Saturday, February 28, 2004

Some sports musings I remember watching the Marvin Miller spots on Ken Burns' Baseball, especially intrigued with how he and the players union tricked the owners into accepting limited free agency in 1976. Miller was quite astute to see that this scheme would drive up player salaries higher than a completely open system (a system in which a player's contract length is the sole determining factor of tenure with a team -- in other words, when a contract is up, both team and player are free to pursue renewal or other options). For the sake of us mid-city sports fans, a method of revenue-sharing is essential. Take football, for example: the wealth of management is not the main determining factor of success. Baseball, in contrast, allows a rich, not-too-bright owner to pile up playoff appearances in New York. Baseball was at its zenith in the 80's, when any team had a decent chance of success and players were relatively free to earn their worth. Football may still be at its zenith. Sad to say, hockey has yet to see the foothills. I can't get excited about watching the NHL on TV. So when I hear about the impending lockout of the players so the owners can get out of the financial holes they've dug themselves, I can't get too concerned. All of the teams on my sidebar will still be functioning next year, and I can tune in radio broadcasts on the net and follow the standings on the teams' pages. Still no sign of hockey in Kansas City, so my viewing habits (tv and live) will probably not be radically altered. I've never seen the virtue of rich dudes owning sports teams. It makes no sense to me. The baseball team where I grew up was community-owned, and still is. That makes the most sense: for a community to own a team. That way it never moves (unless it goes bankrupt). And the stockholding fans determine the worth of their players, not billionaires who can't find a middle ground with their toys.

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