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On the back page of the Personal Journal section of Thursday's (March 11) Wall Street Journal is a great big "0%" headline in red. Underneath is the copy: "The percentage that the San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians or Pittsburgh Pirates will make the Major League Baseball playoffs this season." The source is PredictionMachine.com. I cannot speak for the expertise of this outfit, and the Wall Street Journal, while an excellent publication, does print forecasts of all kinds that prove to be off the mark. I certainly have no competence to assess the Padres's chances this season. Maybe PredictionMachine.com emphasizes payrolls; the Padres's is one of baseball's lowest.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 March 14, 2010 @ 9:03 a.m.

Does anyone know how attendance is at Padre games? I am curious if they are making money, if the bonds are being serviced properly.

I also wonder how Moores did financially off the Padres after the new Stadium was built.

It was a major mistake building it-the Murph was fine. And once they did build it, as now see, the Chargers started to play the leap frog game. If the city refused to give the Padres that ballpark, the Chargers would have NEVER tried to get a new stadium just 5 years into a 20 year lease.

This is what happens when elected leaders put their cronies ahead of the people. Except the people are the ones who get left holding the bag.

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Don Bauder March 14, 2010 @ 10:03 a.m.

Response to post #1: I have written several times that average attendance at Padres games is now back below levels that it was at Qualcomm. As to Moores, one estimate -- which I have written here several times -- is that he raked in $700 million to $1 billion by selling off the cheap land he got in the ballpark district deal to speculators. Those speculators built condos that now have few residents, and hotels that have few visitors. The City is losing about $20 million a year on the ballpark. Voters had been told it would be economically neutral. Transient occupancy tax revenue from the hotels is NOT sufficient to service the ballpark debt, as promised. In addition, we know that Moores bailed out of more than $600 million of Peregrine stock before the crash. Some of that went to build the ballpark. He and his board cronies agreed to pay $55 million to settle lawsuits. Typically for the San Diego judiciary, the judges went out of their way to protect Moores and screw shareholders who had lost on Peregrine stock. Now Moores has gone back to Texas and the team has one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. I think it is safe to say that Moores took a good deal more than $1 billion out of San Diego, pre-tax. The ballpark project was a disaster, but I am told that San Diegans go down there and see those tall buildings and think it was successful. Nobody tells them those buildings are almost empty. Best, Don Bauder

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CuddleFish March 14, 2010 @ noon

Somewhere I read that Spanos is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, might have been here (Reader), or CityBeat? I wonder how that will affect their plans?

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Don Bauder March 14, 2010 @ 7:32 p.m.

Response to post #3: The family revealed that Alex Spanos is suffering from Alzheimer's or advanced dementia, I believe the former, some time ago. That announcement came well before the attempt to build a subsidized stadium on a postage stamp-size area downtown. So Alex's health has nothing to do with this scheme. His son Dean has been running the team for some time. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd March 14, 2010 @ 8:22 p.m.

Yeah, well, the 1969 Mets won the World Series, so anyone that says a team has zero chance can be taken with a grain of salt. The Florida Marlins have had amazingly low payrolls in recent years (lower than the Padres), and they've managed to be competative. The players play the game, and forecasting the outcome of season before the season has been played is gambling. The 2009 Mets, ironically enough, had one of the highest payrolls in baseball and they were awful.

Over a decade ago, before any of this economic downturn was possibly foreseeable, I heard a market analyst predict that the DOW index would be well over 25,000 by 2012. She was fired a week later.

You can find trends, I suppose, and base an opinion on the trends, but trends can deceive. I don't remember the Caliente line concerning the proposition bet on the number of Padres wins last season, but I know they exceeded that number. This season the line currently stands at 68 1/2 games. The trend will be in where the sports book decides they should adjust that number in order to balance the wagering. One could bet according to that trend, but it has no bearing on how the team will actually perform on the field. Neither does team payroll.

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SurfPuppy619 March 14, 2010 @ 9:22 p.m.

Neither does team payroll.

I would bet my last dollar there is a very strong correlation with payroll and win/loss.

