Freddy Adu Is NOT The Next Big Thing:
I have to admit it: I want to be first -- the first to call Freddy Adu a failure. A little more than two months before his 18th birthday, it's time to call it as it is. Freddy Adu is not even close to being among the top 100 relevant athletes in the sporting world today and in fact is not among the top 100 soccer players in the world. But the way people were talking about him when he was introduced to the world in Nov. 2003, you would have thought he would have captured at least a nation that hates soccer by now.
"I can't conceive of another Freddy Adu out there," MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis said at the time. "He's more than rare. He's unique." He went on. "His on-field ability is like gold dust -- every time he touches the ball something … amazing, unpredictable is likely to happen."
Part of Adu's problem after the league and the media anointed him as the next big thing is that he obviously didn't start. That was confusing for people who didn't know the game of soccer. The other problem -- and don't you dare say it's the position he plays because Ronaldinho plays at the same spot -- is that he doesn't score enough.
Go on YouTube and try to find his MLS goals. Good luck searching. After this weekend, Freddy Adu has scored 11 goals in 5,718 minutes of professional play. That breaks down to a goal every 520 minutes, or 5.8 games. Great assists don't get you on SportsCenter's Top plays, folks.
Plays like this get you on SportsCenter. Ladies and Gentlemen, click here to see Lionel Messi's clinic he put on last week. To see Adu, score like that you'll have to go to Sierra Mist's Web site and play the You vs. Adu game. But, where it really counts, Freddy Adu isn't what many said he would be. Whether expectations were fair or not, it is what it is. Adu hasn't reached them.
What's the best thing a club can do to make money these days at the concession stand? Guarantee that fans will pay before they walk into the ballpark. The Los Angeles Dodgers so far have seen an incredible success with their All-You-Can-Eat Right Field Pavilion. They've sold out all 3,200 seats in the pavilion for seven out of the team's first nine games and they recently sold a sponsorship to convenience store ampm to put its name on the area.
Here's how it works for $35 ($40, if purchased on game day), fans get unlimited Dodger Dogs, nachos, peanuts, Coca-cola products and water. Since the equivalent ticket (in the left field pavilion) costs $8 in advance and $10 on game day, you basically have to rationalize that you can rack up $27 to $30 worth of food and beverages. That's really not that hard at a ballpark. It is hard, however, for the Dodgers not to make money on this because that food and drink costs almost nothing.
In fact, I'm betting that the holder that you put the hot dog in actually costs more than the hot dog itself. That's why I believe this is the future of sports concessions. Even with the obesity percentage rising, very few people in the crowd can actually take on the Dodgers and out-eat them.
"We know that the people at (the Dodgers concessionaire) Levy are very excited about the per cap, since we've almost doubled it in the right field pavilion," said Steve Shiffman, the team's vice president of ticket sales. "That's because the people who would sit in the pavilion area were more likely to be the ones that would tailgate and would eat before they came into the ballpark."
Shiffman told me he thinks the team is going to sell out the area for about 40 percent of the team's games this season and he envisions a future where potentially everyone in the park can add an "All-You-Can-Eat" option to their ticket in advance.
The St. Louis Cardinals have had tremendous success as well with the proposition. They have four all-inclusive areas, which include everything the Dodgers have plus beer, for prices ranging from $60 to $110 per game. On their Web site, the Cardinals say that there are already 46 dates in these all-inclusive areas that are either sold out or they have only single seats remaining.
Jordan Would Be Huge For Valpo & Davidson:
Sometime this week, Jeff Jordan, son of Michael Jordan is expected to make his college decision. Jeff, who scored nine points in his father's high school all-star game on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, could be a big prize for two schools on his recruiting list in particular, Valparaiso and Davidson. Jordan's short list includes those two schools as well as George Washington, and he has expressed interest in willing to walk on at three Big Ten schools -- Penn State, Northwestern and Illinois. I sat down with Jeff to talk about the recruiting process and growing up Jordan.
Me: What's it like to grow up Jordan?
Jeff: It has its advantages and disadvantages like everything else. In the house everything is pretty much normal -- hanging out with my dad, my mom, my sisters and my brothers. But outside of that world comes the pressure.
Me: Why did you decide to play basketball?
Jeff: I loved to play the game since I was a kid and the pressure didn't really hit me until high school. For me, it was never a question of "Am I going to live up to my dad?" or anything like that. Where I grew up was a small town so nobody really asked questions and the pressure wasn't there. It was pretty much for the love of the game.
Me: How did you learn to deal with that pressure?
Jeff: My dad and my mom gave me tips on how to handle it. Just be yourself and stuff. They pretty much instilled that in me when I was younger because they knew it was going to come eventually.
Me: How much did your name help you in the recruiting process?
Jeff: A lot of schools are scared to reach me or reach out. Early in the recruitment, it was just a rumor that I was going automatically to North Carolina. So I think it hurt me a little bit. Coaches also think they can't find my phone number, but if a coach really wanted it, they could find it. A lot of schools might also want the name and might want to be sponsored or something like that, but none of the coaches will say that to me.
Me: How much do you think coaches see you can benefit their schools economically?
Jeff: I think overall most coaches just want what's best for their team and I don't think they're looking at it from as much of a money standpoint as most people think.
My gut tells me that Jeff is going to want to play instead of ride the pine, so I'm guessing that he's going to go to Valparaiso, where they have offered him a scholarship and need a point guard. It would be a great coup for the school. Here are a couple numbers to consider:
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