Wooden's World of Baseball

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Is It March Yet?

Unlike our furry friend in Pennsylvania, a sign of spring has been spotted in Boston

Even though pitchers and catchers report early this year, February remains a dead zone. Of course, being confined to my house and the recent spate of school days off (two for the inauguation and MLK holiday, two for the Fairfax County teachers in-service days, and another for an ice storm) certainly isn't helping.

It also doesn't help that the proverbial Hot Stove this year has become a game of chicken between ownership and the free agents and will probably continue to be right up until training camp starts. I also expect a lot of one-year deals, with players gambling that next year's market will be better and teams hedging against these players being in decline.

The second edition of the World Baseball Classic should get me excited, but so far, it isn't. Maybe because its timing is so poor. Seriously, this can't be done instead of the All Star Game in mid-July? I'm thinking... Round One is done in November, Round Two is played in March, and the Finals are played in July? Does anyone (besides Fox execs) care about the All Star Game anymore? Maybe that's a post for this summer.

Two weeks ago, I decided to go to the Nats Fest instead of the P-Nats Hot Stove dinner. Wasn't really a hard choice, given that recently retired congressman Tom Davis was the announced keynote speaker and who wants to see Art Silber slobber? The NatsFest turned out to be a logistical disaster, with thousands of people converging on Nationals Park at once, and management making the brilliant decision to open one (1) gate to let in the crowd. I've seen small-town high schools do a better job managing a crowd.

Needless to say, I was not happy to wait 45 minutes in the one line that had formed, only to see that officials had allowed two more to form, such that folks that showed up well after I had were able to get in before I did. This was not a free event, mind you.

It's disappointing to me, also, that more care wasn't taken to cater to the varying degrees of fans, either. The primary Nationals Team Store was closed -- stupid, stupid, stupid -- and autograph seekers weren't well segregated from the folks that just wanted to check out the digs and listen to the keynote speakers.

Perhaps they were was more demand than they expected, but I have to wonder about that when tickets were sold. At a minimum, they should have figured on the usual rules of thumb: 80% of single-ticket buyers would show and 50% of the season-ticket holders (who got in for free) and it doesn't take a math major to figure out that that would be at least a couple thousand people.

Oh, well. Maybe next year I'll go to the Caravan when it makes its pass further out from DC, if at all. Maybe the unusual cold this past January is what's really to blame, since folks like us are desperate for warm weather and baseball to come back — even if it's just to see an also-ran!