MONEY

S.F. vs. K.C. By the Numbers: How the World Series Teams and Towns Match Up

The World Series championship will be determined by how Wednesday night's Game 7 plays out, but how do San Francisco and Kansas City match up off the ball field?

After the Kansas City Royals stomped the San Francisco Giants in Game 6 of the World Series, the stage is set for an exciting winner-takes-all Game 7. The Royals, who skipped through earlier rounds of the 2014 playoffs without a loss, were named as a slight favorite to win the championship when the World Series began, and the Royals’ run is all the more impressive because the Giants’ payroll is more than 50% higher ($148 million versus the Royals’ $91 million).

For that matter, San Francisco blows away its opponent in terms of global cachet and higher incomes, and the home markets of this year’s World Series contenders couldn’t be more different. San Francisco is a hip, high-powered, and high-priced magnet for tech startups where the average home sells for close to $1 million, compared to a mere $186,000 for the typical house in Kansas City, a low-key, highly livable Midwestern hub famed for top-notch barbecue. Nonetheless, the secondary market price of World Series tickets for Kansas City home games has been roughly 30% higher than games hosted by San Francisco. That somewhat unexpected disparity likely comes as a result of San Francisco owning the edge on most recent World Series title. Giants fans have been spoiled of late with championships in 2010 and 2012, whereas Royals’ fans have been waiting since 1985 for another World Series title.

With the Series wrapping up tonight, click through the gallery above for a look at how the competitors match up, on and off the field.

TIME

Major League Baseball Is Less Competitive Than We Think

the Washington Nationals Nationals play the San Francisco Giants in the 3rd playoff game
Washington starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) as the Washington Nationals play the San Francisco Giants in game two of the NLDS playoffs at AT&T Park in San Francisco CA, October 6, 2014. The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University.

Salary caps and other "luxury taxes" aren't needed to even the playing field

Next January Bud Selig’s reign as baseball’s commissioner will come to an end. For more than 20 years, Selig has guided baseball through labor disputes, a canceled World Series, and steroids. Although these issues seem important, Selig had a different focus when he was asked about his legacy: “When it’s all said and done,” Selig said, “I’d say the economic reformation of the sport because there has been so many manifestations of that. We have the best competitive balance we’ve ever had, and it’s let [sic.] to so many other things.”

Competitive balance refers to how much parity there is among teams in a league. And Selig’s focus on this issue is hardly new. Back in 2002, Major League Baseball and its players faced another contentious labor dispute. The agreement that settled this dispute introduced the competitive balance tax, also called a luxury tax. The league imposed a financial penalty on teams that exceeded a certain payroll threshold, in hopes that these penalties would limit the spending of the richest teams. In fact, when the deal was reached, Selig noted in an interview on PBS, “the issue here was competitive balance, and I feel this deal clearly deals with that.”

So in 2002 Selig believed progress was made with respect to competitive balance. And 12 years later, he thinks this a significant part of his legacy. Unfortunately, the research in sports economics disagrees.

To see this, let’s briefly discuss how one can measure competitive balance. There is a temptation to focus on outcomes in the playoffs. But the post-season in any major professional sports is not a scientific experiment. This is especially true in baseball, where outcomes are often more about luck than team quality (as the Angels just discovered). So if we want to talk about balance — or differences in team quality — we need to focus on the regular season.

Back in the 1980s, Roger Noll and Gerald Scully (in separate work) introduced a measure of balance that “compares the actual performance of a league to the performance that would have occurred if the league had the maximum degree of competitive balance (in the sense that all teams were equal in playing strength).” If a league were perfectly balanced, then the dispersion of regular season wins would match the dispersion from a league that was equal in playing strength. In other words, the Noll-Scully ratio would be 1.00.

In the past 100 years, baseball has never achieved this ideal. In fact, in the first half of the 20th century it wasn’t uncommon for this ratio in the American League and National League to exceed 3.00. In other words, baseball used to be very imbalanced.

