Tag: our national innocence

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More than a decade ago, a baseball strike canceled the season and the World Series. The first time...

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More than a decade ago, a baseball strike canceled the season and the World Series. The first time ever, we were told in hushed tones. A national trauma. Baseball had survived world wars, cold wars, hot dogs — even night games, the designated hitter, and Astroturf — only to succumb to a labor dispute between spoiled millionaire players and even-more-spoiled billionaire owners. How could it be summer without baseball, the pundits pouted? Most portentous, how could we be us without our spectator fix? But wait. Here is heresy indeed: Was it really such a disaster? Or is it a disaster that our current paragons have been revealed to be hormonally enhanced and ethically challenged? Or if a college team is denied a bowl slot? Is life so pale, dull, and unsatisfying that it must be experienced vicariously in order to be savored? You might try reading a book, talking with your family, going for a walk, wrestling with the dog, listening to some music, smelling a flower, making love. Doesn't he realize that our national innocence is at stake?

[T]he strongest advocates of a salary cap, the ones ranting about salaries in light of the economy,...

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[T]he strongest advocates of a salary cap, the ones ranting about salaries in light of the economy, are full of hot air... in the real world, during a time in which the player's slice of the pie has dropped tremendously (a $400 million loss of the pie in 2008 alone, relative to 2003), ticket prices have continued to gone up unabated. Just as expected, savings from limiting the salaries of those mean old players have been filtered directly into the pockets of owners. Owners who cry poverty and get welfare stadiums. Republicans talked about welfare queens 15 years ago, but it would take thousands of so-called queens driving around in taxpayer Cadillacs to match some of the true members of that category. Take Jeff Loria, who pockets revenue-sharing money and then turns around and gets an additional honeypot in the form an apparently imminent fancy-new stadium. If MLB owners were in charge of the TARP funds, the $700 billion would already be completely gone and the sycophantic media, ever-hungry for prestige, quotes, and free pastrami on rye, would blame it on pay raises for local janitorial staff.... The Yankees do spend more money than other teams in MLB, but the differences would be less drastic if the payrolls of many teams had been rising up to the waves of new cash that have entered baseball in recent years. Going by the NFL formula, very generous considering the MLBPA is far more powerful an entity than any other union in sports, the payroll floor for 2009 would almost certainly be in the $100 million range. 58% of league revenue, as the players in NFL get, would be, in baseball, an average team payroll of a hair under $120 million. It's pretty clear that while the Yankees are outspending everyone comfortably, the rest of baseball has just as much to do with the payroll disparity as the Yankees do.... The Steinbrenners aren't anywhere near as rich or as liquid as some other owners in baseball such as Carl Pohlad of the Twins.... Yes, the Yankees got a huge, undeserved payday from the locals for their stadium, like most teams in baseball did, but it's a mitigating factor that they're actually plowing those funds back into the on-field product. And the team never threatened to not compete until they got their sweet check. Perhaps a small difference, but I see it as a good bit more ethical than Kevin McClatchy demanding taxpayer moneys to help the Pirates compete and then turn around and use all the money to fund his failing media empire.

Dan Szymborski
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