Not fool proof, but a very strong correlation.

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David Dodd March 14, 2010 @ 10:03 p.m.

S.P: Sure, but the cause/effect is reversable. The most successful teams have more income and can afford to pay (or overpay) as they see fit - versus - the richest teams are the most successful ones. It can be argued that more money brings better players, but equally argued that more success brings more money.

Here's a list of 2009 payrolls in MLB:

Yankees $201,449,289 Mets $135,773,988 Cubs $135,050,000 Red Sox $122,696,000 Tigers $115,085,145 Angels $113,709,000 Phillies $113,004,048 Astros $102,996,415 Dodgers $100,458,101 Mariners $98,904,167 Braves $96,726,167 White Sox $96,068,500 Cardinals $88,528,411 Giants $82,161,450 Indians $81,625,567 Blue Jays $80,993,657 Brewers $79,857,502 Rockies $75,201,000 D-backs $73,571,667 Reds $70,968,500 Royals $70,908,333 Rangers $68,646,023 Orioles $67,101,667 Twins $65,299,267 Rays $63,313,035 Athletics $62,310,000 Nationals $59,328,000 Pirates $48,743,000 Padres $42,796,700 Marlins $36,814,000

Some of the teams correlate, others do not. The Phillies won the World Series while the Mets didn't even come close to making the playoffs. You almost have to toss the Yankees out of the equation, they're a money machine and have pretty much defined baseball in America for over a century.

Here's the thing about ball players: They're good and valuable to teams before anyone ever discovers that they're any good. After that, it's a crapshoot. Adrian Gonzales didn't get much of a sniff of the bigs before, and after two teams and several years he became a Padre, and now he's worth millions. This is how baseball goes. If the Padres trade him because he's costing them too much, there isn't any guarantee that he'll perform at the same level he did as a rookie wherever he's traded to.

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paul March 14, 2010 @ 10:15 p.m.

SP said: "I would bet my last dollar there is a very strong correlation with payroll and win/loss."

Here is probably much more than you ever wanted to know about that, specifically for the 2006-2008 seasons. For those years the Padres payroll was at least up to $70 million. The article notes that: "Colorado, San Diego, Florida, and Tampa Bay share the award for 'doing the best while pinching pennies.'"

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/03/20062008_payrol.php

The most amazing thing to me, is that the team they fielded last year had a lower payroll (about $38 million) than their Qualcomm team TWELVE YEARS AGO ($45,368,000). Moores rented that 1998 team for his stadium push. The team this year is also projected to have a lower payroll (about $42 million) than the Qualcomm team from twelve years ago. Remember, the stadium that was going to give the Padres the additional revenue to increase payroll???

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David Dodd March 15, 2010 @ 4:26 a.m.

Paul, my numbers are from MLB's official site, they vary from yours. And your data appears to be dated. Yeah, it's only a few million, but in a small market, that means a lot more than many might think.

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paul March 15, 2010 @ 10:41 a.m.

refriedgringo,

The studies I cited were specifically covering 2006-2008. Your 2009 numbers for the Padres probably were from the beginning of the year. The Padres dumped salaries during the year, which may be why the 2009 number I cited was lower than yours. In particular, they traded Jake Peavy, who was a full 1/4 of their payroll ($11 million).

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 10:49 a.m.

Response to post #5: The U-T had a story this morning saying that the Padres would possibly have the lowest payroll in baseball this year -- between $42 million and $43 million, as I recall. Now the question: does the size of payroll have that much correlation with victories? I am sure somebody in Vegas has worked on that one. The U-T story also said the Marlins may boost their payroll this year because they are moving into a new park. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 10:51 a.m.

Response to post #6: Again, the Vegas oddsmakers have probably had their computers on this problem for years and years. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 10:55 a.m.

Response to post #7: The Twins, Rays and Rockies have relatively low payrolls, but had good seasons in 2009. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 11:13 a.m.

