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View Full Version : Gov. Ventura rips MLB's contraction plan


Jerry_Manuel
11-02-2001, 05:42 PM
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Jesse Ventura on Friday chastised Major League Baseball for looking to dissolve two teams, one of which could be the Minnesota Twins.

"If they think eliminating two teams is the fix that baseball needs, I will go on record and say that they're badly mistaken because it's not going to change anything," he said on his weekly radio show.

"You will still have the haves and have nots. And I think if they continue down this road, you will end up with about 10 teams."

Worries over the Twins fate have grown this week and become a topic of more concern at the Capitol.

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe and House Speaker Steve Sviggum sent a letter to Twins Owner Carl Pohlad and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig asking them to postpone any discussion about cutting teams.

In it, the leaders note that a new stadium task force is about to start meeting and they say the fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks make this a bad time to discuss collapsing baseball teams.

The task force, agreed to this summer, is to consider appeals by the Twins for a new ballpark and a request by the Minnesota Vikings for a new stadium. Both say the Metrodome isn't a financially viable venue for them.

Stadium financing plans advanced in the 2001 session, but never won final approval. They were expected to re-emerge in 2002.

Sviggum said he and Moe wrote to Selig to keep the line of communication open. Sviggum hoped to speak with the baseball commissioner soon.

But the speaker wasn't sure what lawmakers could do. A big public payout for a new stadium is out of the question from Sviggum's perspective.

"I'm not going to sit down and write out a $200 million check," he said.

Ventura's radio show comments were his most extensive since Pohlad became more vocal on the issue.

Pohlad said earlier this week that he hasn't asked his fellow owners for a buyout to fold his team. But he said it could happen if the other owners want it.

He has said the issue may come up at a baseball owners' meeting Tuesday in Chicago. But neither Pohlad nor other Twins officials are saying there will be a deal then.

Pohlad, who bought the Twins in 1984, has spent several years trying to convince lawmakers that he can't turn a profit without a new, publicly subsidized ballpark.

"My position is this: I want to see baseball change its managerial structure -- its economic structure -- before I would entertain any thought of a new stadium," Ventura responded.

Unlike football and basketball, baseball doesn't impose salary caps. Some team owners and others want major economic changes, saying baseball has become a game where only the rich teams win.

Since 1994, the New York Yankees have won four World Series, including the last three. The Atlanta Braves, another big spender, won the title in 1995 and the Florida Marlins won in 1997 after boosting their payroll to among the top five.

The Major League Baseball Players Association, the strongest union in sports, has argued the sport doesn't need the salary cap some owners favor. The union says the recent success of large-market teams is an anomaly, caused partly because the wealthier clubs recovered fastest from the last strike.

During a visit to Minnesota last year, Commissioner Bud Selig said, "the economic landscape of this game will be changed" -- a comment Ventura jumped on Friday during his weekly radio show.

"How is eliminating the Twins and Montreal changing the economic landscape of baseball?" he said. "It doesn't change one thing. We won't have to deal with it anymore, we won't have to worry about it anymore, but the game itself will be the same."

Daver
11-02-2001, 06:02 PM
The "Body" is right on this one.All that contraction does is make the market for the talent pool smaller and drive the Salary for the phenoms up with it.

Spiff
11-02-2001, 06:06 PM
When you look at other pro leagues you realize how screwed up MLB is and it makes you wonder how they survive with such idiots running it.

At least the XFL had the fan in mind.

Daver
11-02-2001, 06:11 PM
Originally posted by Wh1teSox00
At least the XFL had the fan in mind.

The XFL was doomed from the start,and it had it's own best interests,not the fans,in mind.

But then again what the hell do I know?

Jerry_Manuel
11-02-2001, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by daver
The XFL was doomed from the start,and it had it's own best interests,not the fans,in mind.


True but I think he was talking about how they adapted their product due to fans feedback. Whether you liked the league itself you have to admit they had some cool innovations. Well that's just how I see it. I'm sure Daver disagrees.

