The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Oh joyous day...

Sports Illustrated has chosen the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series this year (over the Yankees - what a stretch, but such bold predictions are sure to sell tons of magazines to the Cubbie and Bronx faithful).

As you know I am not a Cubs fan, but I am a believer in the SI curse (and I am also not a fan of SI in general - as is the case of most Miami alums), so I am taking the magazine's prediction of the Cubs return to glory as a sure sign that the Cubs curse will live another year.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


With all of the scandals that have plagued college athletics over the past year (hey - if you see Larry Eustachy please buy him a Natty Light for me to celebrate his new coaching gig) the NCAA is reportedly looking into studying graduation rates. This is hypocritical and pointless. We're talking about dozens of universitiies that look the other way when sex parties and alcohol are provided to teenagers during recruiting trips (allegedly). If that sort of thing is happening before the student-athletes are enrolled and on campus, who knows what's happening on a typical Friday or Saturday night.

Does anyone really think that if the NCAA starts monitoring graduation rates it will actually improve the education that student-athletes are getting? I for sure don't. Sure - graduation rates are likely to go up, but that will likely only result in devaluing the diplomas others of us earned from these same universities. If a university needs to improve its graduation rates in order to earn a bowl bid or to get an invite to the NCAA basketball tournament, the easiest thing to do will be to start graduating kids, even if it involves fake grades. A simple incentive of monitoring or requiring minimum graduation rates won't do anything except encourage even more cheating. Hopefully the NCAA won't do something as naive as this which will only make the problem worse.

In other news, the University of Miami is allegedly looking into buying out men's basketball coach Perry Clark and replacing him with former St. John's coach Mike Jarvis. Great. The University is looking to spend $2.5 million to buy out a coach who can't win in order to replace him with a coach who couldn't win with his last program (formerly a perennial national power) and whose players got out of rape charges this season by taping their encounter with a stripper on their cellphones.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Opening Day is just around the corner. The Yankees and Devil Rays are just about set to get on a plane and head to Japan for some exhibitions and to open the season. Not long after that we'll have some real games that count and a few days after that it will be Opening Day for the World Series Champion Florida Marlins. Yes, I'll probably say that a lot this year because there won't be a heck of a lot of chances to say it next year... well unless of course you say the 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins. That will always be true I suppose.

Hopefully Juan Pierre's fingers will be better by then.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Another loss for the Devil Rays

Former uber-prospect Josh Hamilton was suspended by Major League Baseball today for the duration of the 2004 season. Based on baseball's collective bargaining agreement, this likely means that Hamilton failed his fourth drug test. This is another sad twist on the path to baseball super-stardom for Mr. Hamilton and the Devil Rays. It will be interesting to see if Hamilton is ever able to make an impact on the majors. His road back was already going to be difficult enough this year, after missing the entirety of last year's regular season (at the minor and major league level) as he dealt with personal issues. Coming off of two years away from the game it's doubtful that anyone - even someone as talented as Josh Hamilton - could establish himself as a major leaguer.

What I found most interesting about this story is that the article I read states that a major leaguer can be suspended for testing positive for the date-rape drug GHB. Of all the ridiculous things I've heard recently about Major League Baseball and drug/steroid policies, this is possibly the most absurd. Should a baseball player test positive for GHB it's more likely that the police should be contacted because the because that baseball player has been the victim of a horrible crime of another sort. I don't profess to know much about drugs, but I doubt that major leaguers (anyone really) are using date-rape drugs on themselves. But I guess this just goes to show how powerful the players union has become. (Not that this is what happened with Josh Hamilton, as such matters are kept confidential but...) It's apparently easier to be suspended from Major League Baseball for abusing date-rape drugs than it is for using illegal steroids. Simply bizzare.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Hollow Talk

With barely a wimper, the Marlins “firm” deadline for finalizing the terms for a new ballpark passed on Monday. Club President David Samson extended the self-imposed deadline (to allow the stadium to be ready for opening day 2007) to May 1st. At that point the Marlins will have reached an agreement with some municipality, government organization, or benevolent rich person to build a new park for the team or…

Or what isn’t really clear. The Marlins current ownership group has been abundantly clear that they are not using selling off players as a threat, as previous regimes have done, should a new ballpark not be in the making. But at the same time they are not going to endure losses forever, they say (despite an incremental $6 million in playoff related profits last year, the team still lost dozens of millions allegedly).

