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A Salary Cap Might Be In MLBPA's Favor


crawdad

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There are lots of open systems that exist today.

NCAA sports are largely open systems, and there are a lot more popular, competitive college football and basketball teams in the country than there are NBA or NFL teams. The NCAA has partially open scheduling, so a school like Akron or Middle Tennessee State can play the best teams in the country. It has a policy of letting any school that meets some minimum qualifications join. And the result is tiny schools in backwater towns in Arkansas can draw sellout crowds and have rabid followings.

Most European soccer leagues are open to a large extent. The EPL and associated lower leagues have over 100 professional teams. 20 play in the highest tier, similar numbers in lower tiers, and with promotion/relegation probably 30 or more teams have played at the highest level in the last decade. You can form a team at the lowest level, and you can get promoted all the way to playing in Old Trafford in front of 70,000 fans. Most of the biggest soccer leagues, with open formats, have revenues into the $billions.

The open vs. closed system debate coming down on the side of closed in North American pro sports was just a thing of chance and environment and circumstance. It's not a rule that you have to have a closed league to succeed.

I agree with this, mostly, but I think you miss my point. There is nothing to suggest that 30 MLB teams can survive in an open market. These other leagues were able to go through growing pains and establish themselves in less competitive situations. Taking a closed system and then opening it up when that system is worth billions of dollars is not really going to be predicted by these other leagues. It is similar to thinking that Iraq would become a successful democracy after 5 days. I think opening up MLB is a major risk and probably too big of one to take a chance on since the business is doing quite well on its own. No need to fix it if it isnt broken, they say.

To the players, it may be broken as they do not get as much of the revenue as players from other sports.

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I agree with this, mostly, but I think you miss my point. There is nothing to suggest that 30 MLB teams can survive in an open market. These other leagues were able to go through growing pains and establish themselves in less competitive situations. Taking a closed system and then opening it up when that system is worth billions of dollars is not really going to be predicted by these other leagues. It is similar to thinking that Iraq would become a successful democracy after 5 days. I think opening up MLB is a major risk and probably too big of one to take a chance on since the business is doing quite well on its own. No need to fix it if it isnt broken, they say.

To the players, it may be broken as they do not get as much of the revenue as players from other sports.

Well, it's also broken for fans, especially if they live in a small market.

I agree that they're not gonna tear things up in billion dollar industry and just start fresh. That would be a crazy thing to do. What's missing is the debugging part to fix what's already there.

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I agree with this, mostly, but I think you miss my point. There is nothing to suggest that 30 MLB teams can survive in an open market. These other leagues were able to go through growing pains and establish themselves in less competitive situations. Taking a closed system and then opening it up when that system is worth billions of dollars is not really going to be predicted by these other leagues. It is similar to thinking that Iraq would become a successful democracy after 5 days. I think opening up MLB is a major risk and probably too big of one to take a chance on since the business is doing quite well on its own. No need to fix it if it isnt broken, they say.

To the players, it may be broken as they do not get as much of the revenue as players from other sports.

I agree with that. If the King of Sports suddenly decreed that MLB would now be an open system, the minors would be free, and teams could acquire players and schedule opponents like an NCAA team or a soccer team you'd have chaos. You have hundreds of executives who've never known anything but baseball's very closed system, and most of them would be completely lost. Teams would fold, new ones would crop up, people would go bankrupt, others would get rich, lawsuits would fly like mosquitoes in Alaska, and desperate teams would hire strippers as ushers. It would take years for the sport to get back to some state of equilibrium. It would probably be a lot fun, though.

And yes, with baseball's current $6B revenues it would take a decree from the King of Sports to make this happen.

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I agree with that. If the King of Sports suddenly decreed that MLB would now be an open system, the minors would be free, and teams could acquire players and schedule opponents like an NCAA team or a soccer team you'd have chaos. You have hundreds of executives who've never known anything but baseball's very closed system, and most of them would be completely lost. Teams would fold, new ones would crop up, people would go bankrupt, others would get rich, lawsuits would fly like mosquitoes in Alaska, and desperate teams would hire strippers as ushers. It would take years for the sport to get back to some state of equilibrium. It would probably be a lot fun, though.

Dogs and cats, living together! Chaos! :D

They could probably make some form of modified system to get somewhat to that point.

For example:

Organized Baseball starts by creating a rule that says no owner may own more then one team within all of baseball. Owners have a certain amount of time to divest themselves of all but one team, including the major leagues.

