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Monday, May 14, 2001

If I Ran the Zoo…You’d All Be Applying for Transfers

Don weighs in with his opinion of Bud Selig’s contraction ideas.

You?d All Be Applying   for Transfers

The Expos are   here in town (San Francisco) this week, and the media is once again circling   the team like a pack of leering vultures. Bud Selig?s suicide ploy for the game?   ?contraction??is all over the news, and the local columnists, needing to fill   space in the papers, are having at it.

What?s interesting?no, typical?in John Shea?s article in the San   Francisco Chronicle is its utter lack of historical perspective. Baseball   has always had its share of ?have not? teams, but no team has disbanded in one   hundred and one years?in 1900, to be exact, when the National League ?contracted?   from twelve teams to eight.

Of course, that   ?contraction? was swiftly followed by the evolution of the American League,   which brought eight new teams into the major league fold and cemented the structure   of the game that we all know so well (and cling to as part of the game?s often   arch sense of ?tradition?).

What Shea and   other media types don?t bother to examine is that fact that revenue sharing   is the real villain in the internicine war amongst the Baseball Lords. What   rankles the owners is that certain teams (the Expos being one) have used the   revenue sharing rules put into place in the most recent collective bargaining   agreement to ?sandbag? with respect to the current salary structure and actually   use the luxury tax money as a way to turn a profit.

We shouldn?t expect   Shea, or any columnist writing for a major metropolitan newspaper, to unburden   us with the real story. That?s not how the corporate game is played, and even   the guys in the toy department are not exempt from those rules.

What I can tell   you is that Bud Selig?s ideas continue to be as addled as ever, and are   probably a much greater threat to the well-being of the game/business than the   purported problems of three or four franchises.

What the Expos   probably need to do is fire Felipe Alou, who has clearly lost his effectiveness   as a nurturer of young talent, and spend some money trying to reawaken their   dormant?not dead?fan base.

Selig seems to   forget (along with so many other things?) that his own city of Milwaukee went   through an interesting roller-coaster ride, wooing, winning and being abandoned   by the Braves in the space of thirteen short years, and being returned to a   few years later.

In short, the   Lords are playing a new version of their Chicken Little game, trying to make   people think that there are no alternatives for so-called ?failing? franchises   but to disappear from the face of the earth.

Let?s suspend   disbelief for the moment and stipulate that the Expos and any ?failing? franchise   from the AL of your choice need to have something done about them. Why on earth   has the option of relocation been dismissed out of hand?

Because of revenue   sharing and its internicine dilemmas for the politics raging between so-called   small and large-market teams. Baseball?s ?brain trust? is comprised mostly of   men who?ve been lifted out of ?small market? areas and who are used to appeasement   within their own ranks.

They have always been vulnerable to ?large market? bullying of one sort or   another, a fact that goes all the way back to the days of Walter O?Malley,   who was the architect of baseball?s transformation when he moved the Dodgers   to the west coast.

What Bud Selig?s   bobble-headed brain trust is unwilling to grasp is that by contracting, they   set in motion forces that signify a complete breach of trust with the fan base.   It is far better to relocate these ?failing franchises? and hold out the carrot   of a new franchise (as occurred in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Seattle). The   balance between fans and team is disrupted, but not destroyed.

What they are   also unwilling to face up to is the fact that there are places for ?failing   franchises? to relocate.

Where are those   places?

In the big-market   areas—in New Jersey, and in the eastern quadrant of Los Angeles (Riverside   and San Bernardino counties).

If the Expos and   the AL ?loser of your choice? need to be moved, then move those guys right into   those areas with new ownership and give them the incentive of a larger fan base.   If the abandoned fans in Montreal and pick-your-poisoned-AL-metropolis get mad   enough, they?ll get their acts together and petition for a new franchise.