The team is also not threatening to move if a new stadium isn’t provided to them (with the miniscule contribution the Marlins are willing to offer at this point). That’s probably a sound strategy. While in the 80s and early 90s teams often threatened to relocate if a new stadium wasn’t provided, that threat isn’t too likely to fly right now. In case you haven’t noticed, Major League Baseball has been trying to relocate the Expos for over a year now. Yes, there are suitors. Not many, possibly not any, of them are viable though.

Personally, I think moving the Expos and/or the Marlins to somewhere in or near New York City makes sense, but it’s almost impossible to think that even one of those clubs will end up there.

So what will happen?

Will the Marlins reach an agreement to build a new stadium by May 1st? Doubtful – especially if it requires some form of public approval (read the November election). Miami is the poorest major metropolitan area in the United States (according to an October article published by the Miami New Times). South Florida has built a plethora of new stadiums with public money recently – the American Airlines Arena (home of the Heat), the Office Depot Center (home of the Panthers), and the Miami Arena (which wasn’t even able to keep minor league hockey’s Manatees as tenants through a full season this year). Not only have stadiums been publicly financed down here, but the University of Miami has recently opened a new basketball arena and is planning a multi-million dollar facelift to their baseball facility. There is also talk of a city financed overhaul of the Orange Bowl (which hosts five to six UM football games annually and a handful of high school football games and soccer friendlies).

Will the Marlins be forced to play in Pro Player Stadium indefinitely? This is also probably doubtful. But it will be an interesting thing to watch. If the team doesn’t get a new stadium, they’ll have to keep playing where they are now – or at least somewhere locally, and Pro Player Stadium is the only baseball facility in town that can accommodate more than 10,000 fans. What we all might learn from this though is just how much money the team is really losing. Current owner Jeffrey Loria surely cannot withstand the alleged losses of ten or twenty million dollars for long. Yes, Loria is a rich man by everyone’s standards. Everyone’s standards that is except for baseball (or other sport) owners. Loria’s pockets are not as deep as George Steinbrenner’s or Carl Pohlad’s or even Artie Moreno’s. Eventually these losses will mount to the point where Loria will be forced to move the team, sell the team, and/or cut payroll substantially (does anyone remember the Marlins circa 1998)?

That seems unlikely though. Without getting overly detailed into the specifics of it all, the Marlins losses are more likely paper losses than anything else. There are lots of funny things that baseball teams can use to create losses – such as the depreciation of players (ask your accountant about it). More than likely, this whole exercise will prove out that the Marlins aren’t losing the kind of money they purport to be. Mr. Loria didn’t make his fortune making those sorts of investments.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Free Pass

I continue to read in the media about how Barry Bonds is guilty and his records are tainted and should be noted with an asterisk (see last week's cover of Sports Illustrated for proof), but I find it interesting that Mark McGwire is getting nearly the opposite treatment.

Tom Verducci claims that McGwire should not even be lumped in with Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield and the other suspects because Mark came clean all the way back in 1998 and admitted to using androsteindione. Granted McGwire did admit to using this supplement which only recently has become illegal in this country. But Bonds, Giambi, et al have also only admitted to using legal supplements of various sorts. And there's nothing to say that McGwire didn't lie about his steroid usage. I'm not here trying to condemn Mark McGwire or anyone else. It just doesn't seem fair to take McGwire as more credible than Bonds, Giambi, or anyone else.