To understand why baseball was so imbalanced, consider the people that have historically played Major League Baseball. Prior to Jackie Robinson, the league was essentially just white Americans. Since the population employed was restricted, the league consisted of a few outstanding talents (like Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, etc.) and a collection of less than great players. And as I argued back in February, when outstanding players get to consistently play those with much less talent, the outcome is more predictable and the level of competitive balance much worse.

After Robinson, though, that changed. Once baseball began to consider everyone in America, as well as people from around the world, the supply of outstanding talents increased dramatically. The expanding talent base – as noted by Martin Schmidt and myself in an academic article published 10 years ago – led to an improvement in competitive balance. From 1915 to 1964, the average Noll-Scully ratio was 2.50 in the American League and 2.30 in the National League. In the 50 years since 1964, the ratio in each league was 1.80 in both leagues.

What about the impact of baseball’s competitive balance tax? Since 2003, the average ratio was 1.90 in the American League and 1.69 in the National League. In the 12 years prior to this tax, the two average ratios were 1.86 in the American League and 1.80 in the National League. None of these changes are statistically significant. In sum, balance has not been impacted by this tax.

In essence, Selig inherited a game that was already as balanced as it is today. The tax didn’t change anything. And this is not surprising. None of the labor market restrictions leagues have imposed (i.e., salary caps, payroll caps, luxury taxes, etc.) have been shown to statistically impact balance. Balance appears to be primarily about the populations employed. This is why baseball’s balance improved from what we saw in the early 20th century.

And this is why the NBA — where the Noll-Scully ratio is persistently above 2.50 — remains imbalanced. Basketball players tend to be extremely tall. The average height is 6 feet, 7 inches, and across the entire planet these very tall people are in short supply. With such a small population base, the NBA is often games between amazing players (like LeBron James and Tim Duncan) and less amazing players (most everyone else).

Despite the NBA’s competitive balance issues, fan interest has grown across the past few decades. And this illustrates another point to consider in evaluating Selig’s focus on competitive balance. There simply isn’t much evidence that fans truly care about league balance. A variety of published studies fail to find that attendance in sports is very responsive to changes in league balance.

So why did Selig focus so much attention on this issue? It’s important to remember that Selig was an owner before he became commissioner. Although owners might argue that labor market restrictions help competitive balance, it’s also clear they have another impact. The restrictions that the owners have advocated for over a century also reduce the bargaining power of players. Consequently — as economist Stefan Szymanski has noted — there are significant differences in how much revenue leagues give their players. In Major League Baseball and the National Football League, less than 55% of league revenue goes to the players (it’s the same story in the NBA). In contrast, English Football Leagues — which play in Europe, where many of the labor market restrictions employed in North America are not permitted — give 76% of their revenue to their players.

The owners’ focus on competitive balance predates Bud Selig. In fact, it first appeared in the 19th century. And across the decades it has paid off. Professional athletes in North America receive less than what Europeans are paid in a less restrained market. So when you hear people like Selig talk about balance, you should remember: This is not about the fan experience. It is really all about the owner’s bottom line.

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He is the lead author of The Wages of Wins and Stumbling on Wins and continues to serve on the editorial board of both Journal of Sports Economics and the International Journal of Sport Finance.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME MLB

Giants-Nats Game Longest in Postseason History

Division Series - San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals - Game Two
Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants runs the bases after hitting a solo home run to right field in the eighteenth inning against Tanner Roark #57 of the Washington Nationals during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on Oct. 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. Patrick Smith—Getty Images

It lasted for six hours and 23 minutes

The San Francisco Giants’ 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals this weekend was the longest Major League Baseball postseason game in history, going for 18 innings — literally two games’ worth of innings — and lasting for six hours and 23 minutes.

The record-setting event technically spans days: the second game in the National League Division Series began around 5:37 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 4, but finished after midnight on Sunday, which also happens to be the birthday of Nats pitcher Tanner Roark, according to MLB.com.

