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Two items:  
1) I wrote a while back about shortening the schedule. I believe you would make up the attendence/concessions money for all but a couple of teams that play to a very high percentage of capacity. However the 800 lb gorilla is the local TV deals. The Red Sox have an hour pregame and an hour postgame and do a two hour rehash of each game. So losing ten games is losing at least 70 hours of NESN's higher watched programming.  I don't see a reduction as likely.  
Asked by: whc1999

Answered: 5/28/2017
Most of that value is inherent in the value of the television time.   A pre-game or post-game show does not receive such high ratings in most places, I don't think, that the loss in revenue there is going to cause a huge problem.  Presumably the baseball team is only compensated for those at the level above the ratings the TV station could get by showing Andy Griffith re-runs or whatever.   I would not assume that there is very much difference (if any) between the ratings of the pre- and post-game shows and the ratings of the alternative programming; thus, the real value of that is minimal.   If the TV station is paying substantial money for it, that's probably because the deal was negotiated as a package, and that's just where the negotiators put the money.   "I'll pay you $10 million to broadcast your games."  "We need $20 million."  "I can only go to $11 million."  "What if our pre-game show is part of the package?"  "I might pay you $2 million for that."  "What about the post game show?"   "That's late at night; most people turn off the TV after the game is over.   I can only go $1 million for that."  "So $14 million for the package?"   "Yes."   "We need $16 million at the very least.   That's my final offer."   "I can't get to $16, but I can get to $15 million.   $11 million for the games, $2 million for the pre-game, $2 million for the post game."   
 
But in another sense, I think you have put your finger on the problem:  that there are a lot of princes who need to be served here, a lot of boxes which need to be checked.   There are a lot of DIFFERENT pockets which need to be filled, and no one person or thing can serve all of those needs.   That's why it is difficult to make adjustments to a complex structure.   
 
Please don't post multiple questions in a post.  

 

    Hi Bill,  
 
    I posted a message on my facebook page regarding Jim Bunning's passing, listing his achievements as a player and mentioning his career in politics. A friend of mine took me to task for referring to Bunning's--as I put it--"distinguished post playing career"; he might have been a successful politician my friend argued but certainly not distinguished. Needless to say, his politics are the polar opposite of Bunning's. I do concede distinguished might not have been the best word to use; I certainly didn't mean to imply I endorse Bunning's views or opinions, just acknowledging his career in politics. Guess there's a lesson here about choosing one's words carefully. Of course, we both admire Bunning as a player as I know you do, his credentials are certainly undisputable.  Anyway, what are your thoughts on Jim Bunning the politician?
Asked by: dlang62

Answered: 5/28/2017
 I met him a couple of times, and he was rude.   He was odd for a politician, in that he had strong feelings but relatively poor social skills. 
 
Being a United States Senators makes you a distinguished person, period.   To me, it seems asinine to suggest that a United States Senator has not had a "distinguished" career, merely because you disagree with his politics.   If you disagree with his politics, that's your problem, but it has nothing at all to do with whether or not HIS career can be described as distinguished.   

 

HeyBill: another quick question: has the 24s clock in the NBA caused a spread from the have nots to the haves? Speeding up the change of positions must be a big advantage to the good teams. Is there any data showing this?
Asked by: FrankD

Answered: 5/27/2017
 The 24 second clock has been around forever; it dates back to 1948 or something.   The league was built with the 24 second clock.   Also, writing "24s clock" rather than "24 second clock" is extreme laziness, and is rude to the people who are reading.   

 

Bill, "The Man From The Train"" release day was moved back a month and a half. Why? I remain looking forward to it.
Asked by: Steve9753

Answered: 5/27/2017
 Thanks for asking.  This was either because (a) our editor left to take a job with another publisher, or (b) I accidentally held up the process by not focusing on something I should have gotten done.   I'm honestly not sure which.   

 

I'm not a big basketball follower, so I haven't thought this through.  What would happen if you treat any foul in the last minute of play (or in the case of a "first to 100", after reaching 90 points) as a technical foul, meaning it's a free throw AND possession?
Asked by: tangotiger

Answered: 5/27/2017
 Well, that would end the practice of fouling in that situation, but the problem is, you have to give a team that is behind (but not terribly far behind) SOMETHING they can do to come back.   You can't just tell them to go out there and lose.   I mean, you CAN tell them that, but it doesn't improve the sport.   It doesn't ADD interest to the closing moments of the game; it subtract from the tension, subtracts from the interest in the game--and that would undermine the game even with 7 or 8 minutes left.   If you're 15 behind with 7 minutes to play, you CAN catch up.  If you take weapons away from the team that is behind, it doesn't make the game more interesting.  

