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Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF TAMPA’S YBOR STADIUM

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 20, 2018

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– Another taxpayer ripoff.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have always found it interesting the amount of money the public invests in sports venues. Most of us are unwitting pawns in financing the various arenas and stadiums around the country, often paying substantial increases in taxes to support them, even when we have absolutely no interest in them.

Let me give you an example, coming from Cincinnati, I remember when they finally closed and razed Crosley Field, the iconic home of Reds baseball, which stood for 58 years and was originally constructed for $225,000 ($5.71 million in 2017 dollars). In 1970, it was replaced by Riverfront Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium for the Reds, the NFL’s Bengals, and a variety of concerts. It cost less than $50 million to construct and the public was assured the stadium would last well into the 21st century. This was simply not so. In 2000, the Bengals moved into Paul Brown Stadium at a cost of $455 million. In 2003, the Reds moved into the Great American Ball Park at a cost of $290 million. In other words, a stadium constructed at a cost of $50 million lasted only 33 years and was replaced at a cost of $745 million, all paid for by Cincinnati tax payers.

A similar phenomenon is occurring in Tampa Bay. In 1967, we opened Tampa Stadium (aka “The Big Sombrero”), costing $4.4 million for construction ($32.3 million in 2017 dollars). This, of course, became the home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers until 1998 (31 years later) when it was replaced by Raymond James Stadium for $168.5 million ($253 million in 2017 dollars). In 1996, Tampa opened Amalie Arena for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning for $139 million ($217 million in 2016 dollars). Finally, St. Petersburg opened Tropicana Field in 1990 for the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays at a cost of $130 million ($244 million in 2017 dollars). Now, just 28 years later the Rays are abandoning “The Trop” in favor of a new stadium, Ybor, to be ready by the 2023 season. As an aside, this will be the smallest MLB stadium in terms of capacity, yet costing $892 million.

In other words, a larger stadium constructed in 1990 for $130 million, and still in sound condition, will be replaced by a new one for $892 million, almost seven times the cost of Tropicana. Since 1967, Tampa Bay will have paid over $1.3 billion for professional sports venues.

I find this “disposable” way of thinking regarding sports venues to be disturbing as there appears to be little consideration for upgrading existing facilities at far less cost. By comparison, Tampa Bay’s investment in such facilities, makes Cincinnati’s costs look like a bargain. The reality is both cities are practicing obnoxious economics, with the tax payers picking up the lion’s share of the costs. The teams themselves pay a mere pittance by comparison. The reality though is the consumer pays twice for the stadium, once for inflated ticket prices (and accompanying high priced beverages and food), and a second for increased taxes, particularly sales. Some claim this is the price of progress. I call it wasteful inflation.

We’re all aware stadiums have been used by sports teams to blackmail cities, whereby the teams demand new lavish facilities or threaten to move to another city. Consequently, cities feel compelled to pay the ransom. In the NFL, we saw this in Baltimore, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Oakland. In Baseball, we’ve seen it in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Montreal, and Washington, DC. And we’ve seen it in Spring Training facilities here in the Tampa Bay area.

To sell the concept of a new sports venue to the public, proponents boast how it will invigorate the local economy. How? By local restaurants, hotels, and air travel? Souvenirs? Parking? No, let’s quit kidding ourselves, the only one prospering is the team. To prove this, a 2015 study was performed by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, finding there is little evidence professional sports franchise venues lead to significant economic benefits.

One of the principals of the study, Dennis Coates, Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland wrote: “If the local government is looking for a policy to foster economic growth, far better candidate policies exist than those subsidizing a professional sports franchise.”

In a separate report, “Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Subsidies for Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Mega-Events?”, Coates wrote: “We have seen that economists in general, as represented by Whaples’s survey (2006), oppose sports subsidies. Economists reach the nearly unanimous conclusion that “tangible” economic benefits generated by professional sports facilities and franchises are very small; clearly far smaller than stadium advocates suggest and smaller than the size of the subsidies. The fact that sports subsidies continue to be granted, despite the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that no tangible economic benefits are generated by these heavily subsidized professional sports facilities, remains a puzzle.”

It seems rather reckless that sports venues are given carte blanche by cities to support their teams. Let us remember, all of the major leagues are well financed and deal with millions of dollars, be it Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Arena Football League (AFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), and more. I have a problem asking John Q. Public, who makes an average salary of $56K, to sponsor teams and players making millions of dollars.

