Thursday, July 23, 2015
Posted by el duque at 7:27 AM
Next June, the Reds, A's, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Marlins and Pirates will receive extra first-round picks - thanks to their cheap, billionaire owners. In the second round, the Padres, Twins, Indians, O's, Brewers and Rays will get supplemental "competitive balance" picks.
Imagine Robin Hood and his Merry Men bringing canned food to the starving Kardashian and Hilton families. It's a mission of mercy, helping these poverty-stricken billionaires survive.
The "small market" franchises earn the reward by keeping payrolls low. That means more money for everyone - that is, everyone who happens to own a team. It's like the farmer who gets paid to let his 1,000-acre tobacco field lie fallow. He takes his cash rather than glut the market with cheap cigs. Under MLB's new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the rules reward teams for being good sports - and being cheap. To succeed, all you need to do is finish last enough times - (and stay cheap, baby, stay cheap!) - and eventually, you'll draft a Bryce Harper.
Consider Robert Nutting, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His estimated worth, according to CNBC, is $1.1 billion. He owns newspapers, resorts, you name it, he owns it. But because the Pirates keep spending low - they're in a "small market" - and they'll get an extra pick.
Or Jim Pohlad of the Twins, whose dad practically owned the state of Minnesota. He's worth $1.1 billion. You just wouldn't know it when he talks baseball. Then, his pockets come out, and the cup in his hand starts automatically rattling. So the Twins get an extra pick.
Both are said to have more money than Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner, (who actually is NOT cheap, compared to these bozos.) As Yankee fans know, Hal constantly battles to cut the Yankee payroll. Sadly, the New York fan base doesn't seem to appreciate his work.
OK, we all know baseball is a business, not a sport. But in an age of $100 billionaires - Kochs, Adelsons, Soros, etc - (coming soon: trillionaires) - MLB owners are worth more than most of us can imagine. (Derek Jeter hopes to own someday. He better save his nickel deposits.) I've always believed an MLB owner should be a Gene Autry type - the guy who serves as his city's greatest fan. He sits in the owner's box, fetes Lady Gaga when she comes to town, and he pays for operations for little kids who get sick. He's not trying to wring extra coins from fans or taxpayers. He already has it all. And yes, it's always a scandal - horrible, terrible! - how much these players get overpaid (while no one ponders all those who tear an elbow at 22 and never see the light of an MLB pay day.)
Today's MLB owners sit on towers of cash so high that they cannot see life on Earth. But they want more. (That's why Donald Trump, who should be owner of the Yankees, is running for president.) They measure success by the bottom line. How else can Hal Steinbrenner judge his work, other than making profits? (To be fair, Hal has the pressure of being the son of a man who viewed success in Yankee championships; Pohlad in Minnesota never worries about keeping up his dad's legacy with the Twins.)
Question: Why is Pittsburgh a "small market," but Seattle is not?
Answer: Pittsburgh's billionaire owner is cheap, while Seattle's is willing to spend.
So why does Pittsburgh get rewarded because its owner is cheap?
I love it when "small market" fans... or "small market" (courtier) sportwriters... accuse the Yankees (or these days, the Dodgers) of "BUYING THE PENNANT!"
To buy a pennant, you need someone willing to sell.
And MLB loves to reward the sellers. Oh, those poor, poor, poor "small markets." It's just not fair. We have to help them. Can we send canned food?