 

I don't want to seem like I feel obliged to comment on every legal thing, but.. We do let defendants make statements in mitigation which either are not cross examined or else we choose not to because it makes the prosecution look like assholes to the judge/jury. It turns out that if you give a defendant a chance to speak, they do waaaay more harm to themselves most of the times. They blame the victim. They say they would do it again. They talk about how they are happy they did it. They say they were justified and never should have been charged. Etc. I have occasionally seen a defendant who has been thoroughly coached by a defense lawyer manage to to scrape together something helpful to say, but to be honest, in just about every case I have tried, even with a lawyer on the other side, once a defendant testifies for himself, he usually says something to hurt himself.
Asked by: MikeChary

Answered: 5/26/2017
 Right; I understand that and that was my assumption.   That is one reason you should let defendants make a statement which is not cross examined--that very often it leads to a better understanding of what happened. 
 
When I was in the Army I had a buddy who. . .well, he wasn't the brightest bloke to ever come out of the state of Arkansas.   He behaved disrespectfully to a Sergeant, and he was about to get an Article 15, which is low level military punishment, but he was still in a position where he could talk his way out of it if he would apologize and explain to the Captain that he'd had a couple too many drinks and wasn't thinking clearly.   I spent an hour with him trying to help him understand what he should say and what he shouldn't say, but when he got called into the Captain's office he started to explain how it was the Sergeant's fault because the Sergeant had violated this rule and that rule and the Sergeant had insulted him first, etc.--all of which was absolutely true, as far as that goes, but it doesn't matter; the Sergeant is allowed to insult you first.   So he got the Article 15.   

 

A question on your Hall of Fame book from 1994:  there's a passage where you said,  'if you wanted to use a looser standard,  Manush,  Klein and Wilson' were legit hall of famers as compared to Mssrs  Babe Herman,  Riggs Stephenson,  Ken Williams,  etc.  
 
I was wondering if you still thought that,  as the consensus of Manush is he's basically Al Oliver Sr,  Klein a Dave Parker type playing in a Coors field environment,  and Hack...well you weren't far off saying he was Jimmy Wynn or Roger Maris.  None of those guys are in.  Do you think of Manush ,  Klein and Hack Wilson as being 'reasonable picks' or not?  
Asked by: Manushfan

Answered: 5/26/2017
 The statement is completely true and accurate today, but you just didn't really read it.   What it says is IF you wanted to use a looser standard, not that you SHOULD use a looser standard.   

 

I just read the hoax entries and the article you linked.  
 
Isn't it obvious that peer-reviewed journals are each part of a bell curve of quality and discipline (among many other things)?  Aren't some very high quality and very low quality, with most in-between?    
 
How does a successful hoax in one journal prove the entire system is inept?  
Asked by: jollydodger

Answered: 5/26/2017
Well. . .does one Republican candidate assaulting a reporter prove that the Republican party is flawed?   I've read and heard quite a number of stories which implicitly state that it does.   Does one Southern sheriff beating up a black citizen prove that the society is racist?    Does a couple of hundred doctors selling prescriptions for oxycontin prove that medical licensing is corrupt and/or inadequate?
 
Yes, of course it does.   Would you say that "aren't there some very high quality, sensitive southern sheriffs, and some bad, racist southern sheriffs?  Isn't it obvious that southern sheriffs are part of a bell curve of competence and sensitivity, and there are some good ones and some bad ones?"   Would you say that "aren't there good doctors, bad doctors, all kind of doctors; it is just a bell curve."
 
No, you WOULDN'T say those things, unless you are determined to make excuses for failings and for frauds that should not be tolerated.  One southern sheriff beating up black citizens DOES prove that the entire society is racist, if the society tolerates that behavior.  If you want these people in your community--which obviously you do--you can have them.   But perhaps, if you work really, really hard at it, you might be able to figure out how this could lead to diminished respect for the profession.  

 

Some time ago, there was a debate about doing something to basketball to eliminate all the laborious fouling at the end of the game. Why not just play to 100? First team to get 100 points wins. It's basically the way we all played out the playground.
Asked by: Fireball Wenz

Answered: 5/26/2017
 Well, for one thing, it wouldn't eliminate the fouling.   If you're trailing 94-81 and playing to 100, your only real chance is to foul, hope the other team misses its free throw, and shoot threes.   The same problem we have now.  

 

About this hoax and uproar, it is in an academic journal. It's an open access one, which means you pay the journal and it makes it free online. Background: there is a big discussion in the academic community about how much power academic journals have, as professors need to publish in them to get tenure and students need to use them for research. The journals then go around and charge institutions enormous sums to have access; often professors have to publish in journals their institutions can't afford.  
 