Evidently I am not alone, as there is the “Americans for Prosperity,” a political advocacy group in the United States funded by the Koch brothers (David and Charles). According to their web site, “We protect the American Dream by fighting each day for lower taxes, less government regulation, and economic prosperity for all.” Their local contact in Tampa Bay is Demetrius Minor, (727) 270-1407 – dminor@afphq.org@dminor85

Since they are concerned with fiduciary responsibility in government and the lowering of taxes, the group is well aware of the zealous over-spending on sports venues and wants to protect tax payers. To find out more, look them up on the web at: https://americansforprosperity.org/.

One last thing to consider:

* In 2026, just three years after the scheduled opening of the new Ybor field, Amalie Arena will be thirty years old and past its prime.

* In 2028, just five years after Ybor, Raymond James Stadium will also be thirty years old.

Who is then going to foot the bill for new stadiums? The teams? Hardly. Like it or not, we are trapped in a vicious cycle. We can either sit back and take it or fight back. It’s your choice.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LOSERS

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 21, 2018

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– No, I will not be watching this year either.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

This will be my third consecutive year in which I haven’t watched the National Football League (NFL). I originally quit because of the thug players who should have been behind bars and not on the gridiron, but when the players started the rukus over the flag, that did it for me. At first, this was hard for me as I had been a fan since the 1960’s, but as each year passes, the NFL was slowly divested from my system and, frankly, I do not miss it anymore. This should be cause for concern to the League as there are many people who feel the same way, as indicated by declining viewership. In my eyes, the institution is corrupt and lacks class. All of the athleticism and heroics of the past are gone, and we are left with nothing but overpaid deadbeats on the field, certainly nothing of interest to me. They simply need to clean house, something they are obviously afraid to do.

I do not want to dwell on the past, such as watching a Dick Butkus tackle, a Ray Guy punt, a Barry Sanders sprint, an Anthony Munoz block, a Joe Namath pass, or the heroics of a George Blanda. I’ll always relish their memory, but it is time to move on to something else more meaningful.

Fortunately, I have Little League, the only true remaining spirit of baseball. Their World Series concludes this Sunday and it is always a pleasure watching all the kids from teams around the world compete at this level, playing their hearts out. If it’s a choice between Little League and the Majors, the kids win hands down. The MLB is a lot like the NFL in one sense, it is no longer a game; now it’s a business, which is why I prefer watching the youth programs and farm clubs.

Over the last couple of years, I have found myself gravitating to college and high school football as opposed to the pros. It’s always a pleasure to watch such games, particularly my high school alma mater, Wyoming HS in Cincinnati. Whereas the pros take a knee during the national anthem, my old team proudly carries and waves the flag as they take the field. As an aside, we have high expectations for my high school team this year. They were good in 2017, but could very well win the state this year.

As to college football, I enjoy the SEC down here in the South, but there are many other fine schools with football programs in Florida, including USF, UCF, Miami, FSU, and UF. I also keep an eye on Ohio State and the Big 10. My college alma mater, Ohio University, is part of the Mid American Conference (MAC) and I relish any victory they can muster.

Following the high school and college football seasons, my interests turn to hockey and we are fortunate to have the Tampa Bay Lightning in our area, a true contender. By the way, they do not seem to have a problem with the American flag or national anthem at their venue.

So you see, I’m not going to be at a loss for football or sports this Fall. The NFL certainly hasn’t got a monopoly on it. If anything, they are going out of their way to deter people from watching it. So, how do I spend my Sundays now? That’s simple, I would rather mow the lawn than watch the National Football Losers.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

UNDERSTANDING THE NFL’s PROBLEMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 5, 2017

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It goes well beyond disrespect for patriotism.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The brouhaha surrounding the NFL player protests during the playing of the national anthem is slowly fading from view, just as the NFL had counted on, knowing the fans addicted to professional football couldn’t stay away forever. Unless the Main Stream Media keeps it in the public’s eye, the fans have the attention span of a gnat and are slowly beginning to tune back into the league. So, after hitting a few speed bumps, the NFL money machine continues on its way. The commissioner and owners refuse to discipline their players, in fact they appear to be downright intimidated by them, but is everything truly back to normal yet?

Not so fast. During the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the Detroit game saw its ratings fall 12.3% since last year, and the Dallas game was down nearly 20%. The NFL may try to put a positive spin on this, but the fact remains the protests turned a lot of patriotic Americans off. Even though the fans believe the players to be wrong, they are not so insulted anymore and the NFL will continue on its merry way.

