A Different Note

I’ve been debating mentioning this hear, but I’m thinking that even though it’s been a couple of weeks, I still should say something.

I’m a very big baseball fan and baseball is a sport that is doing extremely well despite the current commissioner. Baseball is extremely profitable, again despite the dire warnings from Bud Selig. These warnings tend to drive people away, but he’s only concerned about getting money from states and municipalities to create new stadiums.

An example, when owners creatively financed their own stadiums, such as Peter Magowan of San Francisco, Selig threatened to enforce a rule long defunct that could theoretically take away the team from such owners.

One response to this was as follows:
“That lesson won’t be lost in other cities, where owners demanding new stadia will soon be explaining that while they’d love to help pay for their facilities, Commissioner Selig won’t let them. Coming in the wake of the Minnesota Twins’ argument that holding them to the terms of the Metrodome lease they renewed six weeks before the contraction announcement “derides the free market system, blasts the fundamental policies of free enterprise and private ownership, and assures this court that government knows best,” it’s apparent that MLB really does consider itself above the law: the only business entitled to millions of dollars in public subsidies with no obligation in return.”

This response was written by Doug Pappas in an article on Baseball Prospectus at:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1380. Many of you probably won’t be able to read the whole article, because it’s a subscription service.

However, at http://www.roadsidephotos.com/baseball/index.htm you can read a great deal about what Doug Pappas has researched over the business of baseball. He dispels many of the rumors and outright lies purported by the Commissioner’s office in order to get more money.

This is important in another way. When baseball collective bargaining agreement discussions begin again, the owners will make sure that everyone knows how much money MLB players are making. They’ll say they’re losing money and that they’re having to drive ticket, concession, and parking prices up in order to pay their players. It’s a seductive argument, one that appeals to our wonder at people making millions playing a game.

But the owners are lying. The articles Doug Pappas has written show the numbers and the truth behind baseball economics. The owners make millions while the value of their team rises at the same time. It’s like getting a huge amount of rent while still living at the house and being able to sell the property for 20 times what you paid for it.

Two weeks ago, Pappas died hiking in Big Bend. While I won’t assume that the Commissioner’s office is happy about any person’s death, I’ll bet there was a certain amount of relief as this happened just as Pappas was flowing into the mainstream media. The owners know that their ability to negotiate their next CBA just got a little bit easier.

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