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Archive for the 'Baseball Insight' Category

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“Bizball” Coming to Forbes, Weekly Column for FanGraphs

29th July 2010

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve said much here, which, when you think about it isn’t very bright of me since doing a Google search points you to here. Makes sense, right? After all, Sports Bash has the URL of MauryBrown.com.

But, there’s been more than a lot going on, and it’s about time I updated you all on it.

For one, the All-Star Game was a great success for me, and out of it, a chance meeting on the media bus back from the game with Dave Cameron has translated into a weekly column for FanGraphs. With the Texas Rangers bankruptcy case having so many twists and turns leading up to the auction on Aug 4, it seemed perfect to start with a look at Mark Cuban as a potential owner, even if he’s not yet committed to pursuing the club at auction. You can check my article archive on FanGraphs, going forward.

The other bit of news as that starting shortly I will have a dedicated blog on Forbes.com. I have been writing for them for a while as part of SportsMoney, but now, I will have “Bizball” as a place on Forbes to call my own. No, it is not a full-time paying gig (which if you are reading out there, and are looking I certainly could use), but it’s worth doing because, well… it’s Forbes. Putting that name on your resume certainly builds credibility.

That’s it, for now. With MLB’s postseason fast approaching I hope to be reporting from some of the games there. World Series? We’ll see. Also, look for me at this year’s Winter Meetings in Florida.

LATEST ON THE BIZ OF BASEBALL


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB All-Star Game, Forbes, and an Update on Bloomberg TV Sports Business Pilot

6th June 2010

All things considered, media has been good for me these days. Yes, I’m still looking for a full-time writing gig. Yes, I’d take a consulting or full-time position with a club or agency, but in the meantime, it’s nice to be wanted.

In mid-May I accepted an invitation to write for Forbes’ SportsMoney (see my article archive). Being a contributor gets me in some extremely fine company. Besides  Forbes senior writers and editors Michael Ozanian , Kurt Badenhausen, Tom Van Riper, and Paul Maidment, there’s sports economist and author Andy Zimbalist; Lee Igel an assistant professor at New York University; Andrew Brandt, the former player agent and president of the Green Bay Packers who is now president of the National Football Post; Wayne McDonnell who is Clinical Associate Professor of Sports Management at New York University, and one who has offered frequent content to BizofBaseball.com, and; Kristi Dosh, an attorney, baseball blogger, and one working on a book on collective bargaining in MLB.  Like I said, good company.

The Forbes work has been a nice add, and opens some doors, but the best news I’ve gotten in a long time is that I have been approved to cover the 2010 MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim this year. Getting your foot in the door for what is considered a “jewel event” by MLB is not easy for an independent new media writer, such as myself. While I have been freelancing for Yahoo Sports, The New York Post, Baseball America, and shortly, MSNBC, MLB approved BizofBaseball.com through their media affiliation program, a sign that they view the site as a legitimate news organization reporting in an “at large” capacity. Next stop? An attempt to get credentialed for the World Series. After that? Let’s see what happens at the Winter Meetings.

Finally, I reported last month that I was part of a sports business pilot for Bloomberg Television. Well, that show has been shelved. I need to contact one of the producers, but word is that the content filmed last month might be interspersed throughout regular programming on Bloomberg Television. Hey, just getting in front of the camera is always a great learning experience. Recall doing my first piece for ESPN and I felt like Albert Brooks’ character Aaron Altman in Broadcast News when he had the sweat machine turn on. The Bloomberg filming felt easier, which shows I’m either getting more comfortable doing television, or I realize that Bob Costas and Dan Patrick really have nothing to worry about.


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Posted in Baseball Insight, Maury Talkin' Sports, Maury's World | 3 Comments »

Bloomberg Television, Sports Business, and Me

24th April 2010

BloombergFilming

If there was ever a sign that sports business has moved out from “bookworm” to “family room”, it’s been the expansion of television programming dedicated to sports outside the lines. I big hat tip has to go to Darren Rovell, who, besides being the king of Gatorade history, has become a staple on CNBC for all things sports business. Others have followed Rovell, including Rick Horrow on CNN and FOX Sports.

