Monday, March 17, 2008

Billionaires Cry Poor

"I don't want these teams in general to forget who subsidizes a lot of them, and it's the Yankees, the Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets. I would prefer if teams want to target the Yankees that they at least start giving some of that revenue sharing and luxury tax money back. From an owner's point of view, that's my point."
--Hank Steinbrenner

I don't have many issues with the revenue sharing system - it helps to balance the playing field overall. I don't think we'll ever see a salary cap in baseball, and that may not be a bad thing. The main problem is that some teams (like Florida) actually spend less on their team payroll than they get from revenue sharing. The richer teams are actually paying the Marlins to beat them - that shouldn't happen. A salary floor would solve that problem. I haven't done even close to the research necessary on the subject (or as much as many others have done), but I think that requiring teams to use all of the revenue sharing that they receive on the team, or all of their total profits (sharing + tickets + etc. - payroll - stadium - etc) in order to continue receiving the sharing money, would be beneficial to the sport. If this went along with a restructuring of the player compensation system (6 years of team control, 3 years of arbitration, etc.) that would be excellent, though I doubt the player's union is too keen on that now. As it is, teams pay for a player's best years (say, age 24-30) while getting their decline phase (31-36) on the free-agent market. The young players are therefore payed less then they deserve first, and then more then they deserve later. It's starting to lead to problems as teams are figuring this out a locking their young stars up early, drying up the free-agent pool and thus increasing the prices for lack of supply. Baseball is in a period of unprecedented prosperity, and something is going to have to be done about the fair distribution of that money sooner or later.

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