I get that most of those reading this won’t remember much, if anything, about 1961, but I do and fondly. I was 24 years old and bought my first new car, a top of the line Ford for $3,300. It was a different world then for sure. Larry Granillo of Baseball Nation has written an interesting article titled the cost of baseballs broadcast rights in 1961 that I can relate to. He includes a chart of how much each team that existed at the time was paid in total for their media rights. The chart is from the March 1961 issue of Sponsor magazine, “the national weekly of TV and radio advertising.” That year, the largest media income, as it does now, went to the LA Dodgers. They got all of $1,000,000 total for that year for radio and TV; the Yankees were second best at $900,000. Baseball was still new in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in the LA Coliseum (the largest baseball stadium ever; it could seat over 90,000 at the time. They had a huge wire fence in left field that was taller than the Green Monster. It was the site of the first Super Bowl, which I attended. It didn’t sell out, there were close to 30,000 empty seats, and tickets on the 40-yard line were $26.) Dodger Stadium was still being built in Chavez ravine at a cost of $23,000,000 in private money from the O’Malleys. (I was living in LA during this period; it opened in 1962.) Granillo notes that, “adjusted for inflation, $10 million in 1961 is roughly equivalent to $75 million today. When the Dodgers signed their exorbitant television rights deal with Time Warner Cable this offseason, it was valued at $8 billion over 25 years. The value has been knocked down some in negotiations since then, but the Dodgers are still likely to see more than $200 million per season for the next 25 years. That’s triple what the entire league earned, even adjusting for inflation, fifty years ago.”
Jon Heyman at CBS Sports offers an outside view of Wedgie’s future in a piece entitled Hot seats: Few managers sweating out final weeks of season. He says, “While a fair number of managers are in somewhat uncertain situations, it is not expected to be a major firing season, barring some real collapses. Only a few managers appear to be in real jeopardy heading into the final five weeks of the season. The Mariners’ Eric Wedge, headed for a third straight losing season under him and fourth overall for Seattle, is one who looks like he could be on fairly shaky ground while the AL West rival Angels could decide to part ways with highly successful 14-year manager Mike Scioscia. Wedge appears to be the manager in most jeopardy while Scioscia’s case could be the most interesting considering his stature.”
They said so
“Chris Tillman with his 15th win. The Bedard trade still smarts in Seattle. Every night.” – Jon Paul Morosi, Fox Sports
“In August, as he’s allowed his facial hair to evolve from Ryan Gosling sheik to the full Hemingway, Ackley is hitting an American League-best .406 (26×64), including nine multi-hit games and 1.066 OPS. During the 29 games since the All-Star Break, his numbers are nearly as solid: .356 (36×101) with a .914 OPS.” – Adam Lewis, Sports Press NW
“I know I’m a nerd, but it pleases me when Tenbrink moves from 3B to CF in the same game.” – Mike Curto CurtoWorld
“How would owner Arte Moreno find a quality replacement for Dipoto, who has been squeezed from above by Moreno and below by Scioscia, becoming the baseball personification of Ben Franklin’s description of New Jersey: “A keg tapped at both ends”? – Ken Rosenthal Fox Sports
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
In a piece titled Giants Interested In Jose Abreu, Masahiro Tanaka by Zach Links in MLB Trade Rumors he stated that, the success of imports like Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yoenis Cespedes, and Yasiel Puig in the state of California has led to the Giants rethinking their approach to the international market this winter. Sources tell Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that the club’s scouting department is going into hyperdrive with an eye on Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka and Cuba’s Jose Dariel Abreu. “The risk and cost assessment has to be part of the equation,” Giants vice president Bobby Evans said. “As for the rewards, you do look at what some of these recent high-risk signings have done. It does give you a sense of `This is the potential.’ It does give you that desire to say, `Hey, can we get the next one?’” Aside from seeing the success of Puig et al, the Giants recognize that this winter’s free agent market will be relatively thin, making it necessary to explore other options. San Francisco also recognizes that they will have a good amount of cash to spend thanks to their share of the league’s TV revenue. They’ll do their due diligence on both Tanaka and Abreu, but Tanaka might be the better fit of the two given the club’s emphasis on pitching and the potential marketing opportunities he brings,” Links concluded. Tanaka would be a great get for the Mariners and Abreu is a really big bat and they have the same share of MLB TV revenue as the Giants, about $26MM in additional money for next year and the future.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has put together his version of the Top 50 MLB free agents with some insightful details on each of them. In summary he states that, “Cano is easily the biggest name and player on a free-agent market that includes a fair number of stars but only one superstar. The list has been pared substantially by the new propensity to sign up the stars in an era flush with cash. So it isn’t exactly stacked with superstars. But there’s still at least one more player hoping to get into the nine-figure range (Jacoby Ellsbury), a .400-plus on-base guy (Shin-Soo Choo), two former 40-homer man (Curtis Granderson and Paul Konerko), a two-time Cy Young winner (Tim Lincecum), a seven-time All-Star catcher (Brian McCann), a 300-homer, 300-steal guy (Carlos Beltran), three 200-game winners (Andy Pettitte, Roy Halladay and Tim Hudson), a former MVP (Justin Morneau), a couple Biogenesis stars (Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta), a stable of solid starters (Matt Garza is probably the best in his prime, though Ervin Santana isn’t far behind), one terrific closer (Fernando Rodney) plus a couple of hot closers who came into the year as something other than closers (Edward Mujica and Joaquin Benoit).” It’s worth a read.
By the numbers
The Dodgers have the top winning percentage (.705) in the game since the debut of Yasiel Puig.
Eric Wedge had exactly 100 plate appearances at the major league level, which produced 0.2 WAR.
Chris Tillman is the first Baltimore pitcher to win 15 or more games before September since Mike Mussina did it in 1999.
Bryce Harper’s 41 dingers are the third most in history before age 21. It doesn’t look like he’ll pass either Mel Ott, who had 61 or Tony Conigliaro’s 56.
Max Scherzer gave up six runs in five innings Thursday, ending up with a no-decision instead of a loss in his attempt to equal Roger Clemen’s 2001 record of starting a season 20-1. Tori Hunter hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to save him from a loss.
Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 50th base of the year Thursday night against the Orioles. That is 10 more than Rajai Davis in second place; both have been caught 4 times.