Bloomberg News has jumped in with both feet into the world of sports. Whether it has been Bloomberg Sports, or their analytics products for baseball (see Bloomberg Sports Making Push to Be Heavy Weight in Baseball Analytics), the financial giant has seen that sports off the field has dollar signs attached to it.

I can now proudly say, I will be part of another Bloomberg foray into sports business.

On Friday I filmed a segment for a Bloomberg Television pilot show on sports business. The show is tentatively set to air in mid-June. This is TV so while I spent 30 minutes answering questions from the producers, if I see 5 mins. of air time, it will be a miracle. Still, 5 or 2 or 10, any face time is good time.

What did we discuss? MLB revenue-sharing, explaining the Luxury Tax, how Target Field benefits the Twins, whether a Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is good or bad for baseball, and early record low attendance for a few of the clubs… great stuff. I tip my hat to the producers who really did their homework.

And, to add to the filming, Bloomberg will use data that has been researched for BizofBaseball.com, with proper citation through graphics or voiceover.

I’ll be updating on this shortly, but it appears that the show will have MLB Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner as one of the guests on the initial show… I’m in fantastic company.

I really give it to Bloomberg to launching the show (and yes, I would have said this whether I was on the show, or not). It shows that sports business is becoming more and more of interest to the general public.

Look for more on the show as I get updates from Bloomberg


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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A 3-Part Series for Yahoo! Sports

23rd January 2010

They often tell you not to become a niche within a niche, but I can’t help it from Nov. to late Feb. That’s because it’s MLB salary arbitration season.

I have now become known as the “salary arb geek”, which strangely is okay by me. The process which is wholly unique to Major League Baseball so fascinates me due to its incredible weight that it places on how clubs structure payroll throughout the season.

For example, as of this posting, there are 31 players that have yet to reach agreements, or looking at it another way, 150 contracts that have been reached since mid-Nov. of last year for salary arbitration eligible players. Total salary cost (both single and multi-year agreements)? $543,520,002, or $336,970,002 for 2010. alone (see my updated tally running here)

To add to my obsessing over salary arbitration, I am doing a 3-part series for Yahoo! Sports, with the first one running this past Tuesday (see Evolution of salary arbitration: an ironic tale), part 2 running on Tuesday the 26th, and the final installment running shortly after the 21st of Feb. when salary arbitration is wrapped up for another year.

So, if you have your geek on, here’s some data I am tracking:


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Busy, Busy, Busy: The Baseball Winter Meetings

26th November 2009

First of all, a Happy Thanksgiving to you. Many of you will be sitting around stuffing yourself silly today. But, as those from other countries outside the U.S. will tell you, we’re the only ones that set aside a day just to give thanks. Sounds like giving thanks everyday might be a good idea, yes?

A week from Sunday, I’ll be dragging myself to the airport at around 4:30am and begin heading to Indianapolis for this year’s Baseball Winter Meetings. For those that don’t know what they’re all about, read my primer on them at The Biz of Baseball. When you decide to go to the meetings, you want to make the most of them, and this year, my dance card is getting filled quickly.

On Monday I will be sitting on a Media & Journalism panel (4:15pm) as part of a Baseball Career Conference being hosted by Sports Management Worldwide in conjunction with Lynn University and Baseball America.  Joining me on the panel will be Ben Hill of MiLB.com, and John Manuel , the Editor in Chief of Baseball America. And, that’s just one panel. Others that will be there include Ned Colletti, general manager of the Dodgers; Jeff Idelson, President of National Baseball Hall of Fame; Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus; Manny Colon, Florida Marlins, Manager of Player Development & International Operations; Chaim Bloom, Tampa Bay Rays Assistant Director of Minor League Operations; Tyrone Brooks, Cleveland Indians Scout, and a list of others too long to list.

