This is the time of year, I like to post my meaningless diatribe about the “State of Major League Baseball” and my plan to…”FIX the game”. Oh sure, winning the powerball lottery has a much better chnce for me than this ever being taken seriously
Now, I posted this last year and got comments such as, “baseball doesn’t need fixing”, “The season is the perfect length” and “Fan attendance is fine”, These were, I assume…”PURISTS”.
Meanwhile, attendance and revenues were in fact down, weather at the beginning of April still sucks, fuel and transportation costs continue to rise and we had a very good chance of having a late October World Series in…Minnesota!
Oh and yes…the All star Home Run hitting contest is still boring.
Oh, and now there is talk of adding more teams to the playoffs and a slight re-alignment by MLB.
Apparently MLB does not think is fine to remain “status quo”.
So here is my annual “shout into the black hole” for 2012.
I was watching the opening game of the 2009 World Series last night and watching the mist and the cold of the night at Yankee Stadium, while simultaneously the NBA opening night game was on another channel and some college football game on another.
I have always wondered why baseball has to extend into November to finish the season. I love baseball and at least this year there seems to be a marquee match up, but it’s not always like that. Here is a plan that I’ve had in my own mind for fixing Major League Baseball, or should I say, enhancing MLB to cater to the fans and benefit the game it’s self. Bud Selig, if you read my blog, feel free to call me and discuss. I have more ideas than just this, but lets start with re aligning the divisions and creating a Regional plan that works.
I will also state that I am fully aware that the rating for THIS (2009) post season have been very good. But lets not forget that there is the benefit of a marquee match up and any time the Yankees are in the post season there is going to be a huge ratings boost. I will guarantee that if the series was being played right now, between the Rockies and the Twins, you would have a hard time giving advertising away and there more empty seats than a Vanilla Ice reunion tour.
I know baseball went through re-alignment a few years ago, but that means it can be done again, for the better of the game, by being better for the fans.
I also know that this is not the first time the idea has been approached by columnists, bloggers and various sources. But while google searching the realignment arguments, I have yet to find a posting during the first three pages that either 1) Makes Sense or 2) Presents a valid reason behind their plan.
And while there are those who scream that my ideas mess with tradition, I state back that the definition of stupidity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, simply because you’ve always done it like that, even if it doesn’t work.
Here’s a thought; Lets not change anything and re-address the issue in ten years when there are less fans and less revenue and we start caring about the health and the future game and less about upsetting the ghosts of the past. There isn’t really a corn field in Iowa where Shoeless Joe will walk out of the tall stalks to pass with you if you make him happy. It was a movie.
Baseball needs to make a radical shift in the way it does business and markets its self if it wants to continue to grow and develop a generation of fans from the ranks of the youth. Today’s kids have more alternatives than ever baseball has more competition than ever before.
Look no matter how much the old “traditionalists” with hair growing from their ears want to believe that the spirits of Jolting Joe DiMaggio, Ty Cobb, The Babe and Ted Williams are going to re-appear and curse the game if Major League Baseball breaks from tradition, the fact is that interest in the game, fueled by a weakening economy and and alternatives to going to the park such as High Def TV and 300 cable channels with several games on per night.
The Vincent Rush / Cincinnati Sports Photography Plan for Fixing Major League Baseball
Lets create 3 Divisions of 10 teams each in a way that makes sense regionally;
Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals
San Francisco Giants
Arizona D Backs
At the end of the season, top 8 teams in baseball advance to a seeded bracketed playoff system based on record. The winners of each division are in. If the winner of a division has the 9th best record, then a 1 game playoff or shall we say a “Play In” game would exist between number 8 and number 9, but only if that was the unlikely case.
First round best 3/5 next two rounds best of seven. This, although it does not guarantee, it does create a better probability of the two best teams meeting at the end.
Start the regular season on the 15th of April and end on the 15th of September.
Either reduce the regular season schedule by the 25 games lost or make up a portion of them in more double headers throughout the season as a way of enticing fans to come to the park knowing that they can get a full day of baseball for the money. Double headers were and are still great for families on a Saturday or Sunday. It does not matter if the players like them or not. The fans are the ones who buy the tickets. Hey, if I just paid Albert 27 mill a year…he’ll play 2 when I want him to play 2.
Baseball will make it up on the increased revenue from concessions, better weather and the laws of supply and demand. If there is any doubt as to this theory, ask yourself how many teams sold out the season in the current schedule?
Regional divisions will help foster closer rivalries, and encourage more fans to attend more away games because of the closeness. There will be less time difference conflicts that lose TV viewers.