Why does McGwire get the free pass here? Like Bonds, McGwire put on a considerable amount of weight over his playing career. More interestingly (and only time will tell with Bonds) I've heard from multiple sources that McGwire has dropped a considerable amount of weight since he retired a few years back (unfortunately I can't find a recent picture). Not that many men I know put on 20, 30, 40, or 50 pounds of muscle in their 30s and then lose that same muscle shortly thereafter. That's just not natural. Yes, I know we're dealing with freaks of nature here. Few of us can hit a 90 mile per hour fastball and even fewer still can hit that fastball 500 feet. But some of this weight gain/weight loss borders on absurdity.

Personally, I'm not for condeming any of these players until all of the facts are known. Even when some facts are known (say Bonds or Sheffield tests positive this year) that doesn't mean necessarily that particular player was on steroids in a previous year. We will never be able to test McGwire or Sosa in 1998 or Bonds and Sosa in 2001. Their accomplishments will always be held in some circles under varying levels of suspicion, but I don't understand why it's fair to accuse one player of bending the rules (remember that steroids weren't illegal in baseball in 1998 or 2001 - although that's a technicality since they were illegal in the USA) and not others.

Let the justice system run its course. We'll see what happens. I'm not convinced though that it will allow us to rewrite history.

Monday, March 15, 2004

New Links

Many of you have probably already heard about The Hardball Times. Looks like there will be plenty of quality content over there. But be sure to check out an established site as well - Baseball Almanac. Lots of great content, especially on some of my favorite things - ballparks and baseball books.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Are you looking for me?

A random list of some of referrals that brought people to this site (most of the funny ones are links from searches that people do on Google, Yahoo, etc):

A book about steroids, find it for me mr google – oddly enough this search produces The Book of Mike as the third most relevant result. Simply frightening… It scares me more that someone out there thinks they’re having a conversation with “Mr. Google” than the fact that this site was the 3rd most relevant result. Sadly, this poor soul doesn't know enough to go to Amazon or to find a book. Even more sadly, this person came to this site looking for a book about steroids.

for mike the book for mike – another odd thing to type into a search engine, but I was happy to see this popped me up as the first result.

"Everybody's doing the fish" – came up fifth here. This one shows up a lot. I think that video they seem to show randomly at games is the older cousin of the rally monkey. Catchy and entertaining, but not quite as popular.

"yankees have appeared in " 39 world series – that this blog appeared first in the results set for this search defies logic. Google should investigate.

miami's roosters – The Book of Mike came in fifth for this one. I need to be more careful about what I write. Don’t think I want this crowd coming to the site.

And last but not least – possibly my favorite search (other than the Mr. Google one) of all time: mike beckett dog training – Unfortunately for Mike Beckett, he appears to be less web savvy than his potential customers as The Book of Mike was ranked higher than any site actually relating to Mike Beckett and dog training.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Senator from the Great State of Arizona would now like to tell a joke about the President's daughter...

We don't normally delve into politics here, but then again, politics and politicians don't normally delve into baseball...

All must be right in the world since the Senate Commerce Committee had the time yesterday to meet with leaders from Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (R – AZ) went so far as to say that if baseball doesn’t step up its drug testing program, the federal government will be forced to step in.

Amazingly deficit issues have gone away, children everywhere are fed, world peace is rapidly proliferating, education issues have been addressed, the space program is on track, and all other issues have simply been rectified. The most serious issues like Janet Jackson’s half-time act and what Howard Stern says in the morning have been resolved. Even what was previously thought to be sports most egregious impropriety (the sport of boxing in general) has already been addressed by the Senate Commerce Committee. Fortunately, this frees up the Senators to move on to the big issues that have been plaguing America for who-knows-how-long now – steroids in baseball. While it was entertaining to see footage of Bud Selig and Jerry Colangelo be questioned by the committee yesterday, Senator McCain’s comment that Major League Baseball has a “legitimacy issue” struck the deepest chord.

