Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A New Blog: Sports and Monsters

So now I have a blog.  It’s not like it was by popular demand, but I felt I could be useful.

I love to analyze the sports business using the economic way of thinking.  I also love the original monster movies.  The way my mind works, Tinkers to Evers to Chance made me think immediately of the monster movie version... Laemmle to Whale to Karloff.

Carl Laemmle and James Whale gave us Frankenstein (1931), The Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).  Laemmle also produced Dracula (1931) and my favorite, The Mummy (1932).  My daughter is a terrific artist and created charcoal sketches of my favorite monsters as a gift to me.  Her “Mummy” that hangs in my office is above.

If you don’t know which of these Karloff was in, you might be at the wrong page.

Whale was the subject of the movie Gods and Monsters (“To a new world of gods and monsters.”  Dr. Pretorious in The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)).  And that reminds me of… the sports business. Gods and MonstersSports/Monsters.

I also love the “communist terror” “nuclear fear” monster/alien invasion movies, post-WWII.  My list includes The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Thing from Another World (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), and all of the “radiation fear” stuff—especially Them! (1954) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1954).  And for inter-species evolutionary confusion of King Kong proportions, there’s also The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).

There also is some comfort in these oldies; back then, fear was just for fun.  How different today where fear seems so very overriding in the world.

I also can think of the sense of confusion shared by Frankenstein’s monster and The Beast when they find themselves completely out of place, one by unnatural reanimation and the other because that’s where Ray Bradbury put him.  I can hear them both…”What the Fuck?”  I say the same thing to myself after reading things about the sports business sometimes.

I also share a feeling that relates to one portrayed so well in Gods and Monsters by Ian McKellan as Whale.  He spends significant time lamenting that moviemaking  had lost its soul and also had forgotten its pioneers.  Much the same can be said of the writing on sports economics.

Many sports economics researchers forget (or have not investigated) their roots.  The seminal paper on sports economics was Simon Rottenberg’s, “The Baseball Players Labor Market” (Journal of Political Economy, 1956).  Most get that right even though it’s 50 years old.  But everything in between is often forgotten.  In my opinion, nobody seems to remember that the next bit of seminal writing appeared in Government and the Sports Business (Brookings, 1974) edited by Roger Noll.

So, in addition to lending my thoughts to current sports business events, I’ll also be commenting on scholarship in sports economics and business.  Check the Ground Rules link in the right side-bar.  Just like Whale tried to do in Gods and Monsters, I assume complete directorial (dictatorial?) control here.

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