Monday, April 30, 2007


Well the Giants are over .500, which is an improvement.

But their fundamental problem is their lack of runs. I believe that runs are pretty important in baseball. Bonds has been clobbering the ball lately, but their overall offense still stinks. If he gets hurt, they're really in trouble.

Their pitching has been great. Now they just need to score.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

More on baseball costs

Cho makes a good point, that baseball is still cheaper than other pro sports. It's also far cheaper than college football. When I was at Michigan, students tickets (i.e. the cheapest ones) were $50 apiece, and you had to buy the whole season. Taking a family of four to a Michigan football game is surely well over $300 these days. (Taking a family of four to a Michigan basketball game, ehhhh, perhaps a little less....)

Or consider the movies. If tickets are $9 apiece, and one buys four sodas and four containers of purported popcorn, it could easily cost $60 to see a movie.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


The Yankees have had a bunch of injuries this year, but I get the sense that had Kei Igawa (!) not come out of the pen to shut the Sox down today, the whole team would have crumbled.

That would have been sweet.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Baseball Costs

Every year they come out with a new Team Marketing Report, which chronicles the cost of attending a baseball game for a family of four. It adds up the cost of two adults tickets, two child tickets, four hot dogs, two sodas, two beers, two caps, one program, and parking.

Every year sportswriters uncritically accept this number and wail that baseball is "out of reach for the average American". It is a lot of money. "$287 to attend a game at Fenway, that's absurd!"

It's also completely ridiculous, and I have yet to read a story that points out some of the absurdity. For instance, why the two hats? They're not really part of the cost of the game. You can buy hats anywhere. For that matter, why the two beers? I stopped drinking beer at baseball games years ago when I tired of paying $7 for it. Why always include parking? Along with *thousands* of other fans, I normally take public transit to A's games (and I walk to Giants games). Fenway, for instance, is extremely well served by public transit. For that matter, when I do drive to Oakland, I can just park across the street for free and walk to the game--no $14 parking for me!

But do sportswriters ever bring up these factors? Nooooooo. That would require critical thinking.

However, thanks to Microsoft, it's easy to adjust their chart for a more realistic cost. The following is a modified chart, taking into account 2 adult tickets, 2 child tickets, 4 hot dogs, and 4 sodas.

Whoa! The numbers look a little different! Granted, they're still high, but it looks a lot more reasonable. And kudos to the Yankees! Cheaper than both Houston and St. Louis.

The numbers aren't perfect. The ticket prices are listed as "average"; if one was trying to save money, one might think that the better option would be to buy tickets for special promotional events. But one point of this analysis is that I'm spending about 30 minutes on it. Any sportswriter could also spend 30 minutes and come up with a more interesting story, or they could mindlessly parrot the same story about how it costs $287 to take the family to Fenway.

Friday, April 20, 2007

More Gonzales

I had to drive to a meeting today and so I listened to the Gonzales hearing. He was awful. He's in so far over his head.

Does anyone defend him now? Is it possible to defend him now? I heard him being questioned by Jeff Sessions. Gonzales insisted that he had no memory of the key November (that's November, 2006, i.e. a few months ago) meeting where they talked about who to fire. Sessions, who's not exactly a leftie, was not impressed.

Or, from another Republican Lindsey Graham: "But at the end of the day, you said something that struck me: that sometimes it just came down to these were not the right people at the right time. If I applied that standard to you, what would you say?”

I didn't like John Ashcroft because he was an ideologue. But that presupposes that he had ideas. Gonzales? No ideas.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Alberto Gonzales = Incompetent

Talking about the meetings about firing the US Attorneys, he says:

During those updates, to my knowledge, I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign.

What's with the "to my knowledge"? Might he have made decisions about who they were firing without using his knowledge? Does he have any knowledge?

(Full statement is here.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

King Felix!

Apparently Felix Hernandez will turn out allright after all. My dad was watching the game and he had to call me to tell me about it in the sixth inning.

Apparently Orel Hershiser, who knows a thing or two about pitching, was broadcasting, and said that King Felix has not one but "two Hall of Fame pitches". Not bad.

Incidentally there are always some people who whine that it can't the the World Series, because it's always just the best teams in America. ("How can it be the World Series when they don't invite teams from all over the world?") This is an exceedingly stupid complaint that's probably not worth repeating, and this game succinctly shows why. We had the second best Venezuelan pitcher on the planet beating the best Japanese pitcher on earth. (Or at least I assume he's the best; he was certainly Japan's hammer at the World Baseball Classic.) Hernandez shut down probably the two best Dominican hitters to do so. One could go on and on, but the point is made.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Giants Can't Score!

Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes not so much.

I had my doubts that the Giants would be able to score. But I didn't think it would be this bad.

Seven games. Fourteen runs. One win. Ouch.

I've finally moved past Pac Bell Park. Now it's the Phonebooth.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Michigan salaries

The Detroit News posted the following salaries for Michigan coaches:

This strikes me as fairly interesting. Obviously Lloyd makes the big bucks, and Red Berenson does pretty well too. I don't know anything about hockey, but Michigan was national champions in hockey two of the three years I was there, so he must be doing something right. Michigan's swimming teams are dominant, so they have to pay them well.

The new basketball coach, Beilein, isn't on there, but he's supposedly going to make $1.3 million, although that same article had Lloyd at $1.6 million, which the chart has him at "only" $1.1 million. One would think that the Detroit News might be interested in getting its own facts straight.

Note also that Michigan's president, Mary Sue Coleman, apparently makes about $725,000 per year.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


The Cardinals look horrendous.

It's one thing to be shut down by Tom Glavine on Opening Eve. He's done it before. It's a little disconcerning to follow that up be being shut down by El Duque.

But then last night they were two-hit by, um, John Mayne. ("John Maine, you're no El Duque.") And they gave up an RBI single to a guy who was born in the *Eisenhower* administration.

Oh, and Carpenter's hurt.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Shows what I know

Well on day 1, Bonds goes out and steals second in the first inning.

Yet another demonstration of why I'm not a major league scout.

Note: Bonds was then thrown out at the plate. His excuse is good enough that I couldn't make it up.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Michigan basketball

I guess I do care after all.

Supposedly we're going to hire West Virginia's coach, John Beilein. I don't know squat about him (or about college basketball generally), but I did see this article about his contract buyout.

The lawyer they quote, Doug Kahn, was my tax professor. In addition to being a great guy, he's a total Michigan homer.

At the end of class the day before the Ohio State game he had a confusing hypothetical about some tax issue for institutions of higher education. The hypothetical's facts were about a grad student at Ohio State and tuition or somesuch. Prof. Kahn called on someone who started fumbling around.

After a few moments of this, Kahn interrupted him: "I think you're missing the threshold issue."


"Should Ohio State be considered an institution of higher education?"