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View Full Version : Another obstacle for the 'Poor Teams'


chisoxt
09-02-2001, 07:31 AM
After watching Cuban defector Danys Baez mow down the sox one after another, it occurred to me that the disparity between rich and poor is growing much larger. The growing availability of quality international players is creating a deeper talent pool for the wealthier clubs, as these teams are the only ones with the cash reserves to sign guys like Ichiro, Baez, Henandez. The amateur draft is getting pretty ridiculous too, where the poor teams (e.g. White Sox) are struggling to sign the players they draft.

Under the current labor situation, there is no way we will ever see parity in baseball

PaleHoseGeorge
09-02-2001, 10:10 AM
I wouldn't be so sure about that. Many of these foreign players costs less than the clubs routinely pay to their #1 draft pick. The Sox splurged $5 million on Joe Borchard back in '00 and he won't even make it to the bigs for at least two years.

What I'm hearing are owners looking for another reason to cry poor. They've been doing it for the last 125 years, successfully for the first 100. They're such dinosaurs in their thinking, they've been crying even bigger crocodile tears now that things aren't going their way (i.e. the players finally formed a strong union).

The answer to their problem is simple: revenue-sharing. Every other sport does it, including the N.F.L. which steamrolled over baseball in popularity way back in the sixties. Baseball's owners can't agree on how to share revenue--unless the players are willing to pay the freight by agreeing to CBA terms that serve specifically to reduce their own salaries. And naturally the owners offer the players exactly NOTHING for agreeing to these terms.

That's b.s. Baseball's owners have been serving it up since the beginning of time. Let 'em rot.

voodoochile
09-02-2001, 10:47 AM
The answer to their problem is simple: revenue-sharing. Every other sport does it, including the N.F.L. which steamrolled over baseball in popularity way back in the sixties. Baseball's owners can't agree on how to share revenue--unless the players are willing to pay the freight by agreeing to CBA terms that serve specifically to reduce their own salaries. And naturally the owners offer the players exactly NOTHING for agreeing to these terms.

That's b.s. Baseball's owners have been serving it up since the beginning of time. Let 'em rot.

Well said, PHG. But it really is only half the equation. The players have to understand that $250 million contracts are out of the question. There is not a deep enough money pool for them all to be making $10 million/year. It just isn't going to happen. There has to be a salary cap and maximum salaries too. Otherwise revenue sharing will only go so far and then the difference will be who has the richest owner or who is willing to lose the most money (one year wonders). Besides, revenue sharing in football worked until the Cowboys managed to gain extra money through the use of local advertising at the stadium and other sources that dwarfed teams like Minnesota and KC. Then they could afford the huge signing bonuses to sign guys like Deion Sanders. Football has it's own probelems with the goofy salary rules, that at least baseball does not share with the guaranteed salaries, but without both sides of the equation...

Revenue sharing AND salary caps...

The rich will always be better...

Level the field Baseball, make the fans happy... (except Yankee fans and who cares about them anyway...)

oldcomiskey
09-02-2001, 11:52 AM
Unlike Gammons who claims the Phillies are the small market team of the year because of wise management--I think its more Atlantas mismanagement that caused that....The rest of the small markets have to build from within, while the Yankees and others can go out and buy players---but---these owners aint poor--dont let them fool you--tell them to open the books before any revenue sharing goes on and Ill bet youll have a different story

KingXerxes
09-02-2001, 12:41 PM
To be perfectly fair to the owners we've got to admit that there is SOME revenue sharing going on in baseball - there always has been.

Visiting teams get a % of the gate from the home team, and the network contracts are split evenly. What the players union is asking for is not SOME revenue sharing, they are asking for TOTAL revenue sharing (like some sort of socialist entity).

I'd like to see the owners counter with a proposal that the players start some sort of revenue sharing amongst themselves, and all make the same amount of money without regard to their respective performances - that would last about 2 picoseconds.

PaleHoseGeorge
09-02-2001, 12:53 PM
Revenue-sharing doesn't need to be so difficult. In fact every other sport does it quite nicely. All TV revenue (local and national) should be split evenly. If you want to make it 100 percent fair, give the visiting team 50 percent of the gate. To the extent the schedule is uneven, pool and split evenly the percent of the schedule that is uneven. This isn't rocket science. I'm sure the MLBPA has made many similar suggestions to the owners' negotiating team.

There wouldn't be unfair advantages for big market teams if these simple measures were instituted. Yet the owners won't do it. Why?

As for salary caps, I'm willing to bet the players would agree to it if there was a means for recouping the revenue (and potentially earn more) through a business partnership. For example why doesn't MLB offer the MLBPA an equity interest in the promotion of and profits from baseball? Instead of being adversaries, they would become business partners not unlike the IBEW and NECA promote union-made electrical contracting service. Certainly every Sox Fan with a radio has heard their incessant commercials on the Sox broadcasts.