Of course, there   is no way that the Chicken Little outfit running baseball will do this. (I was   going to use another word that began with ?chicken?, but Furtado/Forman are   family men and while they might swear like sailors in private, they don?t want   it done on their site.)

Budzilla and company   simply don?t have the guts to do so, much less the vision.

What they don?t   understand is that crying wolf is one thing, but acting on it is quite another.   The idea of replacement players was intensely repugnant to baseball?s fan base,   and hastened the demise of the owners? most recent attempt to destroy the Players?   Association. The idea of ?contraction? is taking the threat of hara-kiri and   making it actual: once you do it, you will eventually bleed to death.

Once you contract,   how do you convince anyone that your next expansion will be viable?

There are so many   other possible remedies to the rather limited set of problems facing baseball   that one can only assume that the owners have some kind of collective death   wish when they fixate on the one action that is certain to put dark clouds over   their future.

Ultimately, to   iron out its schedule/logistical difficulties, baseball needs 32 franchises.   There?s no earthly reason why they can?t still get there, and create either   a four-league structure with a reasonable amount of interleague play (a gimmick   that most fans seem to enjoy) or a symmetrical two-league structure with eight-team   divisions.

The current schedule   (unbalanced division play and interleague play) is comically unwieldy and adds   even more random luck to the outcome than the previous three-division schedule   structures. Baseball in the next millennium might be wisest to simply discard   divisions altogether, while permitting a little variety by retaining interleague   play. (Especially if you wind up with three teams in New York and Los Angeles,   all of which will presumably be in different leagues.)

Baseball fans   will doubtless loudly object to the idea of four leagues on the basis that it   destroys ?tradition.? We need to get past such arguments if the game is to progress   beyond its recent internicine stage. A fresh start, a fresh structure that at   the same time celebrates the pre-expansion roots of the game would be a giant   breath of fresh air in a sport that is stale with its ingrown cynicism. Break   up the media center revenue imbalance, and we can get back to the game, with   new traditions and new rivalries, and all of the old ones, too.

That?s what I?d   do, if I ran the zoo.


Don Malcolm Posted: May 14, 2001 at 06:00 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Colin Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603763)
Has anything been said about the actual cost of contraction - how much money would need to be reimbursed to the owners whose teams would evaporate? Seems like it would be a huge amount of cash, given how much MLB has been charging for franchise feees in recent expansions, and I just don't see Bud's brewers forking over their $10-20m share of that cost for two teams.
   2. Paul Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603765)
You may be missing the point, Don... the quality of play would improve
with the removal of four teams (or even two), because with a re-entry
draft, those teams' players would go to teams that still exist, creating
more depth and over all quality. Adding more teams, as you suggest,
would be a death-knell for the game itself, even supposing they would
be financially viable, which is doubtful. Consider-- what exactly is
"viable"? The ability to exist, or the ability to compete (substitute
"willingness" if you prefer; the meaning is the same)? Really, though,
I am past all hope that Bud Selig will ever do anything actually logical
or good; I am in favor of contraction because I want to see what would
   3. scruff Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603768)
I've posted similar comments to these on the blogs, but they seem pretty relevant here.

If I'm in DC (I am) or Buffalo or Indianapolis or Charlotte or Sacramento, I'd be really, really ticked off that there is talk of contraction when there are many viable untapped markets which could support a baseball team in this country. Not to mention Mexico City.

Paul, did you see the Sports Reporters on ESPN yesterday? Bob Ryan got on his high Puritan, New England horse and started talking about how "every city doesn't need a baseball team" and there are too many teams already. He talked about how contraction would fix the dilution caused by expansion. Real easy for you say Bob/Paul, your beloved Red Sox/whoever aren't going anywhere, but other inferior towns should learn to do without? That is a very pompus elitist attitude to have.