When Senator McCain speaks about legitimacy issues, you have to listen because he knows firsthand of what he speaks. While McCain served his country in Vietnam and was a Prisoner of War and in many ways is a living definition of an American hero, but he also aided a convicted racketeerer who contributed significantly to McCain’s campaigns and vacations and is a world (in)famous joke teller. McCain once quipped, “Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.”

All of us are incredibly lucky to live in a world where everything is so good that our elected officials deem steroid usage in professional baseball as the most pressing issue of the day. Make sure to thank your Senator.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

A Marlins Blog Exists

Today I found a blog exclusively dedicated to the Marlins. As some of you may recall, the intention of this blog was for me to dispense my thoughts on baseball to all of you free of charge (all though donations and signs of appreciation are accepted and appreciated). The appropriately titled Beisbol features in-depth Marlins coverage. Some of it is a little newsy, but there's lots of good regular commentary. Best of all, this will get me out of feeling obligated to post about the Marlins, which I've been doing for awhile now since it just seemed wrong to see blog after blog about all the other clubs, but nary a mention about the Fish. And I also have to say that I never felt right writing about men in teal.

I'm sure that some of you will see this as a highly unfortunate turn of events. This is probably valid because now I will spend more time focusing on railing on Marlins President David Samson (can't wait to see him trying to wear his World Series ring - it may be bigger than his little head), the Cubs, among other topics. And oh yeah, I'll write about what I wanted to write about from the beginning - baseball in general, the White Sox, and College Baseball - especially the Hurricanes.

Monday, March 08, 2004


Spring Training
I’ve read on a number of other sites how excited people in the Midwest and Northeast have been to watch ESPN’s coverage of Spring Training this year. Being a resident of South Florida (after having grown up in Phoenix), I have to say that Spring Training on TV just isn’t the same to me. Maybe if it was snowing outside, I’d take it, but I’m lucky enough to be able to get in the car and go to a game or two on the weekends usually.

That’s what I did on Saturday when I made the trip to Fort Lauderdale Stadium to watch the Orioles take on the Expos. While the prices of Spring Training tickets have increased dramatically over the last few years (but that’s what always happens when there are new stadiums, right?), tickets are still generally affordable. While waiting for the gates to open on Saturday, I heard many families walk up and ask if there was anything available “between the bases.” They were happy to hear that tickets were available directly behind home plate a few rows up for $10 each. Granted, a ticket in Fort Lauderdale (particularly for a matchup with the Expos) is about the easiest Spring Training ticket to get that there is, partly because the Orioles aren’t great (despite the additions of Tejada, Lopez, Palmeiro, and (technically at least) Ponson) and the stadium is the most antiquated (the Yankees inaugurated the stadium in 1961 and the stadium feels like not much has been done to it since).

Anyways, one tip on Spring Training: bypass the urge to sit as close as possible unless you're able to take a lot of sun. Spring training games are hot. Some of the best seats a few rows back - and usually at a lower price level - are in the shade. Still great seats and you can manage to survive the whole game.

Interleague Matchups
While it’s probably too early to come out and make this statement, the Marlins have to be happy with what their interleague schedule looks like this year. Road trips to Cleveland and Detroit (too bad Pudge won’t be coming to Miami – I’m sure the fans, if any are left by June, would like to give him a boo or two). Home games against Chicago and Texas. And of course, the famed “rivalry” match-up bringing a home and home series with Tampa Bay. You could probably argue (and I’m a White Sox fan) that the Tampa games could be the most challenging for the Fish on paper and well, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are still the Tampa Bay Devil Rays…

Elon Phoenix
The University of Miami squared off against Elon this weekend (and not surprisingly swept the Phoenix). What was interesting though is that both managers of Miami's highest profile teams (well I guess that's tough to say since the Hurricanes play in Coral Gables and the Marlins practically play in Broward county) - the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Marlins are managed by Elon alums. Hurricanes coach Jim Morris is an alum, as is Marlins manager Jack McKeon, albeit from a different era.

