FIRE Cliff Lee . . . for serving up some late inning slop.
FIRE (most) KNBR hosts . . . for forgetting about anybody who isn't easily repackaged into a soundbite, a nickname or a rave party remix.
And FIRE Larry Baer . . . for picking the wrong South American to immortalize in a washable, wearable $20 stuffed animal.
Edgar f***ing Renteria goes deep, deep in the heart of Texas . . . GIANTS WIN, BOCHY WINS, SABEAN WINS . . . BASEBALL WINS!!!
Read Scott Ostler's column on E-Rent: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/01/SPBI1G5C43.DTL
About the stiff-o-meter: Giants management continues doing very little to improve the on-field product (clean-up hitter, anyone?) while expecting fans to pay outrageous prices for tickets, parking, food, drink, and merch. Tubesox Nation says stiff 'em. If you follow any branch of the Five-Fold Path, click here or on the pile of money in the right-hand sidebar to add your DOOSH to the stiff-o-meter and join in the Improbable March to the MLB minimum and beyond.
Things have changed over the years. Baer and Neukom have ascended the ladder to become Giants top brass. Birthday cake has been replaced by obscene amounts of money. And those gullible suckers at the party, well, they’ve turned into you and me. But as the four-color pie chart capably illustrates, one thing has remained constant: wee Larry Baer and Little Billy Neukom still like to take more than their share.
PABAW* Ratio is a proprietary metric developed by Tubesox Nation to measure how freely team management spends the money that they ask loyal fans to shell out. It compares opening day payroll to yearly attendance multiplied by the cost of the minimum experience that should be within the budget of a loyal fan (bleacher seat, one beer, one hot dog).
A PABAW of 1.5 is acceptable. For example, if the Giants charged $10.50 for a bleacher ticket, $6.00 for an Anchor Steam, and $3.00 for a Giants dog, their PABAW would be approximately 1.50.
A PABAW of 1.25 indicates inflated prices accompanied by Scrooge-like parsimony. For example, if the Giants charged $14 for a bleacher ticket, $6.50 for an Anchor Steam, and $3.00 for a Giants dog, their PABAW would be approximately 1.25.
A PABAW of 1.0 is considered extortionate on the order of the 19th Century robber barons. For example, if the Giants charged $18 for a bleacher ticket, $7.50 for an Anchor Steam, and $3.75 for a Giants dog their PABAW would be approximately 1.0.
*PABAW = Payroll/ yearly Attendance x [average Bleacher ticket + Ale + Wiener]
**payroll data obtained from Cot's Baseball Contracts
In honor of our nation's 233rd birthday as well as America's throwaway culture, the commanders-in-chief at MLB ordered a league-wide deployment of "Star-Spangled" garb over the long holiday weekend. Besides astonishing Cubs fanatics and Dodger die-hards by outfitting their teams in red hats, the league's bold marketing approach has solidified MLB's street cred with the increasingly lucrative norteno and mara salvatrucha market segments.
Predictably, there's a merchandising tie-in, with MLB generously donating a portion of the profits to veterans. Tubesox Nation especially recommends this scarlet Giants lid. Priced at only $36.99, it's just as sure to turns heads at the corner of 2Oth and Mission as at 24 Willie Mays Plaza.
After an exhausive study involving a propietary methodology*, Tubesox Nation's research division has determined that the average 2009 left field bleacher ticket at The Big Mortgage costs $21.77. So, on the typical game day, a crisp, new Jackson fresh from an ATM machine is insufficient to score a seat with an unobstructed view of the left fielder's backside.
*Bleacher prices at Regular, Feature, and Premium games were weighted according to number of games, and then averaged. Average does not reflect K-Zone discount offers.
Anyhow, if those pale hose-wrapped tibias and fibulas look great at Hollywood parties, think how fabulous they'd look in this testosterone-drenched corner of the blogosphere. And really, what aspiring babe wouldn't jump at a gig as a hosiery model on Tubesox Nation? Sleep in . . . shave from the knee up . . . pose. And honestly, sweetie, the stripes don't make your calves look fat.
Interesting stuff, however, I can't agree with Jenkins that MLB has a
significant "African American problem" (and certainly not one of a magnitude
that might justify the obscene contracts that Bruce rightly bemoans). Although
the percentage of blacks in the majors has certainly declined over the past few
decades, I believe that it's roughly in line with the percentage of blacks in
the general population. If anything, baseball has become more racially diverse
(and dare I say, more competitive) with the influx of Latino and Asian
ballplayers in recent times (many of these Latino players have partial or full
African heritage). So are we really supposed to convene a task force because
American-born blacks aren't OVER-represented in an American pro sports league? continue reading
Tubesox Nation urges all Giants (and A's) fans to unite in marking the first Feature series of the season by paying Giants management absolutely nothing.
