"MAHWAGE IS WOT BWINGS US TOGEDER TOODAY"* Steven F Taylor points out that Hugh Hefner is engaged to a playmate 60 years younger than he is. How quaint. His zinger is worth the click-through.
Meanwhile, a trend forms that everyone should have seen coming. Expect it to make landfall in the States sometime in the first half of the coming decade.no comments
HUMORLESS SCOLDS INVADE SPORT. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US ALL. See, any objection to how Rex Ryan conducts his life should be expressed in a manner befitting the unabashed humor of the situation, rather than some silly rant about how one couple's private behavior must be squashed "for the kids." Break me a freakin' give.
Sidenote, the Miami Herald's Armando Saluergo has succeeded in a belated Festivus miracle, he got a Pat's fan (me) to sympathize with the Jets coach. Bravo, sir. Now don't you ever do it again!no comments
THE INEVITABLE RESULT OF UNDERSTANDING WHO CUTS YOUR CHECKS. Murray Chass is right, and his commentary is praiseworthy. Even Tangotiger says so. Still doubt he likes being called a blogger, though.no comments
FLY MEET ELEPHANT GUN. Tattoogate is not some sweeping affirmation of the rightness of the NCAA and their insane effort at maintaining a chattel systems with talented athletes, but a further indictment of the anachronism of barring players from dipping their beaks to get a taste of that on which their institutions gorge themselves. I'll let Duane Long to spell it out in full.
First, when is the NCAA going to join the 21st century and allow a stipend? You are still going to have violators but the numbers will go way down when these kids have a few dollars in their pockets. All the money that is going into the member schools bank accounts from these athletes but they can't put any of it in their pockets, yet they want them to turn down money and fringe benefits? Ridiculous.no comments
RESOLVED: SHORTER MLB GAMES ARE NOT A POSITIVE GOOD. Mike Silva of NYBD spoke with my BizofBaseball colleague, Devon Teeple regarding the use of play clocks in the SEC to speed up games. Silva and Teeple are supportive of the effort. But the question remains open whether shorter big league games are better or worse for baseball. Baseball has troubles, but compared to the other major sports, their relative labor peace puts them at an advantage. In addition, there has been little or no study given to illustrate that baseball would inherently benefit from games under the 2:30 mark. Plus, much of baseball's revenues are generated from park related charges. Television revenue is substantial, but a games running 3:30 provide an extra hour of beer revenue. Plus television advertisers like the extra commercial spots that get squeezed between innings and onto announcer reader cards. And besides, more baseball is undeniably a positive good.no comments
"VINDICTIVE — WHILE FUNDAMENTALLY INEFFECTIVE — BEHAVIOR" = our tax dollars at work.no comments
WORTHY CAUSE: "FEAR THE BOOM AND BUST now has over 2,000,000 views.... We are working on the next one. It will again star Keynes and Hayek. This time they will be arguing about whether government spending financed by debt can create jobs and stimulate an economy in recession." The original video was an addictive thought-provoking watch that effectively conveyed the basic premises of both the Austrian School that Freidrich Hayek advocated (and in the interest of full-disclosure, to which I adhere) and the government intervention model that was touted by John Maynard Keynes. If you missed it:
DAVID PINTO CALLS OUT MURRAY CHASS but really, what does he expect from some irresponsible blogger? In case you missed the sarcasm, I know I'm a blogger, too. Despite doing a variation on what I do, Chass resists being called a blogger. And has been mocked relentlessly by baseball bloggers, the loud and proud kind like myself, because of it. Carry on.no comments
LOVE ME AGAIN FOR THE GOOD TIMES. Blythe Brumleve said this was embarrassing back in August when Boston revisited a former player. Is it any worse when it is the Yankees sending flowers to the same former player? Or was Johnny Damon's tacit rejection of the Sawx the necessary impetus to get Hank and Hal to do the drunk dialing.no comments
BALD EAGLES RETURN TO ESSEX, CT. Suffice it to say, if it is winter, and it's Essex, then the eagles are the star attraction.no comments
SOON TO BE FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL FAILS CONTRACT LAW. Notice the deadline for a response, January Third, which is the day his new job starts. My only comfort is that my abrupt relocation to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex ensures that for the time being this clown won't be my next Senator.no comments
ENFORCED EARLY-ADOPTION: FUELING AN AUTO DEVOLUTION. Glenn Reynolds points out the obvious reason why people are early adopters of technology.
[W]hen I’m an early adopter, I’m doing it with my own money.
Which is why bleeding edge technologies survive on their merits, and why subsidizing electric cars will lead not to positive goods. It's also why the talk of an mandated E15 standard is bound to wreak unholy havoc on the market for cars and gas. Incidentally, we see the federal government pushing new methods of fueling vehicles through mandate and subsidy. Innovation comes not by command, but by creativity.no comments
"IT'S TRUE THAT I'M ALWAYS HAPPY TO SEE SOMEONE TURN THEIR NOSE UP AT THE YANKEES.... Still, Lee signing with the Phillies feels like a kick in the gut because money left on the table or not, it illustrates just how wide the gap is between the big market baseball teams and everyone else."
