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NFL

Super Bowl I Tickets Cost $12 and Still Didn't Sell Out

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NFL

According to the Wall Street Journal, tickets for Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey next February will top out at $2,600. That's a huge jump from the previous Super Bowl, when the most expensive tickets cost $1,250. The NFL has come a long way since the first Super Bowl in 1967, when the league charged $6, $10, and $12*—and couldn't even sell out the game.

The week before the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the New York Times wasn't sold on this Super Bowl business, especially the decision to not broadcast the game live in Los Angeles:

"With all the hoopla, however, some critics have questioned whether this is the Dream Game to end all dream games. With tickets ranging from $6 behind the end zone to $12 top, the Super Bowl is a nightmare to many fans. For every buff willing to shell out at those Broadway prices, there appear to be two fans bemoaning the TV blackout and threatening to stay home anyway."

NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle admitted the prices may have been too steep. "If we had to do it all over again," he told the Times the day before the game, "we probably would scale the seats lower." To get around the blackout—the game was shown in LA on tape-delay at midnight and again at 3pm Monday—a local radio station provided instructions for getting the live TV signal from San Diego. These instructions included a broomstick and five wire coat-hangers.

Super Bowl I was the only Super Bowl that didn't sell out. Fans and corporations will surely snatch up this season's $2,600 tickets, too. And as the Journal reports, indoor suites, which come with 30 tickets, are going for $500,000 and up.

If you choose to watch at home, you'll be in good company. According to Nielsen, 108 million people watched the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers and hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy back in February. And probably none of them required a broomstick or five wire coat-hangers.

* Adjusted for inflation, that's about $42, $70, and $84 today.

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Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
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Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

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Big Questions
Why Do Baseball Managers Wear Uniforms?
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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Basketball and hockey coaches wear business suits on the sidelines. Football coaches wear team-branded shirts and jackets and often ill-fitting pleated khakis. Why are baseball managers the only guys who wear the same outfit as their players?

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball since 2011, it goes back to the earliest days of the game. Back then, the person known as the manager was the business manager: the guy who kept the books in order and the road trips on schedule. Meanwhile, the guy we call the manager today, the one who arranges the roster and decides when to pull a pitcher, was known as the captain. In addition to managing the team on the field, he was usually also on the team as a player. For many years, the “manager” wore a player’s uniform simply because he was a player. There were also a few captains who didn’t play for the team and stuck to making decisions in the dugout, and they usually wore suits.

With the passing of time, it became less common for the captain to play, and on most teams they took on strictly managerial roles. Instead of suits proliferating throughout America’s dugouts, though, non-playing captains largely hung on to the tradition of wearing a player's uniform. By the early to mid 20th century, wearing the uniform was the norm for managers, with a few notable exceptions. The Philadelphia Athletics’s Connie Mack and the Brooklyn Dodgers’s Burt Shotton continued to wear suits and ties to games long after it fell out of favor (though Shotton sometimes liked to layer a team jacket on top of his street clothes). Once those two retired, it’s been uniforms as far as the eye can see.

The adherence to the uniform among managers in the second half of the 20th century leads some people to think that MLB mandates it, but a look through the official major league rules [PDF] doesn’t turn up much on a manager’s dress. Rule 1.11(a) (1) says that “All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style, and all players’ uniforms shall include minimal six-inch numbers on their backs" and rule 2.00 states that a coach is a "team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach."

While Rule 2.00 gives a rundown of the manager’s role and some rules that apply to them, it doesn’t specify that they’re uniformed. Further down, Rule 3.15 says that "No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club." Again, nothing about the managers being uniformed.

All that said, Rule 2.00 defines the bench or dugout as “the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field," and makes no exceptions for managers or anyone else. While the managers’ duds are never addressed anywhere else, this definition does seem to necessitate, in a roundabout way, that managers wear a uniform—at least if they want to have access to the dugout. And, really, where else would they sit?

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