All-Star dumb stat watch

The Mets have their longest winning streak on a particular date in 17 years! Wow! Plus: Yankee Stadium was el cheapo in '23.

Published July 16, 2008 5:45PM (EDT)

The dumb stat of the night came early in Fox's broadcast of the All-Star Game Tuesday night. In the top of the first.

Tim McCarver was talking about how hot the New York Mets are. "The New York Mets have won nine in a row," he said. "That is the longest winning streak that they have had in their history going into the All-Star break. The previous longest streak was seven in a row back in 1991."

At first I thought he meant that going into the All-Star break, the Mets have their longest winning streak since 1991. It doesn't read that way, but syntax sometimes gets jumbled up when a person's speaking off the cuff. But nine games sounds too short to be the longest winning streak since 1991, and sure enough, a quick check of their last pennant year shows the Mets won nine in a row in 2000. There may have been longer streaks since that 1991 one, but this one certainly wasn't the longest.

But wait. McCarver really was saying the Mets' winning streak is the longest one they've had going into an All-Star break since 1991.

How silly is that? There have only been 17 All-Star breaks since 1991, so saying the Mets have their longest winning streak at that point in the season, out of 17 seasons, is really not saying much.

Would it make sense if an announcer said a team was on the longest streak it had ever been on leading into the games of May 18 since 1991? Or even since 1891? Of course not. It's the same thing.

Fox wasn't done for the night, though. Later in the game, quite a bit of attention was lavished on the original price tag for Yankee Stadium in 1923, which was reported as $2.5 million. There are 41 players on the All-Star rosters making more than that this season, a graphic told us, and McCarver and Joe Buck oohed and ahhed over that a little bit.

Yeah, it's called inflation, Fox. Look into it.

But here's the really wild thing. According to that inflation calculator you use whenever Grandpa starts going on about how you could get a steak dinner in his day for three bucks -- yeah, Gramps, that's like $35 now -- $2.5 million in 1923 was worth a little more than 30 million of today's dollars.

Thirty million dollars! Nobody makes that much yet, but Alex Rodriguez is making a reported $27 million this year and he'll make $32 million each of the next two seasons. He makes enough in one year to have built a state-of-the-art baseball stadium in 1923 -- even accounting for inflation!

The new Yankee Stadium is costing a reported $1.3 billion to build, or about 43 times more than the old one, after accounting for inflation.

It costs a lot of money to build a baseball stadium. It clearly costs even more than that to build a giant cash register.

By King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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