Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Sports Wrap-Up & This and That

World Serious?

I completely underestimated the tenacity of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, losing game six only to come from behind to win game 7 and a trip to the Big Dance. I honestly don't really care who wins the World Series, though if I had to pick I'd say I'm rooting for the Rays. I love it when teams who have never won a championship win their first one, it's always a special moment. I also don't particularly care for the Phillies, though I don't hate them either.

I would think that several executives at Fox are shitting bricks right about now, estimating that they'll get the lowest ratings of any World Series that they've shown. Ratings have been pretty low for the World Series since the 2004 edition (featuring the BoSox vs. the Cards) which got a 15.8 average with about 25 million viewers. The last several years the ratings have been just above a 10 average with about 15 million viewers. Think about that number for a second, if there's about 305 million people in the U.S., 15 million viewers is less than 5% of the population. If you compare the numbers to the Superbowl, you get a HUGE disparity because of the 40+ ratings that the big game gets year in and year out. What that translates to is that almost HALF of the U.S. population tunes into the Superbowl at some point during the game.

Now the World Series does get better ratings than both the NHL and the NBA finals. The NBA finals routinely draw under 10 ratings, and in fact haven't scored higher than last year's 9.2 since 2004! The NHL finals aren't really even in the same ballpark in reality, they aren't on broadcast TV and they don't even draw more than a couple of points each season. I could go on for days on television ratings as they fascinate me to no end, however, I would just be flogging the same dead animal. Football is America's #1 sport and everything else pales in comparison.

Adjusted for Inflation

Wasn't like that when I was a kid, but then again gas was under $1.00 a gallon when I was a kid too. Heck the year I was born (1971) the average price for a gallon of gas was just over 35 cents. Adjusted for inflation that would be about 1.77 now. Then again, my first packs of trading cards were $0.25 in 1977, and today they're at least $2.00 or more. It gets worse though. Comic books were $0.35 when I started collecting, now you're LUCKY if you can find a comic with under a $2.99 cover price, and more likely they're $3.99 or higher. In fact in the last two weeks I've bought two, count 'em TWO comic books both with the $3.99 cover price (The Barack Obama comic and the new Ghostbusters comic both from IDW).

Inflation only covers some of the increase in prices. That 35 cent comic according to the inflation caluclator should cost 85 cents now, BUT they don't make comics like they did in 1977. For one, the paper and printing process are all very high tech now, that old newsprint that will distintigrate over time is long-gone, replaced with fancy glossy stock. The old hand coloring and hand lettering processes have joined the dodo in extinction with most everything being done by computer. Same thing goes with trading cards. What you bought for a quarter back in 1977 (any set of Topps really) doesn't exist anymore. For that price you got 10 cards, one of which was always screwed up by the wax wrapper, and another of which might be screwed up by the gum, which was bloody awful. Now I respect both Topps and UD for having entry level card sets that approximate the old days in both tone and set content, but the card stock and photography are all technologically advanced. When you think about it though, for a dollar you do get about the same contents as you would in 1977. Then again, I didn't have the opportunity to pull an autogamer or a piece of a dead Presidents hair in 1977 either. I could pull a C-3PO card with a stiffy so it's all good.

Fantasy Football Update

I lost BOTH games this weekend, second time in two weeks. UGH. My players just had awful days in both leagues, and I didn't pay much attention to my lineups on Sunday, which meant that I ended up starting Chris Chambers when he didn't even play. In my league my top four performers all scored in double digits, but the remaining guys didn't break 7 and that was for my defense. In Gellman's league, where I WAS tied for first place, I did horribly scoring my worst performance of the year. Thankfully it's only week 7 and there are 7 more weeks to go in both leagues. In my league I'm 3-4, tied for 5th place. I'd still be in the playoffs though because top 6 go in my league. In Gellman's league I'm now 5-2 and there is currently a five way tie for first. Talk about parity. The three teams that WERE tied for first last week at 5-1 all lost, and the two teams that were 4-2 both won, leaving a HUGE log-jam at the top. I believe that I still have the number one seed though, like it means much since there's only 4 teams in that league that make the playoffs. I need a few of my guys to get healthy really quickly, just like the UCLA Bruins Football squad.

This or That

I'm working on a piece about the difference between retail and hobby, when to buy what and why. Seems like this is always a sore subject with hobby bloggers, and I think that my take will be a little different than most. Here's a quick preview: I like retail, but I'd prefer to shop hobby, even though currently I buy more at retail. There.

My next post will be my list of needs to complete a 2008 Upper Deck Baseball set. You might remember that I was able to get a box of both series gratis from Upper Deck, not to review or anything like that, though DAMN I wish that I could get free product like Chris and Mario (kudos to both of you too), but because I enrolled my child into the Upper Deck Kids Points Club, and amassed a huge number of points in a short amount of time. If anyone's interested I'll do a post on the club in the future and other freebies that you can get from the hobby.

