Play Ball


Baseball is America’s favorite pastime and it doesn't come cheap.

According to a 2016 study by Major League Baseball the average cost of attending a baseball game for two people is just under $78. That includes the tickets, hot dogs, beer and parking. The least expensive stadium to catch a game is the Angels stadium in Anaheim with the most expensive being the home of the Boston Red Sox. Tony La Russa is chief baseball analyst and advisor for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He says part of the cost goes to player salaries and the players need to remember that.  read more »

A Robotic Umpire


America’s favorite past time is going high tech.

Earlier this week a robotic umpire was used at a minor league baseball game in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead of the usual person posted behind home plate there were multiple cameras tracking the ball’s every move.

The cameras track the ball 40 to 50 times from the moment it’s released from the pitcher’s hand until it crosses home plate. At that point the camera determines if it’s a ball or a strike. A camera in center field is also in place and will be adjusted up and down based on the height of the hitter.  read more »

A High Scoring Business Plan


The owner of a Texas furniture store is using sports to drum up some extra business; and the customers are scoring.

Before the first pitch was thrown for this year's baseball season Jim McIngvale offered to reimburse the first 500 customers who spent more than $6,300 at his stores. But he would only hand over the cash if the Houston Astros won more than 63 games, matching the age McIngvale would turn this year.

And they did, winning 70 games and forcing McIngvale to be true to his word. So recently hundreds of people lined up and he paid up, to the tune of more than $4 million. Reid Ryan, president of the Astros, said the promotion was a great way to get more people involved in the season and excited about the team.  read more »

Behind the Scenes


Baseball season’s opening pitch is just one week away; and the players aren’t the only ones warming up.

Dennis O’Donnell is the sports director at KPIX; a CBS affiliated television station in San Francisco. I recently spoke with him about his experience covering bay area baseball for the past thirty years.

“The game is on a whole different level than it was 20 years ago, but the funny thing is its still two lines, hit the ball it’s still baseball.”

O’Donnell says these days his job requires a creative edge. Thanks to the internet game highlights are old news by the time his show airs. So he has to find a different type of story to tell. But the one thing that has remained consistent is the characters.  read more »

The Business of Baseball

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Baseball season is one week away and the players are hoping to score more than the winning run.
For 17 years Vida Blue pitched for the San Francisco giants, Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals; winning three World Series. I recently talked to him about the sport of baseball and the business of staying in it.

“It’s constantly changing, the owners are really savvy with how they sign players and the players are real savvy on how they approach getting their raises.”  read more »

Money Ball


Baseball players make a lot of money, but not forever.

During his 17-year career Vida Blue pitched for the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals, and won 3 world series. He told me about the day in 1971 when he asked then A’s owner Charlie Finley for a raise; Finley said no because “I don’t have to”. So Vida became one of the first players to hire an attorney to go to bat for him. Today’s players have more negotiating power but every career eventually ends.

“They pay good money for these players, for their services but there comes a time in a player’s career where they have to make a business decision.”

Vida advises today’s players that when the spotlight fades so does their paycheck.  read more »

Filling the Stadium

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When it comes to baseball; the most important people are not always on the field.

Larry Baer is President and CEO of the San Francisco Giants. A team that has won two World Series rings in the past three years. And while the franchise appreciates a win Baer says baseball has become a brand and his customers need more than just a winning season.

“The fans that come here, the clients that come to this ballpark we want to give them a good experience with everything we can control.”

Baer says this means filling the stadium with good food, friendly staff and a lasting experience. Baer says regardless of the final score every fan should go home happy.  read more »

The Business of Baseball


Baseball might have a six month season but for some players the game never stops.

“This is a business that is getting bigger and bigger and is really many different businesses all rolled into one.”

Larry Baer is the CEO and owner of the World Series winning San Francisco Giants. Baer says winning games is the primary business but he is also in the entertainment, customer and community service business. Baer says over the past 20 years the sport has evolved and there is something in it for all types of fans to enjoy. This helps organizations fill stadiums and bring in three million fans a season; especially because the competition is not only on the field.  read more »

Sports and Business


The field might not be the only thing that’s green at your next big game.

Neill Duffy is the executive chairman of Tribe Management; a marketing agency that focuses on merging sports and entertainment with sustainability.

“We notice that a lot of major sporting events, in fact all major sporting events have lagged behind their adoption of sustainability to the same extent as mainstream business.”

I recently spoke with Duffy about the relationship between sports and the sponsors. He says that the majority of today’s major businesses are diving into the world of clean energy. This means they will think twice about sponsoring a major sports event that doesn’t share their commitment; leaving America’s favorite pastime and everything in between high and dry.  read more »