Don, while I too think 32 teams would be ideal, I completely disagree with putting a team in Jersey. I guess you are from SF, I don't know if you get to the East coast often. North Jersey is still too close to NY, just look at the lack of support for the Devils. I've lived in Soprano's country and worked in Newark, and people there talk more about a sub-.500 Ranger team than a Stanley Cup Champion Devils squad. There are too many viable areas that don't have a team (Buffalo, Charlotte, DC, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Nashville to name a few) to give NY/NJ or LA/Anaheim a 3rd team. South Jersey is just a suburb of Philadelphia, I'll bet Flyer fans outnumber Devil fans 20-1 in South Jersey. I'm not exagerrating. Jersey should be considered wasteland for expansion. They are too loyal to NY/PHI to adopt their own team, as the Devils/Nets prove every night. Besides there is no place in NJ that you are more than an hour an 15 minutes away from a major league ballpark (either Philly or NY). Let's expand/move to areas that don't already have easy access to the majors.

From the way it looks, Buffalo is a much more viable place to put a baseball team than Tampa, the Devil Rays should have been the Buffalo Bisons. We wouldn't even be talking about them if baseball had made the right call in awarding that franchise. That being said, I have a hard time knocking a city until their team has been competitive though. I think Tampa should be given a chance until they prove they won't support a competitive team. Very few cities support uncompetitive teams WITH tradition. Tampa doesn't even have that to fall back on.

   4. Cris E Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603771)
This is weird: I posted a lot of this same sentiment over in a different
thread earlier today, and here comes Don saying many of the same things. Well,
aside from the quest for 32 teams I agree with pretty much everything.

I recently came across an old piece someone wrote years ago about the coming
re-org. It's hopelessly out of date now ("now that AZ has been given a
franchise...") there's a great idea in it: two leagues, two divisions of
eight, with the original 16 making up two of the divisions and the expansion
clubs fliling the other two. I thought it was a great idea. (Of course, this
guy went on to propose that these comprise one league and that the new clubs
form the other. Traditional baseball can keep being played in one league,
and the new guys can play with colored balls, designated runners, and any
other blame fool ideas they want. I wasn't ready to follow him there.)

About the expansion/relocations: OK, scruff says NJ is out. I think that
NY could support a third team and maybe should just to split the revenue
a little bit but I don't live there. About his other suggestions: whatever,
they'll probably work. Moves like this are predicated on revenue sharing
that would make a lot of cities viable. Green Bay may not work, but a rich guy
like Paul Allen in city like Portland might be a good example of team #31. There
are others and the specifics are not important.

The real problem here is getting a bunch of owners to agree on ironing out a
revenue distribution problem that will let everyone share while still letting
the successful teams see material gain from winning. These guys are all
fairly successful businessmen the rest of the week, so it seems like a
surmountable problem. Unfortunately once the ego and identity get wrapped
up in the management of the business lots of goofy things start to happen.
   5. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 14, 2001 at 12:05 AM (#603775)
For a change, I agree with everything Don wrote... and I disagree with most of the replies posted here.

1) I don't think there's a god given right to a major league team, and if scruff wants to (inaccurately) term it elitist, well, I accept the label gladly. I don't see people arguing that Troy ought to get a team again. If a town doesn't support a team, it doesn't deserve it.

2) The level of play argument is a bizarre one. The level of play is as high as it has ever been in history, and you'd never notice the difference between 28 and 30 and 32 teams just by following the sport.

3) I live in NJ too, and a team could easily be supported here IMO. Comparisons to hockey don't contribute much to the discussion, because nobody watches hockey. It's an unpopular fringe sport. New York could support three teams 50 years ago; I think it can support three teams now. I think it could support four teams now. New Jerseyans could use a team whose games they could drive to, attend and get home at a reasonable hour. And there's plenty of television stations in NY. And this would have the added benefit of cutting into Yankee revenues, bringing them back to the pack somewhat without simply handing their revenues to badly-run teams.