The previous record for longest postseason game was set in 2005, when the Houston Astros beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6 in game four of the NLDS, which took five hours and 50 minutes.

[MLB]

TIME Baseball

The Captain Says Goodbye to Yankee Stadium

The Yankees legend rose to the moment, ending the game with a dramatic walk-off hit.

TIME major league baseball

Baseball’s Derek Jeter Problem

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees smiles prior to a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on September 22, 2014. Mike Stobe—Getty Images

What will happen when the sport's most recognized and admired player leaves the game?

The New York Yankees have a Derek Jeter problem. Sure, the endless pomp surrounding Jeter’s retirement has kept a lot of people watching a team that won’t make the playoffs. But during his long goodbye, Jeter simply hasn’t produced. Entering Wednesday’s game, Jeter was hitting .255 – a full 55 points below his career average. His .615 on-base percentage (OPS) is the second-lowest of his career, ahead of only his .542 clip during last year’s injury induced abbreviated 17-game campaign. Jeter has hit a home run in 0.6% of his plate appearances; excluding his brief call-up in 1995, when he did not hit a home run in his 51 plate appearances, Jeter’s prior low was a 1.3% home run percentage in 1997. So in this category, it has been his weakest year, by two. He has drawn a walk in 5.6% of his plate appearances, another career low.

Outside the batter’s box, Jeter’s struggles as a shortstop have long been documented. And they’ve continued this season. According to the analytics, he’s below-average at his position.

In the public’s imagination, Jeter — who will play his last home game as a Yankee on Thursday night — is one of the greatest clutch hitters of all-time. But on Tuesday night, with the Yankees barely hanging on to the mathematical miracle they would have needed to make the post-season, Mighty Jeter struck out, with the tying run was on first, to end the game. It was a fitting summation of the season.

The Derek Jeter problem extends to all of baseball. Despite his shaky last-season performance, Jeter is still the most familiar, marketable, beloved player in the game. And right now, the sport has no one to replace him.

That love was on full display a few Sundays ago, during Derek Jeter Day at Yankee Stadium. Three-plus hours before the start of New York’s game against the Kansas City Royals – which the Yanks lost 2-0 – dozens of Yankees fans milled about. Joe Talnagi, 21, was asked what he was going to do during all this pre-game down time. “Probably cry,” said Talnagi, a college student from New Jersey. “Number 2” patches graced bottles of wine resting on the locker room chairs of all his Yankee teammates, the Yankee uniforms, and the flags atop the stadium. They were painted onto the field, along the first- and third-base lines. Jeter’s former teammate Jorge Posada showed up, and called Jeter the greatest Yankee of all-time. Michael Jordan was the surprise guest, and said Jeter is an “idol to me.”

Jeter’s fans, teammates, and buddies aren’t the only ones who idolize him. According to Q Scores Company, among active athletes recognized by more than half the U.S. population, Jeter owns the second-highest “Q score” – a general favorability rating – trailing only Peyton Manning. The bad news: no other baseball player ranks in the top 15. “Baseball players aren’t even on the national radar for the general population,” says Henry Schafer, an executive vice president at Q Scores. “They’re just not out there like players from other sports.”

Baseball has become a more regionalized game, a series of thriving fiefdoms with little national cultural connection. Thanks to lucrative local television deals, stable attendance, and smart digital investments by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the game’s overall revenues have grown. The sport is in fine economic health. But fans are getting older. The game is getting slower and slower, which hurts its appeal among younger viewers. Rarely is a regular season game appointment television. There’s just too much competition. A quarter century ago, NBC offered a “Game of the Week” on Saturdays. Now, the network offers Premier League soccer, a hipper product, on its cable channels. European soccer over baseball once seemed like a ridiculous proposition. Not anymore.

How did Jeter, who played 20 seasons in New York, won five World Series rings and has 3,461 hits–sixth-best of all time–break through? “Being able to accomplish all that, for that long a period of time, in a major market is highly unusual,” says Schafer. “The Yankees are both loved and hated across the country, but what’s surprising is he rises above it. He’s a likeable individual, and he’s respected.”

