Jeff Wolfe's Weblog

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is saying that contraction is a possibility until February. Is he nuts? They would have to redo all the team schedules, refund advanced ticket sales, hold a dispersion draft, resolve the minor league repurcussions, and deal with a million other niggling details, all at the same time spring training is opening. Assuming, of course, that the legal challenges and the labor negotiations can both be concluded by then. Even as a bargaining chip, this makes no sense. But then, admitting defeat is something neither the owners or players have been willing to do as long as I've been following such things. Like the players declaring victory after the owners restored the status quo to end the 1994-95 strike.

Here's what baseball should do: First, it should abandon contraction. Then, it should facilitate the sale of the Twins to somebody who actually wants them. There are at least a couple of potential buyers out there now, so this shouldn't be a problem. Third, it should get over its irrational resistance to franchise relocation and move the Montreal Expos somewhere. Contrary to naysayers, there are plenty of places they could go. Sure there would be problems, but the Expos finished behind 11 minor league teams in per-game attendence last year, so the situation really can't get much worse. And with a little determination, those problems, whatever they ended up being, could be worked out.

Here are my three candidates:

  • Las Vegas: This is my personal favorite. They're probably not actually big enough yet, but from 1990 to 2000, they were by far the fastest growing large metropolitan area. If they keep that up, they'll be plenty big enough by 2010. But being forward thinking has not really been baseball's strong suit, has it?
  • Sacramento: This was a surprise to me, but Sacramento actually led the minor leagues in attendance last year, with over 900,000 people attending (and minor league teams have shorter schedules). Metro Sacramento is bigger than Kansas City and Milwaukee and growing faster than both of them (as well as most of the other major league cities).
  • Monterrey: That's Monterrey, Mexico, folks, not Monterey, California. This is my dark horse candidate. Mexico's exchange rate problems would be worse than Canada's, but I think it would be great to expand baseball into another country. You've got to figure a major league team in Monterrey would draw from all over Mexico and it would help the long term prospects of the sport. The stadium in Monterrey only holds 27,000 right now, but if they sold that out every night, they would be ahead of about 10 other major league teams in attendence, based on last year's number. Monterrey is in the northern part of Mexico, so travel times would not really be that big of a problem.

The other plus here is that all three of those cities are west of Dallas, so with the proper realignment plan, we could finally get the Texas Rangers into the American League Central Division where they want to be.

I'll admit that I haven't done much research on this, so there are probably good reasons why it wouldn't work. On the other hand, all great success stories started out with good reasons why they wouldn't work. My point is that the owners need to get their heads out of their nether regions and start thinking of creative solutions that will actually improve the sport for the long term, across the board, rather than pushing the same old nearsighted, money-grubbing nonsense that's liable to destroy it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

The Linux Kernel mailing list is where the developers of the core Linux system discuss changes to Linux. I don't follow Linux Kernel, but I do look at the Kernel Traffic summary that comes out every week. The most recent version of Kernel Traffic (#146), contains a discussion of software development philosophy that basically boils down to the Dynamism vs. Stasism argument that Virginia Postrel explores in her book, The Future and Its Enemies. No less than Linus Torvalds himself champions the dynamist perspective. It's a long discussion thread, and it takes a while to get into the philosophical discussion, but it's well worth the read.

Monday, December 10, 2001

If you're thinking of buying a gun, or even if you're not, you should read this article. It includes information on the various types of firearms, and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly it lets you know when the best option is "don't buy a gun."

Friday, December 07, 2001

Major League Baseball is in Washington, giving the Congress a song and dance about why it should retain its antitrust exemption. I have mixed feelings about the antitrust angle. With competition from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and countless other sport and non-sport forms of entertainment, applying antitrust law to baseball or any other sport is dubious at best, even if you think antitrust laws are a good thing in the first place. But giving baseball a free ride while subjecting other sports to interference doesn't really seem like the answer. What it seems to boil down to is that people think Baseball is making a mistake and we should stop them. Much as it pains me to say so, I think that if the current "brain trust" of baseball wants to further destroy the sport of baseball, they have every right to do so. It's their money on the line, after all. But I don't have to support them on the way down. So while owners are talking about contraction and salary caps and government financed stadium proposals, I'll be watching the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer. In Columbus, we have teams in both those leagues--playing in privately financed stadiums and drawing good crowds. I'll miss the Reds and the Indians, but the way things are going, Star Trek will be proven right about baseball dying out--and much sooner than they thought.

Great article from SFGate about The "Last Mile" Problem. I found out about it from Slashdot, believe it or not. I haven't yet read the study they mentioned, but what the article says about it makes sense. Most people tend to ignore the last mile monopolies when they talk about telecom, but this tackles it head-on.

Update: The study, from the Phoenix Center, is at (PDF format).

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Imagine a world without guns. Dave Kopel does, and pretty thoroughly explores realistic and imaginary scenerios that could lead to elimination of firearms. With horrific results. Remember, the weapons of choice on September 11 were box cutters and jumbo jets.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

It occurred to me today that there is something good about the de facto local phone monopolies (which were de jure monopolies for decades before 1996). The local phone monopolies have accelerated adoption of cellular. With things like free incoming minutes and free long distance becoming the norm, and included minutes increasing all the time, cellular is starting to surpass landline for many people's needs. Tauzin-Dingell or no, if the Baby Bells aren't careful, the final mile is going to end up being wireless.

Monday's Columbus Dispatch has a screed from the mayor of Toledo about suing gun makers. The mayor took exception to a Dispatch editorial against such a thing, which he thinks is a wonderful idea. It's discouraging that such blatant money grabs by the politicians aren't even unusual any more. When this thing first started happening, people said, "What's next, the fast food companies?" to point out the absurdity of what they were doing. These days, the fast food companies actually are targets, which give you an idea of how low we've sunk.

Monday, December 03, 2001

Trying out the "BlogThis!" Bookmarklet feature....

From InstaPundit.Com:

RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADE UPDATE: Well, I was at the mall and Border's this afternoon. So, as far as I can tell, was every other one of the 600,000 people in the Knoxville metropolitan area. They were carrying bags, which I suspect means they were buying stuff.

So did I. I also stopped by the massage therapy kiosk and got a 15-minute chair massage. (At a mere 10 bucks it was a steal). Both women there joined in, so it was a four-handed massage, which was pretty cool. It must also have looked pretty cool, because when they were done, there were several people waiting in line. Giving your customer extra value attracts business -- imagine that!

I wonder if any airline executives can.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I thought I'd try the same blog template InstaPundit is using.

Update: OK, it's not exactly the same, because he customized his, but it's the same one he started with. Maybe later, I'll add the links to Virginia Postrel, et al., and the PayPal links and so forth, but likelier I'll move in a different direction. All these old posts will probably go away if I keep this log up, so it doesn't really matter.

The reason I started this Blog is because I enjoy reading Glenn Reynolds's InstaPundit blog.

Initial post to Jeff Wolfe's Blog, which should appear at My web page is

Other log entries will be posted as warranted.

Part of trying out Blogger is trying out all the functions. This is a paragraph I added later with the edit function.

Update 2: This is the second update to the initial post. Welcome to Update 2. Enjoy your stay.