The "Free" Controversy

Speaking of freebies, I'd like to weigh in on the current blogger controversy between Mario of Wax Heaven, Chris of Stale Gum and JV of Treasure Never Buried. If you don't know what's going on, in a nutshell, Mario announced with pride that he had been contacted by Upper Deck to start receiving free product that he can review on his blog. Pretty standard stuff to be honest, this goes on in pretty much every industry. As soon as the announcement was made other bloggers started to weigh in, JV being the most vocal. Mario was accused not of being less than objective, but rather lying to his readers about the origins of a couple of boxes he broke earlier in the year. Whoop-de-doo. Later Chris also announced that he had entered a similar agreement with UD and would also be getting free product. Both Mario and Chris are also sharing much of that product with readers through free contests.

Here's my take:

WHO THE HELL CARES if they get free product. AS I said earlier, free product is RAMPANT in pretty much every industry. DO you think that movie reviewers pay for their movies? No way no how. For every 100 movie reviews that a reviewer writes he or she will have paid for MAYBE one or two of those films. Why? Because the movie industry has set up a process where they screen films for critics for free, at least in major cities they do. I know this for a fact, I have family in the movie industry. I've been to COUNTLESS press screenings in Los Angeles dating back to the early 80's when my Uncle edited one of the oldest trade publications in Hollywood. It's been my privilege to see some great films days or weeks in advance, including a rough cut of Back to the Future in 1985 and two out of the three Star Wars prequels.

The same thing goes for DVD reviewers, they get FREE copies of the DVDs they review. If they didn't they wouldn't review them, plain and simple. Book reviewers get advanced copies, they show up on eBay all the time (seriously do a search in the books section for ARC or Advance Reader Copies). Plays aren't any different, critics are given passes to early performances or full dress rehersals. This is the way of the industry my friends. Television critics often get cool advance DVDs with episodes on them way before they hit the airwaves.

It doesn't just go for the media either, I worked for Price Club for several years in their buying office. Samples would just show up at work, and though we had a strict no "graft" policy, most of the samples would end up in some employee's hands. Hell I had a Hasbro Millenium Falcon that they gave us as a sample for the toy department on my desk for YEARS in the 90's, and when I left the company they let me take it home. Wasn't just toys either, jewelry, watches, cameras, food, clothing, gifts - you name it, it got sampled.

Did I mention that I haven't paid to get into a major convention since the early 90's either? I went to two or three Wizard World Los Angeles cons, a couple of GenCon Anaheim cons, and I stopped paying for San Diego Comic Con in 1988. Granted I haven't been to one since 1997, but from 1989 to 1996 I didn't pay a thing to get in.

Does this have anything to do with objectivity? Absolutely not. Whether you pay for something or not, as a reviewer you are OBLIGED (get it) to be objective in your opinion. Those who question other's objectivity have issues with their own. As I learned in journalism class, your integrity is the most important thing you can have, you have to be objective to be a journalist. Now, I don't really consider blogging to be professional journalism, it's more of an amateurish kind of thing, that said, bloggers should STILL conform to the rules of professional journalism. They should be fact-checking their articles and confirming their sources. Both Chris and Mario have their own domains, meaning they've paid someone some money to host their site. The don't get any income as far as I know for doing what they do, they do it out of love. Surely they're entitled to some perks along the way.

Now, having said all that, if you have some stuff you'd like ME to review, go ahead and shoot me an email to wmnoe at yahoo dot com, and I'll be happy to review it for you, no matter what it is. I promise to give an unbiased objective opinion as well. Even if it's McFarlane Sports Picks toys. Really.

1 comment:

William Noetling said...

Oh I kind of forgot to mention my PERSONAL feelings on the whole controversy. I like all three guys involved to be honest, Mario is a good writer with good insight, Chris has a great take, and I appreciate JV's sense of honor and honesty.

That said, I can't read JV's blog on a regular basis any more due to his attack on Mario. I'm not alone I think either. I'll still hit his blog once in a while, but I've removed him from my links and my subscriptions. I just think he was way off base and accusatory, even though he denied everything, he still kept beating a dead horse for several days. I respect JV's place in the blogosphere, and he's a young dad like myself. BUT I cannot condone his actions on his blog, so I did what every free person has the right to do, I turned him off. Instead of letting someone else censor things for you, try doing it yourself. If you don't like what someone says, change the channel. JV has just as much right as anyone to blog about trading cards, but if I don't agree with him, I don't have to read his blog. You can do the same. If you think my blog sucks, go ahead and turn me off, though I'd like the opportunity to get better with constructive criticism. I gave JV that respect, before I desubscribed I commented on several of his pieces, and told him exactly what my thoughts were on the subject. I would expect others to have the same respect for me.