For 20 years, no personal scandal has interrupted the Jeter narrative: he’s a winner, a leader, a guy who plays the game “the right way.” During the Jeter ceremony, if any fans played a “right way” drinking game during the dozens of between-inning personalized messages that former teammates, opponents, New York sports legends like Joe Namath and random big names like Kenny Chesney and Matt Lauer delivered on the video board, they were sloshed before the seventh-inning stretch.

“He’s pretty much the face of baseball,” says Schafer. “There’s going to be a big void. It’s going to be like when the NBA was trying to find the next Michael Jordan. Baseball is going to have a very tough time finding the next Derek Jeter.” On Schafer’s list, there is one other active baseball player that more than half of the general population recognizes.

It’s A-Rod.

MONEY

Marketing Jeter’s Farewell Season, by the Numbers

New York Yankees batter Derek Jeter follows through on his swing
Ray Stubblebine—Reuters

Derek Jeter, by far the most respected and marketable baseball star in the modern era, is retiring this season. To commemorate the end of the Captain's historic career, fans have been asked to open their wallets early and often.

No matter how widely Derek Jeter is beloved in the sports world, many have questioned the relentless marketing of this, his final season, including a few critics even in the New York City media. “It’s such bad taste,” former New York Jets quarterback and current sports radio personality Boomer Esiason said in early September, referring to the “cheese-ball move” of rolling out new products and endlessly merchandising Jeter’s farewell season. “It kind of goes against everything Derek Jeter has been.”

Nonetheless, the sales have rolled on throughout the season and have picked up pace as the end nears. Here are some numbers that show how #2 has undeniably been #1 in terms of marketing and merchandising during his final season in pinstripes:

2 Number of epic tribute commercials released by long-time Jeter sponsors (Nike, Gatorade) this season commemorating his goodbye.

29 Number of different styles of Jeter baseball hats listed for sale at the Major League Baseball site.

$8.95, $260 Lowest get-in prices listed of late at StubHub for Orioles-Yankees tickets on, respectively, Wednesday, September 24, and Thursday, September 25. The latter is the last regular season home game, and therefore Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium. According to the ticket resale aggregation site TiqIQ.com, the average price paid on the secondary market for the game on the 25th has been in the neighborhood of $650 to $750.

$50, $210 Lowest get-in prices listed of late at StubHub for the Yankees-Red Sox tickets on, respectively, Saturday, September 27, and Sunday, September 28. The latter is the final game of the regular season, and therefore Jeter’s final game, and it’s being played at Fenway Park. The average price on the secondary market for a seat to the final game has been around $550, according to TiqIQ.

50-50 How the vote broke down among fans weighing in at a Yankees blog as to whether it was a good or bad idea for the Yankees to wear a Jeter commemorative patch on their jerseys—an extremely rare way to honor a still-active player.

$149 Starting price for tickets to a Jeter Q&A session on Monday, September 22, at the Millennium Hotel in Manhattan. Steiner Sports, the event host, has advertising a package with a Mezzanine Level seat and a Derek Jeter Commemorative Final Season Bat for $299. VIP packages, which include lunch, a signed baseball, and premium seating, go as high as $2,999.

296 Number of Jeter products available for sale at the sports apparel site fanatics.com. The site reports that Jeter sales lately are up 2,700% compared with the same period a year ago, and that Jeter merchandise has been purchased this season in all 50 states and 30+ countries. Among the top sellers lately is a commemorative Jeter fitted Yankees hat retailing for $36.95.

$410 Asking price for one of Jeter’s game socks (used, of course, and highly collectible).

$500 Minimum bid for one of four special pairs of Derek Jeter Jordan cleats being auctioned off to benefit Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. At last check, bids were well over $2,000, with roughly four weeks to go before the auctions close.

$695 to $795 Range of prices for a Captains Series Celebrating Derek Jeter watch from Movado, which went on sale in recent weeks.

