Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bonds

Barry did it (756) Tuesday night, and he did it again (757) last night. In a cloud of media mumblings and human growth hormone howlings, I’m glad it’s over.

My friend Casey and I took our boys to a Giants game a few weeks ago. Though our belabored orange and black field one of the worst products in professional sports, the seven of us caravanned from Davis. We invested a nice chunk -- tickets, hot dogs, sodas, beers, cotton candy, peanuts, parking, gas, bridge tolls plus our time – to see a crappy product. Why? Number 25.

Barry was sitting on 753, two shy of Aaron’s record. Our boys could care less that Tim Linsecum – all 165 dripping-wet pounds of him – was firing 97 MPH fastballs. They came to see – or, perhaps, they were brainwashed by us to think the reason for going was to see – Barry hit. He went one-for-four, no dongs, and the Giants won. More than 41,000 people paid to see the show.

Juice or not, Bonds’ feat is a jaw-dropping accomplishment. It is the talk of pundits and fans alike in, as Frank Deford opined, the asterisk era of baseball. One sour argument goes like this … the Giants would be better off without Barry (Bonds, not Zito; the latter’s $123mm contract begs asylum time) and his $16mm salary. A few thoughts:

  1. He’s unquestionably the best player on a bad team.
  2. It’s all about the Benjamins: Barry creates interest that generates an enormous profit for the Giants.
You can argue he’s a jerk. That he’s a bad teammate. That he cares more about himself than his employer. All true. But, as an allocation of resources from a business standpoint – the Giants, after all, are a business – he’s worth every penny.

Quick back-of-hotdog-wrapper math:
  1. The Giants have the third worst record in baseball, but they’re sixth in attendance (40,000+ fans/game), trailing the two NY and two SoCal teams, and the Cardinals.
  2. If the Giants were middle-to-upper-road in attendance – given their large market and best-in-baseball park that balance the crappy product – they would draw 35,000 fans.
  3. Hence, if you can deduce that Barry puts an extra 5,000 butts in the seats each game, here’s your ultra-conservative economic justification (sans TV and radio contracts, sponsorships, licensing, road-ticket sales proceeds, etc.):
  • 81 games X 5,000 fans = 405,000 “Bonds effect” fans.
  • Tickets ($20/seat), concessions ($15/fan) and parking/memorabilia ($5/fan) = $40/fan.
  • RBR (Residual Bonds Revenue): $16,200,000
You may not want to work or have a beer with him, but he’s the most entertaining attraction in sports, let alone the best bargain in baseball. He generates relevance and interest for an irrelevant product.

1 comment:

dave said...

finally somebody gets it. I'll also add he is the BEST player to in the last 70 years.