Baseball as a whole and teams in general will save money on travel throughout the course of the season and can promote it as a environmentally conscious step to help reduce carbon emissions through decreased fuel consumption. Do you realize for example that the Yankees made 10 road trips to Chicago or further. The average team made about 10 long distance road trips. What if all the coastal teams could eliminate the cross country treks?. If MLB wanted to maintain some form of inter league play, they could work coordinate cross country match ups. The savings on travel would be into the millions for baseball and the teams.
As a result of the new start and finish dates of the season, there will be less chance of snow games, rain outs, temperatures in the 30’s and re-schedules. Baseball will also not be starting the World Series and competing with the beginning of the NBA season. The Series will end in October with only the NFL to compete with.
One conflict will be how to determine who plays in an All Star Game, or if it will be necessary to continue.
Or what if a team moves, folds or MLB wants to expand? What if Florida moves to Indianapolis? Then simply tweak the division by moving a team or two. The key is to be progressive and decisive and not wait 10 years to make up your mind.
Another obstacle, as I’ve said before, is the always strong opposition of so the called “Baseball Purists”. What is purity in the game any more? If these “Pure-ists” were committed to their mantra, all players would be wearing baggy flannels and using the old mitts of yester-year, there would be no designated hitter and there would only be two teams that played it out at the end of the season. And lets do away with all domes and field turf, and the middle relief pitchers.
I think it would also, at this stage of the game become a big part of the Bud Selig legacy. The game is in better shape than when he found it, That doesn’t mean that he can’t set it up to be even better 20 years after he leaves.
Chances of this becoming anything more than a pipe dream????? About the same as my dream of seeing the All Star Home Run Hitting Contest done with Aluminum and Composite bats.
As an adult, I would actually sit through a HR contest if I thought there was a chance of seeing a 600 foot shot or a light busted out of the tower. As a kid, I would run out to Dicks and buy whatever bat A-Rod or Josh Hamilton just hit one out of Yankee Stadium with.
Think of the advertising dollars baseball would draw or endorsement money players would pull down from the likes of Easton, TPX, DeMarini, Rawlings or Miken! And don’t cry about tradition again. Since when does a batter stand at the plate and hit off of a batting practice pitcher during a traditional game? The Home Run hitting contest should be the same type of freak show the NBA Slam Dunk contest is.
A 7-15 year kid knows nothing about tradition! Baseball has to quit marketing to the “wing tips” and start marketing to the flip fops, to continue to grow it’s fan base.
Vincent Rush is an award winning Professional Sports Photographer and owner of Cincinnati Sports Photography. Based in Ohio, Vince Rush has covered Bob Hope, Oliver North, Chris Gardner, The Cincinnati Reds, University of Cincinnati Bearcats, NFL Pro Camps, NCAA Track Championships and various professional sporting events throughout Ohio.
Over the years I’ve met and talked with thousands of professional photographers. One of the questions that comes up on a regular basis, especially with new photographers, relates to getting your name out there. A few of these I’ve written about before, but let’s see if we can come up with a list of projects to help you get started.
• Decorate the doctor’s office: I’ve been talking about this one for years. How much money do you or did your parents spend on doctor bills, especially with the pediatrician? Well it’s time for payback! The last class doctors takes before getting out of medical school is about decorating their office. They’re taught to not spend more than $50!
Think about your last doctor visit. There wasn’t much on the walls of the waiting room, unless your doc was a high-end neurosurgeon and then maybe they had a few Ansel Adams posters! So, here’s a great idea and it’s perfect for the pediatrician.
Offer to put some images on the walls of the reception area! Kids, family portraits, anything with a sense of children. Then in the corner, on the table next to that 1984 copy of Popular Mechanics put a stack of your business cards or brochures.
Here’s the deal – women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer. Who takes the kids to the doctor’s office? It’s Mom and she’s sitting there bored, with nothing to read. This is about the subliminal message you can plant with a few well done family and children’s portraits!
• Restaurants and coffee shops: They all need help, especially if you’re a regular customer. Helen Yancy told a group of photographers at Summer School about getting started at a local Coney Island restaurant in her area just by decorating the walls of the restaurant with her images.
• Meet and Greet: Take a couple of days and just wander around your local business area. Get to know the neighborhood and introduce yourself. Local businesses, sooner or later, have imaging needs and you want to let them know you’re there.
• Start your own network luncheon. Contact everyone in the area who has something in common with your target audience. Find an inexpensive diner type restaurant and get together once a month for lunch just to talk about what’s going on in the community.
• Get involved in your community! With or without a camera in your hand, get involved with the people you’re looking to support your business. Join Kiwanis, Rotary, Exchange Club etc.
• Do your own fundraiser! Vicki Taufer did one of the very first pet days in her area three years ago and today she’s one of the best known pet photographers in her community. She tied in with the local animal shelter, but you can set up a fundraiser with any organization.