Response to poste #8: That analysis is amazing. The time that fans and gamblers (probably the latter) will spend on statistical analysis is astounding. One thing should comfort Padres fan: Colorado, San Diego, Florida and Tampa Bay got the awards for "doing the best while pinching pennies" during the measured time frame. Now whether that award will lure Padres fans to the ballpark this season, or boost TV advertising, is another question. Finally, you are quite correct: Moores promised that if he had a new ballpark that the team would have enough money to field a winner. But he is spending less (even without inflation adjustment) than he spent the year of the election. San Diegans did NOT get the money to be spent on the team that was promised. Also, the city promised that the project would be revenue neutral. That did not happen. The ballpark is costing the city about $20 million a year. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 11:18 a.m.

Response to post #9: If only the statisticians spent as much time calculating the frightening pension obligations of various nations, including the U.S., as they spend on baseball. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 11:20 a.m.

Response to post #10: Yes, the dumping of Peavy would have distorted numbers from the beginning of the 2009 season. I wrestled with that one in a column I did many months ago. Best, Don Bauder

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paul March 15, 2010 @ 12:58 p.m.

FYI:

The MLB average salary on opening day in 1998 was $1.44 million. The MLB average salary on opening day in 2009 was $3.26 million.

Even WITH Peavey, the Padres payroll was less than half the league average in 2009. After the Peavey trade, they were off the bottom of the charts. In 1998 the Padres payroll was slightly above the league average.

Attendance was also lower in 2009 at Petco than it was for each of the last 8 (count em, EIGHT!) years at the Q.

Of course technically speaking the attendance last year at Petco was lower than every single year at the Q ever, but that is taking into account the fact that they played in Jack Murphy Stadium until 1996!

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SurfPuppy619 March 15, 2010 @ 2:38 p.m.

The MLB average salary on opening day in 1998 was $1.44 million. The MLB average salary on opening day in 2009 was $3.26 million. ========== You have to be kidding me.

It has more than DOUBLED in 11 years?????

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 3:04 p.m.

Response to post #17: I did a column on this Aug. 26 of '09. The Padres attendance was running well below the dismal years of the early 2000s at the Q. But I didn't trace it back as far as you did. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd March 15, 2010 @ 3:08 p.m.

Further proof that some teams tend to overpay for players, SP. There is a tendency to believe that team revenues are tied in to attendance, but that isn't so true, and sometimes ownership uses this misconception to keep payroll manageable (A's, Marlins, Padres). Some teams simply can't pull that trick off, like the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, and so on, because everyone knows they have huge media contracts and other income. One argument might be that these teams have to overpay in order to appease their fanbase.

On the other side of the coin, there are expenses that aren't a part of the team payroll. A lot of money goes towards developing young talent, for example.

An aside, something I wrote yesterday about the Caliente line concerning the proposition bet on the number of Padres wins last season being 68 1/2: I just read Daugherty's column and noticed that he listed the Vegas odds for the same proposition, and it shows the same line for the Padres as being 71 1/2 wins. I guess there's lies, damned lies, statistics, and betting odds.

But here's the thing, this isn't an accident. Because of the proximity of Caliente to the hardcore, gambling-prone Padres fans they wish to attract, the line-maker is obviously counting on those customers to be a lot more optimistic about how the Padres will play this year; they set the line lower intentionally as bait. You'll find similar disparities between the two gambling meccas when it comes to the Chargers. Some of my friends here wonder why I'll bet the ponies but not sports since it's available right down the street. Well, this is one reason why.

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 3:44 p.m.

Response to post #17: Easily. And in effect, taxpayers around the country are subsidizing it. Best, Don Bauder

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paul March 15, 2010 @ 3:48 p.m.

refriedgringo,

Betting lines are crafted solely to convince half the bettors to bet on one side and half the bettors to bet on the other. The book could care less on the actual outcome, as long as they guess right on the sentiment of the betting public. They live off the vigorish.

There is no "bait" on a 50-50 proposition on something like the over-under for number of Padres wins. If the book takes in too high a percentage on one side or the other, the odds-maker will be out of a job. It doesn't do Caliente any good to draw an excess of bets on one side or the other, unless you somehow see that as a loss leader to get people into the book.