Jerry_Manuel
11-02-2001, 06:24 PM
My position is this: I want to see baseball change its managerial structure -- its economic structure -- before I would entertain any thought of a new stadium," Ventura responded. Unlike football and basketball, baseball doesn't impose salary caps. Some team owners and others want major economic changes, saying baseball has become a game where only the rich teams win.


Ding.
The Major League Baseball Players Association, the strongest union in sports, has argued the sport doesn't need the salary cap some owners favor. The union says the recent success of large-market teams is an anomaly, caused partly because the wealthier clubs recovered fastest from the last strike.

Yeah whatever.
"How is eliminating the Twins and Montreal changing the economic landscape of baseball?" he said. "It doesn't change one thing. We won't have to deal with it anymore, we won't have to worry about it anymore, but the game itself will be the same."

Exactly just because you sweep the Twins and Expos under the rug does not mean that baseball's money problems will go away.

Daver
11-02-2001, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by Jerry_Manuel


True but I think he was talking about how they adapted their product due to fans feedback. Whether you liked the league itself you have to admit they had some cool innovations. Well that's just how I see it. I'm sure Daver disagrees.

They adapted their product to try and save their abysmal market share numbers,the fact that it correlated with what the fans wanted is secondary.

Jerry_Manuel
11-02-2001, 06:36 PM
Originally posted by daver
They adapted their product to try and save their abysmal market share numbers,the fact that it correlated with what the fans wanted is secondary.

Even though it is true, I can never win an arguement with you.

Daver
11-02-2001, 07:04 PM
Originally posted by Jerry_Manuel


Even though it is true, I can never win an arguement with you.

Keep trying,practice makes perfect.

But then again what the hell do I know?

oldcomiskey
11-03-2001, 10:42 AM
my whole problem with this is every time you expand the talent gets thinner----Im not saying taking teams away will fix this---Im just saying they ought to make it a LAST resort

czalgosz
11-03-2001, 12:38 PM
I hate to disagree with you, Daver, but at least in theory, contraction would drive down salaries. With 50 less available positions, there would be more talent to spead among the remaining 28 teams, and with two less bidders, the top talent, again in theory, wouldn't be able to get as high a bid. Not that the Twins and Expos were ever able to seriously bid for a top free agent, but that's the theory...

It looks like Pohlad has acheived exactly what he wanted to. He got the State of Minnesota to blink on the issue. They were simply ignoring his incessant whining for a new stadium - they knew that there was nowhere for him to move that would provide a better market. Folding on the other hand, is a viable option, as moving is not, so Minnesota's starting to panic. Pohlad's chuckling and rubbing his hands together as we speak.

ma-gaga
11-03-2001, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by czalgosz
I hate to disagree with you, Daver, but at least in theory, contraction would drive down salaries. With 50 less available positions, there would be more talent to spead among the remaining 28 teams, and with two less bidders, the top talent, again in theory, wouldn't be able to get as high a bid. Not that the Twins and Expos were ever able to seriously bid for a top free agent, but that's the theory...

It looks like Pohlad has acheived exactly what he wanted to. He got the State of Minnesota to blink on the issue. They were simply ignoring his incessant whining for a new stadium - they knew that there was nowhere for him to move that would provide a better market. Folding on the other hand, is a viable option, as moving is not, so Minnesota's starting to panic. Pohlad's chuckling and rubbing his hands together as we speak.

I think contraction will have nothing to do with players salaries. They will continue to increase as they always have.

And you're right, Pohlad/MLB is bluffing, and the politicians are biting. I just can't believe that they are bringing this up now. Why couldn't they have moved their team owners meeting back a week, and post-poned all this crap until then? I want to enjoy a great world series, but no, i'm stressing out about contraction.

Dadawg_77
11-03-2001, 02:30 PM
Originally posted by daver


They adapted their product to try and save their abysmal market share numbers,the fact that it correlated with what the fans wanted is secondary.

Well,
fact
1>fans drive market share for professional sports
2>If a buisness wants to increase or keep its market share, it needs to cater to consumers needs or wants.

