01 February 2011

Could we wind up rooting for the Kinston Orioles?

A couple days ago I tweeted news of the Frederick Keys going up for sale and the team signing another one year lease on Harry Grove Stadium.  The American Chronicle has a good article for you to read here in full.  Briefly, the Keys do not like the terms the city is putting forth and has stalled on a contract.  They are now on a one year term at $30,000.  It was not mentioned what the two sides are negotiating, but that they have been unable to come to any agreeable terms.  The city has asked for $50,000 and it was rumored that the Keys ownership countered with a value just short of $30,000.  Either figure would be an increase from their last long term lease where they were paying $17,000 a year until 2009.  This situation has now come to a head and the city is planning to issue a request for proposal.  As I understand this, it means that different entities will be allowed to bid for use of Harry Grove Stadium and this is where it gets interesting.

The original owner of the Keys and builder of Harry Grove Stadium, Peter Kirk, is angling to get back into the Frederick market.  This time it is not as an owner as he is the owner of the York Revolution.  Instead, he wishes to put a second Independent Atlantic League team in Frederick with the help of Reston, VA real estate lawyer Jack Lavoie.  This arrangement was reported in the York Daily Record.  The city of Frederick looks to be in the driving seat for this one.  Frederick is a solid market that averaged 4585 fans per game in 2009.  Only the Wilmington Blue Rocks drew more.  The Orioles AA team, the Bowie Baysox drew 3810.  In fact, Frederick outdrew eighteen of thirty AA teams and three of thirty AAA teams.  Frederick is a great market and the Atlantic League knows it.  The Keys ownership (or the new ownership) will need to increase their offer if they want to avoid being evicted after the 2011 season.

Where could the Orioles single A franchise go?  After the jump, I'll look at three scenarios, some are likely alternatives and others are wishful thinking.


29 January 2011

The History of Oriole Attendance

I read this entry over at MLB Trade Rumors with the following:
"With this city, with this country, with our market, we should be a city that can have $140 or $150MM in the way of salaries," team president Paul Beeston said at the State of the Franchise even in Toronto last night. "We should be able to support that and that's the direction that we're headed to."
It reminded me of what Ruben Amaro Jr., GM of the Phillies, said after signing Cliff Lee.  I cannot find the direct quote, but to paraphrase: That the Phillies would not be able to lock Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, and Roy Halladay into those contracts without the fan base dedicating themselves by buying season tickets.  Toronto and Philadelphia most likely have similar money to draw from as the Orioles.  Of course, it all comes down to securing the fan base.  Not only do the Orioles (and Jays) need to sell out every game, they need to up their tickets by 50-100%.  Here are the Orioles' attendance over the years:


 What the above graph tells us is that Baltimore is capable of bring in over 40,000 per game.  Tickets then (like now) are cheap as MLB tickets go.  However, it is difficult to tell immediately what these numbers mean.  Oriole fans have always been thought as strong supporters of the team, but those early numbers appear slight.  After the jump, I'll introduce a statistic I call Attendance Plus.

28 January 2011

Orioles Promotional Wish List

The Orioles today published their preliminary promotional calendar.  For those who love bobbleheads, you will get a shot at Buck and Matusz.  However, I am not one of those people.  Of the initial list, I am rather indifferent and unimpressed in comparison to what the Pirates have in store for their fans.

So, it is one thing to complain and it is another to offer suggestions, so the following are my top ten suggestions after the jump.  Let me know if you have any to add.

08 January 2011

2011: Win Projections v1.0

Each year, I run projections for how well the Orioles will do.  Since I began doing this in 2007, they have underperformed every single year.  The players just do not seem to uphold any of the standards set by the projection systems, so I tend to be pessimistic when I look at these simple season win projections for how well the team will do.

As I always do, I am using ZiPS which can be found at Baseball Think Factory and at some point will show up on FanGraphs.  For the Orioles, I assumed the following roster.
C Matt Wieters
C Craig Tatum
1B Derek Lee
2B Brian Roberts
3B Matt Reynolds
SS JJ Hardy
INF Cesar Izturis
INF Brandon Harris
OF Felix Pie
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Luke Scott
DH Nolan Reimold
I assume significant missed time for Roberts, Hardy, and Jones (about ~200 PA each) with replacement level production assuming a backup role.

S Jeremy Guthrie
S Brian Matusz
S Jake Arrieta
S Brad Bergesen
S Chris Tillman
S Zach Britton (assumed he will get about 100 IP this year)
C Koji Uehara
R Kevin Gregg
R Mike Gonzalez
R Jeremy Accardo
R Jim Johnson
R Rick Vanden Hurk
R Misc

Predictions and some thoughts as to how this team will get to the playoffs after the jump.