That evening I’ll take my first trip over to the Trade Show, where I’ll be meeting with Populous (formerly HOK Sport) to talk stadium development, meet with Team Marketing Report, and get a general vibe of the Trade Show. Over the course of my time at the meetings, the idea is to get a feel for how the recession has hit the baseball industry and if there is movement out of the dark times.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be primarily focused on MLB’s side of things, with a parade of press conferences, and catching up with acquaintances in the media.

Lots of friends I’m looking forward to seeing, including Will Carroll, Brent Gambill of Sirius/XM Radio, Victor Rojas of MLB Network, Jerry Crasnick and Jayson Stark of ESPN, Ari Kaplan of AriBall, Shawn Hoffman of Squawking Baseball and Baseball Prospectus, Matthew Leach of MLB.com, Mark Smith the Minor League Video Coordinator for the A’s, and a bunch of others I’m probably missing.

In-between all this, I’m working on an essay for a St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training guide by Maple Street Press on Albert Pujols.

The biggest thing is I’ll be reporting the heck out the meetings; any trades, signings, etc. Look for The Biz of Baseball to be blanketed with winter meetings news Sun-Weds.

In the mean time, here’s some selected content on The Biz of Baseball that you might be interested in:


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Because It’s Good For You: Rob Neyer

15th November 2009

This is the first installment of a weekly column named, “Because It’s Good For You”. The premise of the column is to highlight a person or resource each week that I see of exceptional value. This week I start with ESPN Senior Baseball Writer, Rob Neyer.

It’s hard to place a value on what ESPN’s Rob Neyer has brought to fans of baseball’s analytical side. It’s fair to say that there are a legion of burgeoning sabermetricans due to his work. You have to look at Neyer as the gateway drug to Bill James; he’s made the complex digestible for years now on ESPN.com, and now through his companion blog, Sweetspot.

But, beyond the ESPN work, his “Big Book” series of publications have been entertaining reading on every level. Whether it has been Baseball Legends, or Lineups, or Blunders, which I was honored to have an essay in, they’re a great addition to your bookshelf.

Beyond the “Big Book” series, there’s The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, with, yes, Bill James. Or, Baseball Dynasties, and if you really want to dig in, click through Rob’s personal website.

Beyond all of this, Rob’s been as approachable as one can get. He’s been interviewed by many across the blogsphere, and this author as done so not, once, not twice, but several times (here, and here ,as well) .

So, do yourself a favor, because it’s good for you… Make Sweetspot a daily stop. And pick up one of Rob’s books. Your brain will thank you for it.


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Roger Clemens Should Have Listened to Momma

10th November 2009

If Twitter has done one thing, it’s taken a few bricks out of the wall between high profile public figures, the media, and their fans or detractors. For members of the media – alternative or mainstream – it’s another tool of the trade.

It also is a delicate dance.

How many stories have we read about athletes getting fined or being asked to please step away from the keyboard when it comes to Twitter? When you’re unfiltered, you can do harm, or good.

So, it was of interest to many when 11-time All-Star and 7-time Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens showed up on Twitter. Clemens, also is embroiled in a legal battle regarding alleged steroid use from his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee. Clemens was mentioned 82 times in the Mitchell Report via McNamee’s testimony (see The Biz of Baseball’s archive on the Mitchell Report).

Of a more serious nature, The Rocket may have lied before Congress regarding when he said he never used PEDs, especially after Andy Pettitte’s affidavit.

Reading Clemens on Twitter is a softball affair. But, sometimes Clemens throws something out there that can relate to his current legal dilemma.

Clemens was asked, “What is the best advice that you ever got?” Here’s the answer:

Well…a down right to the point one came from my mother- “Never get in a pissin’ contest with a skunk” Mine would be “love and work hard at what you do” and Give time to others. Understand sometimes you will fail, pick yourself up and go at it again! One that always hit home and says it all came from our grandmother…”if your a ditch digger, be the best ditch digger you can be!”

OK, ignore the misspellings (I now have a better understanding of his use of “misremembered” now)…  thinking of how Clemens might view McNamee, I saw what mother said, and latched onto it.

