All That and a Bag of Mail: Naming a Baby Athlete Edition
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I picture every conversation that Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o had during awards season being like the scene where Steve Carrell, as Te'o, explains how much he likes sleeping with women.
On to the mailbag:
Jeff sends us the Marshall Henderson picture and writes:
Marshall Henderson, not outkicking his coverage.
And the t-shirt?
A billion of you on Twitter and via email after Buster Olney's Tampa Bay Rays to Nashville Tweet last night:
"What are the chances of Nashville getting an MLB team in the future?"
In the next decade or so Nashville will get a third professional sports franchise. The city is growing rapidly -- there are forecasts that the Nashville metro area will be well over two million people by 2023, roughly the size that Denver is now -- and that will provide the necessary population base to support three franchises. Every game the Tennessee Titans have ever played at LP Field has been sold out and last year the Nashville Predators played to 97% capacity. The fact that the Predators sell out this frequenly is a testament to two things: 1. that Nashville is a really good sports town and 2. the Preds work really hard at marketing. Because television ratings reflect that there are very few actual hockey fans in Nashville; there are just a lot of sports fan who are willing to support a local pro team.
So what would the third team be, NBA or Major League Baseball?
I'd love an NBA team here. Absolutely love it. But I think the only way Nashville gets an NBA team is if the Memphis Grizzlies decided that Nashville was a better market and moved. I don't think the NBA would put another team in the state. Especially with NBA expansion seeming unlikely. So the only way Nashville gets an NBA team is if the Grizzlies move. Given that Nashville and Memphis used to have a rivalry -- that rivalry has since been called in a decisive TKO for the city of Nashville -- if Nashville took Memphis's NBA team, the city of Memphis would never recover psychologically.
It would also be a state political mess.
So I think major league baseball is more likely.
Then the question becomes, could the city support 81 regular season baseball games? (Don't cite the Nashville Sounds Triple A as part of your argument. Did minor league hockey draw well before the Preds? No, is the answer.) I think the city could support a team given that the new trend is for stadiums to feature around 35,000 seats. If the Tampa Bay Rays were here, for instance, American League baseball fans would descend on Nashville for long weekends en masse. We already see this with the Preds, Chicago and Detroit hockey fans have discovered how much fun the city is and can get here pretty affordably. I think the AL East crowd would discover the same thing. Boston and New York would make up sizeable portions of the crowds in Nashville, making the local ticket sales number very workable. Plus, you'd get a ton of surrounding area baseball fans who would travel to Nashville for long weekends. Basically, don't underestimate how many people would arrive in Nashville who don't live here to take advantage of a summer weekend in the city. Also, think about the live post-game concert scene you could have in the stadium. This would be wildly popular. For its size there are very few cities in the country that have a larger collection of bars, restaurants and live music venues. In fact, you might be able to argue that per capita Nashville has a better nightlife scene than anywhere in the country. (That's especially true if you add in the fact that all of these places are within a few miles of each other downtown. Lots of big cities have miles and miles between their bar districts. I'm looking at you Atlanta and Houston and Dallas and Los Angeles).
But the even bigger question about a third pro sports team in Nashville is this, are there enough corporate dollars in the city to support three pro teams without killing the Nashville Predators? (The Preds would be the biggest loser here because their diehard fan base is tiny. As a result the corporate dollars for the Preds would leave in a hurry. In fact, the Preds might even oppose any third team coming to town.) The population growth will take care of itself -- I think selling average cost seats would be relatively easy to take care of -- but the bigger issue is that there needs to be more successful large companies based in the city. Given the influx of young, highly educated migrants to the city and the rapidity with which companies can grow these days, it's likely that these companies will emerge, but will they emerge in time to support a major league team in the next decade?
But if you're reading this and you live in Nashville right now, the best thing you can do to get a team here is found a hugely successful company.
Bob B. writes:
Looking at the current recruiting rankings, you should name him Jalen or Jaylen. The most common name in the top 40 players in 247's recruiting list? Jalen. Really. It's tied with Alex.
I'm not sure when Jalen became the most popular name for athletes, but for kids ages 14-19 right now, there was a Jalen baby boom and all of these kids became athletes. Seriously, look at the roster of your favorite SEC team or the recruiting list. They're all stocked with Jalens. Was this because of Jalen Rose and the Fab Five? Was the name popular before him? I think this is the Jalen Rose boomlet.
You've got LSU with two starting Jalen's in the secondary, Florida has one, USC has one, and now Tennessee will have one too.
I'm sure there is more, but that's a ton.
The other suggestion I would have is, give him an apostrophe.
It's scientifically proven that an apostrophe removes .1 off the time of any forty.
Ben W. writes:
"In your professional opinion, is it socially acceptable to choose a law school based on that school's boobs account on twitter?"
Boobs are incredibly important when it comes to getting you through your first year of law school. We used to study at the undergrad library just so we could have some perky undergrad boobs to give us a jolt of energy when we were about to fall asleep from staring at a contracts textbook at three in the morning. We also ate lunch every day in the undergrad cafeteria exclusively to check out undergrad boobs at Vandy.
So, yeah, you could use worse criteria for sure.
Just make sure the undergrad boobs you're seeing are the real deal. Don't get Teo'd.
Todd S. writes:
"Do you think the team that drafts Manti Te'o will call him to inform him of their pick? And if they do, does Manti try to meet with the team to prove they actually drafted him or will he just believe anything?"