The reason that I DON'T bet the ponies is because it is an insiders game and I am not an insider. Most major sports are relatively clean and I know my odds when I bet. The reason that I do bet sports is that there is so much sentiment tied into the betting that it fairly often gets out of whack. For me it is a lot easier to predict how over-enthusiastic the sentiment is for a certain popular team than it is to know what the trainer just shot into his two year old.

The money to be made in sports betting comes from correctly reading when public sentiment is out of whack with reality. In that regard it is not entirely unlike the stock market.

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David Dodd March 15, 2010 @ 4:24 p.m.

Paul, I agree with your contention that betting and the stock market are similar, but the idea that any casino can live off of a 1% profit (or 5% or whatever the vig is these days) is perpetuated by the casino itself. In fact, casinos often "take baths" when they set a line incorrectly. They don't make up for it with a profit from vigorish, they find a line in a future event where "sentiment" makes the betting more predictable than the outcome.

True, most lines open to reflect a 50/50 split, but they don't move that line all of the time in order to maintain that split. Concurrently, not all lines open to reflect what they'll feel is a 50/50 split.

You say that most major sports are relatively clean, but history will show enough exceptions to that in order to make the "relatively" part of it very subjective. For example, basketball referees. A more obscure example is steroid use. Your claim about horseracing isn't any more or less valid than in sports betting, but at the major tracks there is very little hanky-panky.

More about the ponies: Harness racing is an insider's game. Thoroughbred and quarterhorse racing at the major tracks really isn't. It does, however, take up an incredible amount of one's time in order to break races down and find overlays. I don't do much betting anymore, but for many years I made some pretty good money at it (at one point is was my only "job"). But one time for the heck of it I calculated how much time went into it, and figured out that I was making less that $5 an hour. Labor of love.

Anyway, I sincerely hope that you take my advice on the line being manipulated at times, because it is. If you can spot those times, then you can take advantage of them. One reason I prefer horseracing is because the odds are automatically parimutual, it takes a great unknown out of the equation. If, in fact, a bunch of "wise guys" are throwing money at a horse for "unknown" reasons, I see it immediately and have the opportunity to not bet the race.

I wrote a piece on my horseracing days, just re-uploaded it in the blogs section here, you might enjoy it.

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 4:45 p.m.

Response to post #20: That's interesting information on how the gambling parlors work. I think anyone who gambles on pro sports is nuts. First, certain games are fixed. (Have you followed the story of the NBA referee caught attempting to fix games? It's the tip of the iceberg. The outcome doesn't have to be fixed -- just the point spread.) Second, pro sports team owners are big gamblers. They have more information about their own teams than you do. Third, you are dealing with Las Vegas and with betting houses in Mexico or offshore. Do you want more reasons? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 4:54 p.m.

Response to post #22: Your thesis is quite interesting until you posit that most sports are relatively clean. Sorry. I think that is hardly a defensible statement. Some would say it is laughable. I agree with you on the horses. That is clearly dirty business. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 5:03 p.m.

Response to post #23: I haven't been to the horse races for more than 50 years. As I recall, I went to harness races in Chicago, and they were clearly fixed. You could see the jockey pulling on the horse to get it to slow down. Even if you go there with the idea of betting very little, and just enjoying the races, the fact that it's obvious the races are fixed takes the fun out of it. I enjoy opera much more. There, you know the outcome before the curtain goes up. (e.g. Tosca will jump off the parapet at the end, Valhalla will collapse, etc.). But nobody is placing bets on what will happen. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd March 15, 2010 @ 5:41 p.m.

To #26: Ha! Very true, no wagering on the fat lady singing. Sports is entertainment, true, and a business, also true, and when you mix them and gamble on them, even more funny business is bound to occur now and again. I blame no one for cynicism regarding such matters.

In defense of Paul, and horseracing at large tracks (except for harness racing), they try to keep it clean, their livelihood depends on it. But there are no guarantees. All of that wagered money is heavily taxed, the government loves gambling money to further their agendas, regardless what they say about it. While America watched the steroid scandal unfold in D.C., politicians were still happily accepting contributions from casinos. It is certainly a case of buyer (or gambler) beware.

