OpinionOctober 11, 2005


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Thank a Californian
California's attendance represents over 20% of the league's total

By William Veres

Everybody is aware of the East Coast bias when it comes to sports. It’s always evident in annual award voting, be it football or baseball, and while most East Coast residents will of course deny it, it is quite evident in ESPN’s annual programming of MLB games, too. For that matter, when was the last time you saw any sports news broadcast not located in the Golden State begin with something other than the Yankees, Mets, or Red Sox during the season? MLB itself has the West Coast games begin at 10 PM in the east when most of the country is off to bed. Would it really be a big hit to MLB’s bottom line to start the games one hour earlier to gain the interest of the other half of the country in these West Coast games? Why not even start weekend games at 4 or even 5 PM PDT when people on the East Coast could watch the games after they sit down for dinner? After all, is there any better quality family time than a baseball game? I think not. I could go on for days when dealing with the East Coast bias in baseball, but I think you get the idea.

But yet, here we are.

California.

• We have five Major League ball clubs.
• We house at least 12 affiliated Minor League clubs, and a countless number of independents.
• We have had at least one, usually two, and sometimes even three teams in the MLB playoffs every single year for as long as memory serves.
• Despite finishing below .500 in 2005, The Los Angeles Dodgers were second in overall attendance. The San Francisco Giants drew fifth, and that was without their biggest attraction playing, mind you.
• California’s attendance represents over 20% of the leagues total, and yes, that even includes Oakland’s pathetic attendance figures.

That’s Californians – men, women, and children – spinning those turnstiles, 405 Major League home games a year, paying their dues towards baseball.

Oh, but wait. There’s more. That’s just the ticket-paying, TV-watching, memorabilia-buying California fans.

What about the California-born players ?
Now this is almost laughable. A quick check of MLB’s current rosters would show that of all of the locations throughout this big blue world, California is by far the largest contributor of current talent to the MLB.

And it’s not even close!

As a matter of fact, the second-leading contributor to the MLB as of October 1, 2005 is the Dominican Republic with only 99 Major League ballplayers. Venezuela comes in a distant third with 48 players. And yet…

California lays claim to 159 Major League ballplayers !!!
159!

This is amazing to ponder…
159 CA
99 Dominican Republic
48 Venezuela
45 TX
41 FL
35 Puerto Rico
27 IL
25 NY
20 GA, OH
18 PA
17 WA, Mexico
16 LA
14 AL, VA, KY, TN, NC
13 MS
12 IN, Japan
11 NJ
10 MA, OK
9 WI, OR
8 AZ, MI, MN
7 AR, BC, KS, MD, Panama
6 MO, NV, Cuba
5 IA, South Korea
4 ON, CT, DE
3 AK, SD, ND, CO, WV, SC, HI, Colombia
2 RI, NE, NB, UT, Taiwan, West Germany
1 ME, NH, MB, ID, PQ, DC, WY, Curacao, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Australia

It could easily be argued that we Californians are the support of the financial machine that is MLB. There is no denying that without California baseball, half of the league would struggle to maintain itself, and certainly the quality of the game would suffer.

Don’t believe me? Try this…

The next time you see Jim Edmonds, Morgan Ensberg, Jason Giambi, Derrek Lee, Hank Blalock, or Troy Glaus crush a fastball over that 343ft sign…
Thank a Californian.

The next time Michael Young, Chase Utley, Marcus Giles, or Nomar Garciaparra guns down your favorite player stretching for first…
Thank a Californian.

The next time Dontrelle Willis, Mark Prior, Randy Johnson, David Wells, Jon Garland, or even Aaron Small makes your hometown hero look silly at the plate…
Thank a Californian.

The next time Trevor Hoffman, Chad Cordero, Brad Lidge, or Bobby Jenks slams the door on your weak team’s chance at a victory…
Thank a Californian.

Now I don’t want to hear about your East Coast beaches, your sunny Florida weather, or even your bikini-clad women. We’ve got you beat there too. And yes, we even have snow.

So I think it’s about time we show California a little love, and say…

Thanks…

Don’t you?

 
William Veres is a Fantasy Baseball Cafe veteran. Regulars over there know him better simply as wrveres.

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