Category Archives: Baseball as a Business

And arbitration begins….

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always thought arbitration was a little funny.  My twitter feed was bombarded today with the awkward numbers of a player asking for 1 billion dollars and the club offering 100k.  In most cases, especially in other sports, this is done behind closed doors in some office with floor to ceiling glass or via Blackberry.

This strange negotiation can by made more familiar with a common story from home.  At the end of the week my kid comes to me and says that he thinks he should get $10 for allowance.  I say I think he should only get $5.  He then goes on to explain how all his other friends are little jerks and he is much better than them – plus he vacuumed.  I then tell him how he disappointed me this week by not handing me the remote when I asked and by accidentally punching me in balls.  We go back and forth a bit while his mother listens.  After 15 minutes she walks over and hands him $7.

Some of the more interesting arbitration numbers:

  • Reds pitchers: Mat Latos-$4.7M v $4.15M, Mike Leake-$3.5M v $2.65, Homer Bailey-$5M v $4.75M
  • Chase Headley: $10.3M v $7.075M
  • David Freese: $3.75M v $2.4M
  • Max Scherzer: $7.4M v $6.05M
  • Sergio Romo: $4.5M v $2.675M
  • Murphy’s: David $6.5M v $5.05M Daniel $3.4M v $2.55M

Good luck to all the players owners agents and lawyers.