The reality though is if you attended a game or tuned in, you are siding with the players, plain and simple. You are overlooking their disrespect for the country and believe we are suffering from racial injustice. Either that or you have no scruples whatsoever. Personally, I find it rather ironic that the American system the players are protesting, is the same system that has made them incredibly rich.

My problem with the NFL goes way beyond disrespect for the flag and anthem. For a long time, the NFL has been willing to overlook the indiscretions of the players, be it for battery, domestic violence, assault, guns, drugs or whatever, and give them nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Whereas NFL players in the past were held in high esteem as role models of sportsmanship, now it is fraught with thugs and criminals, people we should not respect. Yet, the NFL allows them to keep playing, making millions, and allowing the NFL money machine to continue unabated. They may have to pay a nominal fine now and then, but it would be better for the character of the sport if they were banned from the league instead, thereby giving a clear sign such behavior is not acceptable. By not properly disciplining the players, the NFL is condoning their behavior.

Banishment will likely never happen as the players now set the terms for the NFL, not the owners. Whereas the players represent employees who should follow the policies as prescribed by management, they now know they are untouchable as their athletic skills are sorely in demand and the owners want to win. As Houston Texan owner Bob McNair correctly observed recently, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” However, in fact, they are, as evidenced by McNair being forced to issue an apology for making the comment.

The NFL is now the model for corrupt athletic competition; they may know how to make money, but they also know how to sabotage the morality of the country. It is not that the owners or commissioner know what should be done, they are just scared to change the goose who lays the golden egg.

In addition, the media is hesitant to criticize the league as they have also hitched their wagon to the NFL money machine. Without them reminding the public of the indiscretions of the players, the topic slowly disappears. Instead of just producing an injury report prior to a game, I would like to see a crime report. Since the television media refuses to mention this, we are left to discover it ourselves. Fortunately, some outlets, such as USA Today, maintain an NFL Arrest Data Base which clearly lists player indiscretions, both current and in the past (click HERE).

In a way, we should thank former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick for starting the protest last year. From it, we have discovered the true character of the players, their new role in setting team policy, and the greed motivating the league.

“Alas, poor football! I knew it well.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM? – Is it still “the land of freedom and opportunity”?

LAST TIME:  SHAPETH UP AND GETITH THINE ACT TOGETHER  – Some tricks of the trade for being productive.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

AN ODE FOR A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLER

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 21, 2017

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– What I learned from the game.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I played High School football from 1968-1971 in a little town in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. Our team, the Wyoming Cowboys, had a winning tradition for as long as I can remember. We won numerous championships over the years and were always considered a contender even against much larger schools. In 1962, we had a team who not only went undefeated, but didn’t allow a single point to be scored by their opponents, racking up a record of 446-0 points. Baseball, basketball, and track were all well represented, but football was king, not just then but now as well. This year, the team went 10-0 to win the league championship and play in the Ohio state playoffs.

Wyoming is the type of small closeknit community where everyone attends the Friday night game. Beyond that, they have a loyal set of alumni who follows the games over the Internet. In preparation for the league championship this year, alumni sent best wishes from around the USA, two from Africa, and one from Europe. Yes, they take it rather seriously.

As the team prepared to enter the state tournament, I drew upon my past and penned the following piece. I sent it to the Wyoming coach who read it to the team before the tournament game. I tried to capture the feeling we had back in 1971 when we won our championship. Hopefully, some of you who played high school football will appreciate what I’m describing. Hope you enjoy it.

“LOVE THE GAME” – by Tim Bryce

It’s not the championship that matters or the record, it’s how you play the game.

It’s not the school that matters or the coaches and spectators, it’s about your band of brothers.

You play football for the love of the game.

It’s a game where people of all sizes, shapes, and talents each play an important role, not as a group of individuals, but as a cohesive unit, a team.

It’s not the accolades or criticisms afterwards that matter either.

You play to watch a teammate dash to daylight, to perhaps punch a hole in the line allowing him to slip through.

You play to watch a ball spiral through the air to find its target.

You play to demonstrate some sleight of hand in a trick play, or to watch a punt returned for a touchdown.

You play to watch the steamy breaths of the linemen in the trenches on a cold wet night, to listen to their growl and pain as they try to move heaven and earth for a teammate.

You play to watch a defense-man penetrate the line and sack an opposing player behind the line of scrimmage, or to cause and recover a fumble when it was desperately needed, or to intercept and return a pass.

