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Hokiesox
08-06-2005, 11:06 PM
With the NHL signing a seemingly successful CBA, and many top names/talent going to smaller market teams who wouldn't have been able to afford them 2 weeks ago, does anyone else think the MLBPA should be biting their nails? I think with hockey looking very successful (and yes, only time will tell), it seems MLB would have no choice but to follow suit when the current CBA is up.

Thoughts?

Erik The Red
08-06-2005, 11:08 PM
I can't wait for the inevitable missed season.

SABRSox
08-06-2005, 11:18 PM
With the NHL signing a seemingly successful CBA, and many top names/talent going to smaller market teams who wouldn't have been able to afford them 2 weeks ago, does anyone else think the MLBPA should be biting their nails? I think with hockey looking very successful (and yes, only time will tell), it seems MLB would have no choice but to follow suit when the current CBA is up.

Thoughts?

I think you underestimate the power of the MLBPA. They are by far the most powerful union in the country. The NHLPA pales in comparison.

However, the MLBPA are planting the seeds of their own destruction with steroids. If they continue to hold steadfast to the current steroid policy, as it seems Don Fehr is likely to do, the union will likely weaken as more superstar players are exposed. If the rest of the players, those who are clean, demand stricter penalties, and the union leadership is reluctant, you may see a division in the union which the owners could finally take advantage of.

But that's a lot of speculation. I doubt we'll see a salary cap anytime soon. Besides the MLBPA not wanting one, there are some owners (Steinbrenner, Henry, etc.) who are happy with the way things are now. How would they benefit from a level playing field?

Arkham
08-07-2005, 12:46 AM
People really overestimate the effect steroids have on baseball. Not just the effects of the actual drugs, but the effects they're going to have on the game. A year ago, somewhere between 5 and 7 percent of preseasons tests scored a positive. This year, of the 1000 tests taken, 900 have been processed. We've had 8 players who tested positive. That's less than 1 percent. Y'know what? The new policy is working.

And there's no chance baseball is going to have a salary cap. The reason things got so bad in hockey is that it's just not as popular, and there's a lot less money to go around. In essence, there was scarcity, and players and owners had to compete for resources. While baseball owners like to cry poor when they want new stadiums, and all of them are their own little Enrons when it comes to fudging numbers, baseball makes money. Lots of money.

Look at the Giants. In a city of 700,000, in a two-team market a good deal smaller than Chicago, with some of the most expensive real estate prices in the country, they've been able to privately finance their own new ballpark, and despite claims of poverty due to payments on that ballpark, they still have a payroll that's just shy of $90M.

Look at teams like the Brewers and the Twins. Cheapskate owners Carl Pohlad (a billionaire, and the richest owner in baseball) and the Selig family have consistently fielded among the lowest payrolls in baseball, pocketing the revenue sharing money. If even 5 or 6 teams were <i>really</i> losing money, I'd be shocked.

So that's where it stands. Baseball players would fight a salary cap as hard as hockey players did. Baseball owners won't fight for a cap the way hockey owners did, because they don't have to. So the whining about small-market/large-market teams will continue, despite the Yankees being the worst team $200M can buy, and things will go on as normal.

One of these days I need to start my own blog.

SABRSox
08-07-2005, 03:19 AM
People really overestimate the effect steroids have on baseball. Not just the effects of the actual drugs, but the effects they're going to have on the game. A year ago, somewhere between 5 and 7 percent of preseasons tests scored a positive. This year, of the 1000 tests taken, 900 have been processed. We've had 8 players who tested positive. That's less than 1 percent. Y'know what? The new policy is working.

I don't think you are taking into consideration the effect of public opinion. Steroids only cheapens and discredits the game. It's probably the single greatest threat to the integrity of the game since gambling was back at the beginning of the century.

The new policy fails because it is too lienient. Baseball had to crack down hard to rid gambling from the sport. Maybe they cracked down too hard, but they got the job done. They need to do the same with steroids. 10 games is a joke, and 5 fails before the commissioner can ban a player is a bigger joke, especially when you consider that for most any other person in this country, failing a drug test at work automatically gets them fired.

The suspensions need to be increased, and every aspect of the testing needs to be carried out independently of MLB. It's a serious problem. Sure, only 8 players (though I believe that number is more like 10 now) have tested positive, but that was also how many crooked players it took to crack down on gambling.

But I do agree with you on the salary cap issue. Hockey was losing money. Baseball made the same claims, and nobody, especially congress, believed them. As long as the owners continue to make money, there will be no need for a salary cap.

