Not sure if this baseball season feels like it just started or if it has taken forever. Both, I guess, at various times. But as you read this, the Angels are down to three and a half weeks of baseball.
Last week I wrote about the joys of being back at the ballpark. The Angels are middle of the pack both record wise and in attendance. Keep in mind overall attendance numbers throughout most of MLB will be lower than usual due to limited seating early in the season in most markets.
What I do find rather odd is the Angels ranking only 23rd in road attendance. Shohei Ohtani is the biggest thing in baseball and both Texas teams are high up on the average home attendance rankings. You’d think the Angels would sell better on the road.
These attendance figures, along with last year’s revenue losses, will certainly be cited in negotiations for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. As we head towards another possible (I’d say almost certain) labor stoppage, keep in mind a few things: 1. the current CBA expires on December 1st so all the post World Series roster moves and Qualifying Offers will go ahead as normal; 2. transactions can still take place without a CBA.
I’m willing to bet there won’t be many transactions taking place, however. Owners aren’t going to want to pony up for free agents without knowing the new luxury tax limits or amounts. Conversely, tight wads like Bob Nutting won’t pay for talent unless the new CBA makes them.
Taking a look at 2021 MLB payrolls, the discussed salary floor of $100 million would add $293 million to players pockets. This should be doable with no change to the luxury tax, based on a study of the existing CBA by baseball-reference.com:
“In Major League Baseball, 48% of local revenues are subject to revenue sharing and are distributed equally among all 30 teams, with each team receiving 3.3% of the total sum generated. As a result, in 2018, each team received $118 million from this pot.”
The question, if I’m an MLBPA rep or the owner of a big market team, is what keeps happening with that $118 million when teams fail to spend it on payroll year after year?
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s enjoy what there is to enjoy about 2021.
Shohei Ohtani is having the greatest season of all time per a guy smart enough to get into John Hopkins.
And he’s giving Japanese baseball a moment to savor. Nah, he’s giving Japanese baseball a summer to celebrate. That’s a really great piece there with some cool old pics. Probably my favorite link. Please read it.
Perry Minasian is letting the kids play and continues to add talent to the organization. This week the Angels signed 19 year old Cuban pitcher Jorge Marcheco. The kid has a 93 MPH fastball. Here’s some reggaeton and grainy footage of him from a couple years back.
He also signed a Cuban kid with some great bloodlines.
Elsewhere around baseball, as the Angels wrap up a short series against a disappointing Padres squad, just think of the disappointment in NY where 2021 was supposed to be the best Mets season in years. And the future doesn’t look all that bright, either.
And while we love to give Dodgers fans crap (and deservedly so a lot of the time) credit to the fans in blue who stepped in to protect Giants beat writer Susan Slusser last weekend.
Yankees announcer Suzyn Waldmen got caught in the downpour following Hurricane Ida and had to be rescued by some colleagues. She had just wrapped up calling the Yankees game here in Anaheim.
Last year I watched quite a bit of Korean Baseball Organization games before MLB ramped up. It is a fun brand of baseball with lots of balls in play and motion on the base paths.
Hopefully the KBO doesn’t give Manfred any ideas, but they’ve eliminated extra innings for the rest of the year. Games tied after 9 innings are considered ties.
Of course the most important thing this weekend is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I know I’ll always remember exactly where I was when I watched that second plane hit. 20 years. Wow.
Baseball will mark the anniversary with ceremonies across our nation. None will be as close to home as the Mets, and some details on their ceremony are out.
For many Americans, the return of baseball was a pivotal moment in 2001. I remember tearing up as Jack Buck spoke to bring the game back. And the biggest moment was Mike Piazza’s home run. A moment that lives on 20 years later.
I’ve spent many 9/11 anniversaries at the ballpark and wish I could this year too. No matter how you commemorate the event, please be safe.