You play to make a goal line stand and stop the opposing team cold, or if you are on offense, to find a way to punch the ball through.

You appreciate the simple things of the game, such as a solid block, a straight kick, the crisp snap of the ball, a perfect throw, the smell of the field, a good tackle, and speed afoot.

You play to watch it all come together in unison, like a fine jeweled watch.

You find joy in picking up a teammate, both physically and spiritually; to stand at the end of a game mired in sweat and mud, proud of your team and the small role you played.

After all, this is a game of teamwork, not one for those seeking individual glory, an important lesson that will follow you through life.

So play the game hard, without regrets, so you can hold your head up at the end of the game knowing you gave it your best.

Play it with reckless abandon, for the day will come when it will be over, and you will miss it dearly.

Love it and it will teach you some important lessons of life, such as pride, self-esteem, the power of tradition in winning, empathy for others, and to put aside differences and find ways to cooperate.

Play it in such as way that when you finally hang up your cleats for the last time, you know you accomplished something meaningful.

And when it is over, you do not need accolades or a trophy or ring to remind you of the job you’ve done, just a pat on the back simply saying, “Well done.”

Football is a great game. Love it.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WELCOME TO BIZARRO WORLD – Where everything is the opposite of what you are used to.

LAST TIME:  I’M JUST NORMAL…REALLY  – You can save a lot of paper if you just take my word for it.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

POLITICIZING SPORTS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 24, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The media will not leave us alone.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Super Bowl 51 is now in the record books as one of the most exciting games since the inception of the series. The New England Patriots’ stunning come from behind victory of 34-28 over the Atlanta Falcons surprised a lot of people, including yours truly. Quarterback Tom Brady set many records, Julian Edelman made a miraculous catch, and the Falcons grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. There was also the moment afterwards where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell awkwardly presented the MVP award to Tom Brady, thereby finally concluding the “Deflategate” incident.

All of this though pales in comparison to how the news media tried to politicize the event. In the week prior to the game, Brady was asked about his relationship with President Donald Trump, who is reported to be a friend. When he balked at answering questions about it, claiming his attention needs to be focused on the game, the press seethed at his lack of response. Then there was the half time show featuring singer Lady Gaga where the media desperately tried to decode some anti-Trump message from her performance. The press also scrutinized all of the new ads debuting during the Super Bowl, trying to determine if they had any hidden anti-Trump messages. Finally, Patriots Tight End Martellus Bennett reportedly said he would not attend if invited to the White House to honor his team’s Super Bowl win, claiming differences with President Trump. As to the latter, had this been tried during the Obama administration, the person would have been labeled a racist.

Instead of allowing viewers to enjoy the event, the news media politicized it thereby ruining what would have been a very entertaining show. Look for such shenanigans to continue, such as at the Daytona 500 on February 26th, Major League Baseball Opening Day (April 2nd), The Masters Golf Tournament (April 3rd – 5th), and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament (March 14th – April 3rd). Mixing politics with sports has become the norm and I believe it will ultimately alienate viewers.

There is also the problem of celebrity sports figures sharing their political perspectives, most notably the NBA’s LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. As with entertainers, I am really not interested in the political opinion of athletes, whether they are pro-Trump or anti-Trump. It shouldn’t have a place in our culture. If I wanted to listen to such mumbo-jumbo, I would tune in Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Madonna, et al, but I do not respect their opinions either. I would much rather let them entertain us, then listen to their political pablum.

Frankly, wouldn’t it be nice if the athletes, entertainers, and the press would drop the political spin and just leave us alone so we can enjoy the show? Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it will happen as they are determined to push the liberal agenda. I cannot help believe they are hurting their viewership and ticket sales as a result of all this.

It used to be sporting events were a haven from the nasty world of politics, but that seems to have radically changed with the 2016 presidential election. We better get used to it as it appears the politicization of sports is here to stay.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  HANDLING FAILURE – Failure is something we don’t handle very well as a species.

LAST TIME:  IT IS TIME FOR THE REPUBLICANS TO FLEX THEIR MUSCLES  – No more excuses; let’s roll!

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BASEBALL CARDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 3, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Are they a commodity or a memento of our youth?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Something near and dear to a young man’s heart is his collection of baseball cards. Although cards today are bought and sold as a commodity, years ago we collected them simply because of the love of the game. My friends and I would trade them, discuss the stats of each player, and chew the lousy gum accompanying each pack of five cards. We would also attach them to our bicycles using clothespins so they would flicker between the spokes of the wheel thereby making a rather impressive sound as you were riding, something like a motorcycle, at least so we thought. In my day, you weren’t cool unless you had a Stan “The Man” Musial baseball card powering your bicycle. In hindsight I wish I had kept that card as opposed to ruining it on my bicycle, but such is life.