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Don Bauder March 15, 2010 @ 10:27 p.m.

Response to post #26: Gambling has swept the U.S., as it had earlier swept other nations. Probably the biggest swindles of all are the lotteries sponsored by the various states. Best, Don Bauder

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paul March 15, 2010 @ 11:08 p.m.

Don said: "Response to post #22: Your thesis is quite interesting until you posit that most sports are relatively clean. Sorry."

Don, it is definitely relative, but I honestly think that most of the major sports are reasonably clean today (yeah, I know, lots of qualifiers). There is no altruistic reason for sports to be cleaner now than they were in the old days, the simple fact is there is too much money to be made running a clean game to risk it by cheating.

You have to admit that the incidents of game fixing in the last few decades have been very few and far between (don't talk to me about boxing, I am talking strictly NFL, MLB, NBA and NCAA basketball and football).

How much cheating do you feel goes on today at major casinos in Las Vegas? I would again posit that there is not much, because the games are already so lucrative that there is no reason to take the risk.

Note that the opposite is true on Wall Street, where the major players routinely game the system to wring out their obscene profits. I find major sports infinitely more virtuous than Wall Street, and lest I not make myself clear I don't find much virtue in major sports.

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paul March 15, 2010 @ 11:17 p.m.

RefriedGringo,

What I know about betting on horse racing is just enough to know that I don't know what I am doing and I shouldn't be doing it!

I went to Del Mar last year for the first time in years for a company outing. I lost almost every bet I placed (probably a whopping $20 total, big bettor that I am), while my twin 7 year old daughters picking the prettiest horsies hit two trifectas.

That about sums up my expertise with the ponies!

I definitely defer to your knowledge of the track.

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 8:41 a.m.

Response to post #29: Your analysis is interesting, but I think it has one major flaw: it assumes that people receiving a hefty amount of money are satisfied and don't want any more. And particularly, you seem to assume if that juicy amount of money is made legitimately, individuals won't want to fatten their wallets by raking in even more illegitimately. Unfortunately, that theory goes against everything I have learned in almost 50 years of financial investigative reporting. No matter how rich the rascals become, they always want more, and are willing to stretch or break the law to achieve it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 9:23 a.m.

Response to post #30: You shouldn't defer to Refried's expertise; you should defer to your daughter's. You may have a money machine there. Best, Don Bauder

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pascal March 16, 2010 @ 11:12 a.m.

Here's my bet... The Padres will win a World Series before the Chargers win a Super Bowl... Any takers?!

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 11:42 a.m.

Response to post #33: I have been inveighing on this blog against gambling, and particularly gambling on pro sports games, which I believe in some cases are rigged. Also, I wouldn't bet on something I know little about, and while I feel I have some expertise in the economics and politics of the stadium/ballpark/arena subsidy scams, I have never professed to know enough about sports events to forecast winners. So I won't take your bet on general principles. But I suspect there is somebody out there -- SP? Refried? Paul? -- who will take your bet. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 16, 2010 @ 12:12 p.m.

Here's my bet... The Padres will win a World Series before the Chargers win a Super Bowl... Any takers?!

I'll take that with a $20 spot!

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David Dodd March 16, 2010 @ 12:33 p.m.

You may want to rethink that, S.P. I just found that Jim Steeg (COO & Executive VP) is leaving the Chargers. There are no plans to replace him. Steeg was about the only think the the Chargers organization has had going for them in the last five years.

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David Dodd March 16, 2010 @ 1:06 p.m.

Further about Steeg's departure:

There is no statement concerning where Steeg's going except to explore "other interests". While Fabiani has been the face and spokeman for the Chargers concerning a new stadium in San Diego, it was one of Steeg's primary responsibilities. Concurrent with the Chargers press release about Steeg's leaving the organization (effective at the end of March, I believe), the Chargers front office privately alerted several in the media to not presume that Steeg's departure is related to any activity (or perhaps non-activity) concerning a new stadium in San Diego.

Read into that whatever you will.

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 4:17 p.m.