Then, each level is split into a certain number of leagues; at least three, again including the majors. There would be a "high" league, a "low" league, and one or two in the middle.

There would be two paths a team could take. They could sign a contract to be part of a team's farm system, with a similar system in place as now with player movement, etc., but with forms of compensation to help cope with the new independence. However, they could also choose to be independent, attempting to move up and down levels as they qualify (both in competition and in things like stadium size/attendence), signing their own farm teams, etc. (farm teams wouldn't move levels).

This probably wouldn't have as much of an effect on the lower levels of the minors, but teams in bigger cities like Charlotte or San Antonio or New Orleans could play themselves up to the major-league level, while a team like Kansas City or (yes) the Orioles could play themselves out.

It keeps a lot of the old system in place while increasing the ability of and incentive for the teams to compete.

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Dogs and cats, living together! Chaos! :D

They could probably make some form of modified system to get somewhat to that point.

For example:

Organized Baseball starts by creating a rule that says no owner may own more then one team within all of baseball. Owners have a certain amount of time to divest themselves of all but one team, including the major leagues.

Then, each level is split into a certain number of leagues; at least three, again including the majors. There would be a "high" league, a "low" league, and one or two in the middle.

There would be two paths a team could take. They could sign a contract to be part of a team's farm system, with a similar system in place as now with player movement, etc., but with forms of compensation to help cope with the new independence. However, they could also choose to be independent, attempting to move up and down levels as they qualify (both in competition and in things like stadium size/attendence), signing their own farm teams, etc. (farm teams wouldn't move levels).

This probably wouldn't have as much of an effect on the lower levels of the minors, but teams in bigger cities like Charlotte or San Antonio or New Orleans could play themselves up to the major-league level, while a team like Kansas City or (yes) the Orioles could play themselves out.

It keeps a lot of the old system in place while increasing the ability of and incentive for the teams to compete.

Or, they could just take all the revenue from each game (*all* of it), and split it between the 2 teams who played that game... and give a slightly bigger chunk of it to the team who won the dang ballgame. That'd fix most of what's wrong, and it would be way less complicated and risky...

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Or, they could just take all the revenue from each game (*all* of it), and split it between the 2 teams who played that game... and give a slightly bigger chunk of it to the team who won the dang ballgame. That'd fix most of what's wrong, and it would be way less complicated and risky...

Revenue sharing may be less risky, but it the very nature of the closed system means many of baseball's weaknesses and inequities are built-in, or even designed in. All revenue sharing does, even the best plan, is make the status quo a little more palatable. It doesn't fix made-up territorial restrictions, or break Bud's cabal of pals that rule the sport. Revenue sharing doesn't tell Portland and Indy and Vancouver that they have a realistic shot at not being someone else's vassal team one day. Revenue sharing doesn't do much to expand baseball to new markets, it just reinforces the 30 cities that happen to have teams.

Of course a rigid structure absolutely controlled by an oligarchy is going to be less risky than a free and open system. I'm not sure the fans of a sport should be terribly concerned about what's risky to the current owners.

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Revenue sharing may be less risky, but it the very nature of the closed system means many of baseball's weaknesses and inequities are built-in, or even designed in. All revenue sharing does, even the best plan, is make the status quo a little more palatable. It doesn't fix made-up territorial restrictions, or break Bud's cabal of pals that rule the sport. Revenue sharing doesn't tell Portland and Indy and Vancouver that they have a realistic shot at not being someone else's vassal team one day. Revenue sharing doesn't do much to expand baseball to new markets, it just reinforces the 30 cities that happen to have teams.

Of course a rigid structure absolutely controlled by an oligarchy is going to be less risky than a free and open system. I'm not sure the fans of a sport should be terribly concerned about what's risky to the current owners.

Oh, I don't either. I just don't see exactly who is gonna storm the Bastille to do what you want, that's all. The fans sure aren't. So, I figure that anything that happens pretty much requires that most of the owners can get behind it. I don't think they'd get behind an open system that makes them not-special, creates chaos business-wise, and threatens the very thing that guarantees them riches. I think they're dopes, but I don't think they're *that* stupid. However, I think a good persuader within their midst could perhaps engineer a Moderate Revision. Well, maybe not...