Friday, March 05, 2004


I found it interesting today that lawyers for indicted BALCO officials came out and stated that Barry Bonds had nothing to do with steroids or anything else illegal. While I personally hope this is true because I've enjoyed following Barry's career, but it just seems odd to me that the lawyers would comment (for the second time this week I believe) on Bonds but say nothing about Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Marvin Benard, or Benito Santiago - the other implicated players. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

On a somewhat related subject, the Miami Herald's Dan LeBatard penned an interesting article today in which he interviewed an actual doctor who knows something about steroids and believes that the media is overblowing the health issues of steroids. An interesting read and an uncommon perspective.

Thursday, March 04, 2004


Not a lot of new commentary from me today, but I did find Aaron Gleeman’s post about yesterday’s Dodgers – Mets matchup to be downright hilarious. Some of the comments about Jeff Brantley’s commentary made me laugh out loud. Thank yous all around to Mr. Gleeman for skipping class yesterday and providing us with some humor. Here are some of the highlights:

“Here's how Brantley explains Adrian Beltre's struggles: "I have yet to see this guy come to the ballpark everyday and strap it on." This goes beyond cliche and into the realm of sexual innuendo, which is always nice.”

“On the other hand...Brantley: "I've always believed spring training is the best time for young kids to get close to players, to get autographs." This is one of Brantley's long-standing beliefs? He's really thinking outside the box.

I wonder if Brantley is this cliche-ridden in real life? Like when his wife asks him if he liked a movie, does he go "well, the actors obviously gave 110%, but they simply didn't strap it on as far as I could see."

“Brantley on Bubba Trammell: "When you play left field, they expect you to hit 35-40 home runs and I don't think Trammell is the guy to do that."

Number of major league left fielders who hit 35+ home runs in 2003: 3
Number of 35+ home run seasons by a left fielder in Dodger history: 2”

“Brantley does a whole speech about the "people" who are questioning why Franco is taking a roster spot from a younger guy. "Let me tell you ladies and gentlemen, Johnny is here because he has earned this spot and as long as he can get people out..."

He can't finish his thought, because Jolbert Cabrera launches a homer to deep left-center off Franco. 11-3 Dodgers. That is about as good as timing can possibly get. The next hitter, Joe Thurston hits a single over Jason Phillips and into right field.

Brantley says he can't imagine Lima pitching for the Dodgers because when he was on the Giants, the Dodgers "always put crisp uniforms on." Yes, certainly.”

Sports Illustrated Loves the Cubs
First of all, I have to preface this comment by saying that as an alumnus of the University of Miami who attended the school at the time Sports Illustrated ran their infamous cover story entitled “Why the University of Miami Should Drop Football” I neither subscribe nor do I purchase Sports Illustrated (although I do still own a “Miami Illustrated – Why Sports Illustrated Should Drop Dead” t-shirt), but occasionally I do flip through the outdated issues that are typically for sale at Barnes and Noble (by the way, Willie Williams recruiting issues aside, where is SI or Alexander Wulf’s retraction for the article now that UM is running a clean, championship caliber program?). While doing so the other night I noticed that Sports Illustrated proclaimed the Cubs as having the best starting rotation in baseball this year. I’m sure that many of you will agree with this assertion and it would be difficult for me to disagree. However, I’m pretty confident that this is likely an SI curse and likely signals the downturn in the Cubs fortunes for the 2004 season.