The nirvana of baseball cards in my day was to get Mickey Mantle’s (see accompanying photo). As a kid growing up in the New York area in the early 1960’s, Mantle was a god to us. Sure, we watched other teams and other players, but there was something special about the Mick. So much so, obtaining his baseball card meant a step up in your social stature. Fortunately, I got mine in a regular pack of cards and I was the envy of my friends. I was offered stacks of cards for the Mantle card but I stubbornly held on to it, and I’m glad I did. I was even offered a Willie Mays, Roger Marris, and Whitey Ford. If he had thrown in a Yogi Berra I would have been tempted, but such was not to be. Besides, I had a couple of Willie Mays cards already.

Most of my card collection ended up in a shoe box where I kept them neatly organized. For my really good cards I’ve got a special binder with plastic sleeves which keeps them neat and clean. As the cards were important to me, I kept them hidden in my bedroom. As I grew up and moved away to college, the card collection remained hidden in my room. It’s a good thing I hid them too as my room was purged and cleaned by my mother after I moved out. As is common for moms to do, she disposed of my old comic book collection and “Mad” magazine collection, both of which dated back to the early 1960’s. I’m not sure why mothers do this, perhaps as a form of revenge for leaving the nest, but I know a lot of guys who lost such collections, not to mention coin and stamp collections. Moms view such things as nothing more than dust-catchers, guys cherish them as mementos of their past.

Today, baseball cards are bought and sold at hefty prices, a lot more than the nickel we used to pay for a pack and probably without the bubble gum. In my day, “Topps” was the only manufacturer of baseball cards. Today, there are many others, but I can’t say the quality is any better. Some now have special stamps emblazoned on them, some come packaged in air tight plastic containers, and some are real works of art. Whereas baseball originally had a monopoly on such cards, today there are cards for football, hockey, basketball, soccer, even wrestling, entertainment and politics. I still don’t think I would trade my Mickey Mantle for a Barack Obama, no way, no how. I would be much more interested in a Jackie Robinson or Satchel Page, but I think I would still hold on to the Mick.

I still appreciate the simplicity of the cards from years ago. In preparing for this article, I brought out my baseball card binder so I could scan the Mickey Mantle card. Afterwards I stopped by a friend’s house and showed him the binder. He enjoyed it immensely and as he flipped through it we would discuss the various players, what teams they played on over the years, their statistics, memorable moments in their playing careers, and argue over who were the better players. A lot of baseball ears should have been burning that day. Then again, that’s what we did as kids, we talked baseball, and this is what I think baseball cards were originally designed to do.

I just wish I still had that Stan “The Man” Musial card instead of ruining it on my bicycle.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  TOO MANY TALKING HEADS – We should thank Howard Cosell for this.

LAST TIME:  WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TRAVEL EXPENSE REPORT?  – Are your employees abusing travel expenses?

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

TAKING THE SPORT OUT OF ATHLETICS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 13, 2017

BRYCE ON ATHLETICS

– Is the scientific approach dehumanizing sports?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As charges of doping were brought against members of the US Bicycle Team, the investigation discovered the problem was much larger in scope than originally thought, not just here in America, but internationally as well. Americans should be familiar with the drug problem by now as just about every professional sport has had more than its share of incidents and scandal. Actually, we shouldn’t be surprised by the rise of doping today as athletics are less about sports and more about business, big business.

Gone are the days when athletes would play just for the love of the game, who would endure bus rides and uncomfortable hotel rooms. Gone are the days of the amateur status, even the Olympics is no longer a haven. Athletes now take a professional and highly scientific approach to sports. We measure every shot, stroke, basket, and swing, in terms of speed, distance, height and trajectory. The athletes themselves are carefully monitored in terms of age, calories consumed, pounds, inches, breath, heartbeats, and grams of fat. Nothing is overlooked. Everything is precisely scrutinized by packs of high-priced sports consultants. Got a hangnail? Stop the game and have it fixed by people specializing in sports medicine. Need a better bat, ball, or iron for your game? An army of vendors are at your disposal representing billions of dollars in merchandise. It’s not about the sport of the game anymore, it’s about business, and the precision by which we develop and market it is overwhelming. It’s no small wonder doping is the next inevitable stage in the evolution of athletics. Frankly, I’m surprised by all the hubbub surrounding drugs. Since we have radically altered what the athlete wears and the tools of his/her game, tampering with human physiology seems only natural.