But the owners don't want that either. They want it ALL, just like they did for the 100 years before free agency. The MLBPA has grown strong as direct result of the inflexible posture of the owners. Without a partnership agreement between owners and players, calling for salary caps is a joke--just like the owners' silly negotiating posture.

KingXerxes
09-02-2001, 01:04 PM
Thirty five years ago the players were getting the short end of the stick - relatively speaking. The reserve clause supressed a player's bargaining ability and therefor his salary. That was rectified via binding arbitration and free agency which were both given by ownership in negotiations. While fixing one problem, it has caused a multiple of others. While salaries skyrocketed (good for the players):

Ticket and concession prices went though the roof.

Game times dragged on so as to allow as much commercial advertising as was humanly possible between innings.

Scheduled doubleheaders dissappeared so as to be able to charge two admissions to two games.

Municipalities were extorted to heap money into franchises in the forms of free stadiums and reduced rental agreements.

It seems that all of the good fortune recently thrust upon the players has come at some very high costs. I just feel that the pendulum has swung too far over to the players, and I hope they realize that they too have a responsibilty to this game. Sadly I don't think they are anywhere near this realization.

idseer
09-02-2001, 01:09 PM
why won't it happen?
because there is one entity NOT represented here. the one footing the bill for it ALL! even with all the infighting and bickering going on, they KNOW they are both better off than they've ever been. and if somehow the payment structure became fair to both owners AND players, there'd be no reason to increase ticket prices or charge more for commercial rights!

KingXerxes
09-02-2001, 01:14 PM
Palehose - I think the reason that unions like IBEW and (more recently) UAW have started forming "partnership-types" of relationships with management is not because of some sort of brilliant foresight on anybody's part, it's because the unions (through the 70's and 80's) started losing a lot of their leverage due to foreign labor and free to work states. They realized that if they didn't change their posturing, and soon, they were going to become obsolete.

As far as football and basketball, I think it's widely understood that these two unions were never anywhere nearly as organized as baseball's. The football labor contract is still considered a huge win for the owners. They took a rather hard line some years ago, and practically forced the players to capitulate to a weak agreement.

The baseball labor problem - I fear - still has a long, long way to go before it's worked out.

chisoxt
09-02-2001, 01:19 PM
I wouldn't be so sure about that. Many of these foreign players costs less than the clubs routinely pay to their #1 draft pick.

True, but the foreign superstars are going to get big $$$. Also, as these foreign players attain more and more success, look for the bidding (and price) for the average to above average foreign players to go up.

Your revenue sharing point is well taken, but you have such a huge disparity now between local tv contracts of large and small market teams that I doubt that revenue sharing on that order will ever become reality. The NFL founding fathers had a lot of foresight when they implemented revenue sharing a long time ago.

LongDistanceFan
09-02-2001, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by KingXerxes
Palehose - I think the reason that unions like IBEW and (more recently) UAW have started forming "partnership-types" of relationships with management is not because of some sort of brilliant foresight on anybody's part, it's because the unions (through the 70's and 80's) started losing a lot of their leverage due to foreign labor and free to work states. They realized that if they didn't change their posturing, and soon, they were going to become obsolete.

As far as football and basketball, I think it's widely understood that these two unions were never anywhere nearly as organized as baseball's. The football labor contract is still considered a huge win for the owners. They took a rather hard line some years ago, and practically forced the players to capitulate to a weak agreement.

The baseball labor problem - I fear - still has a long, long way to go before it's worked out. The union has been loosing their leverage since the mid 80's across the workforce of america. When reagan broke the air traffic controllers union, most companies realized that the union day will be over. Look at the high tech companies,is their a union?

The sports have a great area where the union can be strong, only to a certain level, otherwise the owners will put out a team of scabs. In order to survive the game and still keep it where we the fans can enjoy attending it, something needs to be done. Hence the partnership.

Ref to a post of signing the foreign fa's, the cost is/was very low compared to what is being paid for drafted players.

PaleHoseGeorge
09-02-2001, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by KingXerxes
Thirty five years ago the players were getting the short end of the stick - relatively speaking. The reserve clause supressed a player's bargaining ability and therefor his salary. That was rectified via binding arbitration and free agency which were both given by ownership in negotiations. While fixing one problem, it has caused a multiple of others. While salaries skyrocketed (good for the players):

Ticket and concession prices went though the roof.

Game times dragged on so as to allow as much commercial advertising as was humanly possible between innings.

Scheduled doubleheaders dissappeared so as to be able to charge two admissions to two games.

Municipalities were extorted to heap money into franchises in the forms of free stadiums and reduced rental agreements.

It seems that all of the good fortune recently thrust upon the players has come at some very high costs. I just feel that the pendulum has swung too far over to the players, and I hope they realize that they too have a responsibilty to this game. Sadly I don't think they are anywhere near this realization.