4) As for expansion teams being a disaster, let's leave the spin to Bud Selig.
   6. scruff Posted: May 15, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603783)
Vic, from what I understand, Pilot Field could easily be expanded to hold mid-30s to low 40's which is basically the capacity of most of the new stadiums. I think PNC Park is under 40,000, most of the others are a little over 40,000. In DC RFK could be used until and appropriate park is built, they've played there before. I'm sure the Hoosier Dome would be fine for Indy or the Superdome in New Orleans until an appropriate baseball stadium could be built. What about old Tulane Stadium, where they used to play the Sugar Bowl? Erickson Stadium would work in Charlotte. The Rockies played in a football stadium for a couple of years, as did the Dodgers. The Giants made it work for 40+ years. I know the Marlins complain about their park, but it's not a terrible baseball stadium, it's got a cool scoreboard and funky dimensions.

If you put teams in these cities, baseball would be extremely viable. You could move the Expos to DC. Tampa Bay to New Orleans. Expand to Buffalo and Charlotte. You could go with either four 8-team divisions, or eight 4-team divisions. No wild card needed, just 8 division champions. Pennant races return. Eliminate the DH in exchange for 50 more jobs, how could the union refuse? Talent is not diluted at all right now (expansion washes out in 3-4 years tops), but eliminating the DH would help if you think it is, rather than keeping baseball out of 4 very viable markets. Pitching is PERCEIVED to be worse because almost every new park has been constructed as a hitter's park. Build pitcher's parks in the new towns, and you'd fix that perception, along with the new strike zone. Besides, it's easier to build a winner in a pitcher's park anyway, just ask the Cubs and Red Sox and Rockies how hard it is to assemble a decent pitching staff, without Clemens or Pedro. This would give the expansion teams slightly better shot at being more competitive.
   7. jeff angus Posted: May 15, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603786)
Don Malcolm's article points out many of the logical challenges to the business of baseball in an attempt to achieve 'contraction'.

There's another, more challenging, one, a 'tragedy of the commons'...that is, what's best for each individual owner as a profit-making enterprise is not what's best for the business-as-a-whole.

The enemy is The Dismal Pseudoscience, accounting, a terrible weakness in contemporary business. It can measure about 40% of the value of things, and because accounting CAN'T measure the value of certain things, it pretends they have no economic value. Let's apply this to re-location for a moment.
Folk have suggested re-location to places like Buffalo (Metro area population, about 1.1 MM), Charlotte (Metro area population: about 1.3 MM) and Sacramento (Metro area population: about 1.3 MM). Good cities for minor league baseball, but none of them have a history of incredible support for baseball.

What about Santo Domingo, Domincan Republic (Metro area population: about 2 MM) or San Juan, Puerto Rico (Metro area population: about 1.8 MM)? Havana, Cuba (Metro area population: about 2.4 MM)? Passionate about baseball. Great investment in the future (stoke up youth interest in a poverty zone, which means a powerful gravitational field that tugs youngsters into pursuit of a playing career. A good place to add to April and September schedules to reduce freeze-out games. BTW: Mexico City has the population, but environmental factors push against it....high altitude, air pollution worse than Washington DC, incredible poverty rate even compared to those other three cities and that's been skyrocketing since the NAFTA, crime rate spiraling up steadily.

The shortcomings are all in the dismal pseudoscience areas -- the accounting just doesn't 'make'. Economically poor fan base (lower average ticket price, lower concession revenues), fewer luxury boxes,less local broadcast revenue. On the hidden side of the ledger is weather and passion and mulching the fields for amplified player development. And passion. But it would require valuing the good of the overall-business against the net-present-value of dollars they could invest in other, only fully-measureable, things.

Accounting isn't just the death of the romantic ideal of baseball, it's the asphyxiation of the actual business, too.

To repeat an idea posted earlier, one high-probability correlate of people going to the park is a competitive team, so expanding to 32, and having a first- and second division scheme, as in world soccer leagues, increases the difference between the 30th percentile team and the 99th percentile team. I think that's the best (yes, imperfect) solution I've heard
   8. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: May 15, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603788)
If I ran the zoo...

