Thursday, February 23, 2006
Same Jeff obsession
New home, new name, and implicit permission to keep watching Angel games even though Jeff won't be playing in them (except in June when the Angels play the D-backs)
Update your bookmarks, and thanks for reading!
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
In related reading, an analysis of why women should be able to compete equally in Ice Hockey... which is somewhat undercut by a press release from my high school which states that the Olympic team was scrimmaging high school men's teams to prepare for the Olympics, and they seemed to be loosing to the boy's teams with regularity.
Last year I had this recurring nightmare that Major League Baseball had decreed women needed to be on the teams and for some reason I was trying to get on the Angels. I sucked (this is what made it a nightmare) but they wouldn't let me quit. I've often wondered why baseball hadn't gone co-ed, but I tend to forget that physics is only part of the hitting-the-ball equation, and upper-body-strength is the main component.
Friday, February 10, 2006
I've been pretty clear that I think Arte can do what he wants, and I'm all for whatever elevates the team to a level that demands more respect and more marketing and advertising revenue. Plus, I live in LA, so I happen to feel a tiny bit better about all my driving and fan-energy being put into a team that isn't named for someplace fairly non-representative of the fans and the area. Also, Anaheim is responsible for the systematic destruction of some of the great googie architecture of the 1950's-1970's, and I'd like to think this is a tiny bit of cosmic payback.
Some on the web have cited as evidence that the Angels are an Orange County team this map of sports affiliations based on the in-progress work of the Common Census project. While I agree that the map certainly shows a concentration in Orange County, I think that the *current* fans as mapped in a project in the early stages are not really the issue.
The issue is attracting future fans and on-going corporate support, and there is another map by the same project that tells a story about that, and it is this map attempting to identify "cities of influence." You'll notice that the entire region is all about LA (although, again this is the early stages). Now, perhaps Anaheim had aspirations of being a Green Bay-like influence on the region (if you look at Wisconsin on the map, you'll notice that Green Bay has made itself a city of influence in a region that should probably still be Milwaukee-fied). But when the city you are fighting with for influence is LA, and isn't actually very far from you, that would strike me as a losing battle.
The most damning piece of evidence in the whole thing? Anaheim has a *part-time* mayor. Come on!
The city may appeal the ruling, but I'd urge them to spend that money on really big "you are in Anaheim" signs or something. Maybe they feel the trial is giving them their money's worth in PR. I don't know.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Jeff is a snake!
He's signed a 1-year major league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-backs, apparently concerned about Jeff's bad shoulder (a rumor confirmed!) have structured the deal so that they are protected if Jeff cannot contribute on a daily basis due to his shoulder. There is an option for year 2.
All the Jeff fans will be very very pleased to hear this, I'm sure. Congrats to Jeff and his family, this looks like a nice deal in a good situation where he can play more if he performs well. I see trips to Phoenix in our future, and not just for Spring Training.
Details of the deal can be found everywhere (that AP, I swear, it's like everyone knows when it goes out on AP)
Official release here
Best article is here
Key dates for Jeff fans
the Diamondbacks are at Dodger Stadium:
Friday, April 21 - Sunday, April 23
Monday, July 3 - Wednesday, July 5
Friday, September 22 - Sunday, September 24
The Angels are at Chase Field:
Friday, June 23 - Sunday, June 25
With JeffWatch 06 finally behind us (that was close, players report to spring training pretty darn soon!), we here at Watching Jeff Davanon are pleased to announce that in the coming weeks we'll be re-launching as Watching All Angels. WJD will probably stay open in some capacity for the 10 of us who have a Jeff obsession, as well as being folded into the new site.
According to Ken Rosenthal over at FoxSports, Arizona is once again interested in signing Jeff. This time to a one-year $525k deal with a player option for '07.
DaVanon, 32, figures to get considerable playing time in the Diamondbacks' outfield, likely sharing time in center with Eric Byrnes and possibly spelling Luis Gonzalez in left.Arizona has always seemed like a good fit for Jeff. And more importantly/selfishly, Phoenix is geographically close enough to us to get our "Jeff fix" on a semi-regular basis either in AZ or when the Diamondbacks visit the Dodgers.
His signing also will enable the Diamondbacks to avoid rushing the developments of Carlos Quentin and Chris Young, two of the game's top outfield prospects.
Friday, February 03, 2006
But Keith keeps looking at Pearly Gates, and would like for us to move to our own domain and a non-blogger host, etc. I've certainly had dreams of a more sophisticated image gallery, and a top-level-domain of my very own has a certain appeal.
Lifehacker has had pretty good suggestions for webhosts and domain registrars, but other than the vanity aspect of it, and the ability for the site to do things that I don't actually know how to do, I'm not really sure what the argument is for moving. And other than guaranteed uptime %, I'm at a loss as to what else to look for. How much space do I need? What is a reasonable amount of bandwidth? What is a sub-domain and do I want one? I'm not against the idea on principal, it would be nice to acquire some more web skills even if the usefulness of moving isn't apparent right now. If anyone has tips, words of advice, or whatever, please post a comment or e-mail me. Such a huge array of choices paired with my lack of knowledge about so many of the basics is just a recipe for disaster.
Oh, and I have no plans to leave Blogger. I've had to maintain sites that were on Typepad and MT and other than categories (which don't suit my style of posting anyway) I never understood the draw. I had to build a blog on typepad once, and it was a seriously clunky thing.
raise your hand if you think it is funny that "blog" is not in the blogger spell-check dictionary.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
It's select-a-seat, that special time of year when dreams are crushed, the strong and fast rise to the top, and any advances that technology may have made in the past 20 years are employed only as they relate to the ancillary practice of photocopying.
