas in and around Wrigley, they would do this at a new facility as well.  That sub-branding at Wrigley itself caries--for now--more cache so say...
Net $15-25 million per year impossible money.   
Yet another impossible money comes from expanding the current seating capacity.  Wrigley is the second smallest venue in baseball, yet when they are competitive, they nearly sell out (they WOULD sell out with more night games and a roof).  ADDING another 4 k seats would still keep the Cubs venue cozy but allow for 324,000 more fans (assuming just 75% fill rate = $19 million more impossible dollars (at 20% increase in ticket price), gate and concessions profits, per year).  There is simply no way to cram more seats in Wrigley.  
$19 million more in impossible money.  
Re. where Cub fans come from anyway...  From a study the Cubs did, 1/3 come from out of town (i.e. nowhere near Chicago and are spending the night somewhere).  1/3 come from the burbs--mostly the NW burbs.  The remaining 1/3 come from Chicago--mostly the north side.  
Given that, we see that 67% of Cub fans in attendance at the game make one hell of an effort to get there (Wrigley is a bitch to get into--even from most of Chicago--unless you take public transportation and folks just don't have the patience for that).  It is stunning how many people put forth such an effort to get to the ballpark.  Day games during the week don't make that any easier for people coming from work (unlike most teams and their night games/easy parking, you have to take off at least half a day to get to Wrigley and attend a typical day game).  
Very few Cub fans who attend games could, rightly, be called casual fans.  Certainly Brett's save one--lose ten equation is hyperbole. 
As to another myth, Cub fans do not come primarily to see Wrigley.  If that were true, you wouldn't see Cub fans in droves at other parks--often seemingly outnumbering the home team's fans (certainly in tenacity and devotion).  The Cubs are typically 3rd or so in away attendance with even a marginally competitive team and 1st or 2nd with a ("divisionally") competitive team.  Cub fans are CUB fans.  Wrigley is a perk.  When it isn't an albatross (i.e. impossible money and ties to the Machine).   
So we are left with the advantages of Wrigley:
It is located in Chicago so folks already visiting, or living in, Chicago can easily visit the ballpark provided they don't mind public transportation.  
It is nostalgic for Cub fans who may wish to revisit the park/neighborhood.   
There IS an element of fans who come to party.  Mostly in the cheaper seats but it does exist to some degree (though less and less as ticket prices rise).  
Then there is the fact that Wrigley is owned--a used car that needs fixing as someone alluded to.  Wrigley reconstruction "only" costs $300 million (plus $200 million in surrounding construction that is necessary afford the the Wrigley reconstruction so it must be included in costs).   So "only" $500 million (these are all sunk costs) whereas new park would cost a billion (plus).
However, a huge chunk of those costs would gladly be borne by any of the Villages of Rosemont, Arlington Heights or Schaumburg (I see no other legitimate contenders), for bringing an economic cash cow like the Cubs their way (not to mention the national advertising for the village's brand).   
Let's assume the new facility (plus land, etc.) cost $1.4 billion (let's do this right (the facility the Super Bowl will be played in cost 1.6 but stuff is costlier out east).  That's $900 million in loans/bonds/what-have-yous more than Wrigley.  Assuming the Cubs can get something for Wrigley, the McDonald's property, what little parking they own and a few other buildings (let's say $50 million for the lot of them ((the business value of said properties plummet when the Cubs move)) that brings that total down to $850 million extra.  
How much of that burden would be borne by the Cubs and how much by a burb?  Well, Mesa, Arizona just coughed up $99 million for a mere 16 (SIXTEEN!!!) home Spring Training games--just 20% of the 81 home games the Cubs play for real (actual, honest MLB games that COUNT) with no possibility for addition revenue from playoff games.  You likely would never have heard of Mesa had the Cubs not played in "Beautiful Mesa, Arizona" 16 times per year.  That free advertising has propelled their growth far passed the rest of the area (which is also expanding but at a slower rate). 
Whichever of the villages that would win the Cubs would pay WAY more than $99 million.  Say they pay half of the difference (in bonds, property, etc.) so $425 million (well UNDER the prorated $ amount that Mesa is paying per game--DC paid over $600 million to build the Nationals facility).  That means the Cub share of the additional amount would be $425 million.  The Cub's "impossible money" above clearly pays for an extra $425 million loan (the impossible money above is way over $70 million per season and the majority of it is virtually pure profit (parking, less AT, more seats, night games/roof increasing attendance, ad buys, TV revenue, etc.).   
Simply put, this isn't the 0.01% odds that Brett gives to it.  Again, hyperbole.  TR prefers Wrigley.  Good on him.  But, if the Wrigley situation doesn't improve, he isn't going to bend over and just take it.  And neither should Cub fans.  We finally have an owner who wants to do big things with the team.  We've sat around doing nothing while the Tribune had NO debt (team or ballpark), no rent and shuffled the books to prop up the Trib (TV and radio contracts anyone) all to make the Tribune executives meet quarterly projections (for failing industries).  We were told that the Cubs were a tiny part of the Trib assets.  And we--as Cub fans who make all of this possible--were provided with the 15th to--at best--7th highest payroll 2000-2008.  
Demand more.  As Cub fans demand more than what we accepted from the Tribune.  Demand more than what we accepted from the city of Chicago.  Wrigley is 100.  It was nice.  My grandma was nice, too.  We buried her.  If Chicago doesn't step up, if the rooftops don't take a step back, then enjoy Wrigley's 100th year and make plans to move out of Chicago to a city (village) that knows how to partner with business.       

