Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dumb Things Said on the Radio, Take 11

On the Rude Awakening this morning, the fact that Atlanta ranked sixth in terms of TV ratings for the NFL Draft was discussed. Where most Atlanta sports fans would enjoy that statistic and revel in another piece of evidence that the "Atlanta sucks as a sports town" meme is worthless, Perry Laurentino used the opportunity to argue that the NFL is surpassing college football in the Atlanta market. And the evidence for this argument? Naturally, Perry used the ratings for the Braves-Rockies game, which was not in the same timeslot and which was also equivalent to the ratings for the Draft (the ratings at the time when the Falcons picked were significantly higher), an NBA playoff game, an NHL playoff game, and a Busch Series race. That makes total sense. Of course college football is declining relative to the NFL, since there was so much college football content on in the same timeslot with which to compare. It also didn't occur to Mssr. Laurentino that college football fans might actually like watching the Draft since they, you know, actually know something about the players and can gain great enjoyment from the suffering of players from their rivals.

Incidentally, the issue of Atlanta as a sports town raises a couple additional thoughts:

1. Why isn't Detroit being labeled as the worst sports town in America in light of the thousands of empty seats at the Joe for the home playoff games of the top-seeded Red Wings? You mean it's possible for fans to get playoff fatigue when their team makes it year after year after year?

2. This article($) is simply outstanding. In a nutshell, Nate Silver took a stab at analyzing the true size of each Major League Baseball team's market, both in terms of the size of the metropolitan area as well as the surrounding states, to get a better sense as to which teams are truly big market teams. Here is the section on the Braves:

Atlanta Braves
Attendance Sphere: 5.5M (93, 13th)
TV Sphere: 15.6M (176, 2nd)
MSA: 5.2M (90, 12th)
Mike Jones: 6.5M (102, 11th)
States Won (TV): Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Mississippi

Note that the Braves rank 13th in their attendance market but 2nd in their TV market--it’s no accident that Ted Turner invented the Superstation. There are huge numbers of people in the South that are closer to the Braves than any other club, but not close enough to drive to games regularly. Atlanta itself has grown by 20 percent since the 2000 census, but that growth is along the city’s periphery rather than in its center, and the traffic in the region is terrible, so the Braves remain a television team.

This analysis goes a long way to explaining why the Braves' attendance lags behind the team's popularity: the Atlanta metro-area is far-flung and the Braves, not unlike the Cardinals, are a regional team that has a number of fans in the surrounding states. Given the love that the Red Sox get as a regional team, the Braves deserve a little credit for having similar characteristics.


Klinsi said...

Laurentina is a moron. Later in the show he summarily dismissed Jayson Stark's reliance on a defensive rate stat to show that Andruw is overrated by saying: "Anyone can skew stats to make their argument. All you need to do to evaluate a player is just watch them every day, just like pro scouts do."

Perry - take your inane and uninformed shtick back to the Bronx where it belongs baby!

Ryno said...

Gentlemen....You are still listening to 680 the fan in the mornings?

Let me change your lives. Turn to 790. Chris Demino does mornings now and his breakdown of the past nights Braves game is excellent.

LD said...

Sports Talk Radio Mornings in Atlanta is like a Scylla and Charybdis for anyone with a brain...

On 680 you have Perry Laurentino spouting the opposite of intelligent analysis alongside Christopher Rude, a guy who proudly states how he knows little about sports and prefers "This day in Rock History" bits. Awesome option.

790 gives us about 28 minutes per hour of actual talk (in every 20 minute segment, you've got 7-8 minutes of commercials, about 3-4 minutes of traffic and sports updates or "Mayhem Laugh Tracks"). And then when they do actually talk, you've got Steak talking about food, the Sopranos, and his daughter; Bell talking about fast food, drinking, mooching off other people to play golf, and allegedly banging women; Cellini mocking Bell's weight or inserting mid-talk advertiser plugs (he does it constantly); and DiMino getting in maybe 30 seconds of actual sports coverage. It's a shame, because Dimino is one of the best on the air anywhere but he doesn't get enough time; Cellini (when he wants) can be decent when it comes to football, and Bell is incredibly talented on his racing show and actually could know what he's talking about if he didn't want to keep up his "class clown" persona as he wastes his time in the mornings doing bad impressions and shenanigans stories that ring so hollow (Steak should just focus on management and advertiser gladhandling, because he's a vacuum on the air).

So basically you're forced to choose between one station where they actually do talk sports relatively frequently, but half the crew doesn't know his elbow from a-hole and the other half almost purposefully acts like an ingnoramus; or another station where every minute of talk is matched by a minute or more of filler, and less than 10% of the "talk" is actually sports related, and of that only 10% is astute (though it could be much better).