If you have, or wish to have season tickets, this is the week when you can change your location or add additional seats to your account (new rule: max of 6 per account! this is not a good year to enter into the ticket re-selling business).
They group us up by seniority and release us on the stadium in packs every hour or so. We run around the stadium like crazed animals trying to spot seats tagged with white papers, which indicate they are available to buy. We then sit in those seats, look out onto the "field" which is always landscaped in dirt for some monster truck or motocross event, and try to decide if we like these better than our old ones. Then you remove the white papers, and stand in line to make your change.
The vulnerabilities of this system are almost too numerous to count. Problem #1, you have to go to Anaheim. Then, the marking of the seats is suspect... people sometimes tear off the tags, etc. But the biggest problem is that any seats "released" are not immediately made available to subsequent seat-hunters. For example, we traded our terrace seats for field seats farther down the baseline, but closer in. The terrace seats are better than the newer ones, but field level seats in the first few rows have a higher perceived value, and since we sell this pair of tickets 90% of the time, we wanted to maximize our ability to sell them and sell them for a good price. But those nice seats that we released are not made available to the 800 or so people that came in after us to pick seats Tuesday, they are not re-tagged until the next day. OK, this is only speculation on my part, based on observed staffing, staff behavior, and the fact that when you ask, they refuse to tell you how fast they re-tag released seats, which can only mean they aren't exactly proud of their speed. It only makes sense that they tag the seats each night, and not while the staff is busy processing all of us through. This is a stupid, inefficient, anachronistic process. And they tell you with such pride that they've done it this way for 6 years! Maybe I just resent driving down to Anaheim to look at dirt and watch grown-ups race through the concourses like 5-year olds.
I imagine one of the main reasons for doing it this way, and not moving to a more fair, automated on-line system, is that they think they are giving you this fantastic opportunity to "preview" the seats and get the best sense of the sightlines, etc. Well, the real reason is probably money, but the "story" they probably tell themselves is this "previewing" thing. This is a huge load of crap. The usefulness of previewing something when the field is not made up quickly approaches zero. For example, we spent our first year as season-ticket holders having to slouch a bit in our seats because my husband had incorrectly approximated the location of homeplate when selecting seats, and he'd picked the row where the railing blocks homeplate. Yes, you get a real sense of the distance, the nearest restroom, all those things. And those things are important. But the most important things is your view of the field, and without the field, we are only guessing. When you buy tix on eBay, people usually at least post the view from the section, which is more info than you have at select-a-seat.
The number of seats sold to season ticket-holders is rapidly approaching 30,000. There is quickly becoming nothing available to the public on the field level between the foul poles, between the bases in the upper sections, and in the right field pavilion area. A look at the pricing sheet for 2006 illuminates some interesting things:
The ticket prices in the area where the public can actually buy tickets is staying the same. All of the price increases, averaging 20%, are targeting sections which are almost 100% season ticket holders. The season ticket price is discounted from the single-game price, but in a situation where the public can't buy those tickets... the single-game ticket price becomes an arbitrary construct to justify raising the prices only for season-ticket holders. In a brilliant move, the Angels have instilled a sense of scarcity (forming a waiting list for season tickets, maxing accounts at 6 tickets) charged their core customers more for the product, but have kept the prices level for those seats that the general public actually buys (and frequently doesn't). There is informational asymmetry at work here, and this frustrates me. I'm being led to believe that these tickets are of great value, but it doesn't demonstrate a strong confidence in the product to only raise the prices of the pre-sold version. In most baseball cities with storied teams, the season ticket numbers are minimized, because single-game tickets command a higher price and are in demand.
In addition, the team has revised sections, creating new premium seats that didn't previously exist. If your seats have traditionally been behind the dugouts, you now get to pay extra for that, the person behind you pays the usual price, you get to shell out more. Even the price differential is screwy here: the difference between row C and row D is $5 on the single-game price... but it's $7.50 per game for season ticket buyers. (Dugout MVP is $55 for single tickets and $49.50 for season tickets, Field MVP is $50 for single tickets and $42 for season tickets). The difference in price between two sections should be higher in a single-game comparison than in a season-seat comparison. For example, there is a $14 difference in price for Terrace MVP and Terrace All- Star at the single game price and a $12 difference for season tickets.
If you've ever enjoyed a seat at the Knothole Club (and really, who has?) this is now a ticketed location, move it along. People are expected to shell out $50 per game for these seats, which are structured to include a F and B credit of an amount to be named later (it better be at least $20, otherwise save your cash and sit in the Club Loge (my pick for the worst seats for the price paid $30).
The View section has seen it's stock rise as well, a section in the middle of it has been carved out and designated "View MVP." Keep in mind that "Lower View MVP" already existed, so this premium is being applied only to the folks in the absolute top section of seats.
These section changes and price hikes come on the heels of a declining interest in season-seat-holder happiness over the past few years. Game attendance is up, but ushers have remained fairly static. Season-ticket-holder autograph sessions were quietly eliminated last year. [You'll notice that with Angelfest on hiatus this year, and the lapse in Sunday autographs and season ticket autographs, there are no longer any official autograph opportunities]. Other perks of season tickets have been phased out as well. The only enhancement that has been made is the ticketexchange, but even that has drawbacks and costs that we have yet to fully appreciate. This is the byproduct of success, and there isn't anything inherently wrong with it, but it is annoying to keep paying more for less. I curse the laws of supply and demand!
Of late, the mark of a true Angels' season-seat-holder is the quietly expressed wish that the team would have a lousy season or two, so as to weed out some of the fair-weather fans and elevate the station of those who remain. What can I say? We're in it for the long haul, and we'd prefer a better view of the action, and the return of season-ticket-holder autograph sessions.