All of this has changed the face and character of athletics. Today’s World Series champion would surely whip the “Murderer’s Row” of the 1920’s, the “Gas House Gang” of the 1930’s, and the “Big Red Machine” of the 1970’s, but they were certainly more interesting to watch as they had more character than science. The antics of people like Babe Ruth, Dizzy Dean, Mickey Mantle and many others were legendary. Fortunately, they were natural athletes who could overcome their hijinks with some rather brilliant play. “It ain’t braggin’ if ya can back it up,” said Dean to answer his critics and reflected the philosophy of such players.

Throughout the 20th century fans relished the colorful characters who became icons for the teams they played on. In baseball, you had players like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Cal Ripken; inspirational “Iron Men” who played with quiet dignity and grace. Then there were the fierce competitors like Ty Cobb, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Pete Rose who played with seemingly reckless abandon. There were others who butchered the English language, causing sports writers to scratch their heads in bewilderment, like Yogi Berra, Satchel Page, Bob Uecker, Sparky Anderson, and Casey Stengle who said such things as, “Most ball games are lost, not won.” Their logic may have seemed convoluted, but they told you only what they wanted you to know, which quite often was a smokescreen to conceal what they were really thinking.

Players were often given friendly nicknames like “Pee Wee,” “Slick,” and “Charlie Hustle,” and were considered intricate parts of our community. They were our neighbors, our friends, our heroes, and possessed the same human frailties we all shared thereby making it easy to identify with them. At one point, baseball was 50% character and 50% skill. Today, it’s all about skill, and in the process the charm of the game is diminishing. Instead of being viewed as an average Joe with an uncanny ability to play their game, today our athletes are viewed as Supermen and Superwomen with Godlike abilities.

Baseball was not alone in terms of colorful characters. Football had players like Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica, “Slingin” Sammy Baugh, Norm Van Brocklin, Bart Starr, Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, Len Dawson, George “The Grand Old Man” Blanda, and of course, “Broadway” Joe Willie Namath. Aside from quarterbacks, there was Dick Butkus (whose last name alone would strike fear into his opponents), Alex Karras, Jim Brown, Bob Lilly, Merlin Olson, Chuck Howley, Ben Davidson, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Greg, Lou “The Toe” Groza, Anthony Munoz, Paul “The Golden Boy” Hornung, and Ted “The Mad Stork” Hendricks, players who made a name for themselves on and off the field.

Basketball had Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Jerry West, Oscar “The Big O” Robertson, Willis Reed, “Pistol Pete” Maravich, Magic Johnson, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Bill Bradley, and Dave DeBusschere (who also pitched for the Chicago White Sox). Hockey had such luminaries as Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky, Bobby “The Golden Jet” Hull, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Stan Makita, as well as Phil and Tony Esposito who were affectionately referred to as “Mr. Go” and “Mr. No.”

All of these men were not only talented, but possessed a character that people naturally gravitated towards. To them, it was about the love of the game which they played fiercely and competitively, and the fans loved them for it. Regardless of their achievements though, all of these heroes of yesteryear would probably be defeated by today’s scientific approach to sports which is sad by my estimation.

Has the scientific approach taken the fun and excitement out of the game? Maybe, but you cannot argue with such things as attendance and revenues, which is what it is all about today.

As much as we might like to see doping disappear from sports, it will undoubtedly continue. Beyond this, the next stage will be the genetic engineering of athletes of the future. As long as we remain obsessed with the economics of the game, athletics will lose its heart and soul. Frankly, I don’t think we will be satisfied until we’ve driven the human element completely from the game and create Robo-players. Then it will be nothing more than a race for the best technology which, in essence, it is already.

I for one, will miss the human character of players like Bob Uecker who said, “When I came up to bat with three men on and two outs in the ninth, I looked in the other team’s dugout and they were already in street clothes.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  PERFECTION REQUIRES PATIENCE – Sometimes it is simply not possible to achieve.

LAST TIME:  A FRESH PERSPECTIVE OF DONALD J. “TR”UMP  – Daniel Ruddy’s recent book on Teddy Roosevelt provides tremendous insight into Mr. Trump.

