It seems like that the only possible way that the O’s (or most teams for that matter) can compete is by building an elite farm system. Given how hard and how slow that process is, I wanted to ask the O’s experts on here a few simple question for discussion:
1. how long would you estimate that it takes for a team to go from a mediocre/poor farm system, to a system that has produced enough major league talent to win in the AL east? Additionally, how long in your opinion does the pro club need to suck while building the farm.
2. is there a team that you would prefer that the O’s model their approach after? Is it Tampa? Toronto? St. Louis? I think the Tampa model is the most brutally efficient, but I can’t see many people truly being happy with that model in the long haul (getting rid of good players while value is high, rarely spending a dollar in FA).
3. do you like the financial model of baseball as opposed to other professional leagues? Baseball has always been my favorite sport, but it really seems to favor the larger market teams in the end. Not that smaller market teams can’t compete, it’s just that every year it seems the larger market teams win. I know there are some poor large market orgs, but I personally get disinterested when I see how imbalanced the competitive landscape can be at times.
Contracts like Davis really hurts the game overall more than it hurts the individual team. Typically teams that have a bad contract just pick up and move on from the player...meanwhile the fans hold a grudge towards the player. Baltimore is doing a disservice to the game by not releasing him and moving on.
Yikes. Here's what the O's gave up in 24 hrs.:
WAR, 1991 ff.
Total lost: 159.2
Total gained: -0.4
Total, net: 159.6
10 yrs 16 WAR/yr.
16 yrs. 10 WAR/yr.
My wife and I went to Sunday's game with another couple and had a great time. A couple observations:
- Bottom line up front is that I'd very much encourage folks to go. We've been relatively cautious during Covid, but really at no point felt cramped or uncomfortable. Certainly some of that is that now most of the folks I was with were fully vaccinated, but there's plenty of space in between seats and really not that many people. Even coming into the stadium and in concession lines, people were generally respectful of distance and it was no issue. I'm sure, anecdotally, there will always be someone messing up, but it wasn't an issue for us. Just wanted to start with that context for those that harbor understandable apprehensions, acknowledging everyone has different circumstances/risk perceptions.
- Definitely make sure you read the modified regulations before you go - the issue with purses and parking, as some folks noted above, are definitely present. You've just got to be aware of them and plan (my wife switched out her purse just before leaving the house, and my friend's wife had a borderline-sized purse that got waved through after a little negotiation). I can't speak for parking, as we just did a garage on Pratt.
- Mobile ticketing and electronic payments were all fully in use, so do recommend just coming prepared. If you're comfortable with using them, it's no issue, but understand some people aren't as tech savvy. Just a pretty minor planning factor.
- Regarding masks, most people were good about wearing them, though clearly some of that slipped when people were sitting at their seats. I did see a few times where ushers enforced the masking at your seat rule, but it didn't seem overly draconian (it wasn't that if your beer left your lips for more than two seconds and your mask wasn't up, ushers would descend on you). Those patrons I observed were mostly compliant when directed (except the stray Phillies fan who decided to be difficult). Although I know some folks aren't crazy about it, to be honest, I've been at work every day for the last year wearing a mask the entire time for 8+ hours, so I'm not especially sympathetic. Little bit of a pain, but won't kill ya for a couple hours.
- As others have stated, most but not all concessions appeared to be open. Prices did feel a touch on the steep side, but I'd bet they're comparable to what they were in 2019. The O's clearly haven't moved to the Ravens modified pricing.
- Lastly, the bar scene before the game was of course quite different than normal, but still very workable and pleasant. Pickles, Sliders, etc have taken over huge spaces in front of their buildings, with plentiful tables well-spaced out. We got to Sliders at maybe 11:45 before a 1 o'clock game on a Sunday, and we had no issue getting a table.
Again, overall would recommend folks go, if you're comfortable. I'll tell you it was absolutely great to get back out there and do something normal after having been cooped up for so long.
One last thought. When the reserve clause died in court and all players could become free agents every year, the players union was smart and agreed to a service requirement. It was good for salaries and good for the sport to control supply/demand, even if it seemed like a giveaway by the players. If there was a non-performance clause built into free agent contracts that gave some level of relief to owners, it would benefit salaries and the sport. Small to mid size teams would have more ability to chase top talent because the affect of a bad contract would be less calamitous to their limited payroll means if it was discounted by some percentage for non-performance. Ask Scott Boras if he’d rather have three teams bidding for his client or six. Our very own Albert Belle contract made insuring contracts fairly cost prohibitive (though it kinda seems like we’re keeping Davis on the roster for some reason other than insanity). But that practice of insuring contracts showed that there’s more money to spend on players if you give owners some level of protection from disaster contracts like Davis. Owners used to pay huge amounts to insure contracts before they became cost prohibitive. So if it’s good for competitiveness by allowing smaller teams to be more aggressive, and it’s good for player salaries, and it’s good for owners by protecting their investments, by what principle is a player entitled to the full value of a contract that they have essentially defaulted on for non-performance?