Fredsox
08-07-2005, 06:10 AM
The assessment of the union's position by these posts is dead-on. I think they will be flexible on points that go to the integrity of the game, so we can look for an increase in steroid penalties. If the current policies are working and players are no longer using them, they will not see this as a significant give-back. Amphetamines is another thing. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Regarding a cap, I can't see that at this time. The leagues would have to be near-bankrupt to achieve that. I think the best they can hope for is an increase in the "Steinbrenner Tax".

PaleHoseGeorge
08-07-2005, 07:58 AM
Wow. Here's a thread discussing a topic as explosive as salary caps and steroids and all six of the first posts are thoughtful and intelligent. I wish I could say I'm not shocked, but frankly I'm shocked. WSI has suffered a large influx of true idiots lately (go visit the ****house for prime examples) ... yet this thread shows the quality posters still make the website valuable. Well done!
:thumbsup:

So where are all the idiots on a Sunday morning? Either still in jail or sleeping off their benders from last night.
:cool:

TornLabrum
08-07-2005, 08:40 AM
I can only hope that the MLBPA will be willing to negotiate a reasonable set of penalties for use of performance enhancing drugs. It might actually happen if Congress keeps the pressure on. There's nothing like the threat of regulation breating down your neck to make people do the reasonable thing.

I wish I could be as optimistic about the threat of a lockout or strike as some here. I guess I've seen too much past history, going all the way back to 1972 to think that the players and owners will both do what's best for the game.

The owners now have the examples of the NBA and NHL to give them cause to believe that they can get what they've been after for so long. On the other hand, the players, even though they've seen the devastation wrought on the NHL have an unbroken string of victories in their negotiations with the owners.

Unless both sides use their collective intelligence to do the right thing, we could have a long, drawn out strike or lockout when the CBA expires. I'm hoping that both sides see the disadvantage to turning off the fans one more time.

chaerulez
08-07-2005, 08:45 AM
A salary cap would be great for the league no doubt. Will it happen? Like most of you, I doubt it. But it would be nice one day to see more teams have a shot at winning... it gets old seeing the same teams in the playoffs year in and year out and the same teams in last place every year as well.

Ol' No. 2
08-07-2005, 11:34 AM
As much space as has been spent bemoaning the corrosive effects of inflated Yankee payrolls, IMO, teams like the Devil Rays do even more harm This is a team that, between revenue sharing and TV and other shared revenues, receives $60M a year from MLB. And they have a less than $30M payroll. So they make $30M before they've sold the first ticket. Is it any wonder they don't care if their team stinks? Forget the cap. The MLB needs a minimum, accompanied by increased revenue sharing.

nedlug
08-07-2005, 12:30 PM
As much space as has been spent bemoaning the corrosive effects of inflated Yankee payrolls, IMO, teams like the Devil Rays do even more harm This is a team that, between revenue sharing and TV and other shared revenues, receives $60M a year from MLB. And they have a less than $30M payroll. So they make $30M before they've sold the first ticket. Is it any wonder they don't care if their team stinks? Forget the cap. The MLB needs a minimum, accompanied by increased revenue sharing.

I agree with your point the Devil Rays are worse than the Yankees and such... at least the high-payroll teams are trying to win.

However, I believe that a salary cap would be exactly what MLB needs to get rid of these kinds of teams. With a salary cap, there is no longer a need for revenue sharing. Instead of giving them free money and giving some teams an incentive not to spend any money (and pocket the difference), a salary cap gives them a maximum amount of money to spend. Now, all teams must show their fans that they are trying their best to be competitive to get them to the ballpark (or, in some cases, just have a great ballpark 'experience' :rolleyes: ). A salary cap is exactly what every league needs to level the playing field. Look at the NFL, and how huge it has become, and how excited every team is every year about their chances.

Then again, now that the Davd-vs.-Goliath battle is only evident in MLB, I would be fine with no salary cap in place. It's almost like college football, where the best teams get the best recruits, and the others have to scramble among the rest. It makes it very interesting, and gives us all a bit of schadenfreude when the big-time programs go down the tubes :redneck .

Ol' No. 2
08-07-2005, 01:23 PM
I agree with your point the Devil Rays are worse than the Yankees and such... at least the high-payroll teams are trying to win.

However, I believe that a salary cap would be exactly what MLB needs to get rid of these kinds of teams. With a salary cap, there is no longer a need for revenue sharing. Instead of giving them free money and giving some teams an incentive not to spend any money (and pocket the difference), a salary cap gives them a maximum amount of money to spend. Now, all teams must show their fans that they are trying their best to be competitive to get them to the ballpark (or, in some cases, just have a great ballpark 'experience' :rolleyes: ). A salary cap is exactly what every league needs to level the playing field. Look at the NFL, and how huge it has become, and how excited every team is every year about their chances.

