July 05, 2002

The strike that will kill baseball.: "The players don't seem to understand that they have peculiar skills of limited marketability. Throwing a ball 95 miles an hour has few industrial applications. If the players betray us again, it will be gratifying to see pitchers who might have made $5 million a year pumping gas at the local Exxon."

posted by kirkaracha to baseball at 11:11 AM - 11 comments

whatever. I *still* don't get it. What's wrong with Baseball? It's the best it's ever been.

posted by djacobs at 01:37 PM on July 05, 2002

Perhaps it is the best it has ever been, but if they walk again, will you be able to say the same thing. After all, it can only be great if they actually are playing the games. I know for a fact that it will make me look at the game differently (and there is enough blame to be shared between the players and owners here). Is there another Cal Ripken or Sosa/McGwire home run race waiting in the wings to recapture fan interest if the World Series is cancelled again? I just don't see it happening.

posted by trox at 02:22 PM on July 05, 2002

Of course it's sad when players are making millions per year and still call a strike. I know that's what's going to happen when the CBA expires in the NHL in 2004, but is it the same in baseball and other sports? My sports knowledge is pretty weak outside of hockey, so can someone else maybe explain to me which sports have salary caps, how they are working so far, and whether or not it's a good idea for all sports?

posted by Samsonov14 at 02:56 PM on July 05, 2002

If the players strike this time...I am going to root for its total collapse, for Major League Baseball to disappear. This had me laughing. I am of the same sports knowledge as Samsonov14 (outside of my brief flirtations with following the Detroit Bad Boys...er, Pistons), but I gotta agree with the guy, that the attraction to the sport seems to have waned. At least among those I know (who in no way represent a statistical sample, for sure). I am shitting twinkies at the prospect of the CBA expiring in 2004, and judging from the player's union's attempts to drive up salaries as high as they can go, this one is going to be bad. Chelios recently recounted the pressure he was under to test the market, even though he didn't really want to. I am doing research for my job into other sports right now, and they seem to have a salary cap in basketball where no team can go over a certain amount of money. (what is it, $45 million or so? I forgot, forgive me.) And if you go over that mark, you are slapped with a "luxury tax." Can anyone with more familiarity expand upon this? I wonder if it would work for hockey players.

posted by adampsyche at 03:17 PM on July 05, 2002

the luxury tax is a dollar-for-dollar penalty on a team over the cap, adam. if you are $10 million dollars over the cap, you must also pay $10 million dollars to the NBA in tax.

posted by moz at 04:43 PM on July 05, 2002

Sorry folks, if the MLB falls apart somebody will step up, and start a new league.

posted by jbou at 09:45 PM on July 05, 2002

MLB won't fall apart. It'll decline, and be forced to contract [not for the bogus reasons being given now, but because of a near-collapse in TV revenue.] But there will always be Yankees and Sox and Cubs fans, so even if it does go to a much, much smaller league with smaller stadiums and less relevance, it won't just fold up and go away. My personal bet is that it'll keep going until 'real' contraction happens- i.e., until one team collapses financially and no one actually wants to buy it. When that happens, the players[1] will realize what they've done to the sport and relent. This might even happen before they're looking up at MLS's TV ratings- we'll see :) [1]Yes, the owners are greedy, stupid bastards too, but, at core, I think the player's refusal to agree to a salary cap is what will kill baseball- eventually the owners will agree and outvote Steinbrenner, but will still be unable to override the players.

posted by tieguy at 10:19 PM on July 05, 2002

Re: the NBA cap -- There's a soft cap, which is defined as 48.04% of basketball related income at this point. You can go over it under certain situations (resigning your star player, etc.), which I guess is what a soft cap means. There's also a cap on player salaries, dependent on how long they've been in the league. That cap is also soft. There's also a luxury tax, which is triggered when the league-wide salaries and benefits exceed the designated percentage of BRI by more than 10% of the league-wide salaries and benefits. There will be a luxury tax this coming season; there probably won't be the season after that, based on projected salaries. Teams like Portland and the Knicks get away with paying insane salaries because teams like the Clippers always wind up way under the cap. The estimable Larry Coon has written up a very good salary cap FAQ, from which I have cribbed extensively.

posted by Bryant at 02:01 AM on July 06, 2002

The NBA salary cap seems to be the best unless you prefer your home team's best players getting cut after the season, as happens in the NFL. And yet, the NBA has more teams like the Royals and Brewers than any of the other two major sports leagues. In general, the Wizards, Clippers, Warriors, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Hawks have been pretty pathetic in recent years. Only recently have the Kings, Nets, Mavericks, and Sixers given up their lottery membership cards. This points more toward smart and committed management as a factor in winning rather than money. By comparison, only three MLB franchises -- the Tigers, Brewers, Devil Rays and Royals -- seem to be hopeless (in every way) on a year-to-year basis, in a league where people constantly talk about haves and have-nots. As much as people like to whine about the Yankees and the players union, charity starts at home and the choices teams make determine the chances more than the marketplace. Some clubs spend and do so wisely. Others spend, but don't do it as well (See Dodgers and Orioles in the late 90s). Some clubs like the Phillies are in big markets but spend like they're in Green Bay. The Athletics make the most of what they have, while the Royals choose to pray for rain as they've done for the past dozen years.

posted by jackhererra at 11:04 AM on July 06, 2002

I was going to say something about the lack of parity in the NBA, but then I realized it wouldn't be fair; the Lakers were built before the current collective bargaining agreement, so you can't pin their dominance on that. Last year, the highest spending NBA team was New York, followed closely by Portland. Milwaukee came in next, 20 million bucks lower. Then Philly. The top five rounds out with Phoenix. We finally hit a real contender with Sacramento at number six.

posted by Bryant at 12:36 PM on July 06, 2002

Maybe this strike will be the straw that makes MLB finally realize that the way of the NBA and NFL is the right path. How can you attract a new generation of fans if the seasons keep getting cancelled? The answer is: you won't.

posted by owillis at 10:22 PM on July 07, 2002

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