Following up on a couple topics recently discussed here...
The White Sox drew 26,319 fans for what turned out to be a crowd-pleasing performance by Chris Sale on Wednesday night, as our correspondents can attest.
With an unimpressive turnout for the series in the books, Jon Greenberg and Daryl Van Schouwen each took a turn exploring the issue.
Greenberg, who has an interest in fan costs, didn't have much besides the numbers. What's more interesting is what wasn't said -- Brooks Boyer wouldn't comment on the sparse showing to ESPN Chicago, first through a spokesperson and then in person.
Van Schouwen, balances the reaction from disappointed players with the economic reality the premier pricing presents, and also picks up on the year-over-year attendance increase between August Yankees series. (If you're curious, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski straddle the line effectively, while Jake Peavy tries to bulldog the fans into mobilizing.)
My hope is that the discussion continues to evolve and get smarter, and these are good signs. Perhaps the media can take it up a notch and talk about a stadium lease that seems to encourage the Sox to draw fewer fans with higher ticket prices, rather than shoot for a gaudier overall attendance figure, as evenyoudorn pointed out in our thread back in June:
That revised agreement also set terms on annual rent based on ticket revenue. Since 2008, the team must pay $3 to $7 for every ticket sold above annual attendance of 1.9 million.
With paid attendance under 1.9 million in 2011, the Sox won't pay ticket fees this year.
In 2010, however, paid attendance was 2,074,011, exceeding the trigger by 149,011. So Mr. Reinsdorf paid $455,974, or about $3 per ticket.
At the very least, this is better than continually calling the system sensible and Sox fans broken. That's not how relationships with consumers work.
(Also, make sure to check out Fornelli's thorough takedown of the usual set of arguments.)
Scott Merkin got an answer to a question we've been openly pondering every time Brett Myers pitches in the ninth inning. He has a $10 million option for 2013 that vests if he finishes 45 games. Is the on-field staff aware of that?
That option, though, won't affect how the White Sox decide to use the hard-nosed veteran down the stretch. If pitching Myers at the end of games is what the White Sox need to do to reach the playoffs, that's the plan they will employ.
"We are bringing Brett in when we need him to come in," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I really haven't spoken about that to anybody. I'm glad we got him, and he'll pitch when we feel he needs to pitch, regardless of what else is going on with contracts."
It would be better for the Sox's balance sheet if Myers didn't reach that option, because $10 million should buy two-plus years of Myers-grade relief, not one. On the other hand, it would be unreasonable for the front office to make just one move to bolster a thin bullpen, and then handcuff the manager when it comes to maximizing that upgrade on the field.
Take "45 games finished" out of the equation, and nobody would have an issue with the way Ventura uses Myers. That clause does exist, but that doesn't mean it should be Ventura's problem.
Maybe Williams has taken that clause into account, and has an idea to move him into the rotation if needed. Myers has bounced between starting and relieving with no real friction, so he might represent insurance for the possible departures of Jake Peavy and/or Francisco Liriano. It would also give Williams some flexibility in trading Gavin Floyd that he didn't have last year. A starting Myers wouldn't be a safe bet to succeed, but the possibility does add another layer to a winter that already has a ton of moving parts.