$12,500 Price paid by a collector for a home run ball hit by Jeter in August at a Toronto Blue Jays home game. The Blue Jays put the ball up for sale immediately after the game. “A collector from Tennessee offered $8,000, I said $15,000, we met in between,” a Blue Jays staffer explained. It’s the highest price ever commanded for a piece of baseball memorabilia sold by the team.

$50,000 Highest price Jeter item listed recently at Steiner Sports. It’s a game-used road grey jersey and pants worn by the Captain this past August, in a matchup against the Baltimore Orioles. On the cheap end of the spectrum are unsigned 6″ x 10″ photos of Jeter from 2009 and wrist bands commemorating his 3,000th hit that can be had for under $4.

$19 Million+ Amount in grants awarded by Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation since the nonprofit was launched in 1996.

$24 Million Estimated earnings by Derek Jeter for 2014, according to Forbes, including roughly $15 million in salary and $9 million in endorsements.

TIME major league baseball

MLB Upholds First Team Protest in 28 Years in Giants Versus Cubs Game

Chicago Cubs ground crew members struggle to get the tarp on the field as rain falls during the fifth inning of the Chicago Cubs game against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on August 19, 2014 in Chicago.
Chicago Cubs ground crew members struggle to get the tarp on the field as rain falls during the fifth inning of the Chicago Cubs game against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on August 19, 2014 in Chicago. Brian Kersey—Getty Images

The Cubs can't even tarp a field, it seems

After protesting that the Chicago Cubs didn’t tarp the field properly in a 2-0 rain-inducing loss Tuesday night, the San Francisco Giants were allowed by Major League Baseball Wednesday night to finish the game Thursday. The heavy fifteen minutes of rain had stopped the game after four and a half innings, and the Cubs were declared the winners only after a 4 hour and 34 minute delay.

It was the first time in 28 years that Major League Baseball upheld a team’s protest, USA Today reports.

The Giants had asked the MLB to forfeit the game, but the League decided that the groundskeepers had worked “diligently” enough to reschedule it. The League’s investigation found that the Cubs failed “to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use,” rendering the ground crew unable to complete the job.

The teams had looked into suspending the game on Tuesday, but since the tarp was manual and not mechanical in nature, the officials had to call the game or wait until the field became playable, according to ESPN.

You can find the MLB’s entire ruling here.

TIME Baseball

10 Not-to-Miss Moments From the MLB All-Star Game

Derek Jeter went 2-for-2 in his 14th and final All-Star Game performance and the American League defeated the National League 5-3

Fans gathered at Target Field in Minneapolis Tuesday night, to watch the American League face off against the National League in the All-Star Game. Here are 10 of the best moments from–and Derek Jeter’s last appearance at–the annual celebration of baseball’s finest.

MONEY Careers

What You Can Learn From Derek Jeter’s Perfect Exit

140715_EM_JETER
ZUMA Press—Alamy

Whether you’re the Yankees' all-time leader in hits, games played, and stolen bases, or just a regular employee, leaving a long-term employer on the best terms can pay off handsomely. 

Updated on Sept. 25, 2014

When shortstop Derek Jeter plays his final home game at Yankee stadium tonight (weather permitting), you can bet the crowds will roar and the 20-year Yankee veteran will modestly acknowledge the fans, take his stance in the batter’s box, and get on with the job at hand. You can also bet that Jeter, who announced his retirement from active play at the start of the season, can parlay that adulation into a very lucrative post-baseball second act.

That’s what a job well done and a well-honed exit strategy from a long-term position can do for you too.

Whether you’re on the verge of retirement or are simply leaving a company you’ve been with for a while to take a new position, here are three lessons from the future Hall-of-Famer’s actions in his final season that you can take to the bank.

Get early buy-in from management. Jeter gave Yankee manager Joe Girardi, general manager Brian Cashman, and owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner more than six months’ notice about his plan to end his playing career at the close of the current season. That’s allowed them plenty of time to plan for his replacement at shortstop.

