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Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Sharing the Wealth—One Fan’s View

I’ve had this submission in my inbox for a couple of weeks. Although a strike has been averted, the sentiments expressed in the article are still relevant. Sorry for the delay, Rosemary.

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First of all I want to explain that I am a baseball fan. Not a baseball fanatic. I like to watch baseball. I watch it being played on television. I go to baseball games. I enjoy it. It makes me happy. It allows me to share my excitement of the game with others. It connects people. It makes all of us one team.

I don’t know every players batting average, but I do know who has joined the   600 homerun club. I don’t know every baseball fact or fiction. I don’t make   it my life’s ambition to know those things. I know a few things….I am the   average fan.

I also know about the baseball strike that is lurking in the wings. I know   and I believe I understand the reasons behind it.

This is how I understand the dispute. The league wants owners and players who   have a lot of money and revenue, to give to those who don’t. The rich giving   to the poor. Correct? Now if it only worked that way in everyday life! Frankly,   I don’t know of any billionaire who is going to knock at my door and say, "Listen,   I know you don’t have as much money as I do and that upsets the competitive   balance, so here is a million dollars." Sorry….but its not going to happen.

However, we want baseball owners and players to do the very exact thing! Subsidize   other owners and players who may not have as much money. Why? Is it only me   who doesn’t get it? If Mr. Steinbrenner and the Yankees have money and hence   can afford to do more with it, why should they have to pay for another team   that doesn’t? How does that become the fault or the responsibility of Mr. Steinbrenner?   Or any other team that has a fair amount of money…...and there are other teams   besides the Yankees who do.

I have read and watched news reports where people, the average fans and the   fanatics, have said that if there is a strike, they will boycott baseball. Is   this to punish baseball or themselves?

I can not help to think of Hollywood celebrities. They get paid millions and   millions of dollars every time their face appears on camera, yet no one seems   to mind that at all. I certainly don’t see the movies being boycotted. People   go to the movies and enjoy every moment, never thinking about how much money   their favorite celebrities are demanding. I wonder how many of them are offering   part of their earnings for competitive balance?

I believe we all realize that the average baseball player is a good guy. He   is good to the people who appreciate him and good to those that don’t. He signs   the balls, waves to the crowd and does his job. He has bad days just like the   rest of us, and it doesn’t matter how much money we make, we all have them.   Working at a fast food restaurant or standing with a bat in your hand. Some   days just suck! Even when the crowd is jeering at him and calling him names,   he takes it. I’m sure there are times he even thinks he deserves it. He tries   to be fair. Is it fair to tell him he makes more money than another baseball   player so he has to hand it over?

As I said…...I’m average. I have read very in-depth commentaries that have   only confused me. I’ve read articles by people that offer solutions. Some of   them very reasonable. Everyone has a point of view. An opinion. This is mine.   I’m a simple person, and maybe how I see this battle is simple too. Why do people   feel a need to make everything complicated?

Maybe the are things that "poor" teams can do to make money? Maybe   a better and more loyal fan base would help. Maybe people could actually go   to a baseball game and support their teams, if they win or lose?

I know there will be many people who disagree with me. That is why we live   in a free county. So we can all voice our opinion. So we can share our thoughts   and feelings. So we can work at our job, make money, and even keep some of it.

Well until that billionaire comes knocking at my door, I’m going to support   baseball. The owners and the teams. Perhaps its me, but as a fan and as a human   being, I don’t think its fair that a team who has earned its money, should have   to hand over some of its earnings to a team who hasn’t earned any. How I see   it is that some baseball teams have a lot of money….and those that don’t are   jealous and want some of it. If those with money don’t want to share, then they   will strike and fans will be angry and won’t support baseball. Maybe instead   of going to a baseball game, they will see a movie!


Rosemary Smith Daatler Posted: September 03, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Zeke Posted: September 03, 2002 at 12:44 AM (#606090)

Rosemary, we have a saying up here in Canada; "Good on ya!" It is the equivalent of a hearty pat on the back for a job well done.

Good on ya!

I've been telling friends that Baseball ain't broke, and there is no need to fix it. That despite what the owners and the union do baseball will go on. I go see the Expos; the pleasure of seeing a game far outweighs everybody else's gripes.

   2. Patriot Posted: September 03, 2002 at 12:44 AM (#606091)
"I have to disagree with your fourth paragraph. This is exactly how it works in everyday life. Our complicated tax structure is designed to tax the rich to redistribute wealth to the poor in terms of welfare and other services"

Maybe, rather than using this as a justification for doing this in baeball, you are realizing that it is a terrible idea in everyday life, and that Steve Forbes and Rush Limabugh and Patriot are right, and we need a flat tax.
   3. John Posted: September 03, 2002 at 12:44 AM (#606096)
Frankly, I would put AL teams in New Jersey and Los Angeles and go to 4 divisions per league. Cut the Yanks down, but do so without demanding anything from them. If the New York area could at one time support 3/16 of MLB, why it couldn't today support 3/32 is beyond me. Here is a guy who agrees with me:

And the schedule would work out very nicely too, 24 games against teams in the division, 6 against other teams in the league, 12 rotating interleague games, and 6 permanent interleague games.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: September 04, 2002 at 12:45 AM (#606109)
The Yankees have so much more money because they get to keep their local TV revenue. How much do you think they would get if they had no one to play, or could only televise intra-squad games?