Response to post #35: If memory services me right (and it sometimes doesn't), the Padres went to two World Series, getting stomped by Detroit 4-1 and by the Yankees 4-0. The Chargers went to one Super Bowl and got thoroughly embarrassed by San Francisco. Am I right on that? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 4:19 p.m.

Response to post #36: Was Steeg really that good? Wasn't he a flack or some minor functionary with the NFL before joining the Chargers?. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 4:25 p.m.

Response to post #37: Gee. The Chargers tipped off several in the media about the meaning of Steeg's departure. But the Chargers didn't contact me. Shucks. Come to think of it, I am not sure the Chargers have ever responded to any inquiry of mine, other than I remember calling Alex Spanos one time on something regarding his investment with a shady character. He spoke to me. That was more than 20 years ago -- 1988, maybe. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd March 16, 2010 @ 4:51 p.m.

Well, Steeg is well-liked by the sports media (I would be surprised to read anything negative about Steeg in the upcoming days), and the sports media in general are very pro-new stadium. It is widely believed that when the Chargers hired him it was to enlist his help to get a new stadium built, along with other duties. I'm certain that the Chargers were heading off any collateral damage by tipping off media that are for a new stadium. That's probably why you didn't receive that text-message.

Prior to joining the Chargers, Steeg was VP of events for the NFL, which might sound like a minor role, but it isn't - he produced over 20 super bowls (he was alsoresponsible for the "NFL Experience promotion", and other fan favorites such as throw-back jerseys). In that capacity, I imagine that ideas such as new stadiums or stadium expansions were a part of his area of concern.

The fact that he has left on such short notice, combined with the fact that he will not be replaced, leads to speculation that either he became frustrated or could otherwise read the writing on the wall. It is also possible that he knows exactly what ownership will do after this coming season (lock-out, perhaps?), and that there is no point in trying to get a new stadium built if the NFL isn't playing games for a while.

And you're correct on the Chargers and Padres lack off success in the championship games. It could be a long time before any wager is decided.

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David Dodd March 16, 2010 @ 6:18 p.m.

And Don, out of curiosity I did some checking.

<p>PredictionMachine.com is a website that sells tips on betting for gamblers and people who join money fantasy leagues. A look-up of the domain throws you back to a proxy server in Arizona - everything about ownership is hidden. The domain was purchased in December of 2009, runs for one year. The site has no track record listed concerning past successes.

The person running the operation, ostensibly, is Paul Bessire. Apart from the WSJ piece, he is promoting the site very aggressively throughout the country. I have noticed that in return for some of the free publicity, PredictionMachine seems to have purchased advertising on the site where the article resides.

Mr. Bessire lists his occupation on his resume as Product Manager, Quantitative Analysis Consultant. He recently spent a couple of years at another website (now apparently owned by News Corp.)that does the same thing as this one is supposed to do. That site also lacks a track record in their success.

He apparently graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Business with an MS in Quantitative Analysis. His thesis was "Measuring Individual and Team Effectiveness in the NBA Through Multivariate Regression". I read the abstract. Basically he compared the poorly performing 2004 Men's U.S. Basketball team to the Champions of the NBA that year, the Pistons. Apples and Oranges.

Oh, and he's 27 years old. He worked at Southern & Western Financial while in college (ostensibly part time). What any of this has to do with the game of baseball is beyond me. He'll impress me when he can run some of that quantitative analysis and figure out how the Mets won the '69 World Series.

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 10:23 p.m.

Response to post #41: You may be right. That possible 2011 lockout may frustrate the construction of a lot of new stadiums, thereby saving the taxpayers a bundle of money That could have frustrated Steeg. And there may have been some personality factors. Incidentally, I incorrectly stated in #40 that the Chargers don't return my inquiries. Actually, Fabiani does return my inquiries. Senior moment (mine). Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 16, 2010 @ 10:27 p.m.

Response to post #42: You did more than I did. I didn't attempt to look him up or even check his site. My original guess may be correct: he puts a lot of weight on payroll. But as discussed here, that doesn't always work. Look at the Minnesota Twins. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd March 17, 2010 @ 4:53 a.m.