• Is there a local children’s store? It’s another great one from Vicki Taufer, who when she was first starting, did all the children’s portraits of the clerks and owner of the local children’s clothing shop. They all became her ambassadors.
• Develop promotions and advertise! I know it’s obvious, but this is the first one in the list that will actually cost you some money, but you have to have a plan. If you think you can get away with running just one ad and then waiting to see the results, think again. You need to have consistency in your timing and in the placement/location of the ad.
• Cross-promote with other vendors. It’s easiest to explain within the wedding category, but essentially you’re going to give a discount certificate to any bride for the local florist and the florist is going to give the bride a certificate for something from you, but try and stay away from discounting. Give an hour of extra coverage or an addition 8×10 – go for added value rather than price reductions.
• Contact the PTA at the local schools. Isn’t it time we upgraded the bake sale concept? How about offering family sittings for a holiday card shot. It’s only September and you’ve got time to work with any local association or group and have an image in people’s hands in time for their holiday cards.
• Career Day and Adult Education: All of you are qualified to do a career day at the local school and help motivate an interest in photography with kids. Many of you are also qualified to teach an adult education class on photography. This is about getting involved in the community and don’t forget to do a press release to the local paper with a picture of you interacting with the participants at each event.
• Enter photo contests and competitions. Most of the national associations have some level of print competition. Local chapters have regular print competition as well as portfolio reviews. This is a great way to get feedback outside your immediate circle of family and friends.
It’s not costly to get your name out there, but it is labor intensive. This is where outsourcing comes into play. By not doing everything yourself you can find the time to market your personality and skill set. Your time is best spent getting to know your client base rather than sitting behind a computer editing images!
Now that the sun has set on the 2011 Eaton Little League season, and the kids are either on to football, soccer or Fall baseball, I am going through my files and picking out some of my favorite action photos from the season.
There is no pattern or theme to what I post, other than to keep fresh content on my web pages, for the purpose of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
From the web site of Cincinnati Ohio Professional Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Ohio Sports Photography, Cincinnati Action Photo and Team Pictures as well as Dayton Ohio Sports Photography and Cincinnati Portraits, Event Photo Coverage. Covering Baseball, Little League, Pee Wee Football, High school sports, Cincinnati Reds, MLB, NFL and University of Cincinnati. Vince Rush Photography and Monroe Hornets Action Sports Photography is Located in Monroe Ohio.
Defending NL Central champs know what it feels like to win by Mark Sheldon of MLB
The Reds take nothing for granted, but have carried a confidence throughout Spring Training that they can repeat as National League Central division champions.
No, there weren’t any major upgrades or additions to the roster during the winter — or spring — while rivals like the Brewers and Cardinals were busy. Then again, when you had the NL’s best offensive team, one of the best defenses and a deep pitching staff, how much tinkering can really be done?
The stability is welcomed as they prepare for Opening Day against the Brewers today at 2:10 p.m. ET, but it comes with a caveat: The younger players are expected to keep taking steps forward.
“I think any time you have or nearly have your 25 guys set before Spring Training even starts, it’s a huge advantage for any team,” Reds first baseman Joey Votto said. “I think a lot of people don’t give us enough credit — people come up with complaints about us not making trades or any major moves in the offseason. But so often, players come into their own over time and go from being average to above-average ballplayers in one offseason. That happens when you’re in your 22-28-year-old range, the younger part of your career. I don’t think we needed to make any more adjustments.”
Votto, 27, is the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, coming off a huge year and a jump to elite status. But he is hardly a one-man show.
Right fielder Jay Bruce, 23, hit a career-high 25 home runs and finished strong after a rough start to 2010. Ditto for 26-year-old center fielder Drew Stubbs, who hit 22 homers and is still developing as a hitter. Second baseman Brandon Phillips, 29, is capable of hitting 30 homers and was a first-time All-Star and became a two-time Gold Glove winner last season
The pitching staff was a stable bunch, as well — until the final 10 days of camp, when health issues thinned the rotation.
Shoulder injuries put No. 3 starter Johnny Cueto and No. 4 starter Homer Bailey on the disabled list to start the season, but neither are considered seriously injured. No. 2 starter and 2010 17-game winner Bronson Arroyo was diagnosed with mononucleosis and will keep pitching while trying to conserve energy.
The Reds have already been able to look to younger pitchers like Travis Wood, Mike Leake and Sam LeCure to step up behind Edinson Volquez and Arroyo.
Reds manager Dusty Baker obviously didn’t plan on testing his rotation’s depth this much, this early. But he steadfastly remained positive about the situation.
“What you going to do?” Baker said. “Everybody is doom and gloom. I’m not like that. I was taught to find a solution. Instead of the sky is falling, Chicken Little and ‘oh me, oh my,’ you try to figure out a solution. The problem is going to be there. It’s already there. I hate it, but it’s there.”
