MLB Commish Bud Selig sat down with Ken Rosenthal today to discuss MLB economics, and spoke of the disparity between high spending clubs and low spending clubs. Six of the top nine payrolls in MLB are currently in line to make the postseason. Why is this bad? I'm not quite sure, and neither is Bud.
After all, Selig's former team, the Brewers, did a helluva job in the down economy selling tickets and concessions. Sure, the team faded out of the division race in early August, but Milwaukee ownership saw another big year in attendance. Yes, they are a small market team. Yes, they mysteriously employ Ken Macha to make decisions. But they are financially smart as a company in the business of selling baseball.
Look past the softball questions that Rosenthal lobs and Selig fouls into the bleachers, there's a real gem of a quote in here about revenue sharing and competitive balance:
I know how badly (owners) want to win. I remember how badly I wanted to win (as owner of the Brewers). I went through all those temper tantrums and everything else. But I really think for the most part that in the last decade we've proven that if the sport's best interests transcends your own, we'll all do better. We just have to continue that.
Past the hilarious image of ol' Bud throwing a temper tantrum in his lofty Milwaukee car dealership office, note that he seems to be hinting to the fact that the 30 individual owners and corporations are better off when everyone cooperates to make cash. Not the players. Not the umpires. Not the fans or heck, not even the TV networks. Make no mistake about it: as "Commissioner for Life", Bud's only interest is making himself and his cronies wealthier beyond Marge Schott's wildest Nazi-fueled dreams.
Not that there's anything wrong with a little capitalism. I gladly throw dollars of money and hours of my time at my beloved Yankees and I don't expect anything in return except a World Series title every single year. But I want everyone to share in baseball's wealth. Owners, players, fans, peanut vendors, Joe Maddon's hairstylist, everyone. I don't want owners colluding to stick it to the players and bring in some dumb salary cap that will ruin competitiveness in baseball.
When you hear some of the dopey owners talk about a salary cap, they're not trying to correct the disparity in the standings. They're trying to keep players salaries down. And if you bring in a salary cap to baseball, you'll end up with a salary floor where rebuilding teams are forced to spend money in a stupid manner, and that is bad business for baseball.
So, Bud, when the collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2011 season, I hope by that point you will have reached the point in life when old folks get soft and start giving away their most prized possessions. If we're lucky, you'll make sure that every person employed by MLB makes out like a bandit as much as you have.