You know what's funny Don? Here's a great example of why the U-T has devolved into a shell of what it once was long ago. All of the stuff I wrote about Steeg and commented on in this blog entry? Up early this morning, just now I clicked on the U-T website to see what they had to say about it:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/mar/16/steeg-stepping-down-chargers-coo/

Note the time stamp next to the byline. Now, note the time stamp next to my comments. With all of his resources (I'm in Mexico, with a five-year-old laptop, no staff or professional reputation, and I was never a journalism major), this guy pretty much said exactly what I said. Except a lot later.

I about spit my coffee all over my keyboard. Good sports journalism is officially dead.

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paul March 17, 2010 @ 9:36 a.m.

RFG said: "He'll impress me when he can run some of that quantitative analysis and figure out how the Mets won the '69 World Series."

I think Don has already told us the answer that.

When I was an impressionable young pup, my older brothers would give me a hard time when I would listen to the Dodgers. They would tell me baseball was no different than professional wrestling and that the players were all just acting out the script.

I didn't believe them then and I don't believe it now, but maybe I am the deluded one and Don and my brothers have it correct.

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Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 9:41 a.m.

Response to post #45: I saw that this morning and thought to myself, "Refried not only had that story on the blog yesterday, but he had a lot of interesting interpretation." So many hours later, the U-T prints a puff piece with no interpretation and no background. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 9:46 a.m.

Response to post #46: Remember, I never said that all or even most pro games are fixed. And I said there is diddling with the point spread, but not so often the final score. Overwhelmingly, most pro games are probably straight. But there are enough that aren't to make gambling on them a losers' game. Best, Don Bauder

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paul March 17, 2010 @ 9:55 a.m.

RFG said: "Good sports journalism is officially dead"

Isn't that some sort of oxymoron?

I had not heard about Steeg until I saw your post, so thanks for the heads up. His press release and the Chargers comments were just hysterical.

From the UT

The man who organized every Super Bowl from 1980-2004 said later that he might pursue an avenue in college athletics, has always wanted to get into minor-league baseball or could do “something totally weird.”

Always candid and self-deprecating, Steeg said he hoped it was possible making his intentions public might attract interest — “or maybe it won’t, and I’ll find out I’m totally undesirable.” He also didn’t think it was right to be looking for employment elsewhere while still employed.

“I have decided that there are further challenges that I would like the opportunity to pursue during my professional career,” Steeg said in the statement. “Given my goals and aspirations, I did not think it was fair to Dean (Spanos) and the organization to begin the process of pursuing other career options while in my current position.”

Steeg will not be replaced. His duties — including overseeing gameday planning, sponsorships and stadium issues — will be spread out among current members of management. Team Executive Vice President and Executive Officer A.G. Spanos, son of President Dean Spanos, already overlaps with Steeg on many duties. <<<<<<<<<< Soooo, he is leaving the team to pursue other career options, but he has no idea even what field he will pursue or whether there is any interest in him, but he is doing it abruptly (because time is of the essence?) and he is so valuable in his role with the Chargers that he will not be replaced. He is so sure of what he wants to pursue next that he makes an open plea for job offers to anybody that might be interested, hoping it might attract some attention.

Makes perfect sense to me!

Steeg worked in football for 30 years before he came to the Chargers (4 years for the Dolphins and 26 years with the league), but after 5 years with the Chargers he wants to leave football.

Good job, Team Spanos!

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paul March 17, 2010 @ 10:34 a.m.

Response to Don #48: I'm afraid that with the state of ethics in this country (any country?) right now that whether you bet or buy stocks the question is not whether the game is fixed, but which way is it fixed so that I can make some money too. I think it dovetails with your greater fool theory.

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Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 11:29 a.m.

Response to post #49: As I said, that U-T story was utterly hilarious. To report Steeg's statements at face value without attempting some kind of interpretation smacked of rear-kissing or something more repugnant. Occasionally I see the Denver Post's sports page. Those writers kick ass -- not kiss it. Players, owners, coaches, general managers are not spared. A story like that one on Steeg would never make it into the Denver Post. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 11:48 a.m.

