FIRE JOE MORGAN: About That Murray Chass Blog


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Thursday, July 17, 2008


About That Murray Chass Blog

We might as well get to this. Yes, the first entry in Murray Chass' blog, a blog written by a professional sportswriter and and semi-professional blogophobe, needs a little editing ("Whatever impact honmefield [sic] advantage has").

The most glaring error in logic-slash-sanity, though, occurs two-thirds of the way through:

One way would be to reward [with home field advantage] the team with the better won-lost record. But that idea wouldn’t work logistically. Baseball can’t wait until days or even a week before the World Series is scheduled to start to determine where Series game will be played. Airlines and hotels don’t work that way.

Unless all of professional baseball is actually one long kabuki play, I'm pretty sure that at no point in history has anyone known where the World Series will be played until the winners of the two leagues have been determined (in modern times, that means waiting until the League Championship Series are finished). As reader Rob points out, last year "the host of World Series game one wasn't known until 11:33 PM on October 21st when the Red Sox finished off the Indians. Game one of the World Series was played on October 24th."

And yet those diabolical airlines and hotels, true gatekeepers of baseball's ultimate prize, acquiesced and let the Rockies fly to and stay in the city of Boston. Weird how modern society works, isn't it?

Someone may have even used a computer to book those flights and hotels.

*** UPDATE ***

Reader Chris contributes the following:

While I loathe having to defend Murray Chass, even a little, as someone who works in baseball, I can tell you that his point about booking hotels and flights is actually sort of right.

What reporters and others do is reserve hotels and flights for the four (or two, if they wait until the LCS starts) possible cities in each league for the dates that are already set based on the All-Star outcome. That's a lot better than having to do it for eight (or, uh, four, if you wait) for a whole host of possible combinations.

Thanks, Chris. I'm also hearing that the reason the NBA and NHL can use home-court/ice advantage in their playoffs is that they simply don't use as many hotel rooms overall compared to the World Series, so it's a little easier logistically.


This is riveting stuff for some of you guys, so I'll print this rebuttal to Chris, which comes from Timothy.

MLB wouldn't have to book for 4 or 8 cities if they give it to the team with the best record. This is because, obviously, you can eliminate the team with the worst record from having home field. So, if they wait until the LCS, they would have to book in 3 cities instead of 2. If they do it before the LDS, they would book in 7 cities as opposed to 4. I doubt they do it before the LCS though, for two reasons:

1. The LCS typically runs almost 2 weeks, so doing it before this is probably enough time

2. If you book before the LDS, you would have to book several different cities for the LCS, then also several cities for the World Series to account for all possible combinations. Even in their current system, I doubt they do this.

So, presuming they wait until the outcome of the LDS to be final, booking 3 cities instead of 2 is a small inconvenience to have a better system in place for the team with the best record to get 4 games at home.


From reader Matty:

As the director of reservations in an MLB city, and former director at a hotel that was the contractual home of MLB visiting teams in Chicago, I have SOME insight here (also, I was here both when the White Sox won the World Series, and the Cubs went to the playoffs on the last 2 occasions, so I’ve worked the situation). Every MLB city has a contracted “home” hotel for visiting teams. The contracts contain language that force the hotel to accommodate teams during the playoffs. Reservations are not a concern for them.

The media, does, indeed, make “speculative” reservations – but only a few days in advance. For instance, when the Cubs took a 3-1 lead on the Marlins, we had a huge spike in press reservations. After the Bartman game, roughly half of these cancelled. BUT, we didn’t get the big spike until the Cubs went up 3-1.


posted by Junior  # 12:44 PM
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