Friday, May 23, 2008

Jim Caple Complains About Being Poor

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you some of the true innovators in human history:

Thomas Edison, Archimedes, Walter O'Malley, Al Gore and Jim Caple.

Go East, MLB, Go East

The title is Jim showing off his expert knowledge of history- which he acquired by spending weeks studying Horace Greeley in order to ace the AP US History exam, for which he received the score of 3.

In this article, Jim also shows off his excellent knowledge of baseball history. For example, way back in 1958, baseball teams moved to the West Coast. Jim suggests that a similar expansion to Japan is getting close.

There is no timetable for expansion overseas, but it makes enough financial sense to be a good possibility before Evan Longoria calls it a career. Hell, we might see it before Eva Longoria calls it a marriage with Tony Parker.

Hell, we might see it before Longoria Wines brings out their next Pinot Noirs! This is a Bill Simmons joke! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find websites about things called Longoria if you're not looking for pictures of a celebrity? [A: Not really, surprisingly].

Obviously, the biggest issue is the distance, which was also true before baseball expanded to the west coast. Commercial aviation made MLB's move to California possible by cutting travel time between America's coasts. As Paul Archey, the head of MLB International, put it: "You wouldn't have been able to expand to the West Coast if you were still taking trains."


Obviously, the biggest issue is distance. Obviously, the last time distance was a problem, the transportation industry solved it by providing a quantum decrease in travel time. Obviously, the biggest issue is still insurmountable based on this empirical data obtained by a blogger with a computer and five minutes to spare:

Boston to San Diego: 3044 miles
Miami to Seattle: 3360 miles
Boston to Tokyo: 6704 miles
Miami to Tokeo: 7456 miles

Distances according to Google Maps Distance Calculator

Obviously, this article didn't need to be written.

Actually, travel times aren't that bad now -- you can already fly from Japan to Seattle in eight and a half hours (flying the opposite direction takes about 10 hours).

I like how he puts the longer time in parenthesis, as though it were extraneous information that has nothing to do with his topic, even though it's perhaps the most relevant information in this entire fucking piece.

That's less than it took me to fly from DC to Seattle this week (counting the connection in Chicago).

Probably because you're poor and don't fly on charters like MLB players do. This is not your fault, Jim; I am the same way. This is because the services we provide to society are not as rare as the skills major league players provide to society - anyone, it seems, can be a shitty sportswriter these days, and god knows anyone can do what I do.

Traveling between the West Coast and Japan just isn't that difficult, and frankly, lots of people in all sorts of fields do it all the time.

I like how he assumes that nobody from the East coast will ever have to play these Japanese teams. Maybe Caple is suggesting that MLB contract some East coast teams to make room for them? Hell yeah - I'm tired of the Red Sox anyways.

This is such a ridiculously specious argument:
1. It takes 8-10 hours to travel from the Seattle to Japan.
2. It takes Jim Caple 8-10 hours to travel from DC to Seattle.
3. Major League baseball players won't be significantly affected by having to fly sixteen hour flights to play baseball games.

You don't need a lot of recovery time, either. A day would suffice, two at the most.

Baseball teams don't *have* a day or two on these trips. Baseball teams have to cram a 162 game season into about 180 days. They get one day off a week as it is.

As every experienced traveler knows, jet leg can often be a matter of expectations. If you expect to feel awful after a 4,500 mile flight, you surely will.

1. Is this true? Can I get some research to support this? This sounds like "anecdotal bullshit".
2. As I explained above, 4500 miles only gets you from Japan to the West Coast. If you're traveling all the way to the East coast, you have three more hours' time difference and 3000 more miles.

If you think jet lag won't be that bad, it becomes pretty manageable -- if not downright pleasurable if you're a big leaguer
flying first class with someone else carrying your bags and arranging your tickets and doing everything else short of feeding you peeled grapes.

It's true, Jim, that major leaguers are richer than you; however, this has nothing to do with your article. Expansion is only feasible if the players aren't experiencing significant physical side effects. Your whole article is based on your personal experience about how flying doesn't affect you that much.

Also: do peeled grapes taste better than unpeeled grapes?

The difficulty is convincing pampered players who already spend 120 nights on the road that it isn't that big a deal to add a trans-Pacific trip to the schedule.

The difficulty is also convincing fans and anyone interested in competitive balance in baseball that this won't significantly hurt certain teams' chances of winning. And you know what, Jim? Baseball players are pretty pampered. But they do push long hours and are away from home a hell of a lot.

Heck, I once listened to a player complain about traveling to Canada.

I once listened to an ESPN senior sportswriter complain about how poor he is.

But if 60-year-old flight attendants can not only manage the trip but can also pour coffee and wheel food carts up and down the aisles for much of the flight, athletes in their prime should be able to manage sitting, sleeping and watching movies during the same trip.

Except that's not the problem: nobody doubts that they can manage it.

This analogy is so stupid: flight attendants don't need their reflexes tuned to the microsecond when they're working; millions of baseball fans will scrutinize the baseball players' reflexes when they are working.

Especially when they get a $40,000 bonus for doing so (as the Red Sox and Athletics did this spring).


What is Jim's problem with athletes' salaries? The problem is, Jim, that you are doing something anyone can do - in fact, that completely unprofessional people like me can actually do better - and baseball players are doing something only a few people can do. That's the point of capitalism, meritocracies, and the like.

I'm all for baseball expanding to all corners of the world. As soon as someone invents a teleporter, or at least a viable supersonic spaceship that can fly people to far away places in very short times, baseball isn't going to go to Japan. That's why baseball expanded in 1958: technology advances solved a limiting problem.

As a baseball fan, I sure would be fucking pissed if the Reds were in the final week of the season in a playoff race and they had to go play a series in Nagoya and they had to spend thirty hours in a plane to get there and back, while their competitors had to travel to Milwaukee.



1 comment:

pnoles said...

ZOMG can't WAIT to use the "teleporters" label!