Purgatory Online

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The owner of the brand-spankin'-new 6-4-2 writes to tell me of the launch of his Angels/Dodgers blog. As Count von Count would say, Three! Three Angels blogs! Ah-hah-hah-hah-ha!

Meanwhile, Rob Neyer finds the Angels' placement at the top of the ESPN fan satisfaction survey "interesting." He's somewhat incredulous that championships don't have a larger impact in the rankings, a sentiment I actually share, but fails to grasp a couple of salient points, namely (1) the impact of championships fades rapidly over time (find me ten Red Sox fans who remember any of those five World Series championships, Rob), and (2) "satisfaction" is influenced by both performance and expectations. So, while Neyer is obviously hemorrhaging from the nose while trying to figure out how the Yankees aren't atop this list, the fact is that all those previous championships have inflated expectations in the Bronx to the point that anything short of championship number umpty-zillion actually diminishes fan satisfaction, a fact that gets repeated so often I'm ashamed to even mention it. Meanwhile, Angels fans are still basking in the warm glow of their first-ever championship, an experience that no New York fan has known since approximately the fall of Constantinople.

Adjusting for a big drop-off in the championship utility curve, as it were, and for Yankee fans' hyperinflated sense of self-importance, the only teams that have provided recent satisfaction in terms of a championship are the Angels, the Marlins, and the Diamondbacks. The Marlins, of course, have a pretty good case, since they've won two World Series out of the past seven, but the fire sale after 1997 choked off any goodwill among their nascent fan base. I note that, last year, the fish were twenty-sixth out of the MLB teams, but leapt to fourth this time around. I'd say that's a pretty big impact, wouldn't you? Most fascinating tidbit: in 2003, their "ownership" ranking was 118th overall; their "stadium" ranking was 120th (out of 121!). In 2004, the exact same owner and stadium were ranked 82nd and 103rd, respectively. So, in fact, ESPN's seemingly low weighting to championships may reflect the fact that, inevitably, championships improve how fans perceive other portions of the survey.

And the Diamondbacks? They're second in the 2004 poll, and in 2003 they were first. So it's obvious that the fans do care about championships, just not championships that are more than a few years old (or, in New York, a few months old).