Sucking up to Cubs fans probably sells a lot more magazines than doing right and coming clean about their condemnation of the University of Miami.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Upon Further Review

In a rather unexpected development, it was announced today that World Series MVP Josh Beckett received a 20% pay CUT from his 2003 salary. Granted, Beckett was one of the highest paid players last year for his service time and he's a career .500 pitcher (17-17) but he's the reigning World Series MVP. Seems to me like the Marlins are playing with fire in terms of keeping Beckett happy for when he is eligible for free agency. It's a ways away to be sure (and if the stadium doesn't come to be maybe it's a non issue since the Marlins might cease to exist in their present state - literally and figuratively - anyway) but still doesn't seem to be the smartest way to treat arguably one of the top five pitching prospects under 25. Even if you think he's not one of the top 5, he's the best with a World Series ring and MVP trophy.

The Marlins also revealed (although without any details, leading me to wonder how valid/true this all is) that Willis and Cabrera did not receive more significant raises for the 2004 season because of the "bonus program" the club has in place to reward players before their arbitration eligibility days (for those of you who don't remember the Marlins circa 1998 through 2000 these high performing young guys and their contract renewals are not something new). Although voting share information wasn't released, I would expect that Willis and Cabrera received full playoff shares (these are determined by voting of the players). It's expected that those checks will total $300,000 or so - which would be more than what either player earned in major league salary last year (although $300,000 is the MLB minimum, neither Willis nor Cabrera had a full year of major league service last season). How much the bonus plan was worth, I have no idea, but I highly, highly doubt that Dontrelle Willis received a check worth anywhere near $1,300,000 from the Marlins at any point.

Can't wait to see how this plays out in terms of ill will with the Marlins once these guys are eligible for free agency. I suppose Luis Castillo came up through the system and decided to stay once he was free to leave (even turning down a larger offer from the Mets apparently). But AJ Burnett was not only over-pitched to the point of requiring Tommy John surgery, he was also taken through an acrimonious arbitration process prior to the 2003 season after being the staff's ace in 2002. Think he'll want to stay around? How about Willis, Cabrera, and Beckett after a few more years of not having their voices heard by the team in terms of contracts?

Time will tell I suppose.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Contract Renewals

Everyone knows how much money major league baseball players make. To most people, what the average major leaguer makes in a season is more than someone with a normal job might earn in a lifetime. Most regular people would need to work several (if not a lot more than that) years to earn the equivalent of the major league minimum ($300,000). Given that context, it’s difficult to say that some players are underpaid, but relative to their “peers” many are. Some of the Marlins young stars are prime examples – particularly those with less than three years of major league service time, as they’re subject to having their contracts automatically renewed by the club.

It’s been widely reported that the Marlins will be renewing the contracts for World Series MVP Josh Beckett and mid-year callup/Super-rookies Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera.

Beckett will be receiving a healthy salary somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million – in line with what he was paid in 2002 and 2003 (in 03 Beckett took a reduction in pay after missing most of the 2002 season due to injuries). Beckett’s contract looks like a monster though compared to Willis and Cabrera’s.

Reportedly, Cabrera will earn $320,000 this season – a $20,000 raise from the prorated portion of the major league $300,000 minimum he earned last year. Not the most generous thing to do for a player that was a significant contributor last season and is expected to play an even bigger role for the team this year, but well within the Marlins rights.

For the last few week’s it has been widely reported that Dontrelle Willis’s contract will be renewed by the Marlins for $353,000 this year. A nice chunk of change for your average 21-year old, but definitely not fair considering what the Marlins have gotten from this guy. Not only was he a major factor in the Marlins run to the World Series last year and the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year, but he’s also expected to be a part of their rotation this year and in years to come. That part of the story is pretty standard though. Young guy, good year, thanks a lot – here’s your contract. We’ll talk again about this time next year.

But with Willis it’s different. Starting as far back as last summer Dontrelle was a key part of the Marlins marketing efforts. Ticket packages were designed around him. Fans could buy vouchers guaranteeing them seats on the day that Dontrelle pitched (the D-Train flex pack). These were offered to help fans avoid the lengthy lines that often formed at the walk up window when Dontrelle pitched (which were so long in fact that many times fans didn’t make it into the game until the second or third inning). In addition, the Marlins also sold mini-plans during the season that came with Dontrelle Willis autographed baseballs.

