Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo’s Big League Stew joins the show to talk all about the current season in Major League Baseball. Of course we recorded the show yesterday afternoon, which was before news broke that the legendary Ernie Harwell had passed away.
Here’s my take at The Sporting Blog, with help from friend of the show and Tigers writer Ian Casselberry. Also, read Harwell’s amazing essay on baseball over at Sporting News. It’s worth it today.
Kaduk and I talk about a lot of things. Descriptive, I know. We discuss the amazing length of the Ryan Howard contract debate that, honestly, seemed about as long as the extension itself. This obviously leads to a little talk about the “stat heads” who I’m sure, by now, hate me even though I am really far more on board with advanced stats than they seem to think.
We talk about the attendance issues in baseball and if it’s a real legit concern for MLB. What can they do to get more people in the stadium? Why won’t cities with strong baseball traditions, like Houston, show up for a game between Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt? Why do the Nationals fans care more about a AAA start for Strasburg than the fact that their current team is right in the NL East race at the start of May?
And if the answer is to give out ticket packages for pennies on the (current MLB) dollar, then how in the world will teams be able to afford to pay players what they’re making? If Albert Pujols is worth $35 million dollars a year — and he probably is worth that (or more) — can the Cardinals afford to pay him, plus Matt Holliday, plus their other players and terrific pitching staff?
Kaduk points out a chicken v. egg concept that the players make the money because fans pay those ticket prices, pointing out that we’re not paying the prices just so teams can afford to pay the players that much money.
We spend some time talking about the young crop of talent in the majors, including one Jason Heyward. Can he be a huge star, or is he benefitting from his newness? And is there too much pressure on a guy like Heyward and other young stars. Sheesh, the NY Post likened Ike Davis to Don Mattingly after 10 games. Could they end up like Evan Longoria, or will they be the next Alex Gordon?
Thanks for listening. Oh, and little Zoe and I got to meet Charlie Manuel yesterday and he signed her hat. Pretty cool stuff and awesome that a three year old girl was excited to meet a crusty old baseball guy. Circle of life.