I agree 100 percent, X. All those fat players salaries aren't paid by the owners but the fans and taxpayers who foot the bill elsewhere. However, how a salary cap fixes any of this is beyond me. The Yankees will still beat up Kansas City (they still keeps all their big-market revenue) while George Steinbrenner pockets even larger profits because while the revenue-MAKING opportunities still exist, the salary inflation will have subsided.

As it stands today, there is no relationship between ticket prices and salaries. Certainly if a partnership between owners and players was in place, there would be an obvious connection, but there isn't. The owners don't want it.

Any owner who isn't charging the maximum for what he can get for his tickets is a chump. Paying $252 million to A-Rod is simply the excuse they use for jacking the prices because we fans want to see the top-caliber talent wearing our team's uniform. We willingly cough up more money (or fund public stadiums) if we think there is something in it for us (winning team, better ballpark, more boot-licking from the national media, etc.). Guys like Carl Pohlad have had a difficult time figuring this out.

I can't blame a shrewd businessman like George Steinbrenner who won't willingly share his bounty with the likes of Carl Pohlad. After all, socialism rewards weak operators. The question is, does MLB need the equivalent of the Green Bay Packers (small-market success) to be a successful enterprise? I say, "Yes." Unfortunately a majority of owners say, "No."

PaleHoseGeorge
09-02-2001, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by KingXerxes
I think the reason that unions like IBEW and (more recently) UAW have started forming "partnership-types" of relationships with management is not because of some sort of brilliant foresight on anybody's part, it's because the unions (through the 70's and 80's) started losing a lot of their leverage due to foreign labor and free to work states. They realized that if they didn't change their posturing, and soon, they were going to become obsolete.


Again, no argument here. It was economic hardships that finally forced both sides to accept a new partnership arrangement. As things now stand in baseball, only one side (the owners) are against this sort of partnership. They are also the ones who want concessions from the other side without offering anything in kind. Does this make any sense? If they were truly losing money, the owners would be DYING to get some business partners--especially if it meant lowering their overhead, specifically player salaries.

But that's not what the owners want, is it? They only want revenue sharing if it's the players money that gets shared. The owners version of revenue sharing is paid for by the players accepting lower salaries. In return for this concession, the owners offer the players nothing. It's nuts.

Does this sound like a industry losing leverage from competition? It doesn't to me. It sounds like an industry looking to turn back the clock to the "good ol' days" by any means necessary. Let's hope cooler heads prevail.

KingXerxes
09-02-2001, 10:03 PM
There are several reasons why baseball's labor problem has not been fixed, and although the greed of ownership is one of the problems - it is by no means the largest problem nor the only problem.

The reason baseball's owners have not stepped up and offered a partnership-type of agreement is due to the fact that for the past 25 years or so they've been able to completely pass their costs through via some incredibly sweet deals, and have been, for the most part, terribly disorganized. Skyboxes were non-existant 25 years ago, and for the past two decades municipalities have been hemmoraging cash into franchises with free stadiums and such (That's why - love 'em or hate 'em - as a common sense traditionalist you've got to respect the Cubs organization. We get $150 million and then $90 million more in free cash - and they get a hard time from the city in trying to build a self-funded expansion over a sidewalk - and they are seemingly sucessful operating under that type of circumstance). Due to these subsidies, and that's just what they are - public and corporate subsidies - the owners saw their franchise values go through the roof. But that period is, for the most part, over. No longer can an owner sacrifice his cash flow in the hopes that a new buyer will enter the market and pay him $100 million more for his franchise than he paid - and I think it's the owners who realize this dynamic is now in play.

The players union - which once had the higher "moral ground" - still tries to position itself to make even more money. Baseball ran just fine under it's present revenue sharing structure for 125 years, and now these guys come in and say "Hey we're not the problem, the owners need to share revenue!" All I can tell them is to be careful what they wish for because they may get it. And if revenue sharing (with the players getting a % of it) becomes the norm, there will be incredible pressure upon small market teams to perform financially from the rest of the ownership structure (as well there should be) - much like partners in a law firm. I absolutely guarantee you that if that becomes the case, this game will go through a twenty year period of contraction. Teams like Tampa Bay, Florida, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and on and on will be subsidized for only so long - then it will be "So Long!" from the other profitable owners - remember they still have an anti-trust exemption which says they can run their game as they see fit (although now it pretty much applies only to franchise existance and placement). How is job loss going to sit with the MLBPA?

I still think that problems such as these are only resolved through a blood letting. There is going to be a huge labor dispute in the years to come (it was almost here in 1995 with the replacement players), and one way or another it will be resolved. My bet is that some group tries to start a new Major League much like happened through the 1890's and early 1900's. It is going to be messy.