There's never a good time to lose 99 games, but it seemed like the White Sox's marketing department deserved better this year.
Given the offseason ticket reductions across most levels, a drop in parking, the creation of Family Sundays and the long-needed we-just-want-you-in-the-park price point, attendance should have at least held the line. Instead, it dropped by 200,000 fans.
At least the Sox shouldn't need an extensive survey to figure out where they went wrong this time around. The way Brooks Boyer tells the story, it seemed like the strategy was going according to plan until the players stopped giving the fans reasons to come back:
"To drop (in attendance) again is very concerning," said the White Sox's senior vice president of sales and marketing, Brooks Boyer. "We obviously have a challenge to get the trust of the fans back."
The price drops appeared to be effective early in the season, with paid attendance increasing year over year through mid-June.
The team actually had more season-ticket holders this season than in 2012 thanks to price cuts, said Mr. Boyer, but single-game sales took a big hit after the All-Star break.
Boyer says that he isn't anticipating another round of extensive price cuts, and that probably makes sense. I mean, I'll always welcome cheaper baseball as a consumer, but from what I heard/saw, the price reductions did spark some enthusiasm in fans, until the on-field product systematically beat it out of them. I can't imagine further slashing would have made up much of the deficit.
Colleen Kane gets quotes from Jeff Keppinger about the right shoulder that required surgery. He maintains that the chronic tendinitis did not affect his swing, but Rick Hahn says he thinks it had to, which is the hope.
Hawk Harrelson is among 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award, and I'm pulling for him. He has a legit case, although many might not want to admit it (his impact on the baseball lexicon can't be denied). Moreover, I want to see the tears and anguish from the cross section of baseball fandom he alienates, and I'm curious if he'd deliver the first acceptance speech in the history of Cooperstown that included the word "sphincter."
Philip Humber went 0-8 with a 7.90 for Houston in 2013, so the Houston Astros didn't have much of an interest in exercising a $3 million option for 2013. He's keeping his spirits up:
"I’ve showed flashes of being as good as I’ve ever been," he said. "I’m not hurt. I still enjoy coming to the park and I’m still relatively young . It’s one of those things that’s like, ‘Man, you walk away from it, are you going to look back and think I wish I could have kept going?’ There’s times in the past, I didn’t know if it was going to work out. It’s still fun. It beats working, you know?"
James fails the First Law of Comparables with Jose Dariel Abreu by comparing a Cuban to a non-Cuban. In this case, he sees Abreu's scouting report, and it reminds him of Avisail Garcia.
This profile of Joe Maddon is lengthy, but worth the read.