Stiff the bastards!
Weather: Overcast, 59 degrees
Five-Fold Path adherence: cycle
The Mayor of Ingleside was in town, so in spite of gray skies, the four of us descended on Willie Mays Plaza. South of the Slot had wildcatted, leaving his car on a street not far from where he grew up, Sutros-Sutros had jumped off the N Judah, and the Mayor of Ingleside and I had rolled down from Potrero Hill. We had traveled different paths, but each of us had done the right thing by stiffing the management.
A few minutes earlier, the Mayor of Ingleside and I had run the 3rd Street gauntlet. First, we'd approached the Peanut Man's cousin, positioned way out near UCSF to catch the exiting freeway traffic. No tickets. Next we'd tried some other ambo who wanted $60 apiece and then, when we stopped listening, $30 apiece. By the time we finally got around to negotiating with the Peanut Man, he was equal parts cocksure and scolding.
To all loyalists planning on attending a game(s):
1. stiff the management by following one or more branches of the Five-Fold Path.
2. add your DOOSH to the Stiff-o-Meter.
Let's get this baby into four figures before June!
Friday night's Giants-Cardinals game will be the final NBC-11 broadcast prior to the transition to digital. Tubesox Nation is searching for Bay Area baseball fans experiencing crappy NBC-11 reception who can take a brief break from their Friday night plans to take a photo(s) or brief video of the game as it appears on their TV screen. Documentation of associated gizmos/techniques used to improve reception will also be helpful. The data will be collected into an an easy-to-use pin map and statistically significant musical slideshow to be emailed to the aforementioned greedheads.
Click here for eligibility requirements. Eligible parties who are willing to participate in this important exercise in democracy should confirm participation by leaving a brief comment here (catchy cyber alias, SF district or other city name, diagonal inches, color or b&w).
View Phantoms of Mission Bay in a larger map
A few years back, in Dave Flemming's early days in the Giants broadcast booth, he was paying homage to >The Big Mortgage and its environs when, inexplicably, he said something along the lines of: and the incredible thing is, before the ballpark, practically nothing existed in this part of town. With all due respect to Flem, something did exist in the Mission Bay area before the ballpark and >il Baer-McGowan Galleria came along. This multimedia pin map of bygone dives, diners and whatnot only represents the tip of the iceberg . . . happy clicking. (note: distance between closely spaced pins has been increased slightly to facilitate clicking . . . pin location may not be accurate at higher zoom levels)
To any wildcatter who might be reading this because you received one of the aforementioned flyers: thanks for visiting . . . pardon my spamming . . . please recycle flyer or affix to refrigerator . . . enter your DOOSH in the stiff-o-meter . . . Go Giants!
There is no talent involved in buying big cheeseburgers and big Cokes, going to
the mall . . . You talk about heritage, man, it was there. They find a bowling
alley, chop it down. Interesting old apartment house, chop it down. Then they
give back stuff with zero content, buildings with no past, a useless present,
and no future at all. Where nobody is going to get together, where no memories
will be created or associations made, or good times. They will simply be
directing you into the act of taking your credit card out of your wallet, with
that glazed look on your face. So, you see, I’m not a fan of that.
Though I start losing Cooder when he goes on to dismiss the value of ballparks and ball games (to my mind, memories, associations and good times are a big part of ballparks and ball games), for a moment, I think, he's describing Tic-Toc, Lowdown, Baja King Street and then il Baer-McGowan Galleria and it's pure genius.
Fact: In December 2007, the Giants became part owners of Fox Sports Net Bay Area, which is under majority ownership of Comcast, the major cable provider in San Francisco.
Last Friday, I was spending a quiet night at home, making a chupacabra pinata, talking on the phone with a friend, and listening to the Giants game on the wireless . . . what's that, you say? What's a wireless? Well, it's a box full of transistors, made in an Oriental sweatshop, and when you tune it just so, it sure sounds fine.
Well, anyway, I was making this chupacabra pinata and talking to my friend on the phone, when he says something about a play in the Giants game he's watching. And that surprises me since I know, like me, he's not paying what Comcast is asking, and nowadays, not paying what Comcast is asking means a virtual Giants blackout for those of us Giants fans unlucky enough to live way out here in San Francisco. See, my friend tells me, I can kind of get the Giants on Channel 11. His tone is upbeat, almost grateful.
Fast forward to tonight. The Giants are playing up in Seattle and the Big Unit is on the hill. Meanwhile, I'm staring at a computer screen and listening to the game on the wireless--in other words, all systems are normal. But suddenly something tells me to step out of my comfort zone, something tells me to push the electromagnetic envelope. So I leave the computer and the wireless behind, grab a hank of aluminum foil in the kitchen, and walk with some trepidation towards the TV room. I stick the foil on the antenna, say a short prayer to Marconi and Philo Farnsworth, and punch in "11" on the remote. . . and there, in a wigged out splash of psychedelic hues, is Aaron Rowand. And, like my friend last week, I feel almost grateful.
