Thursday, August 07, 2003

We Are Family

Got my first piece of critical email yesterday, and even better than that, it's from my sister! Check this out:

Hi Dave -

OK - I know you are focusing on baseball and your stats - but how did you miss the opportunity to talk about the basketball owner who thinks that charges of sexual assault are good for the NBA? I have blocked out the guy's name at the moment. He couldn't pronounce "notoriety" either! Maybe his remarks lend credence to your earlier comments about all the NBA players being arrested - maybe they are all trying to sell more tickets to their games! Does the NBA now make as much sense as reality TV?

Just a thought -


I love the "your stats" part. Baseball and YOUR stats! Like I'm playing with matchbox cars on the floor. She has a point, though. This story does seem to be right up my alley, and I missed it due to BAP. Of course, the Kobe trial is going to be around us for a while, so I'm going to tackle it today. Below I break up all of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's statements, and see if there is any validity to any of them.

"From a business perspective, it's great for the NBA. It's reality television, people love train wreck television and you hate to admit it, but that is the truth, that's the reality today."

The second part is true. The first part is false. No one is going to become a legitimate basketball fan because of the Kobe trial, but many who are borderline will shy away from the league.

"From a business perspective, the UNFORTUNATE REALITY is that in this country notoriety sells. You only need to look at Mike Tyson as the No. 1 draw in boxing as proof," Cuban wrote. "I went back and tried to find examples in the entertainment business where it hurt. I couldn't."

The first sentence is true, no matter how Cuban pronounces "notoriety". The second one is suspect. The last casts doubts about Cuban's research skills.

It's easy to forget how great a fighter Tyson was when he was younger. Iron Mike would absolutely terrify opponents, and then make their worst fears come true, knocking them senseless in one or two rounds. Had Tyson not already built that reputation, none of his missteps (to put it kindly) would have mattered. It's certainly arguable that had Tyson taken care of himself, grown as a fighter, and had several more years of great fights instead of the sideshows he's been putting on, that he would have made even more money, not less. Of course, he still would have wound up declaring bankruptcy.

As for examples of where notoriety has failed, I can think of a few right away. In the NBA alone, how about the Portland Trailblazers? Half of their team has a criminal record, and I don't see them being a major draw. Tonya Harding. She should be doing commentary all over every skating event. Pete Rose. The all-time hit king can't get an endorsement deal. And how about Kobe? How much is this going to cost him in future endorsement deals? Non-sports? How about Robert Downey Jr.? Or Peewee Herman?

"It will draw viewers," Cuban wrote. "I'm not saying this is a good thing. I'm not saying it's a positive reflection of who we are as a country. It's just reality. It sells papers, it increases TV ratings. The NBA will benefit from that."

"Take away the personal aspect and the reality is that there will be more people watching our game against the Lakers," Cuban told USA Today. "Who do you know won't watch the Lakers game with Kobe?"

Well, it sure sounds like he's saying its a good thing. And it does sell papers. But increase TV ratings? Maybe for the opener, and Court TV. But suddenly the NBA can't put Kobe in their promos anymore, and a lot of parents will be less enthusiastic to plunk their child down in front of a Laker game. In the long run, ratings will suffer, at least a little. Even if the ratings do go up for the opener, people who aren't basketball fans will remember why they're not basketball fans, and turn the game off. Watching Kobe run and jump will not be all that interesting to them.

"I don't want to compare Kobe with O.J. (Simpson) because Kobe's case hasn't been decided, but the reality is there is more interest in him (Kobe) now."

There is more interest in Kobe right now, but only as a celebrity, not as a basketball player. And don't compare him to OJ before or after the trial. As bad as the charges against him are, he's not accused of killing someone.

In the end Cuban made himself look like an ass. But having said that, in general I love the guy. Sports needs loudmouth owners who care about winning at all costs. They're more important than even the Kobe's of the world. He needs to restrict his statements to the basketball arena, but he shoudn't stop talking. I like the way David Stern always has to deal with this real-live person tainting his drive to attract ten-year olds.

BAP Scores -

Minnesota 7 Baltimore 3
BAP - Min .769, Bal .719
OPS - Min .486, Bal .463
I've seen this a surprising number of times. Minnesota wins with no walks.

Toronto 7 Tampa Bay 3
BAP - Tor .674, TB .333
OPS - Tor .886, TB .600
Take a look at this play(from ESPN):

-V Wells singled to center.
-C Delgado safe at second on error by second baseman M Anderson, V Wells scored.

What exactly did Marlon Anderson do that allowed Vernon Wells to advance three bases, eat the ball?

Boston 4 Anaheim 2 From Tim at Musings From RSN

BAP - Bos .650, Ana .513
OPS - Bos .915, Ana .686
How do you leave Pedro in for that many pitches in a 4-1 game? They had to warm Kim up anyway. The truth is, Grady's too scared of him to take him out. I'll be so glad when Theo brings his own manager in.

BAP and OPS start off Contest II 3-0.

If you liked Beth's letter, that's good, because she may be chipping in with some college hoops coverage come winter. I'm really going to need help once Labor Day rolls around, so if you have any inclination to participate at all feel free to contact me.

Dave's Email


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