Response to post #50: In the last two days you have seen how stocks are fixed. The U.S. Federal Reserve once again said that it would keep interest rates low (zero to almost zero) for an indefinite period. That told Wall Street to gamble at will, knowing that if the gambles fail, the U.S. will bail out the big banks. Stocks have gone up steadily since the pronouncement. Note that the public is NOT buying stocks; it's just an institutional game. The big banks get their signals from the Fed and Treasury. Also, Japan announced that it would loosen up its monetary policy even more, although it's hard to see how it can get any looser. So we have the continuing phenomenon of central banks all over the world giving away money to bank speculators. Now, the banks are not lending it out to Main Street. That would cause inflation. So the truth is there for anyone to see: Wall Street is feasting off Main Street's misery. As long as unemployment remains high, the Fed will keep giving away money for nothing, and that will be a long time. Main Street has not figured this out yet. I have predicted that the Dow will end the year at 12,000, but be worth 8,000. But I am not rushing into stocks because I believe that this massive disconnect between stocks (and commodities, too) and the real economy could reverse any time. I have bought a bunch of utilities and such things as pipelines, because I couldn't stand getting less than 1% on cash. I only bought the utilities stocks because I have too many muni bonds and I am concerned about them. All this raises another point: many in Washington want a consumer protection group within the Federal Reserve. This is an outrage. The Federal Reserve exists for, and is controlled by, the big banks. Main Street will never get a fair shake from the Fed.

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pascal March 17, 2010 @ 12:57 p.m.

Surf Puppy-- I'm tempted to remove my tongue from my cheek and accept your $20 wager, but I'm afraid we'd both be long-deceased before a winner could be declared!

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Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 3:13 p.m.

Response to post #53: Whichever won the wager would have one thing: online proof that the bet was made. However, there is a bigger question: would either of you pay? Back in about 1955 I told a Marquette student (the school had football then) that Wisconsin would win the annual football game by 3 touchdowns. I would give him 3 touchdowns in a $5 wager. He said he would not take such a ridiculous bet. He actually thought Marquette would win. I persuaded him to take the bet; he was convinced he would clean up. Wisconsin won by 6 touchdowns. That was 55 years ago. He has not paid. I don't expect him to. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 17, 2010 @ 6:29 p.m.

Post #52-nice analysis.

Post #53- yes, it could indeed be a very long time before either the Padres or Chargers win a championship.

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paul March 17, 2010 @ 10:19 p.m.

pascal said: "Surf Puppy-- I'm tempted to remove my tongue from my cheek and accept your $20 wager, but I'm afraid we'd both be long-deceased before a winner could be declared!"

I'm not so sure about that. The LA Chargers are going to have to field a winning team the first couple of years to build their fan base and justify their new stadium.

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Burwell March 17, 2010 @ 10:26 p.m.

Response to post #53: Whichever won the wager would have one thing: online proof that the bet was made.

You better not wager. Dumanis might indict the lot of you because of your attacks on her.

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Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 7:13 a.m.

Response to post #55: As I recall, I said in each of the last two seasons that there was a good chance the Chargers would make the Super Bowl. Mea maxima culpa. Anyone who believed me should have known that I don't know a damned thing about it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 7:15 a.m.

Response to post #56: Won't they be called the City of Industry Chargers? Or simply the Industry Chargers? Best, Don Bauder

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pascal March 18, 2010 @ 12:52 p.m.

Dumanis? Isn't she the DB they expect to step up and replace Cromartie? Me-thinks my money is safe.

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Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 4:13 p.m.

Response to post #60: She is not qualified to be a defensive back; she is afraid to make hard hits, especially on anyone who might be a donor. Best, Don Bauder

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paul March 18, 2010 @ 6:07 p.m.

Don said: "Won't they be called the City of Industry Chargers?"

Not if that team that plays in Anaheim is any indication.

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Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 10:11 p.m.

Response to post #62: How about changing the name from the Bolts to the Dolts? They could call themselves the Industry Dolts. People would confuse them with General Motors. Best, Don Bauder

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