Thus any pro team needs to cater to what its fan wants to increase market share and revenue. Cubs provide a great place to have fun while drinking and sitting in the sun, a great place to hang out, a great TV broadcast. This is what their fans want thus their park is fulled. Jerry Reindorf still owns the team or the Sox havn't won a playoff game since 1959, and his isn't what Sox fans want thus the park isn't full. Thus what the fans want isn't secondary it should be primary concern of a pro sports team.


As for the effect of contraction on economic structure of baseball, the rich will continue to be rich while the"poor" will continue to be poor. This may have a minumal effect on majorFA sarlies because the Twins and Expos were not bidding on those guys thus they weren't driving up the price. However it may put on some deflationary pressure on saleries because now we will have 80 less major league roster spots. This will cause better talent to fill up the end part of the roster, for example the Sox may drop the 40th man on their roster and pick up the 25 man on the twins roster for that spot. This will allow teams to replace spots left open by fleeing FA with better talent, thus decreasing the price team would willing to pay to keep the FA. Plus contraction may increase the supply of blue chip UFA which will meet the same level of demand thus decrease the price of FAs.

czalgosz
11-03-2001, 02:36 PM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77


the Sox havn't won a playoff game since 1959,

I hate to quibble, but the Sox won game 1 of the 1983 ALCS...

Paulwny
11-03-2001, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by Dadawg_77


Well,
fact
1>fans drive market share for professional sports
2>If a buisness wants to increase or keep its market share, it needs to cater to consumers needs or wants.

Thus any pro team needs to cater to what its fan wants to increase market share and revenue. Cubs provide a great place to have fun while drinking and sitting in the sun, a great place to hang out, a great TV broadcast. This is what their fans want thus their park is fulled. Jerry Reindorf still owns the team or the Sox havn't won a playoff game since 1959, and his isn't what Sox fans want thus the park isn't full. Thus what the fans want isn't secondary it should be primary concern of a pro sports team.


.

This is correct, unless an owner, such as JR has, a clause in his agreement with the state for guaranteed $$$ if a certain attendance number is not attained. He makes $$, has no incentive to offer cheaper tickets and can complain that because of lack of attendance he can't afford high priced FA's.
People forget about that clause and assume JR is losing $$$.

czalgosz
11-03-2001, 02:52 PM
I thought it was that JR didn't have to pay rent on the stadium if he didn't draw more than a certain number - in essence, that works out to the same thing, I guess...

Paulwny
11-03-2001, 02:58 PM
Originally posted by czalgosz
I thought it was that JR didn't have to pay rent on the stadium if he didn't draw more than a certain number - in essence, that works out to the same thing, I guess...

I know I read something about it on the board early last year. You may be right, it might be rent payment. But, it's still $$$ in the bank.
I believe PHG knows the details of the clause.

PaleHoseGeorge
11-03-2001, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by Paulwny
I know I read something about it on the board early last year. You may be right, it might be rent payment. But, it's still $$$ in the bank.
I believe PHG knows the details of the clause.

IIRC, Reinsdorf gets subsidies AND pays a sliding scale rent based on attendance. In return for his commitment to sign a lease if the state legislature passed the stadium financing deal (back in 1988), the Sox are guaranteed a minimum gate attendance. If the fans don't show up to that minimum level (1.3 million?), the stadium authority pays the Sox the difference in lost revenue. The rent is essentially free.

OTOH, if attendance goes over a certain amount (I'm not sure what level this kicks in), the Sox pay an increasing amount of annual rent. This is the primary reason the politicians were all crowing about what wonderful financial sense the deal made back in 1992-94. The Sox were paying some decent rent when attendance was consistently over 2 million annually. Those days are over.

Yes, Reinsdorf has a disincentive to increase attendance. He shares the added revenue with the state's stadium authority. The politicians would be smart to give the cheapskate some incentives for discounting a certain percentage of seats because clearly Reinsdorf has no intention of inflating the team's attendance with gimmicks. (Apologies to half-price Mondays and Magglio "Pesse" Tuesdays).

10,000 empty seats in the upper deck every night say much more is needed.

oldcomiskey
11-03-2001, 10:14 PM
we also won 2 games in 93 as well