I have to check myself. Why am I feeling grateful for kinda, sorta being able to watch the hometown nine on TV? I mean it wasn't always this way. As far back as I can remember, the Giants broadcast 25-40 games a year on KTVU-2 out of Oakland. You could count on Channel 2, like you could count on a Maytag; the signal was clear, the late Gary Park was way too tan, and Dennis would be on afterwards, giving us the 411 about Frisco and Fruitvale and the far-off reaches of Contra Costa County. But in November 2007, the Giants inked the deal with San Jose's NBC 11. "The Giants and NBC 11 share a strong presence throughout the region," enthused fourth generation San Franciscan Larry Baer, "and our partnership will go a long way in solidifying and building our fan base for the future." But meanwhile, a significant minority of hometown supporters have been sentenced to at least three seasons of rooftop gymnastics, rabbit ear prestidigitation, and desperate measures involving aluminum foil.
addendum: My crosstown friend emails with this description of his "magic trick" for watching the games on Channel 11:
in a nutshell, the "antenna" is a (dead) coax for cable tv that comes out of the wall, attached just so to the back end of the receiving port on the tv. enhancement can be achieved sometimes (as is the case tonight) if a "secondary antenna" in the form of the cable from an old video cassette player sitting just underneath, is pulled over the top of the tv and secured by tucking it under whatever's up there (currently, an old non-digital disposable camera, perhaps from a trip to the orient years ago, also from walgreens i think).
What's good for Comcast is good for the Giants but not necessarily good for the fans . . . thanks a bunch, Larry.
Over at Nuschler's News, Fireman Jim douses the flames of controversy with spot-on analysis (based on real data!), and isn't afraid to take on Giants management . . . as a matter of fact, he's up on his soapbox right now, taking a stand on the Nick Johnson Question. And here's to you, Jim, for plunging bravely into the Tubesox Nation Stiff-o-Meter and entering your DOOSH.
And although I suspected I wasn't the only person who was hip to fourth generation San Franciscan Larry Baer's master plan to fleece us fans for every last dime and use the profits to open a chain of Arctic superstores selling ice, I was unprepared for the depth of analysis at the excellent Only Baseball Matters, where a certain commenter alludes to storm troopers, KNBR stooges, and a juiced-up in-stadium radar gun for the benefit of the "quiche eaters." Best of all, there's even vague instructions for making a DIY Larry Baer bobblehead. Give that man a lifetime membership in Tubesox Nation.
Finally, a tip of the Tubesox Nation cap to one of the honchos over at Raising (Matt) Cain, who makes the effort to do a little first-hand reporting on the SJ Giants rather than just citing stats from some seam-head website. Love those San Jose Muni prices . . . at five bucks for a pint of Bud, I might just give up my contrabandista ways.
Tubesox Nation's Tijuana-San Diego correspondent Sam Ysidro faxes a slightly grainy photo (he carries an East German-issue spy cam) of fourth-generation San Franciscan Larry Baer and brainy, bow-tied William Neukom displaying their varied interests while scouring the Gas Lamp District for a Tommy Toy's after tonight's toughie against the Padres.
In contrast, although middle reliever Bobby Howry achieved his 150th career "hold" in front of a rapt national television audience on Sunday night, he is still a dozen odd appearances short of the 700 appearances needed to gain membership in the exclusive 700/150 club. But with the Big Mullet and Kid Sanchez struggling and summer's heat soon to take it's toll, look for "Boch" to rely increasingly on Howry's proven ability to eat up innings at the major league level.
read NY Times article
Meanwhile, up here on Potrero Hill, avid reader Mississippi Burning threw me some high, hard cheese with a link to a yesterday's NY Times story on MLB ticket prices. Turns out that the piece focuses on the Giants "smart-ticketing" system . . . hate to play the Carnak card, but it was a week ago that this blog was referring to the Giants' "super-secret algorithm" for setting ticket prices and now, lo and behold, the Giants are discussing (with a level of smugness that would do Google proud) the use of an algorithm to achieve "dynamic pricing." Russ Stanley, the Giants' veep for ticket services, goes so far as to lament not jacking up ticket prices as Barry Bonds approached various home run milestones earlier in the decade . . . those greedheads deserve every bit of DOOSH that the Nation can throw at them:
read NY Times article
muchisimas gracias, guys . . . and keep 'em coming . . . this thing depends on collaboration.