Then again, now that the Davd-vs.-Goliath battle is only evident in MLB, I would be fine with no salary cap in place. It's almost like college football, where the best teams get the best recruits, and the others have to scramble among the rest. It makes it very interesting, and gives us all a bit of schadenfreude when the big-time programs go down the tubes :redneck .If they have no interest in doing that now, why would a salary cap make any difference? Unless you're willing to set the cap at ridiculously low levels, it will do little to address the competitive imbalances. Teams like the Devil Rays will just reduce spending even further and the richer teams will find ever more creative ways of getting around the cap.

BTW, IIRC the NFL started with just a cap and quickly found out that it doesn't work without a minumum, too.

TornLabrum
08-07-2005, 01:37 PM
If they have no interest in doing that now, why would a salary cap make any difference? Unless you're willing to set the cap at ridiculously low levels, it will do little to address the competitive imbalances. Teams like the Devil Rays will just reduce spending even further and the richer teams will find ever more creative ways of getting around the cap.

BTW, IIRC the NFL started with just a cap and quickly found out that it doesn't work without a minumum, too.

Not only that, but the NFL has had revenue sharing since the '60s, and ended up putting in a cap.

samram
08-07-2005, 01:49 PM
I agree with your point the Devil Rays are worse than the Yankees and such... at least the high-payroll teams are trying to win.

However, I believe that a salary cap would be exactly what MLB needs to get rid of these kinds of teams. With a salary cap, there is no longer a need for revenue sharing. Instead of giving them free money and giving some teams an incentive not to spend any money (and pocket the difference), a salary cap gives them a maximum amount of money to spend. Now, all teams must show their fans that they are trying their best to be competitive to get them to the ballpark (or, in some cases, just have a great ballpark 'experience' :rolleyes: ). A salary cap is exactly what every league needs to level the playing field. Look at the NFL, and how huge it has become, and how excited every team is every year about their chances.

Then again, now that the Davd-vs.-Goliath battle is only evident in MLB, I would be fine with no salary cap in place. It's almost like college football, where the best teams get the best recruits, and the others have to scramble among the rest. It makes it very interesting, and gives us all a bit of schadenfreude when the big-time programs go down the tubes :redneck .

A couple of things.

First, any money lost because a team doesn't receive shared revenue would be offset by the fact they wouldn't have to spend above the salary cap. Furthermore, the cap wouldn't give low payroll teams any incentive to increase payroll- a floor would force them to do so. I think a floor with a luxury tax is a good approach to achieving competitive balance, if that's the objective.

Secondly, I find it interesting that the two leagues which historically did not have caps, MLB and NHL, seem to produce more diverse champions. There have been 101 World Series, if I'm not mistaken, and while the Yankees have 26, the second most is the Cards with nine. That's sixty-six titles spread among the other teams. In my lifetime (around 27 years), eighteen different teams have won World Series, and eleven have won Stanley Cups (remember that until the early 1990s, there were only twenty teams). In that time, eight NBA teams have won titles, and fourteen different teams have won Super Bowls. Furthermore, there was a more diverse list of champions in each of those leagues in the 1980s before the caps were put in place. NBA titles are very concentrated since 1990, and the NFL is basically at the mercy of one team.

Maybe I'm being too myopic in looking for evidence of competitive balance in diversity of champions. However, I would bet people have more success betting who will be conference champions in the NBA and NFL than betting on who the league champs will be in baseball.

Fredsox
08-07-2005, 06:13 PM
As much space as has been spent bemoaning the corrosive effects of inflated Yankee payrolls, IMO, teams like the Devil Rays do even more harm This is a team that, between revenue sharing and TV and other shared revenues, receives $60M a year from MLB. And they have a less than $30M payroll. So they make $30M before they've sold the first ticket. Is it any wonder they don't care if their team stinks? Forget the cap. The MLB needs a minimum, accompanied by increased revenue sharing.

Agreed, and I cannot think of a reason why the union would not support this action. MLB needs to insure a competitive product. The fans in Tampa Bay and Kansas City are entitled to better quality than they are seeing. If an owner cannot afford to pay his team within a percentage of the mid-point of salaries, or some such calculation, he should be forced to sell his team. In conjunction with this either a maximum (hard cap) or increased revenue sharing would be appropriate.