All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stamp Out Hunger

Oil hit another record high today, as did gasoline. Lately, it seems like it's news when crude oil doesn't set a new record high. It's about $125/barrel now. Only three or four years ago, OPEC was claiming their "target range" was about $25/barrel. They're a little off. Like, about $100 off.

The price of oil looks like it's going exponential. Makes you wonder if peak oil is here. (BTW, Bubba's alma mater, Rice University, is doing a lot of work on the topic of peak oil.)

Whether we're at peak oil or not, it seems clear that we are now in an era of permanently higher oil prices. Which also increases the cost of food and other goods, since it takes energy to produce and transport them. Some experts are predicting gas will be $7 a gallon by the end of this year.

But if you think your fuel bill is bad...what about sports teams, that have to travel all over the state, even all over the country? USA Today has a special report on gas prices today, including an article on how it's affecting sports, from high school to the Hall of Fame.

Bill Papierniak, general manager of the Daytona Cubs of the Class A Florida State League, says the average round trip for his team is 200 miles. Teams may have to attract more fans to offset fuel costs, he says.

The Buffalo Bisons take $2 off the price of tickets for fans who take the Metro Rail train to the ballpark. The number of fans taking the offer is up 10% this season.

"It's the cost of gas," Bisons general manager Mike Buczkowski says. "It's also the rising costs of everything making people look for discounts."

The Bisons, who also play in the International League, take buses to Rochester, N.Y., and Syracuse, N.Y. They fly to Durham, N.C., and Richmond. Buczkowski says the cost of travel is up 15% from last season, which was up 15% from 2006.

"It's a concern," Buczkowski says. "We try not to pass that on to the customer because in the minors we are all about value."

Ticket prices already are set for the season, Richmond assistant GM Bill Blackwell says, "but of course in the supermarket green beans can go up every day."

Says Baldwin: "Everything we do is oil-based. The giveaways at the ballpark are plastic and that's oil-based. Hats aren't, but I have to put them on a boat, airplane or truck. So there's some derivative of an oil byproduct in everything."

(Actually, hats probably are oil-based. The ones they give away are likely at least partly synthetics, which are petroleum products.)

Some people actually think we'll have to relocalize sports. I doubt it will come to that, at least any time soon, but teams could have a lot of trouble offsetting higher fuel costs by attracting more fans, when the fans are also struggling with higher prices. People are already buying smaller cars and trying to unload their SUVs. They're moving closer to work. And when all else fails, they're paying the higher fuel and food costs by running up their credit card debt. Food banks are running out of food, because more people are asking for help while fewer people are donating food.

You're doing fine, you say? Great! Then you can help others less fortunate. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 10th, is Stamp Out Hunger Day. Postal workers will be collecting food for food banks all across the U.S.A. Gather up a few non-perishable food items (no glass containers, please), put them in a bag, and leave it out for your letter carrier. You can hang the bag from the mailbox or put it on the ground beside it. They'll pick it up and deliver it to a local food bank.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:33 PM


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