Though Giants top brass flubbed a golden marketing opportunity when Rich Aurilia's 750th career RBI passed without fanfare during Saturday's 9-6 loss to the Mets, Tubesox Nation sources indicate that plans are underfoot to partner with eBay to commemorate the lifetime achievements of several stalwart veterans who are approaching rarefied statistical heights.
Among planned milestone promotions, the Giants and eBay will offer four-color souvenir pins to the first 20,000 fans entering The Big Mortgage following:
-Middle reliever Bobby Howry's induction into the exclusive 700/150 club (700 career appearances, 150 career holds).
-Shortstop Edgar Renteria's 400th career double (398 currently).
-126 million dollar man Barry Zito's 10th career complete game (9 currently).
With Randy Johnson sitting at 298 career victories, the Giants are furiously collaborating with veteran Bangaladeshi sweatshop empresarios to celebrate The Big Mullet's entrance into the elite 300 club, projected to occur in June 2010, with the rollout of a bobblehead sporting an anatomically correct "Livermore neck-warmer."
Weather: Windy, 61 degrees
Five-Fold Path adherence: cycle
Tubesox Nation rocketed past the Mendoza line in style tonight (see Stiff-o-Meter) while the "dollars to Giants coffers" needle remained stubbornly pegged on zero. Zero. As in zip, zilch . . . yes, Billy, it's catorce de fucking mayo and we still have no bananas.
First contact with the ambos was abrupt tonight. Biking into the north wind, I spotted the Peanut Man's cousin on a deserted patch of sidewalk and pulled over to negotiate. He was either hard-up for buyers or heading into UC-land in search of some of that good stem cell mojo. Figuring it was the former, I offered twenty. Without hesitating, he handed me a ticket that said "LB 125, $39" . . . "LB" as in lower box. I blinked once, thinking that it must be the hard evening light. It still said "LB." Suddenly, I had visions of a half-empty stadium, but it was too late back out, so I bought it. Further up the street, I came across the reassuring sight of the Peanut Man, working the crowds as they passed to the ballpark. We said our hellos and I purchased a bag of nuts more as a courtesy than anything else. It was only a dollar, but the Peanut Man threw in a complimentary pack of sunflower seeds, because that's how we do business . . . shades of what they call lagniappe in New Orleans, I thought, wondering if maybe his family came from Louisiana. Whatever the case, I was glad that I hadn't backed out of the deal with his cousin. And then I pedaled off across the Lefty O'Doul Bridge and through the shadows of il Baer-McGowan Galleria to join my friends in catching the dying rays of the sun at the Hotel Utah, a well-watered oasis of what used to be along the phantom shores of Mission Bay. We file in during the bottom of the first, taking our seats in the single white guy section adjacent to the Korean heritage section. The clacking of the thunder sticks was awesome.
Metropolitans 7, Giants 4. No HRs, but plenty of screaming liners off the bats of the Mets, mostly.
Cruising along a scruffy stretch of Mission Bay back street after the game, I chance upon a wildcatter who's loading his bike onto the back of his vehicle. continue reading . . .
Weather: Sunny, 66 degrees
Five-Fold Path adherence: cycle
An abbreviated sortie today . . . I arrived in the sixth and the ambos were long gone. After various fruitless attempts to scrounge an extra ticket from late arrivals (although one guy did offer me a lit reefer instead of a ticket), I phoned a friend inside the stadium and he said they'd scored $7 tickets at the ticket window.
Hmmm . . . decision time . . . not. A midweek tilt against the Nats is no time to lose focus and diverge from the Five-Fold Path. So, I ended up catching the final three innings from the freebie standing area under the right field arcade with a bunch of true fans. continue reading . . .
For much of the game, fourth-generation San Franciscan Larry Baer chewed thoughtfully on a cold naan while giving the serious stink-eye to a section of empty seats down the right field line. At one point, Tubesox Nation sources report, the ever-pragmatic Baer was seen leaning closer to brainy, bow-tied William Neukom and mouthing "Three words, Billy. Gandhi fucking bobbleheads."
Weather: windy, 57 degrees
Five-Fold Path adherence: cycle
It's a cold Wednesday night in San Francisco, a night fit for torching a couple of Duraflame logs or turning the toaster oven to broil and pretending to forget about it. But cocooning is for losers and besides, down in China Basin, the Little Mullet is taking the hill against the hated Dodgers. Giants vs. Dodgers, it's a rivalry that's spanned a century, crossed a continent and, according to the super-secret algorithm of the King Street bean counters, deserves Feature game status. Translation: the Giants are charging $25 to sit in the left field bleachers and enjoy an unobstructed view of Manny Ramirez’s dreads. Twenty-five dollars. You could fill up your Prius for that kind of money. In Tiburon. It's pure unadulterated extortion and in Tubesox Nation, the response is sudden, knee-jerk, practically reptilian. continue reading . . .