But of course this ridiculous scenario would never come to pass.

People who make this argument do so with blinders on. The existence of the D-Rays, Royals, Brewers, etc. benefit the Yankees in no way, other than providing the occasional easy victory.

Yes, the Yankees need teams to play. But do you seriously think they wouldn't rather play the Red Sox, Indians, Mariners, Cubs, Braves, Dodgers, Mets, etc? Don't you think that would really bring folks out to the park and the TV sets? Do you think that playing the D-Rays, etc. is really worth $50+ M per year to the Yankees?

Just look at college football and basketball, where much of the scheduling is left up to the individual teams. The college equivalent of the D-Rays get low apperance fees, never get to play major teams at home, and do little but provide easy victories. Meanwhile, matchups between two majors draws serious TV money and both schools make out quite well financially.

The ultimate danger in baseball isn't that the poor will revolt against the rich (that's basically what we're seeing now) but that the rich will decide to form their own league.
   5. jeff angus Posted: September 04, 2002 at 12:45 AM (#606110)
"If you are injured at work, the workers' compensation fund (funded by businesses) will compensate you for your loss. The same theory works for unemployment payments, social security..."

Actually, the money paid to the unemployed is money that's been deducted from their paychecks, not paid by the business. The more
a person pays in, the more they can collect (up to the max).
Worker's comp is paid by the business *in proportion to their loading of the system*. My business has paid almost nothing for over a decade, because our "experience rate," that is, the number and seriousness and expensive-ness of the injuries suffered at work is zero. My safety director does a great job. He came from a company that pays a hurtful amount, but they don't encourage or enforce safety standards. Worker's comp is not rich-to-poor, the companies reap what they sow.
Social security is more like unemployment insurance than worker's comp. And employers match amounts paid by employees. But the more an employee pays in, the more $$ they're entitled to when/if they live long enough to collect.
   6. Marc Posted: September 04, 2002 at 12:45 AM (#606117)
The problem with Rosemary's analysis is this.

I'm also a fan. I enjoy baseball for all the same reasons Rosemary does. But if baseball doesn't get its financial house in order, I soon won't be able to enjoy baseball...ok, well, not my own favorite team, anyway. That of course would be the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins need a new stadium. If you don't believe me, just ask them. They say (and Bud has been here probably a dozen times or more saying the same thing, oh yeah, and George too) that we need a new stadium in order to be able to compete with the larger market teams. That's what they say, I don't make this stuff up. And if George says we need a new stadium, then I guess he sees it as being in his interest. So help.

So the Twins payroll is now about $40 mil, and they're losing money. That's what they say. The Yankees, meanwhile, are at what? $120-130-140 mil? So say the Twins get a new stadium. One thing they don't say is how much additional revenue that will generate, I don't know why. Probably because it will do something like double (or less), meaning maybe they can increase their payroll to $70 mil and break even. Well, at that rate they'll still only be at half what the Yankees have, and the Yankees too will have a new stadium in a few years. Then we'll be back at 1/3 or less.

So the fact is that even with a new stadium the Twins will not be able to compete, consistently, with the big market teams. That's the big lie MLB has perpetrated on the baseball fans of Minnesota.

So if MLB wants the taxpayers of Minnesota to cough up $200-300 mil for a stadium, the least they (MLB) can do is come up with a little bit of dough to help the Twins achieve the purpose that Bud is always talking about--competing.

If MLB doesn't get its house in order, why should we? Oh, yeah? Yeah. Oh yeah? Yeah. And that's the way the argument will go until the Twins fold or leave town.

So now MLB has shown signs of getting its house in order; I've opposed public subsidies for a Twins stadium in the past, but now I think it might be appropriate. I'm more inclined to say yes after MLB (and the players) said yes, that they're willing to help. So this is a good thing.

And its got nothing to do with your taxes or SS or anything else. This is an entirely different world, where the minimum wage is more than I make from one leap year to the next. MLB has only done what it should have done. Now its time for Minnesota to do what it should do...but not do for MLB, but do for ourselves. Save the Twins.
   7. Carl Goetz Posted: September 10, 2002 at 12:46 AM (#606159)
'I can not help to think of Hollywood celebrities. They get paid millions and millions of dollars every time their face appears on camera, yet no one seems to mind that at all. '
Hollywood celebrities aren't being subsidized by taxpayers. If I hate Keanu Reeves, I can choose to not give him any of my money by not going to his movies or seeing his lame band. If I live in most major league towns and I dislike my home team or am not a baseball fan in general, I am still forced by law to help support them.
America hates deadbeats(as we should), especially when the deadbeats are capable of supporting themselves.

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