I'd outlaw the farm systems and limit rosters to 40 contracts TOTAL. The minors would thrive in the cities that would support baseball and the ability for a big-league club to find a proven player to improve the team would be a lot easier. And it would probably reduce the fear that makes teams sign the Derek Bell's of the world to multi-year contracts because the replacement is that much easier to get.

If a market shows enough attendance, they can "graduate" to the next level when expansion time comes. And if your team can't compete at that level anymore, you are SOL.
   9. Rich Rifkin I Posted: May 15, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603790)
Regarding the viability of Sacramento as a baseball market, some of the above comments are mistaken. The population of the Sacramento MSA (Metropolitain Statistical Area), according to the 2000 Census, is just over 1.8 million people. There are well more than 2.5 million people who live within 45 miles of Sacramento, but many of those extra 700,000 people live nearer to Oakland, than they do the state capital.

I have no doubt that Sacramento could support a major league baseball team, in terms of drawing fans to the games. The Sacramento River Cats (AAA) average about 11,000 fans per game, which is well-more than many major league teams have averaged in the past. With a major league stadium, I believe Sacramento could draw 20-25,000 fans per game. Unlike the Bay Area, Sacramento is a good sports market, especially inclined to love baseball. Huge numbers of major leaguers have grown up in Sacramento, including both of last year's Managers of the Year, Dusty Baker and Jerry Manuel.

However, for two different reasons, Sacramento is not a good expansion market: 1) there are no major corporate businesses headquartered here or nearby. We have ZERO Fortune 500 companies, here. Sacramento is a government town, not a commericial city. And that means that selling luxury boxes and attracting corporate sponsorship is very difficult, if not impossible; and 2) without TV and radio revenue-sharing, being the 23rd largest media market in the nation guarantees that a Sacramento-based team will be greatly handicapped in competing for free agents.

As I said in Sean Forman's Blog on this same topic, the problem is too little revenue in some of the smaller markets, and the obvious answer is a rational distribution of all TV, radio and gate revenues.
   10. Tangotiger Posted: May 15, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603792)
I agree that having a "premier league", "division 1", etc, like in European soccer is the best scheme. You put 12 or 16 or 20 teams in each division, and then have the bottom 2 and top 2 of the lower division go into a "playoff" to see who should go/remain in the premier division. You can seed them initially by revenue generated. Teams in lower divisions would always be able to "sell transfer rights" to teams in the higher divisions, etc. You get competitive teams, and eventually, most of the talented players mushroom to the premier league.

But, nah, let's talk about less baseball. Let's start removing teams, because fans won't support 25$/ticket seats.
   11. scruff Posted: May 16, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603795)
Maybe this is cultural elitism, but I don't think a soccer style setup is appropriate. I just can't imagine it.

That being said, I'll try anything to see how it works. If anyone is interested, I'd love to start a diamond mind league using this system, to see how it would work. Let me know you'd have any interest in running a franchise, and we could post the results to the web. I'm curious to see how it would work out.
   12. scruff Posted: May 16, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603800)
Dayn, I disagree with the occupied markets thing. DC is one thing, it's a different city than Baltimore, different traditions, etc. No one here think of it and Baltimore as one, we actually hate Baltimore. I've been in North Jersey, at they hate to admit it, but it is Newark is a big suburb of NY. Or to be nicer, they are twin cities, like Minneapolis/St.Paul. DC/Baltimore is a completely different dynamic. Cities 40-50 miles apart are much different than cities 4-5 miles apart.

But most of North Jersey is Yankee country now. Brooklyn is becoming worse than Newark, it has really gone downhill (my dad is from Bushwick, and he won't even go back there now, it's that bad) it is absolutely not a place to put a team right now. And those people are not going to change their stripes to root for the Twins or Expos or an expansion team. Again, I point to the Devils. They don't cut into the Rangers revenue streams at all.