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

WHY DO WE TOLERATE THUGS IN SPORTS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 10, 2016

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– Is victory more important than morality?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Recently, a friend brought to my attention a web page produced by USA Today containing a data base of “NFL Player Arrests.” Between the years 2000-2015 there were 810 players arrested for various offenses. Some beat the rap, others were fined, and some served jail time. In 2015 alone, 28 players from 21 teams, representing two-thirds of the teams in the National Football League (NFL), were arrested for such crimes as illegal drugs, speeding, driving under the influence, other traffic offenses, battery, domestic violence, burglary, animal cruelty, disorderly conduct, rape, and gun offenses. In addition to paying fines and serving jail time, the offenses resulted in player suspensions and, in some cases, they were promptly released by the teams.

These are the cases formally documented in the courts, there are many others simmering on the sidelines, such as the rape case involving Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston which hangs over his head like the Sword of Damocles. Until such time as he can clear his name, he will continue to be a liability to the Buccaneers organization.

I realize football is a rough sport, but the NFL is developing a reputation for condoning immoral behavior. A lot of this could be chalked up to high spirited young men who do not know better. If this is true, perhaps it is time for the NFL to promote a mentoring system where seasoned veterans offer wise counsel to the young, or perhaps some training. It is the responsibility of the coaching staff to prepare the players for game day, but perhaps it is time for them to assume the same responsibilities corporate managers have in supervising the activities of their younger workers to assure they properly adapt to the corporate culture.

The point is, the youngsters have to be told they are no longer teenagers, but adults who are responsible for their actions, not to mention role models for the teams and cities they represent.

The NFL is not alone in its problems controlling its players. Similar offenses can likely be found in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and just about every organized sport.

Whereas we have been experiencing a general breakdown in morality due to the deterioration of the family unit, it becomes the responsibility of managers to practice what I refer to as “Parenting Management,” whereby the manager has to make up for what the parent failed to instill in their offspring.

There is another major problem though, loyal and enthusiastic fans tend to overlook the indiscretions of the players. To such people, victory is more important than a player’s brush with the law, and this is perhaps more disturbing than the offense itself. The fans and the teams should be as indignant and concerned as the courts. Too often they are not.

Can we completely eradicate thuggery from organized sports? Probably not, but we can significantly reduce the volume of incidents with some basic management techniques, such as education and mentoring.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS… – that makes life worth living.

LAST TIME:  MOVING UP TOO FAST  – What happens when you do not pay your dues.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Morality, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

BASEBALL: THE LOVE OF THE GAME

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2015

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It is a great game.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have always had a fondness for the game of baseball. As a kid, I played Little League but also carried my glove and bat with me just about everywhere for a quick pickup game whether it was before or after school, or during recess. Growing up in Connecticut, I followed the early 1960’s Yankees and vividly remember when the Mets were introduced. As we moved around the country I became a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, and finally watched the emergence of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati. Frankly, I do not believe we will ever see another team as good as the 1976 Reds. They were very special.

I played in coed softball leagues as I got older. When I became a parent, I coached boys baseball, girls softball, served on the local Little League board of directors, and umpired to boot. My signature as a coach was to line my kids up on the infield foul line before a game and pledged allegiance to the flag. After all, it is America’s game. Curiously, there were some coaches who adamantly opposed me doing this, but I see citizenship as an inherent part of the game.

I suffered under no illusion my kids were going to be superstars and, as such, I concentrated on teaching the basics (hitting, fielding, and pitching), teamwork, and hopefully, the love of the game. There is something magical about the game of baseball; the smell of the grass, the heat of the sun on your back, the taste of the leather string on your cowhide mitt, the crack of the bat, and the excitement of the play. You relish the camaraderie of your teammates, the precision of a perfect bunt, the tenacity of a runner stealing a base, and the grace of an infielder flawlessly throwing out a runner or executing a double play.

Baseball is a game of nuances and you really cannot appreciate it if you have never played it. As you approach home plate to bat, you see how the fielders are setting up to play you, either deep, in close, or to a particular field. You take your sign from the third base coach, check the eyes of the pitcher, hear the cheering of the parents, and all along your mind is constantly calculating all of the variables involved. Your hands grip the bat as you position yourself in the batter’s box. Your body language tells the other team whether or not you can be intimidated. Finally, just before the pitcher makes his wind-up, you spit. Translation,
“Bring it on!”