Many people feel that Dontrelle Willis’s presence on the team last year keyed the spark in interest in Miami in baseball again. Whether it was Willis’s hot streak when he was called up, his enthusiasm and friendliness, or the turnaround in the team’s fortunes after he was called up from AA, it’s difficult to say. However, it’s plain to see that he had an impact on attendance. The Marlins average attendance last year was 16,026 people (during the regular season). In games that Willis started an average of 21,532 people showed up, compared to 14,840 when he didn’t. That means on average (including things like weekday/weekend games, when there was a threat of rain, good matchups and poor matchups), having Dontrelle on the hill to start the game was worth an incremental 6,692 patrons to the Marlins each game.

What are those extra 6,692 people worth to the Marlins? Well it’s difficult to say since we don’t really know what kind of revenue the Marlins generate or keep from each fan in attendance. However, we do know (courtesy of Team Marketing Report) that the cost for a family of four to attend a game was $111.58 (second lowest in the league – more expensive than only Montreal). This includes two average adult and child tickets, four small sodas, two small beers, four hot dogs, two programs, parking, and two adult size caps. Not perfect, but reasonable (well reasonable assuming you could buy a program at a Marlins game last year – which at times was a stretch). Dividing that $111.58 by the four fans gives you an average of $27.89.

Now the Marlins have a horrible lease, keep hardly any of the parking revenue, etc, etc, so it’s not fair to say that all of that $27.89 went into Mr. Loria and Mr. Samson’s pockets (even if it did, they’d just tell you that the team still lost money so it doesn’t matter anyway). For arguments sake, let’s pretend half of that money goes into the Marlins coffers – in other words $13.94.

Just to simplify the math a little, let’s call it 6,700 fans per game (rounded from 6,692) and $14 in Marlins revenue per fan (rounded up from $13.94). Dontrelle made 14 starts at home, so he was worth an incremental $1.3 million in revenue to the club (14 starts x 6,700 incremental fans per start x $14 per fan).

In my opinion, $1,300,000 in incremental revenue is a conservative estimate. This doesn’t account for the t-shirts, jerseys and other memorabilia the team was able to sell (which I know they don’t keep all of either) or the fact that attendance likely increased after Dontrelle’s call-up at least in part due to the attention he was able to bring to the team.

Yes, I know that many of you, especially the SABR-metricians out there, will say that Dontrelle did not have that much of an impact on the Marlins last year. But for those of you who were in town and attended games last year, I think you’ll agree that it’s safe to say that Mr. Willis was worth at least $1.3 million to the team, over and above what the team would have generated had he not been there. Given that, a $53,000 raise – simply to increase his salary over the league minimum - does not seem to be commensurate with his value to the club.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Baseball on the Radio in Miami

It's the first day of March and the buzz on sports talk radio in Miami is about baseball. Marlins baseball.

Well, ok. There is a lot of talk about AJ Feely (and not AJ Burnett) and Jay Fiedler (and not Jay Payton) and about who the Dolphins might pick in the fourth round of the upcoming draft. But still there's baseball talk.

WQAM, the Marlins flagship station had a 3-hour season preview tonight featuring Boog Sciambi, one of the team's radio personalities and a relative SABR-metrician. Boog's show featured interviews with Peter Gammons, Gerry Hunsicker, Mike Lowell, Juan Pierre, and Kevin Millar among others. The highlight of the show - in my opinion - was Kevin Millar relating a voicemail that he left for Mike Lowell during Lowell's NLCS game one pinch-hit at bat. Millar started leaving the message for Lowell after Mike took a bad swing and fouled a ball off. Millar was still leaving the message when Lowell homered to dead center field. Millar's account of the story was pretty entertaining.

I also enjoyed this blurb on about Dontrelle Willis. Success doesn't seem to have gone to Dontrelle's head just yet - although I suppose we'll have to see what the season brings.