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Odds and ends around baseball from the last few months you may have missed. Some odder than others.

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers
As they say at Miller Park, “cholesterol is armor for your arteries.”
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It’s time to clear out some open windows on my phone before it crashes and I lose them all, so here goes...

At Least They’re Not Blaming Millennials Edition

While MLB revenue and TV ratings are solid, attendance is down. “Commissioner Rob Manfred has maintained that poor weather early in the season is largely responsible,” writes Gabe Lacques, although Lacques isn’t quite buying it. Over at Forbes (they’re the folks who estimate team values), Maury Brown has a few answers, but largely attributes it to stadium factors. AKA, the “new car smell” of stadiums wears off eventually, and almost every team got a new stadium during the last 20 years. That’s old enough for attendance to dip, not old enough to ask for a replacement (unless you’re Atlanta!)

What’s your theory? Mine has a short and long version. The short version is “tickets cost too much.” The long version involves several decades of tax policy which I won’t dig into right now, I gots my own troubles. So do we all, so do we all...

At Least They Don’t Charge You To Pee Yet Edition

If you’re remotely interested in how stadium economics work, you have to read Neil DeMause & Joanna Kagan’s witty website Field Of Schemes.* If you don’t have time to learn the ins-and-outs of this issue, here’s a recent overview by Rick Paulas. (Which DeMause recommended.)

At the very end, Paulas goes off the rails a little; he suggests baseball adopt a system, like in English soccer, where the top teams in AAA get promoted and the worst teams in MLB demoted every year. His thought being, if cities knew they might soon be hosting minor-league crowds, they’d be less likely to get soaked for bad stadium deals.

That’s fine, in theory, although in practice MLB would never let that happen. Plus, Paulas gets excited about “a World Series between Albequerque and Dayton, while Yankees and Red Sox fans spend an embarrassing season rooting for a team in the minors. That’s a win-win.” Nice sentiment; still, ask any English soccer fan if Team Bumblefartshire is ever going to beat the richest clubs with the richest owners. Up to that finish, a solid article.

*(The asterisk on Field Of Schemes is because I believe I’ve seen our old friend Jesse S. in the comments section. So now I don’t read the comments section.)

At Least They Once Had Vin Scully Edition

It sure looks like the Dodgers have been cheating when it comes to international signings. Not just, y’know, break MLB rules cheating. Like, they’re under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice cheating. Whitney McIntosh explains the allegations as simply and amusingly as he can, including this magnificent paragraph:

Yes, the Dodgers as an organization made a chart of how criminal each employee was and then actually included a category straight up called “criminal.” Then apparently kept it around for someone to turn over to the feds. We didn’t say anywhere in this post that these teams were smart about the extensive corruption infesting the sport.

I once broke company policy at my old job and snuck a peek at my employee file in the corporate office. Lots of insubordination (naturally!), nothing criminal. That’s a relief; I keep worrying they’ll eventually find the $10 million I embezzled.

Incidentally, the DoJ is investigating other teams as well. It ain’t just the Dodgers.

At Least It’s Not Coors Light Edition

For a bubblier read, here’s Matt Osgood with a bit on booze-foam locker-room celebrations. Fun history, if a bit quick, on the ties between baseball & beer (there’s a LOT more to go into there). As for who started the pennant-winning spray-fest, even the Hall Of Fame doesn’t know.

Osgood makes the excellent point that with clinching the division, or a wild-card-spot, then winning the wild-card-game, then winning the first round, etc., there’s just too dang much perfectly good alcohol being wasted when teams really haven’t gotten that far yet.

In a book about the 1965 Twins, it said that when they won the American League, lifelong abstainer Harmon Killebrew sipped a beer with the team. He had religious reasons for not drinking, yet just that once, he shared a moment with friends. No prude, the Killer.

At Least He’s Not Designing Killer Robot Bees Edition

Cleveland’s All-Star pitcher, Trevor Bauer, was an engineering undergrad at UCLA, and his dad IS an engineer. Dyani Sabin uses their story to explain some physics of how pitching works. Don’t worry, it’s not too science-y, it’s a lot of stuff you already know, different pitches move differently and so on.

The great bit is how Bauer and his dad worked together on developing his new slider. With math & graphs! They sat down and mathed this stuff out for ages over how he should grip the ball, what arm angle, etc. They used these data points on a ball:

Maybe the Twins should hire Bill Nye, he used to work for Boeing. Just a thought.

At Least They Got Their Day In Court Edition

Finally, the priceless Craig Calcaterra shares a curious court case involving the Reds vs. the State of Ohio. Basically, Ohio was trying to collect $88K in back taxes against the Reds because of bobblehead giveaways. The Reds fought it (seriously, Reds, you can’t afford $88K?)

The Reds won, but only by claiming that the bobbleheads weren’t a free giveaway, they were included in the ticket price. (Ohio tax law stuff.)

So, Calcaterra notes, this means if you buy a ticket for bobblehead day and you don’t get one, you are legally being defrauded by the Reds. The team’s CFO actually said, in court, that “‘the Reds would “make it right” in ways such as giving another promotional item or complimentary tickets to fans who had failed to receive the designated items.’” (Cincinnatti, the Cleveland CFO says “thank you.”)

Are bobbleheads even that much of a ticket draw, anymore? I know some people collect them, and that’s great, but just sell ‘em in the dang gift shop already. I sure wouldn’t mind seeing the end of that “first 10,000 fans” crap. Especially for anything aimed at kids.

At Least This Link Post Is Over Edition

So, there you go! The real link post people will be back next week, as usual... unless they died from undercooked turkey, in which case I would advise friends & family to honor their memories by buying a dang meat thermometer.