Anyway, I'm not convinced we need chaos anyway. (But, then again, I don't like in KC or PIT). There's nothing wrong with having somewhat of an oligarchy provided that there's an Other Force to keep them honest. That's pretty much what the Founders wanted (and Aristotle too): a hybrid combination of democracy and oligarchy. What's missing from baseball is the Other Force.

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How bout baseball plop down another team(s) in the New York/Boston area?

I think when you have Franchises that have for a extended period of time shown large amounts of fan support like in New York, they should have a diminished territorial right.

Albany? Syracuse?

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How bout baseball plop down another team(s) in the New York/Boston area?

I think when you have Franchises that have for a extended period of time shown large amounts of fan support like in New York, they should have a diminished territorial right.

Albany? Syracuse?

Albany is only like 60,000 people. Syracuse (and Rochester) are under 200,000, and Buffalo is only around 250-300,000.

The latter three are really only prevented from getting teams by their size, not New York territorial rights (which only go out 75 miles or so).

If you are putting a team in somewhere to take a chunk out of the Yankees and Mets, it would have to be in the Greater New York region: northern New Jersey, Long Island, or somewhere in the city.

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Albany is only like 60,000 people. Syracuse (and Rochester) are under 200,000, and Buffalo is only around 250-300,000.

The latter three are really only prevented from getting teams by their size, not New York territorial rights (which only go out 75 miles or so).

If you are putting a team in somewhere to take a chunk out of the Yankees and Mets, it would have to be in the Greater New York region: northern New Jersey, Long Island, or somewhere in the city.

For some reason I thought Syracuse had an NBA team. :o That's where I got that from. I don't watch much NBA. :P

I guess northern New Jersey would be the most logical if a team moved/expanded into that area.

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For some reason I thought Syracuse had an NBA team. :o That's where I got that from. I don't watch much NBA. :P

Well, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo all had teams at one point...about 40 years ago. Syracuse became the Philadelphia 76ers, Rochester became the Cincinnati-Kansas City-Sacramento Royals/Kings, and Buffalo became the San Diego-Los Angeles Clippers.

So...you were somewhat correct :D

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Salary caps have always and will always be all about payroll restraint. They're a tool to keep the owners from spending money. All the other arguments are window dressing.

If you really wanted to change the league so that everyone is competitive you need a revenue cap. If all you do is cap payroll the Yanks will just go spend money on player development and facilities and scouting and analysis.

The real solution has been and always will be competition - free the minors, eliminate territorial restrictions, and restrictions on franchise movement. The market will eventually sort itself out into relatively equal markets.

Not the real solution at all.

Not sure how freeing the minors would help anything, it would lead to teams with more money getting even more of the top players though, which is a negative.

You and others have consistently mentioned having teams move into the bigger markets to balance things out, but I will once again show the flaws with that. NY is the example brought up here, so lets use that. So I guess the Royals, Rays, or Marlins would be the candidates to move to NYC or in nearby Jersey.

Problem one: Lack of demand from fans. The fans in that area are either Yanks or Mets fan unless they are transplants, and they are not asking for another team. Therefore they wouldn't be likely to support another team that well. Who would take this team on as their favorite team? Maybe children of the transplants, but that's not helping in the short term. The support would never equal that of the current NYC teams.

Problem two: Without demand from fans, it is unlikely that the local government will do what it takes to get a team. Nor is it likely that taxpayers would approve any proposition to pay for a new stadium even if the lawmakers decided it was good idea.

Problem three: Without a new stadium, where are they playing? Not New Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, which are paid for, at least in part, by their future occupants. Not their current parks, which will be demolished. So where?

Problem four: With all of these issues, why would NYC be the choice of an owner? Why not go somewhere where you are wanted, and don't have to compete with two juggernauts in the same location?

I don't think that plan would equalize markets at all, and if it does, it would take a very long time, and anger a lot of fans in the process. A better revenue sharing system, draft system, along with a salary cap/floor would work much better, and more quickly.

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Not the real solution at all.

Not sure how freeing the minors would help anything, it would lead to teams with more money getting even more of the top players though, which is a negative.

You and others have consistently mentioned having teams move into the bigger markets to balance things out, but I will once again show the flaws with that. NY is the example brought up here, so lets use that. So I guess the Royals, Rays, or Marlins would be the candidates to move to NYC or in nearby Jersey.