The unexpected, but short-term worries about the rotation are joined by other questions. Can a slimmed-down Francisco Cordero take his solid spring performances into the regular season? Will flame throwing Aroldis Chapman be a stable presence in a left-handed setup role? As the everyday left fielder, can Jonny Gomes build upon his career season from 2010? Can Paul Janish, who had a strong spring, thrive as the new regular shortstop? Will Scott Rolen be as productive in the second half with the wear-and-tear of the season on his body?
If the young core can make their expected improvements and others do their jobs well, Votto believes those questions — and any others — will answer themselves positively.
“We can be a much better team, I think,” Votto said. “It all starts and ends with the pitching staff, but they’re a young group of guys also. I notice huge leaps between offseasons. You can step back, think about the mistakes you’ve made and how you want to improve and adjust your training. You experience life lessons, and it pays off on the field.”
Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at email@example.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!
What they DON”T teach you in photography school is how to become a successful photographer. Technique is only a small percentage of what it takes to succeed today. A book I read a few years ago and about 12 times since, “The Magic of Thinking Big” said that “Success is 2% mechanics and 98% attitude.
As an Ohio sports photographer who has been having good success in the Cincinnati Photographers market, I get asked quite a bit by the guys at the local camera store where I do business, “How do you keep getting so many cool jobs?”
First of all, let me say, that with the exception of sports photography, that I know that there are better photographers than me.There are better much, much better Photoshop specialists than me and there are also those who have more expensive gear, fancy studios, slick websites and even those that belong to “professional membership, dues paying clubs”
However, with all of that said, there are not a lot of photographers getting paid or at least paid what they’re worth.
Part of that is naturally due to the supply and demand of today.
Demand is down because of the economy.
Supply is off the charts because everyone that has a digital camera now is a “photographer”. You also have the large number of people that give away everything and collectively drive the market down.
I know of one such company that will shoot an entire year of high school football action and sell a DVD of a gazillion images, 20% of which are quality action shots and 80% garbage pics lumped in together, for $40.00. In a desire to be “liked” in their community they not only devalue the quality of service of a professional photographer, but in the long run, devalue themselves.
In today’s world, marketing and networking is everything. A young photographer has to know how to self promote, network and make connections, along with providing outstanding customer service that goes above and beyond a 10% discount.
I recommend every photographer pick up a copy of Jeffery Gitomer’s book, “Customer Satisfaction is WORTHLESS, Customer Loyalty is Priceless.
It seems to me that the one thing that many aspiring young photographers lack is self promoting skills, people skills, self image and confidence and the ability to create a brand.
Another pet peeve of mine is appearance. If you’re on the sidelines and you look like a bum or if you show up to a consultation looking like a slob, you don’t inspire confidence. You should treat every interaction like a professional job interview, because as a photographer, every job is an audition…for your next one.
Most of the photographers (Not all of course) in Cincinnati, that I meet, are either social wall flowers, arrogant and lacking people skills and have no real world business sales experience.
When young or struggling photographers ask me for advice, I recommend books such as , “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, “Think and Grow Rich”, any Jeffery Gitomer book and a series of other sales experts.
At the end of the day, no matter how good you are with PS5 or HDR techniques, it all comes down to personal marketing and personal branding.
When I began shooting sports photography a few years ago, I’ll admit, I gave away a lot of 4 x 6 glossy action photos, to get my name out and introduce my brand to people.
The second year, I set up a site through SmugMug and started selling the pictures at the minimum prices to continue to establish my brand.
The 3rd year, I doubled the price of everything and the 4th year I doubled again.
Now that my brand and style are established, and making decent money and getting a lot of calls for family photos, senior portraits and team photos.
I have also read a half a dozen books on social media marketing, SEO, Search Engine Optimization and hundreds of books on sales and business leadership skills.
It’s not enough to have a nice camera a couple of lenses and friends and family telling you that you are great. You have to earn the respect of your profession with diligence, ethics and talent along with dynamic people skills.
On a closing note for all young photographers coming out of school and hitting the streets; Your generation, while the most technically connected generation in history, is the most socially disconnected generation in history as well. If you want to succeed in any business, there is a wide open market for the young professionals that master the art of interpersonal interaction. You know, weird stuff, like eye contact, hand shakes, verbal communication and the art of making people feel better after they leave you than they did before they got with you.
The average social weakling believes that they will be able to Twitter, Facebook, Text and email their way to success. That mentality is creating a void in our society, that if you learn how to differentiate yourselves in this new so called “connected” world you will raise your value in it as well…and that when you start getting PAID!
In sports photography, people pay me what they pay me, because I can do what other cant, in a way that other don’t. And for now that remains my secret.
Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography, Monroe Ohio.
Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com