I'm not asking for NPR Sports, but radio shows that don't insult the listener (like Dimino's solo shows) have to have a place on the air somewhere, don't they?

Andrew said...

tough calls. laurentino is purposely contrarian. that's his schtick. i can't listen to Steak on 790. hate him. lesser of 2 evils?

Ryno said...

Big morning today after all the interviews with the Rainbow Push nutjobs and Braves Management.

You're one of my favorite blogs and I can't wait to read your take on it.

**Also, am interested in where you watch your football matches in Atlanta. I've been to Fado's for the last slew of CL games, and like the food and pints there...had heard the Brewhouse was also good. Wouldn't recommend the Loafing Leprechaun out in Gwinnett.

Michael said...

Ask and ye shall receive, Ryno.

I watched games at Brewhouse because it's close to where I used to live and because the atmopshere for a big match is outstanding. I also like Little Five a lot more than Buckhead. (That's the leftist in me talking.) It will be absolutely jumping for the CL Final, as all the English ex-pats watch games there. My favorite Brewhouse memory is watching Germany 1 England 5 there and the place going bananas. Klinsi was there with me in his Germany fleece and he went from very happy (Germany scored first) to shocked to dismayed to gone around minute 70.

I haven't been to any games at Brewhouse this year because of work, parenting, and having FSC and GolTV for the first time.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Personally, I think the fan base for the Braves was built on a foundation of sand because of 30 years of failure followed by such out of the blue dominance.

Combine that problem with division re-alignment and the wildcard, and you have a Braves team with maybe 2 post-season pennant races after the '92 season. That left little regular season interest in a product with a predictable punchline season ending.

The combo -- empty seats for a quality product that generate the label -- Atlanta is a bad sports town.

Beyond that -- the content coming out of 680 is simply beneath rational discussion. Weak.

Michael said...

It occurs to me that mocking Perry Laurentino in one post and then picking on the media for lashing out at ridiculously easy targets in the next makes me a bit of a hypocrite.

Klinsi said...

Ah yes, leave it to Michael to bring up that particulary vile evening and Das Debakel im Olympiastadion . . . that i thought I had forgotten.

Thank goodness only Ballack remains from that side, however, i also seem to recall the tables being turned just a short time later as we watched Deutschland put down Landycakes und die Amis in the World Cup. Rudi had learned from Das Debakel and brought in some real defenders like Metzelder, Frings, Schneider et al., which allowed them to reach the final that year.

Michael said...

The chants of "have you shit on a German today?" and "two world wars and one world cup" are still ringing in my ears.

Far be it from me to defend England, but they did come closer to beating Brazil than Germany did. That rigorous set of 1-0 wins over Paraguay, the US, and South Korea en route to the final wasn't exactly a murderer's row.

Then again, my team didn't even get to the WC because they couldn't hold a 2-0 lead in Lisbon or beat Ireland in two matches, so I can't make fun.

Grizz said...

"Why isn't Detroit being labeled as the worst sports town in America in light of the thousands of empty seats at the Joe for the home playoff games of the top-seeded Red Wings? You mean it's possible for fans to get playoff fatigue when their team makes it year after year after year?"

The empty seats at Joe Louis aren't due to "playoff fatigue." Three things are keeping fans away from Wings games:

1) The ticket prices, which are around 90 bucks or so for the corner of the upper level.

2) The success of the Tigers and the Pistons. The Wings are no longer the only game in town. Fans have a choice on whether to go see a Pistons or a Wings playoff game.

3) Finally, exacerbating both 1 and 2 is the fact that Michigan has one of the worst economies in the U.S. right now and Detroit has the worst economy in the State of Michigan.

In sum: Playoff fatigue is a disease distinct to the great city of Atlanta.

Michael said...

You want to play the excuse game? OK. Braves fans don't sell out the Ted for home playoff games because:

1. The Braves have had a history of coming up short in the playoffs since the Leyritz homer.

2. Atlanta is spread out, which makes it hard for fans in the suburbs to come in to see games.

3. The Braves usually get crappy weekday afternoon start times.

4. October is college football season in the South.

Anyway, the point is that every city can make excuses, but those excuses are apparently invalid for Atlanta (or Miami or Charlotte or whatever other Southern city isn't living up to Michael Wilbon's ideal for a sports town) and valid for Detroit.

It's interesting that you mention the economy in Michigan. The economy is considerably stronger in the Sunbelt, which is why so many people from the Northeast and Midwest move down here, yet when there were a lot of Chicago transplants at the '03 NLCS, that was apparently a sign that Atlanta fans suck.

Anyway, Atlanta doesn't proclaim itself to be "Baseball Town."

Grandy said...

Our sports talk is iffy. I'm just sort of resigned to it.

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