Bunting For Hits is Smart, not Small, Ball...

24 November 2013 - 01:32 AM

Every so often someone lays down a "Bunting for hits is caveman ball" or "MOAR SMALL BALL!" comment.  I've replied but, seriously, holding a conversation in the comment section of ANY blog is tedious at best.  So here goes an attempt at conversation here:
Bunting for a hit is NOT "small ball."  During the 2011 MLB season, ALL batters bunting for hits (the good, the bad and the ugly) had a .438 batting average.  These were bunts in non-sacrifice situations--purely bunting for hits.  This just takes into account the hits divided by the outs and not the attempts that were missed, fouled off, etc.  However, batting average itself doesn't take into account swings and misses, fouls, etc.  
Notice the link there isn't Bring Back Small Ball dot Com.  It's Bill James Online dot Com.  
Micky Mantle batted .541 for his career while bunting for a base hit (80 for 148).  He was nowhere near the best, in terms of average (Matty Alou and Rod Carew--just to name two--were both well over .700 for their respective careers).  Seems to me, Rizzo could use a shift-busting bunt every now and then:
Bunting, for hit or sacrifice, is part talent (latent "born with" talent) and also part skill (skill is 100% learned/practiced).  Fortunately for aspiring MLB bunters, the requisite talent required for bunting (hand-eye coordination, timing, etc.) all come with the package that a successful MLB hitter already brings to the party.  Thus, successful bunting at the MLB level is about learned skill (which, like ANY skill, takes time and effort to develop).  
That skill should be learned at the MiLB level.  If Javy Baez doesn't know how to bunt for a hit by the time he sees MLB then there is something seriously wrong with the Cubs FO.  Same goes for ALL Cub prospects (fast and slow). 
Vogelbach uses the whole field, so the shift shouldn't really be an issue for him, but he could certainly benefit by pulling the infield in (the result of successful bunt hits).  If Vogelbach should do it then the rest of the lot (Baez, Soler, Almora, Alacantara, etc., etc., etc.) should do it...  
Conveniently, since most generally accept that even sacrifice bunting is a valuable tool (even Oakland does it from time to time and even with position players), the BEST way to keep a player's bunting skill fresh without sacrificing outs during a game is by "practicing" your learned bunting skill by bunting for a hit IN-game (practicing outside of game speed isn't the same as putting the skill into practice during a game).  
Again, the "Cubs Way" should include bunting for a base hit.  It isn't "small ball," it's "smart ball."  

Paul Blackburn write up on MiLB

29 June 2013 - 12:15 PM

Rich H dropped this in the comments section and I thought I'd put it up here.  While Blackburn isn't 6'8" (he's 6'2") it is an interesting piece:








Samardzija is an Ace (le sigh)

26 June 2013 - 12:47 AM

A post was made in the comments re. Samardzija not being and Ace, having only #2 potential , etc, and his not being "consistent" as given the reason.  None of this is, of course, new. Folks in Cubdom have long been discounting him for years (familiarity breeds contempt).  Aside from Samardzija's pure stuff (FB is plus, plus. Split is plus, plus. Slider is a touch above solid average which is plenty good for a third MLB pitch), his numbers the last several years have been very good.  And yet two other factors drag down those numbers:


Factor One: The Cub staff had him throwing a curve instead of his slider in June of last year (0-4, 10.41 ERA, 5 GS, 23.1 IP, 33 H, 27 ER, 4 HR, 15 BB, 20K).  What numbers did he put up when he was throwing his three best pitches (i.e. every non-June IP last year)?  


9-9, 2.80 ERA, 23 GS, 151.1 IP, 124 H, 47 ER, 16 HR, 41 BB, 160 K.   


Factor Two: Pair that arm with a team that can hit, pitch in relief and defend (and come off the bench and manage and develop it's core players--maybe even a team that is TRYING to win...) and he is even better.  Prior to the 12 runs in 7 IP he got last time out, his run support this season has been very poor (he was 45th of 46 NL starters in run support last year) and I can't imagine that this bullpen, this bench or this defense has done him any favors.  


Certainly an ACE if placed on a "World Series contending team" by any reasonable standard.  



Vogelbach is faster than Rizzo--WAY faster

13 June 2013 - 03:12 PM

I posted about this in the comments but the "Voegelbach is so slow" meme is getting so old I thought I'd put it up here, too:  


As HS amateurs both Vogelbach and Rizzo attended Perfect Game and, as such, ran the 60.  Vogelbach's 7.15 is really respectable (on par with guys like Votto and it was before he lost 40 pounds).  Rizzo ran a very slow 7.40 (on par with an Easter Egg roll).  While this doesn't mean Vogelbach is anywhere near Rizzo defensively (he isn't), it DOES mean he isn't too slow to play a position (1B) in the majors.    



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