There is also a lot of communications in a baseball game, both vocal and silent. The vocal is rather obvious, the silent communications is a lot more interesting. We’re all aware of the third base coach making strange gyrations with his hands in order to call the play, but there are also a lot of subliminal signs not so apparent, such as a manager turning up his collar or crossing his legs. The communications between pitcher and catcher is also well known. The great Willie Mays was notorious for his ability to study and steal the signs of the opposing team. It just takes a little concentration and attention to detail.

When I coached Little League, and my kids were batting with one or more runners on base, I would suddenly yell from the dugout, “Red-22, Red-22.” Actually, it was nothing more than a smoke screen as it meant absolutely nothing, but it put the other team on edge as they thought some trick play was about to be executed. My kids thought it was a riot.

As a Little League coach, you realize you are having an impact on your young players when they start asking you more questions about the game, such as the meaning of the infield fly rule, how to keep a scorecard, how a batting average is calculated or ERA, the number of ways a runner can advance to first base (eight) or the number of ways to make an out (14), etc. It’s no small wonder baseball is a great game for trivia buffs as there are so many facets to it. Casual spectators do not truly appreciate baseball as much as students of the game.

You know you have a love of the game when you collect baseball cards, not as a commodity, but simply to have them; that you keep a prized baseball signed by your teammates many years ago; that you cannot bring yourself to throw away an old baseball bat or glove years after you have stopped using them, or; you completely understood what Pete Rose meant when he said, “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.”

It is a great game.

Originally published: April 16, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE JEWISH VOTE – Are American Jews being taken for granted by the Democratic Party? 

LAST TIME:  ENGAGING YOUR WORKERS  – How to inspire and motivate the work force.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Baseball, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »

HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2013

BRYCE ON THE NATIONAL PASTIME

– It looks more like a three ring circus as opposed to a sporting venue.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently had a friend make the observation that nobody goes to baseball stadiums to watch baseball anymore. He made this observation after attending a Spring Training game down here in Dunedin, Florida where the Toronto Blue Jays practice. Prior to the game he noticed all of the Canadians in attendance got up to proudly sing “Oh, Canada!” then settled in to watch and study the game. In contrast, the Americans gave a lethargic rendition of our national anthem, and then did everything but watch the game.

I have to admit, my friend had a point. When I go to see our home town Tampa Bay Rays, or my old team, the Cincinnati Reds, I am often distracted by the eye pollution, the people wandering around the stadium aimlessly, or partying at the many social venues they have. Last year, when I visited the Reds, a friend sprung for some rather expensive tickets featuring a restaurant venue where you could gorge yourself on all of the local cuisine if you were so inclined. Many people stayed inside the air conditioned clubhouse where they imbibed on cocktails. Television sets were laced throughout the clubhouse, but I didn’t see too many people watching them. As for me, I settled into my seat outside and watched the game.

I’m one of those guys who has always been a student of the game. When I go with my old high school buddies, we talk about such things as the positioning of the fielders, how their feet are placed, where and how the batter is standing in the batter’s box, the pitcher’s eyes and his motion to first base, and dozens of other nuances. We also talk about history, and who had what batting average. I’m not sure why I’m like this, maybe because I am an old Little League coach. Whatever the reason, I’m an anomaly as compared to the other people in attendance who need to be entertained. While others are downing all of the local delicacies, I’m happy with a beer and a simple bag of peanuts.

Sometimes I keep score of the game myself, an old habit I picked up while coaching. I do this more to study patterns, and see where the batters are likely to hit the ball. Most of the other people in the stands couldn’t care less. They are more concerned with getting a free T-shirt as shot out of an air cannon by the stadium crew.

To me, baseball is a great game, full of nuances, communications, and strategy, but I don’t believe Americans share the passion for it as they did years ago. To illustrate, membership in Little League has dropped 25% since 1996. Attendance at MLB games in the 21st century has been flat, which probably answers why ballparks have been turned into three ring circuses.

It is certainly not the national pastime anymore. What a shame. Then again, my friend who made the observation about baseball, also noted basketball has changed likewise. People go to games, pay hefty prices for tickets, and expect to be entertained as opposed to watching the game. Maybe they think of such venues as another form of “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars.”

Maybe I should just stick to watching Little League games or the Minor Leagues. They may not have all the glitz of the Majors, but they certainly try harder.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SOME THOUGHTS ON MEMORIAL DAY – It’s not about barbecues, auto racing, or the start of summer.

LAST TIME:  THE DECLINE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP – They are getting harder and harder to find.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Baseball, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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