Monday, February 28, 2005

Effort and the D-Backs Fan 

There's a school of thought that says when you're having fun doing something, the task at hand is effortless. "Flow," it's called, and it can be achieved while running, playing with your kids, or even doing mundane tasks such as weeding the lawn. If you're focusing on the task in front of you, it's easier to enjoy doing that task for its own sake. I can't say I achieved much flow while weeding my lawn on-and-off over the past few weeks, but I understand the concept and could see how weeding could be fun.

But I also can't say I achieved much flow at FanFest on Saturday. I went because it sounded like fun (and, frankly, because I knew I'd get a blog entry out it). Part of the problem, flow-wise was that my daughter and I didn't get down to the plaza until after 11 AM. I wanted to walk around a bit, but my daughter saw the "wheel-of-fortune" spinning wheel and wanted to spin it. I said, "Sure, but we need to get in line." A little long, but it appeared to be no more than maybe 10 minutes' long.

I think you know where I'm going with this.

45 minutes later, my daughter finally got to spin that #@$%$! wheel. Her prize (or my prize, technically speaking, as the Diamondbackers member in our pair) was what I ended up calling a "baseball necklace" (a Diamondbacks lanyard with a plastic ticket holder). Anticlimatic, perhaps, though the little one seems to enjoy it for now. But after that wait, it was nearly noon, and everyone was closing up shop. So home we went with a happy and hungry daughter and a slightly cranky and hungry daddy.

I was disappointed, however, that the ballpark itself wasn't open. Other teams -- the Twins, for example -- open up the entire field for their FanFest. They were selling tours (for charitable donations), but I can't imagine that it generated much interest (I didn't see any, in any case). If the D-Backs are serious about trying to get 20,000 people to attend instead of the 2,000 that actually did (see above link), perhaps more tours and fewer doohickeys would help.


Speaking of flow, reading Bill James is usually a highly flow-ing experience. The secret, of course, is that James isn't a stathead who struggles to communicate numbers to others; he's a writer with an abiding interest in questioning long-held truths and figuring out the statistical tools to answer those questions. It's his words, not his numbers, that make him worth reading (though his numbers are good, too). Rich at Baseball Analysts has the first of a three-part interview with James that's a good read. (And is there any baseball blog out there which has had a strong an initial outing as Baseball Analysts? Sure, it's not quite a new blog, but still... great stuff in their first couple weeks.)


Finally, for those interested in the business side of the Diamondbacks, a couple articles of note from the Republic. Of primary interest: the D-Backs say they will have $202 million in deferred contracts and deferred compensation starting this season, of which most of the $168 million of the deferred compensation component will be paid off in 6 years.

Of course, that article also says that the team's net payroll will be less than $60 million, net after $12 million in payments from the Yankees, Dodgers, and Devil Rays. Now, that would imply a $72 million payroll, a figure that is completely foreign to me unless they're adding in things like the rest of the 40-man roster, benefits, and the rest of the front office. Who knows...

And finally, if you can figure out a more redundant process for approving personnel decisions than the one Kendrick, Moorad, and the rest of the team has set up, please keep it a secret. I can understand the desire to get more input after the general feeling by the general partners that Jerry Colangelo kept them out of the loop, but this process -- Garagiola, then Dozer, then Moorad, then Kendrick, then the partners -- does seem excessive.

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