As a huge fan of America’s past time or what used to be. It is very frustrating to see this sport continue to spin its wheels as because of labor discord, and a lockout we will not have baseball for at least the first couple of series.
While ratings have gone down year after year, for the World Series, and the average age of the baseball fan keeps getting older and older. Because of extraordinarily rich television deals, baseball owners have been able to ignore the obvious because they are making money in the short term.
I am an Orioles fan, and the team has decided to take a route of team building where they are losing and losing big on purpose, using draft picks, and the international market to find good young players. But in the meantime, the fans do not want to invest in tickets because the team is not even trying to be competitive in the meantime.
They are content to lose one hundred games until their young players finally develop. Baseball owners, and general managers are not incentivized to put talented players on the field now, instead they delay putting their hot prospects on the field to start the clock on their service time much later so they can control those players longer before they have to pay them.
This means fans must wait longer before they see hot prospects. This is not a fan friendly approach. Could you imagine an NBA team drafting a player with the number one draft pick and waiting two seasons before they ever put that player on the court so they could delay paying them?
Yeah, I could not imagine that either.
Derek Jeter is giving up his 4% interest in the Miami Marlins because his fellow co-owners were not investing into the team. The Marlins strategy has been to build a talented team via the draft and once their players grow and mature, they do not pay to resign them, and have a fire sale to give away all of their home-grown players.
Team owners have used the lock out to get the players association come to the table. I think both sides should concede things.
The players want higher minimum salaries, a larger size of the revenue pie, and a major sticking point is the Competitive Balance Tax, as most see it a luxury tax. The players side of the see this luxury tax as a salary cap. Team owners wanted to expand playoffs to fourteen teams getting in, and the players were set on keeping the playoffs at 12 teams.
If I were Rob Manfred the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, here are the changes I would want to see in terms of financial structure and fixing the on the field product.
Thirty second Pitch clock for pitchers to throw a pitch, to speed up the game. Games should not take 3 hours start to finish.
Universal Designated Hitter. Nobody wants to see pitchers hit, enough said.
Get rid of the shift. Play straight up defense in the infield. If you do this, you will have more balls get through the infield and more hits and more non-homerun driven offense. Which is great for the game.
Hard salary cap. These contracts are getting bonkers. It evens the field for smaller market teams.
7 years should be the maximum length of contracts to save owners from themselves with these long stupid contracts that almost never work out for the team.
Hard salary floor to make every team spend money to try to be competitive every season.
Teams should not be able manipulate service time for rookies, and the goal should be to put the best young players on the field, instead of holding them in the minors to control a player longer.
Not sure if any of my proposals will ever get done, but as I am writing this the lawyers are arguing to stamp out a new CBA. Let’s see what they come up with, and if we can get baseball going by Mid-April.