An expansion team in Jersey will not even put a ripple through Steinbrenner's or the Met's revenue streams. The teams and the game would be much better served by moving into untapped markets that can support a major league franchise, such as Sacramento, Indianapolis, Buffalo, New Orleans, Charlotte, Louisville or Washington DC/Northern VA (the population of Loudoun County, VA has nearly doubled since 1990 (up 97%), this market would have no trouble supporting a team these days, it's not 1972 anymore). This broadens the fan base of the game by exposing the big leagues to more people. Why should NY/NJ fans get a 4th team (counting Philly for South Jersey) when there are at least 7 viable markets that could support one (not to mention Montreal or Miami if the teams were just marketed and constructed properly). Just so Steinbrenner or the Dodgers don't make as much money? That sounds ludicrous to me and unfair to the other towns that deserve big league baseball.

You could apply modest revenue sharing. Splitting the gate and local rights fees would be a start. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that no one is watching intra-squad games. The opponent should get half. But this also means the Yanks should get half when they draw big on the road. It should all be equal, not just take from the big guys and give to the poor. Let the home team keep the concessions, parking, etc. On the same token, visiting teams should pay the portion of any stadium lease for games they play in a visiting stadium. Make it a partnership, one that provides incentive for building your own streams (the right to keep half of everything you produce, plus all concessions, etc.). I really think this could work. You tie this to higher minimum salaries with a superstar cap, and you could get the players to buy in, no matter what Don Fehr says, the rank and file outnumber the guys making $10,000,000 a year, and I could see them voting for something like that if it were brought to them. Especially by guaranteeing 50 new jobs with expansion.
   13. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 16, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603802)

The idea that Sacramento, Indianapolis, Buffalo, New Orleans, Charlotte, Louisville and Washington DC/Northern VA are all viable markets is insane. While Washington is, it would severely cut into Baltimore's market; if you're going to split an existing market, it should be NY. Saying that people in Washington "hate Baltimore" is just rhetoric. Most people in Washington who moved there after 1972, and many from before, follow the Orioles.

The others listed are simply too small. The smallest existing market is Milwaukee. Sacramento is approximately the same size as Milwaukee (6% bigger), and not that far from SF/Oakland. You sure can't support three teams among SF/Oakland/Sacramento. Milwaukee is 5% bigger than Indianapolis, 30% bigger than Buffalo, 20% bigger than New Orleans, 10% bigger than Charlotte, and a whopping 40% bigger than Louisville. (All using metro areas and the 2000 census) A market a little more than half as big as Milwaukee is not a viable market.

As per the census, there are only two metropolitan areas in this country which aren't within another team's market and which are bigger than Milwaukee. One is San Juan, which is problematic because of a lack of money. The other is Portland. Portland would still be a small market (the same size as Pittsburgh, bigger than only Cincinnati, KC, and Milwaukee).

NY should get a third team -- Philadelphia is completely separate -- because there are more people in NY. The NYC metro area is almost 3 times bigger than Sacramento, Indianapolis, Buffalo, New Orleans, Louisville, and Charlotte *combined.* I say this not as someone who thinks the world revolves around NY; I grew up in Maryland as an Os fan, and am living in NJ only because I have to. Sure, NJ is Yankee country now, and people aren't going to switch their allegiance immediately. But it would happen gradually, particularly when the current Yankee run ends (soon).
   14. Cris E Posted: May 17, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603806)
Mark -