“I think you should have listened to mom. Certainly, not listened to Rusty. Get in front of it, like the others.”

“Getting in front of it” is a reference to the likes of Pettitte and Jason Giambi who realized that if they admitted – even vaguely – to using PEDs, the public (and more importantly, Congress) will get off your back and eventually move on. Look at Pettitte. His hGH use was barely mentioned during the World Series.

Roger’s reply?

Trying to decipher Clemenspeak, the reference to “how do you prove a negative” appears to be a reference to McNamee. As for “wallet chaser”… well, I guess we know how he feels about Rusty Hardin these days.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Hank Steinbrenner, Levine, Selig, Others… Quotes on MLB’s Salary Cap

9th November 2009

Some of the most popular material that I (here, here, here, and here), or others such as Pete Toms and Matthew Coller at the Business of Sports Network have covered has been on salary caps in sports, namely, MLB’s.

I’m against it for a number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel that some other method of restraining high spenders (namely, the Yankees) can’t be done outside of a hard cap system (see Reasons for Not Having a Salary Cap in MLB are Numerous).

But, what are others saying? Here’s a handful of quotes:

“Having the largest payroll doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to win. We’ve seen that time and time again. Thankfully, we had some payroll come off of our books, and we were able to use that money, make some good decisions, and get players who were able to improve our team.” - Hal Steinbrenner

“If we start getting refunds from the [luxury tax and revenue-sharing] checks we’ve been writing, then we’ll take those kind of complaints seriously.” - Yankees President Randy Levine

“We’ve have more competitive balance than at any other point in our history,” he said. “I’m not in the least bit concerned [about the need for a salary cap].” – Commissioner Selig

“At the rate the Yankees are going, I’m not sure anyone can compete with them. Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap.” – Brewers owner, Mark Attanasio

“It might be convenient to look at the huge increase in overall revenue and say that the game isn’t broke and it doesn’t really need fixing, but the bottom line isn’t the only bottom line in this case. When you have one player making as much as a whole other team, something is seriously out of whack.” – Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun

“And you know why baseball may never have a salary cap. The union has ceded so much lately with revenue sharing and drug testing that Selig won’t risk labor peace over a cap when the collective bargaining agreement expires in two years. And it’s not like salary caps have been cure-alls, given the background saber-rattling presently occurring in the NFL and NBA.” – Michael Hunt, NewsOK


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Sammy Sosa Proves Being a Metrosexual Has Its Consequences

8th November 2009

Vanity has a new address, and his name is Sammy Sosa.

By now, you’ve probably heard and seen the pictures. Sosa appeared Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for the Latin Grammys om Wednesday. As the pictures above show, Sammy is, well… a bit pale.

David  Brown on Yahoo! Sports’ Big League Stew asked,  What in the name of Michael Jackson is up with Sammy Sosa?

Apparently, vanity.

“He’s not trying to be Michael Jackson,” said former Cubs employee Rebecca Polihronis to the Chicago Tribume.  Polihronis says she talks frequently with Sosa.

Well then, what’s the deal?

“He is going through a rejuvenation process for his skin,” Polihronis said. “Women have it all of the time. He was surprised he came out looking so white. I thought it was a body double. Part of (the photo appearance) is just the lighting.

“He is in the middle of doing a cleansing process to his skin. The picture is deceiving. He said, ‘If you saw me in person, you would be surprised. When you see me in person, it is not going to seem like the picture.’

“People who saw him in person did not react the same way. He can’t believe it is such a big deal.”

Well, he’s added green contacts in the past few years, which adds to the whole effect. If it was the lighting, then how come Derrick Fisher didn’t look he was scared half to death when he was photographed in Las Vegas at the Lagasee’s Stadium party?