Honestly? Shame on you

So yesterday I got in touch with Jay Bruce’s agent. My request was simple. I wanted to interview Jay either via e-mail or on the show and ask him a few questions that I figured if I genuinely wanted to know; all you readers out there would as well (i.e. ‘Who is the toughest pitcher you’ve faced in MLB, etc.).
While there are a lot of Reds fans who read Diamond Hoggers there are fans from all over baseball who come to the site. We’ve mentioned before why Bruce is our favorite player, that’s not important here. The content we put on this blog about him is solely to promote and represent him in a positive light. It’s free promotion to the Reds on one of their best commodities.
Unfortunately; I’m writing this post because my favorite organization is ran by a bunch of boobs in suits that do not know how to treat clients. Their best clients.
Here’s the email exchange, this is the initial e-mail that went to Reds Director of Media Relations Rob Butcher:
Hi Rob,
Please see below (copy of e-mail from Jay Bruce’s agent).
Yesterday I wrote Jay Bruce’s agent, _________. My request is a simple one, I would like to do an interview with Jay that helps to promote his popularity not only with the Reds fan base, but also fans all around Major League Baseball.
On our site Diamond Hoggers, we have followed his career closely since he made his debut in 2008. We have always written positively about Jay and it would really be a great piece for all of our readers from the Reds fan base to get to read or listen to an interview with Jay, as well as the readers that visit from every fan base in Major League Baseball.
We would work around Jay’s schedule, and we would send a list of questions that we would ask beforehand if needed. Any questions you would like included could be added and anything you would not like included would be taken out. This interview could be done by email or by telephone, whichever the organization and Jay would prefer.
Mainly, we are HUGE fans of the Reds and Jay and want to create a neat piece of material that connects to the fan base in a positive manner. I think Jay would be comfortable doing an interview with me based on our past writing about him and his career. I really appreciate your time and consideration.
(signed)
Rob fires back pretty quickly. Does not even address me personally.
We appreciate your interest in Jay and the Reds, but because of the large number of requests we get for phone interviews, we don’t book guests for web sites other than those associated with MLB, its rightholders and our local news organizations.
Okay. I understand what he’s saying and was warned about the Reds snarkiness as an organization towards this type of stuff. But really, what do they have to lose? How many interviews are they really getting asked about each day? How many of those people bleed for the Reds?
I write Mr. Butcher back: (Sent at 11:22 AM)
Wow, really?
I don’t think it has to be so formal, really. It doesn’t have to be a phone interview, it could be as simple as a few questions via e-mail.
As someone who represents one of the fans in your upper-tier, I think this is poor business to be honest with you. Whether this is a Reds decision, or an MLB policy; I do not know. But when the sport and the organization take a look at numbers and wonder why things aren’t the same, it is these formalities and policies that cause the sport to suffer. I’m not directing this solely at you, I understand you’re doing your job and this most likely isn’t your rule. But it’s something to consider and maybe discuss in-house. Blogs are huge today, they’re a lot bigger then newspapers as you are probably starting to realize.
I’m trying to help the organization and the player here. I don’t think there are that many web sites out there that are trying to do something similar to this that push the Reds and Bruce as hard as we do. Also, how is what I would like to do any different than what Yahoo Big League Stew did last year around this time? (As you can see I link the interview with Jay on BLS)
They, like us, are a baseball blog on the internet.
Again, I respect your policy and appreciate your timely response to me. I’m a Reds fan and always will be. But this is something puzzling to me. I’ve been one of the 12,000 guys sitting at the games in September when we’re 17 games back and nothing to play for.
I’m trying to help. Thanks again,
(signed)
Mr. Butcher fires back, and really this is why I’m writing this post. Notice above in bold I sent that last e-mail which was a bit lengthy at 11:22 AM.
Rob Butcher writes back within 30 seconds to me at 11:22 AM:
I appreciate you opinion.
No signature. No explanation. Nothing. Just a cold door slam in the face.
I think back to the times I honestly sat and watched this organization when I was sick; I think back to the times that I made the two hour drive from Columbus to watch them just because I love them when we were 17 games out in September when I could have been watching the NFL instead.
I think about the times I talked my girl out of a romantic dinner only to take her to a Reds game and convince her it was a better date, knowing I’d have to probably hear about it later on. Or how about this past winter when we went to Redsfest for our anniversary gift to eachother. Or about the times I went to the games after working downtown alone instead of going home and going to the gym like I should have.
None of these things make me above any other Reds fan; but I’m shocked at how easily one can be treated like they mean nothing. And the fact is, to the Reds; maybe I do mean nothing. Fair enough. I’m just a number. A statistic. An ant through the gates.
I might not understand baseball economics or sabermetrics or be able to scout talent at the Major League Level, but I do understand business. This was a bad business decision. At the very least, a little kindness and just the effort to pay it forward can go a long ways in life. But of course standing in the way is MLB’s policies or should I say the Reds policies.
Will I make the Reds pay for it? No. I won’t. I’ll still go to my 15-20 games all the way from Columbus, and I’ll still check the box scores each and every day if we’re 12 games out in September.
Shouldn’t that be the type of fan you cater to as well? I realize I’m not a season ticket holder, but shouldn’t every team in baseball want fans like myself? I think to a degree that fans like me are the only reason baseball survived.
But it’s not because of Mr. Redlegs that I do this. It’s not because the suits in the Front Office are class acts. Today I realized that for good. People who root for the te
am on the jersey, and not the name on the jersey? Well they’re wrong too sometimes.
I’ll continue to root for the Reds and be a die-hard because of class acts like Jay, Joey Votto, Danny Ray Herrera, Brandon Phillips, Arthur Rhodes, Dusty Baker and some of the other guys on the team who I believe and have heard are quality individuals. When or if they ever leave town? Who knows at this point. This experience rubs me the wrong way in a big time manner.
I wrote Mr. Butcher one more response to no avail, as he didn’t have the decency to respond to me since I made an actual point. His original response to me really lacked detail in a lot of ways of which I’ll skip out on.
Here’s my last e-mail to Rob Butcher:
You didn’t answer my question.
How is what I was asking to do, any different then the interview done here?
Sorry to go off on a tangent. I think I make some decent points, and it really brought to head another issue. The Reds wonder why they’re struggling to draw 20,000 people a game; my answer would be–or a question to them rather–are you exhausting all avenues to sell your product? No, they’re not based on these actions.
I’ll continue to do my best to support Jay and write positively about his career; as well as many of the Reds. But it’s because I like the players and respect what they do and who they are. It has nothing to do with the organization at this point.
I’m done for the day. This is like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real. E-mail me at Diamondhoggers_at_gmail_dot_com and let me know your thoughts. Not saying I’m right this is just how I feel, and there’s a lot of passion with it.
And if you want to e-mail Rob Butcher and let him know? His e-mail is RButcher_at_reds_dot_com. Just don’t expect him to care.

Reds go with Coke over Pepsi

The PEPSI Power Stacks in all their glory
The Reds have decided to sign a 5-year deal with Coca Cola, ending a relationship with Pepsi that dates back to 2003 when the park opened.
Initially, Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Dasani will be sold at the park.
Both parties were unwilling to speak about pricing, but one agency source said it was a low-seven-figure-per-year deal. Coke will activate with a still-to-be-determined Reds player and it also gets pass-through rights for restaurant and retail partners, with sweepstakes that will give away vouchers for Reds tickets, Cokes and hot dogs at select games. The Reds also hope to use the new Coke tie to generate cup promos and the like with local quick service restaurants.
I try not to drink a lot of soda to begin with. I drink even less at the ballpark due to the 400% price hike. But this move makes it a lock that I never purchase a soft drink at the stadium. I’ve always preferred Pepsi to Coke and always will. Just a personal choice.
But I liked this quote by Coke spokesman. The guy knows how to warm a Reds fan up:
“Cincinnati’s an iconic team brand in baseball and that’s really why we wanted them, because we think of ourselves that way also,” said John Cordova, Coke’s director of sports transaction management.
Iconic team in baseball? Why thank you, sir. We’re talking about the same big league city, right?