Pohlad is not catching hell for what is happening this year
or even last year. As the latest group of youngsters has come
through (Radke, Milton, Guzman, Koskie, etc) he's written the
checks to keep them. But the six or eight years before then,
after the 91-92 teams started to fade, he let everything go on
the field and cut costs. In 1992 the Twins had a payroll around
$34m and Puckett was (for a week or so) the highest paid played
in the game. After that high point his signings were limited to
local boys coming home to retire at a discount (Molitor, Steinbach,
Winfield) or aging filler (Otis Nixon, Bob Tewksbury, Mike Moore,
Bob Kipper, et al). There was little intent to win, but the team
turned a profit for many of those years. One thing you haven't heard
from the Twins is a complaint about losing money. In fact, the last
two Christmases I recall mention of pretty good checks going to all
office employees based on the good year the team had. ("Good" in an
accounting sense rather than any baseball sense.) He is not villified
for a youth drive but an economy drive where league revenue sharing
checks more than cover the major league team payroll. You want to know
how close Radke came to not getting an offer? Go back and read up on
the story from last summer: everyone around here was certain he was
gone. Even so his contract has an out where he can go free agent if
the team doesn't make strides toward competitiveness. Here in MN there's
a very real concern for ol' Carl's commitment to anything beyond the
bottom line.
   15. scruff Posted: May 17, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603807)
Dave, what you say is absolutely not grounded in facts.

People in DC hate Baltimore, I live here, that is fact. For about 3 days on Sports Radio here last year, they ripped into a Sporting News story listing the best sports cities in the country. They ripped because the article (written or edited by someone who has NO clue about the area) listed the two cities as Washington/Baltimore, which is insane, the two cities HATE each other. Similarly, all of my friends from Baltimore hated the Redskins, always complained that they want THEIR OWN team back. Being from Maryland, I can't believe you don't see this.

The Redskins made more profit than any team in the NFL last year, even with the highest payroll, and a new team from Baltimore selling out and winning the Super Bowl right down the road. People here root for the Orioles only because they are forced upon them, by a system that can't seperate the two cities.

If you don't think the cities I mentioned could support a major league team, I think you are crazy. There is more to it than market size. Cleveland and Atlanta used to be small market. Seattle's population is a hell of a lot smaller than Philly. It all has to do with how you market your team and how good a product you put on the field. Do you know where I can get the census by city that you mention? I'd love to see the complete data. I would add Portland to the list and call it 8 markets that could support a team. I had no idea it was that big a city.
   16. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 19, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603816)

What on earth do Don's comments have to do with the issue of paying for stadiums? All Right-Thinking People (IOW, everyone except politicians and baseball owners) are against taxpayer funding for stadiums, but how is that related to the question of how many teams there should be?

As for the comments about quality of play, the polite version of my response is "Hogwash." The claim that talent is diluted is ideological, not fact-based. All you have to do is look at the Philadelphia teams, or the Browns, or Indians, from before the expansion era to see that 16 teams doesn't somehow make for a Utopian world where every player does everything right. Deion Sanders isn't a very good player -- but there will be bad players no matter how many teams there are.

P.S. Don Malcolm is an example of why society needs editors. <g>
   17. All you Need is Glove Posted: May 19, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603817)
I believe the point of Dons manifesto was to advocate the relocation of failing small market teams to other small market locations.

My poorly stated point was that the multi millionaire ownership of these candidates for relocation will not relocate to any city, or big town (Portland Oregon)unless somebody, besides them, finances and builds a yard for them to play in.

I would like some opinions on if contraction did happen, what do you think of some teams playing regional home games in two geographical venues?

Green Bay Packers did it in Milwaukee and Green Bay several years ago.

   18. All you Need is Glove Posted: May 20, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603820)
I am apathetic to people that pull the race card out of their "a !*" when they are unable to keep in trur context another persons opinion.

The pot is almost always calling the kettle black in these cases.

   19. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: May 21, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#603825)
Yes, I can imagine what it would cost to put a stadium on Manhattan Island. I can also imagine the outrageous naming rights fees such a stadium would generate. I can also imagine that having to pay a mortgage on such a property would shift a significant portion of revenue to that rather than stockpiling players; and that is the great equalizer a truly free market would enable.

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