I keep waiting for Sammy to say, “The camera adds 10 pounds,” thus explaining the <ahem> possible use of steroids in the past.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Key Off-Season Dates on MLB’s Calendar (and notes about them)

7th November 2009

When I interviewed Victor Rojas from MLB Network a couple of weeks ago, we had a “like minded” moment. I’ve said this for years, but here’s what he said:

And I think that’s the beauty of our game and our industry, and that is where our Network is at an advantage, when you compare it to the NFL Network or the NHL and NBA’s efforts because baseball is a year-round sport. Let’s say that the World Series didn’t go into November, we would still have free agent filings, non-tender deadline, 6 year minor league free agents, you’ve got the baseball Winter Meetings, free agent signings, arbitration cases and 15 days to pitchers and catchers report and all the sudden, you’re into Spring Training, and it starts all over again. That’s why I don’t think you have to expand baseball on the field, for as long as possible on the calendar so that we keep it in the social consciousness…

While I cover the NFL, NHL, and NBA, I pay closer attention to MLB in the off-season than any other time (and this after I consulted for an NBA franchise for this year’s draft).

So, here’s the calendar leading up to when pitchers and catchers can voluntarily report on Feb. 18:

  • Through Nov. 19 — Free agent filing period.

See The Biz of Baseball’s Free Agency, Trades, and Signings for details on the first three days

  • Nov. 9-11 — General managers meetings, Chicago.

One wonders if the topic of expanded instant replay will be on the agenda. You can bet, the economy will be.

  • Nov. 18-19 — Owners meeting, Chicago.

Originally, many thought (me included) that this would be when the ownership transfer of the Cubs from Tribune to the Rickettses would happen. Was so important, they did the vote via conference call. So, what will this meeting be about? Economy, economy, economy. If Bob DuPuy or somehow, Bud Selig makes it to the Winter Meetings, I plan on asking about the blackout situation with MLB Extra Innings. Fat chance that gets resolved any time soon.

  • Nov. 30-Dec. 4 — Major League Baseball Players Association executive board meeting, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Michael Wiener will be officially voted in as the next Executive Director of the MLBPA

  • Dec. 1 — Last day for teams to offer salary arbitration to their former players who became free agents.

On your mark…

  • Dec. 7 — Last day for free agents offered salary arbitration to accept the offers.

Get set…

  • Dec. 7-10 — Winter meetings, Indianapolis.

Request for media credentials are in, booking flight shortly thereafter. Looking to attend Sunday evening to Weds. morning. I will, most likely be part of Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball Career Conference (see details here). Here’s who’s tentative to speak (besides me): Jay Miller, President, Round Rock Express Baseball Club (AAA-Astros), Bruce Baldwin, General Manager, Gwinnett Braves (AAA-Braves), Benjamin Hill, Baseball Writer, MiLB.com, Jeff Idelson, President, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Mark Galuska, Director of Marketing & Sales, Columbus Clippers (AAA-Indians), Oscar Suarez, MLB Agent, Suarez & Associates,my good friend, Will Carroll, Senior Writer for Baseball Prospectus, Ryan Latham, Boston Red Sox Fenway Ambassador, Bobby Brett, Brett Sports & Entertainment & Spokane Indians Managing Partner, Bob Masewicz, Total Sports Entertainment Owner, John Manuel, Baseball America Editor in Chief, and Dr. Lynn Lashbrook and Joe Bonahoom of Sports Management Worldwide.

If you are going to the Winter Meetings, leave note in the comments.

  • Dec. 12 — Last day for teams to offer 2010 contracts to unsigned players.

2010

  • Jan 5-15 — Salary arbitration filing.

GO!…  As it is every year, I will be doing comprehensive reporting on salary arbitration on The Biz of Baseball. This year will provide even more data than last year. Here are filings for the last few years.

  • Jan. 6 — Hall of Fame BBWAA voting announced.

Fluff

  • Jan. 19 — Exchange of salary arbitration figures.

Same as every other year, including last year (here they are)

  • Feb. 1-21 — Salary arbitration hearings, St. Petersburg, Fla.

If anyone gets to hearing, I track the outcome, including which arbitors are on the panels, and the outcomes (see complete historical reference)

Lots, and lots to do. That’s why, baseball season never ends.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown’s full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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