Show your bosses the same courtesy. Notify your manager a good three to six months in advance if you’re retiring and a month to six weeks ahead of time vs. the standard two weeks if you’re leaving for a new job so they have enough lead time to fill your position. That’s especially important if you’re in a critical, revenue-generating role or are a highly skilled employee who may be difficult to replace. Help identify other staffers or professionals outside the company who might be good candidates, and offer to train them before you go, or at least to write a detailed memo that will help the person fill your shoes.

Your reward: If you’re retiring, you never know when you might want to earn a little extra cash by doing some consulting work or might want or need to return to part-time work. Your behavior helps ensure your former employer will want you back in some capacity. And if you’re simply moving on, you can count on a glowing reference if and when you need one in the future.

Mentor younger players. They don’t call Jeter the Captain for nothing. Since late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner appointed him team leader in 2003, Jeter has taken his job as a role model seriously, consistently mentoring younger players and youth off the field through his Turn 2 Foundation.

Share your knowledge as generously with younger colleagues at work, especially those who toil in a similar capacity albeit at a more junior level. Offer some inside tips that only someone who’s been around for a while would know, and make yourself available for questions and as a sounding board. Be especially generous in passing along your know-how to the person who’s taking your place. Those junior staffers will be the bosses one day, possibly sooner than you think. Good for them to remember you fondly if they’re in a position to hire you someday.

Show fans your appreciation. Jeter is notoriously not on board with hoopla over his career accomplishments, and his farewell tour has been subdued compared with that of fellow Yankee Core Four member Mariano Rivera last year. Yet Jeter has graciously accepted the gifts and gratitude shown him as he plays at various ballparks for the last time and tips his cap to the fans, just as they tip theirs to him.

Remember to show your gratitude to those who helped your career along as well. If you had a mentor at work, let him or her know how much you appreciated the help and mention a particular lesson or words of wisdom that were especially useful (the specificity makes your gratitude seem more genuine). Let colleagues who you particularly admire know and, again, try to identify a specific accomplishment or skill that you believe sets them apart. Bring in bagels or doughnuts for the staff one morning near the end of your run or buy a round of drinks. Think of it as a form of networking that may one day help you professionally.

This kind of classy behavior may not earn you a standing ovation on your way out the door, let alone an emotionally resonant and star-studded tribute videos sponsored by Nike and Gatorade. But it can’t hurt in the good karma department — and is very likely to pay off in hard currency after you hang up your spikes.

More in Careers:
These Two Key Moves Will Help You Land Your Dream Second Career
How to Find Happiness in Your Second Career—And Earn Money Too
Your Career Is Your Biggest Asset. Here Are Five Ways to Protect It

 

TIME Baseball

A Major League Pitcher Wore a Protective Cap for the First Time

But his team lost

San Diego Padres relief pitcher Alex Torres became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to wear a protective cap over the weekend.

The league approved the bulky-looking headgear meant to protect against the impact of line drives to the head, and Torres ignored the jeers of his teammates as he made history during a Saturday evening game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It could save our lives, if someone hits a ball to your head,” Torres told MLB.com. “I get it for free so, I’m just gonna use it to see how it feels.”

Torres entered the game in the 8th inning, giving up one run, one hit and two walks while also striking out two before the Padres lost 4-2. He said he didn’t think the new cap impacted his pitching.

The hat, which looks a bit like a stylized T-ball helmet, was designed by IsloBox and approved by the league in January. The hat is designed with padded sides to absorb the impact of a ball to the head. Torres said he decided to wear the hat after seeing Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Alex Cobb get hit in head during a game last year. At the time, Torres played for the Rays. On Sunday, Cobb told Fox Sports he thought his former teammate’s decision to wear the hat was admirable.

”He’s wearing the MLB one? That’s cool. That’s cool,” Cobb said. “It was out there for somebody to be the first person to do it.”

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