The gap may be widening, but the Rays run since 2008 illustrates that small market teams if properly managed can compete. That "if" is the key.no comments
JAY JAFFE WANTS YOU TO KNOW that this too shall pass.
Losing out on Lee throws a wrench into the Yankees’ 2011 plans, but this is hardly the end of the world. As my fellow Bible Study Groupers and I have counseled for the past six weeks or more, there are many reasons to be wary of going seven years on any pitcher, let alone Cliff Lee. While Brian Cashman’s next move isn’t nearly as obvious as chasing down the pitcher who was the difference-maker in the AL playoffs, nobody’s going to weep for the team with the $200 million-plus payroll as they try to scrape together a few ideas for Plan B.no comments
ESPN has suffered from tales of disrepute in recent years with several alleged incidents of sexual harassment by on air talent (Harold Reynolds, Sean Salisbury, Steve Phillips). It’s made Deadspin a go to site for those eager to see the decline and fall of the World Wide Leader. But Deadspin has nothing on the undisputed Champion of messing up ESPN's good name.
No one is better at diminishing the ESPN brand than ESPN themselves. So it is with no surprise at all, that we come to bury ESPNw, not to praise it. The new site, launched this week, with a focus on attracting women to sports is not only silly, it’s a patronizing effort that treats women separately from men.
Many women writers in the sports blogosphere (and twitterverse) are up in arms about the treatment. The reason is they already care about sports and no site geared towards them as women can compete with the sites that are geared towards them as sports fans.
The problem with marketing is that a company sees its product tapping a particular audience and leaving others cold. Rather than find new ways to grow the already won over market, they typically attempt to reinvent themselves with an eye towards attracting the market of uninterested folks.
This is foolish on several levels. First the brand dilution to draw people who previously passed on your product annoys your base. Take a look at any band that was solid in a niche and then released a crossover album and you’ll see that point. Their fans are outraged because they have abandoned the sound that drew them in as fans. Newcomers may like them, but find their older work inaccessible.
Draw it back to ESPN. Let’s say that ESPNw is a huge success and that it attracts a fair number of women who begin to discover that sports are interesting and enjoyable. Does that instantly translate to more page views at ESPN or more viewers of the various ESPN networks? Of course not. These new readers need to accept or reject the original product on its own merits.
Further, the drawing women to the joy of athletic competition should not be segregated from coverage of sports geared towards men. That tactic is bound to fail. Consider the reaction of one of the writers I follow on Twitter who happens to be a woman:
I’ve been watching ESPN most of my life. In fact, I probably watch it more than my dad, and he’s a huge sports fan. In particular, “They recognize it’s not [their brand],” really bothers me as a female who watches ESPN. I didn’t know ESPN wasn’t meant for me.
Kristi Dosh is down at the MLB Winter Meetings reporting for Comcast Sports and Forbes. Her last remark is perfect. When launched, ESPN wasn’t targeted. Sure it attracted a natural (organic is the buzzword if you’re wondering) following of young men in the coveted 18-49 year old demographic. But it also attracted women viewers, who enjoyed sports. It seems ESPN ignored that built in subset when creating a brand expanding effort. They would have been an obvious and vital resource.
Another stellar writer I follow on twitter, Blythe Brumleve writes about sports, among other topics at her blog GuysGirl.com, which “strives to show guys and girls that it’s OK for a woman to be girly and still love and learn about things that are ‘supposed to be for the guys’ bridging the gap between tomboys and girly-girls.”
To that end, Blythe wrote a book touting football to her audience, without talking down to women interested in learning more about football. In her own words:
There are plenty of books out there that are "Girl's Guide to Sports" that play down the intelligence of women as fans with books that say "what time is the best time to use the bathroom during a game" and "why you should learn sports for your man" but I wanted the book to focus on females who want to be fan for themselves. For the fans who never wanted to ask for fear of embarrassment or for the fans who want to expand their knowledge on the game. This book will have something for everyone from the wanna-be fans to the full on body painted fans.
That’s the essential difference. Her book was written by a woman who loves sports and geared towards all women. Can you say the same about ESPNw?
UPDATE: Rachel Dulitz, one of the sharp folks I follow on Twitter had a keen insight that I thought would be good to share:
They could have asked 2,000 women - if there were content on a website that focused on women or more female writers, would you be interested? I'd answer "yes" on a survey. BUT that in no way implies I want that on a separate website. I think that's where they went really wrong.
Rachel emphasizes that her comment is conjecture. And without empirical evidence we are all just guessing. The mistake made was to split off a valuable segment with little thought to the impression it would give - i.e. that women writers and athletes were separate but equal from the menfolk at ESPN.
Rachel also chided me - rightly so - for the ambiguity of my final analogy. I implied what should have been said explicitly. The idea behind the site I think reaches beyond the writers (all women) and editors/administrators (almost all women). No doubt they all love the sports they cover and sports in general. But like many corporations, decisions to launch a new brand are rarely initiated by those charged with implementing the decisions. My expectation is that ESPN's higher ups who are not predominantly feminine likely concluded that a giving women a site to themselves was the best way to attract them to ESPN. That thought animates my closing comment.no comments