Remember when the guy got pranked into believing he was drafted?
This would be the cruelest prank ever to play on Te'o. Because you know he'd buy it.
Tyler R. writes:
Jim S. writes:
"What are the odds a network, other then ESPN, lands the SEC network in its entirety? Do you think a TV package with other networks could happen?
Thanks, your awesome."
The SEC Network will 100% be on ESPN. No other network -- other than CBS, which will retain one game a week -- will be in a partnership with the SEC because ESPN doesn't want to share this with anyone. The more interesting question is what percentage of the network will the SEC own? Clearly, it will be the majority stake, but how high of a percentage? These details will be out in the next month or so, but already prepare yourself for the rest of the media to catch up with how lucrative this thing will be.
Amy F. writes:
"As conferences move towards controlling more of their media [Pac-12, Longhorn and (impending launch of the) SEC Network], will we get to a point where a fan is worth more to a school NOT attending a game? Revenue today is not a product of ticket sales, and that trend will only escalate with increased licensing, sponsorship and media rights. We're already seeing the effects of fan convenience on attendance: it's cheaper, easier, cooler/warmer/drier and you can watch multiple games if you stay home. With conferences or universities owning the advertising, will viewership be worth more to a school than a fan in the stadium? And if so, how will that alter the in-game experience?"
This is such a great question.
The big issue you're hitting on is that massive stadiums are now outdated. If you were designing a brand new football stadium today you'd build a stadium with around 60,000 great seats and stock it full of premium seating, luxury suites and all the nicest available amenities. You make your big money off the richest fans and it's these luxuries that will make someone get off their couch and make the trip to the stadium. You make your least money off the cheap seats, but the cheap seats are what people point to as a sign of the strength of the program. And the cheap seats are actually the toughest to sell in most stadiums. Hell, Alabama students didn't sell out their allotment this year at Bryant-Denny. Clearly that wasn't because Alabama's providing a bad product, it's just that lots of younger, more tech savvy fans would just as soon watch a game on television as actually go to the stadium.
I'll admit, I fit in this category to a certain degree. When I get home from college football games, I sometimes choose not to go to Titans games in downtown Nashville, around two miles from my house, because I'd rather watch the NFL Red Zone channel and the Titan game on television. I enjoy this more, I really do. (The NFL has probably created a monster with the Red Zone Channel. I'm completely addicted to it).
With the coming SEC Network the actual gate that teams make from playing their games will be a smaller and smaller percentage of the overall revenues produced by the games. But you're asking at what point in time fans become more valuable at home than in the seats.
The easy answer is we're basically there. But we're not to the point where a school, team or conference would rather you watch on television than stay at home.
I don't know if we'll ever get there.
Since a fan is paying around $70 per ticket for an SEC game that's still a substantial revenue stream. Toss in the drinks, food, and apparel that the average fan buys in the stadium and you're probably talking about $90 in revenue per fan that enters the stadium. It's hard to make $90 off a fan through advertising and television rights fees. So I don't think a fan will ever be more valuable at home than at the game.
But here's a question for you, would SEC television ratings decline if the stadium wasn't a rocking atmosphere on television? In other words, do those of us watching on television care about the wildness of the crowd? And if so, could a declining gate actually lead to a decline in television ratings too?
This entire question is fascinating because television used to completely terrify pro sports leagues in the 1950's. But television was a poor substitute for the actual game experience for most of televised sports history. But now? Now I think the television experience -- especially when you consider the ease of watching multiple games -- is actually superior to a single live game experience.
It will be fascinating to see how this works out in coming years.
Tim B. writes:
"I have a friend who recently moved to California. I don't talk to him much anymore, and only get kept abreast of his life via Twitter. He's a totally normal guy; usually pretty funny actually. But lately, between 11PM-1AM, he tweets some super emotional, weird thoughts. Last night's was "the things I have no control over are the things that haunt me." What are the odds he's an Emo werewolf, changing into his alternate persona once the sun goes down?"
This is why I don't Tweet once I've had more than three beers.
That's my rule.
My issue with drinking and Tweeting is that I already push the boundaries of acceptable Tweeting behavior even when I'm completely sober. That is, I can get away with a lot more humor than 99% of Tweeters out there, but after a few beers my inhibitions decline even more.
I'm not an emo werewolf with late night Tweeting, but I am really politically incorrect.
So I have to be careful.
Other people drink and show different sides of themselves. Then instead of just a few people seeing you saying ridiculous things -- or texting them -- you hop on social media and broadcast them for the world to see. Then how do you respond when you see that your best girlfriend thinks the world is a dark place because her boyfriend forget her four month anniversary? Or when your buddy turns into a emo werewolf.
I would suggest starting a fake Twitter account called, "the emo werewolf," and retweeting all of your buddies ridiculous sayings.
Either he'll realize how absurd these comments look in the light of day or he will grow out longer bangs and join a rock band.
Either way, you still get to start a great fake Twitter account.
Walker W. writes:
"How likely is it that there will soon be an adult film star performing under the name Lennay Kekua?"
I actually think this will be a porno movie.
Only with the men and women in the same room.
If I watched pornography at all, which I never, ever do because I find it incredibly demeaning to women, I would suggest that Christine Nguyen would play Lennay Kekua with a great deal of skill.