Baseball Economics: Current Research

By John Fizel; Elizabeth Gustafson et al. | Go to book overview

1
Baseball Economics: The Opening Pitch

John Fizel, Elizabeth Gustafson, and Lawrence Hadley

Baseball Economics is a foray into an exciting and burgeoning market, the business of baseball. In the past five years alone, over fifty economists have written articles on this subject. Faculty have begun to offer courses in baseball or sports economics. Studies of the baseball industry often provide insights into business behavior in other industries where data are not so readily available. The dynamic nature of the baseball industry continually introduces new issues and uncovers new aspects of old issues. The chapters in this book are in this tradition.

Baseball Economics addresses issues that are of interest to sportswriters, baseball personnel, and the general public. However, it is directed primarily to an academic audience. In this book, more importance is placed on economic methodology and rigor than in books published by the popular press. This emphasis allows us to share our ideas with professional colleagues across the nation and, in turn, stimulate more breadth and depth in discussions of the fascinating issues in baseball economics.

Baseball is filled with the spirit of teamwork, the subtleties of precision performance, and the continuing drama of competition. The ambience of stadiums promotes joy and wonder whether it emanates from organ serenades, the roar of the crowd, the "green monster" of Fenway, the ivy at Wrigley, the domes of Seattle, Minnesota, and Houston, or the brats with red sauce at County Stadium. The rhythms of the season offer fans a soothing sense of stability and routine. The excitement of a pennant race echoes within offices and neighborhoods, and across the nation. Passionate sentimentality and discourse continually focus on the memorable players and plays of the game. Baseball is a part of our history, an integral part of our culture. Baseball is our "field of dreams."

But, baseball is more than a national pastime. As Casey Stengel once remarked, "baseball's business." And it is the business of baseball which

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