The open access journal lets it go free online--for a fee. Some journals are mixed license as well, some are free access after an embargo period. But it is a legitimate journal using a legitimate business model, though I do question the ethics of it getting another journal's sloppy seconds.
Asked by: CharlesSaeger

Answered: 5/25/2017
 Thanks.   I think that's becoming a more common thing in non-academic publishing, as well, that you can submit your work to a legitimate publisher, and they MAY say "We can't publish this. . .we just love the approach, blah blah blah, but we don't have an appropriate space for it right now, BUT you can submit it to this other publisher, and THEY would publish it."  The other publisher may be a subsidy publisher or vanity publisher. 
 
It sounds creepy, but when you're a young writer, many of your options are not attractive.  I'm not SURE that one won't work out.   Researching The Man from the Train, we found several pretty good books published with an author's subsidy.  

 

In regards to Bob Gibson and baseball's unwritten rules, years ago I read Bizz Bissinger's hagiography of Tony LaRussa "Three Nights Wearing Sunglasses in August" and from what I remember ( I could be off but I have no desire to reread the book) Tony gave a long jesuitical type primer on hitting people that came across as convoluted  and arbitrary as Bob Gibson's. Bizz also, from what I remember, tried to present LaRussa as combining the best of new and old school approaches to baseball. He was presented as being a genuinely tough guy but one that also kept his own self written matchup statistics, ala Earl Weaver, on notecards which, given that this was in 2003 and not 1980, would have been, if true, idiotic. To be fair to Tony, regardless of how he was presented in this book, he was a very good manager.  
 
 
Asked by: tate

Answered: 5/25/2017
 And Gibson wasn't a bad pitcher.   Assuming you mean the 60s' Cardinals' Bob Gibson.   The other Bob Gibson was a bad pitcher.   

 

Hi Bill, SI recently did a cover story on Hunter Greene, a high school kid who is projected to be drafted very early. The story discusses both his excellent hitting and pitching (102 mph fastball, for example). My question is, when a team drafts a kid who is both great at pitching and hitting in high school, how and when in his pro career does the team decide whether to put him on a pitching path or a position player path?
Asked by: dburba

Answered: 5/25/2017
 I don't know that one can generalize reliably about it, except to say that A decision is usually made by the team before the player is drafted.   You wouldn't usually draft a player without knowing whether you were drafting him as a pitcher or an outfielder.  

 

A side note to my last comment (I ran out of room)  
 
Tony LaRussa is the only Hall of Famer that I've met. In the summer of 1983 I was working at a southwest suburban Chicago Burger King when he came through drive-thru. I recognized him immediately and  asked him if he was Mr. LaRussa and he cordially said yes. The White Sox were in the process of winning their first title of any kind  in 24 years and first Chicago pro title in any major sport since 1963 so they were a big deal but no one else there, (mostly teenagers) seem to know or care who he was. Oddly, a few nights later someone else working drive thru was hit by a pitch in ribs.
Asked by: tate

Answered: 5/25/2017
 Headline:  Tony LaRussa spotted eating meat. . . .

 

I also spent a bit of time researching that Hoax piece (which, if nothing else, was incredibly hilarious). It was pretty clear to me that the place it wound up being published was a "pay-to-publish" journal, and hardly one of the top journals in its field. However, it WAS peer reviewed by more than one person, according to the the authors (since they received feedback and suggestions on it from multiple people). And it was a Ph.D. from Huddersfield in the UK  (https://www.hud.ac.uk/ourstaff/profile/index.php?staffid=767) who is on the PDF as the Reviewing Editor. Maybe he gets a cut of the fee every time he reviews something that gets published. His own publications tend towards ageing issues, community policy, and learning approaches, so not sure why he got suckered into this. But suckered i think he was. In the end, claiming that they fooled academia in this case by slipping in a fake story to the academic equivalent of the Chino Free Press isn't particularly damming.
Asked by: rtallia

Answered: 5/25/2017
 What's wrong with the Chino Free Press?   

 

HeyBill: many times questioned on this forum: What constitutes artificial "help"?  Is it steroids? Is it surgery that was not available in the past?  Is it just basic having a trainer? Or "artificial substances" like spit, rosin, ad infinitum? Or is it just baseball: "If you ain't cheatin' you ain't trying?????"  Yer opinion as to today?
Asked by: FrankD

Answered: 5/25/2017
 Artificial help is a loose term, used by different people to have different meanings.   I'm not aware that there is any official significance to the term?  

 

 
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