Archive for March, 2009

The Most Interesting Statement I Read Today

The [Hierarchical Linear] Model shows that teams do not pay differently for individual player statistics. That is, the New York Yankees pay the same for OBP, SLG, and fielding percentages as do the Kansas City Royals, once we control for other variables.

Kenneth H. Brown and Lisa K. Jepsen. “The Impact of Team Revenues on MLB Salaries,” Journal of Sports Economics, Vol. 10, No. 2, 192-203 (2009)

F, Flunk, Failure

GDP

The new stadium in Gwinnett County where the Gwinnett Braves will open their inaugural season next month has won a Best in Atlanta Real Estate Award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle cited “potential economic stimulus” as the primary reason for giving this project its top award.

Wow, just…wow! “Potential economic stimulus”…un-be-fucking-lievable. I wish the judges would read their own publication, where I had this to say less than two months ago.

“The general belief among economists is that there is no economic impact of these publicly financed stadiums,” Bradbury said. “We keep seeing that this will generate $15 million and that is a completely made up number. They are clearly going to have to raise taxes. They are not going to make their first bond payment [without the help of taxes] ; and it is not going to get any easier. ”

“This is a great deal for the Braves and the Gwinnett commissioners should be embarrassed,” Bradbury added. “I think if you called every economist in the state of Georgia at academic institutions, you would find it hard to find a single one that would say this is going to have economic benefits.”

But hey, don’t take my word for it: pick up the phone and call some economists from any of Georgia’s many fine universities. It is extremely frustrating to see members of the media reporting analysis that would earn an F in any introductory economics course. The awards panel should be embarrassed.

UPDATE: I submitted the following letter to the editor of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Dear Editor,

I was disappointed to see the Atlanta Business Chronicle reward the new Gwinnett Braves stadium with a Best in Atlanta Real Estate Award. The article detailing the project highlighted the “potential economic stimulus” of the project as the reason for its selection. The problem is, the claims of economic benefits of sports stadiums are as mythical as the North Georgia Sasquatch.

I stated as much in the January 12, 2009 issue of Atlanta Business Chronicle.

“The general belief among economists is that there is no economic impact of these publicly financed stadiums,” Bradbury said. “We keep seeing that this will generate $15 million and that is a completely made up number. They are clearly going to have to raise taxes…. “This is a great deal for the Braves and the Gwinnett commissioners should be embarrassed,” Bradbury added. “I think if you called every economist in the state of Georgia at academic institutions, you would find it hard to find a single one that would say this is going to have economic benefits.”

I also detailed significant problems with the finance plan in a February 2, 2008 Op-Ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle should be educating the public about economic truths instead of perpetuating fallacies.

Sincerely,

J.C. Bradbury

Watchdog Group Files Ethics Complaint Regarding Gwinnett Stadium

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“What bothers me and bothers several citizens of Gwinnett County … is they have had no say,” in the $5 million land purchase, $33 million bond package for construction and the $19 million in upgrades. “(Commissioners) have left the public on the sidelines.”

Anderson said the deal, negotiated by then Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Chairman Richard Tucker and his son Lee Tucker, the bureau’s attorney, and included land purchased from brothers Bartow and Brand Morgan, who own a community bank, is a sign of a “good ol’ boy clique.”

As a Floyd County native, Anderson offered as a contrast the sales tax referendum officials held to decide if the Braves Single-A team moved to Rome, which allowed the stadium to be paid off before the first pitch was thrown.

In his complaint, which could be considered by the grand jury over the next six months, Anderson also brought up ties between Commissioner Kevin Kenerly and developer D.G. Jenkins which first surfaced before Kenerly’s re-election in 2006. He also questioned the involvement of the Gwinnett Place and Gwinnett Village community improvement districts in last year’s referendum over tax allocation districts.

Television coverage from WSBTV.

Spring Break

I’m on spring break this week, and I don’t expect to post anything unless a story breaks. In fact, posting this month should be light as a result of other commitments.

Gwinnett Tax Increases Pass

AJC

Gwinnett County passed a $1.7 billion budget Tuesday that may, for the first time in more than a decade, raise the mill levy on property….

County officials cut $40 million from the original budget proposed in December, and 108 jobs have been eliminated since then. Officials estimate they will need $62 million in additional revenues — additional fees or property taxes — to fund the budget and its future public safety programs.

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While an increase in property taxes has not been determined, the budget calls for $62 million in additional revenues. Deputy County Administrator Mike Comer said officials estimate the taxes could increase $12 to $13 a month on a home valued at $200,000….

County Administrator Jock Connell said officials have foreseen the need for a tax increase for years.

“We have lived off growth for a number of years. There are some good things with that and there are some bad things when growth stops,” he said. “What we’ve attempted to do here was balance service needs with revenues with cuts. …

“(This budget) gives us a platform and a foundation that we can continue to steer this ship through rough waters. But this is not the end of our decisions.”

Really? I don’t remember hearing any news of the shortfall when he introduced the Braves stadium. Gosh, if only the County could find another $64 million. Where could we find that? I wonder if the new budget includes a raise for Connell, who earns $234,000 per year with perks.

The Fielding Bible II: Runs Saved

I didn’t have more than a few minutes to glance through The Fielding Bible II last night, but I see nothing but improvements to what I already considered to be baseball’s best defensive measurement system. If you want to evaluate fielding, then you should be using The Fielding Bible.

Here is an excerpt that describes the newest Plus/Minus-based metric Runs Saved and lists the leaders by position for the past three seasons.

Here are the best defenders by position in terms of total Runs Saved from 2006–2008.

Pos.	Player		Runs Saved
1B	Albert Pujols	61
2B	Chase Utley	63
3B	Pedro Feliz	50
SS	Adam Everett	48
LF	Alfonso Soriano	42
CF	Carlos Beltran	44
RF	Alex Rios	49
C	Jason Kendall	27
P	Kenny Rogers	27

The Fielding Bible II

I just received a copy of The Fielding Bible II in the mail today from ACTA Publishing. I can’t wait read through it. I loved the first edition, and I think highly of the Plus/Minus System. In fact, Hal Richman’s cover blurb says exactly what I think of the system.

John Dewan’s Plus/Minus System is the best statistical system I’ve ever seen for evaluating the defensive abilities of Major League Baseball players.

I will write more about the book as I read it.