Problem one: Lack of demand from fans. The fans in that area are either Yanks or Mets fan unless they are transplants, and they are not asking for another team. Therefore they wouldn't be likely to support another team that well. Who would take this team on as their favorite team? Maybe children of the transplants, but that's not helping in the short term. The support would never equal that of the current NYC teams.

Problem two: Without demand from fans, it is unlikely that the local government will do what it takes to get a team. Nor is it likely that taxpayers would approve any proposition to pay for a new stadium even if the lawmakers decided it was good idea.

Problem three: Without a new stadium, where are they playing? Not New Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, which are paid for, at least in part, by their future occupants. Not their current parks, which will be demolished. So where?

Problem four: With all of these issues, why would NYC be the choice of an owner? Why not go somewhere where you are wanted, and don't have to compete with two juggernauts in the same location?

I don't think that plan would equalize markets at all, and if it does, it would take a very long time, and anger a lot of fans in the process. A better revenue sharing system, draft system, along with a salary cap/floor would work much better, and more quickly.

Geez, why did you have to inject "logic" and "reality" into the equation? :rolleyes::D

In "theory" you can put another team into the NYC metro area (or LA) pretty easily. But, reality is a different story.

Doesn't the current luxury taxes and revenue sharing accomplish the same thing without most of the variables and risks that moving a 3rd franchise into NY does?

By forcing the NYY to pay a luxury tax and share revenues- effectively reduces their territory.

The problem with baseball is that the majority of revenue (75%) comes from local sources (regional tv/radio, gate receipts, etc). In the NFL it is easy to share the revenue (and have a salary cap) when 75-85% of all revenue is national revenue.

It is tough to come up with a "perfect" way of leveling the playing field in baseball. It isn't fair to penalize a NY/CHI/LA baseball team owner by taking the local revenue that he has earned when that was a major factor in the value of the team and the purchase price paid to buy the franchise.

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Not the real solution at all.

Not sure how freeing the minors would help anything, it would lead to teams with more money getting even more of the top players though, which is a negative.

You and others have consistently mentioned having teams move into the bigger markets to balance things out, but I will once again show the flaws with that. NY is the example brought up here, so lets use that. So I guess the Royals, Rays, or Marlins would be the candidates to move to NYC or in nearby Jersey.

Problem one: Lack of demand from fans. The fans in that area are either Yanks or Mets fan unless they are transplants, and they are not asking for another team. Therefore they wouldn't be likely to support another team that well. Who would take this team on as their favorite team? Maybe children of the transplants, but that's not helping in the short term. The support would never equal that of the current NYC teams.

Problem two: Without demand from fans, it is unlikely that the local government will do what it takes to get a team. Nor is it likely that taxpayers would approve any proposition to pay for a new stadium even if the lawmakers decided it was good idea.

Problem three: Without a new stadium, where are they playing? Not New Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, which are paid for, at least in part, by their future occupants. Not their current parks, which will be demolished. So where?

Problem four: With all of these issues, why would NYC be the choice of an owner? Why not go somewhere where you are wanted, and don't have to compete with two juggernauts in the same location?

I don't think that plan would equalize markets at all, and if it does, it would take a very long time, and anger a lot of fans in the process. A better revenue sharing system, draft system, along with a salary cap/floor would work much better, and more quickly.

My solution is very long term, and it addresses the root of the problem - territorial restrictions that lead to the vast revenue inequities. And yes, with baseball's 100+ year government-sanctioned, and in the case of stadiums government funded, monopoly rooted in place my solution isn't going to happen any time soon.

One of the great evils of North American pro sports is that the leagues have convinced governments that they, and only they, are viable options for having a "major league" team. So if you want to be a major league city you have to get in bed with us and do our bidding.

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Not the real solution at all.

Not sure how freeing the minors would help anything, it would lead to teams with more money getting even more of the top players though, which is a negative.

You and others have consistently mentioned having teams move into the bigger markets to balance things out, but I will once again show the flaws with that. NY is the example brought up here, so lets use that. So I guess the Royals, Rays, or Marlins would be the candidates to move to NYC or in nearby Jersey.

Problem one: Lack of demand from fans. The fans in that area are either Yanks or Mets fan unless they are transplants, and they are not asking for another team. Therefore they wouldn't be likely to support another team that well. Who would take this team on as their favorite team? Maybe children of the transplants, but that's not helping in the short term. The support would never equal that of the current NYC teams.

Why not?

This is a metropolitan area of almost 20 million people. You don't think that if a team is placed in Northern New Jersey or Long Island, where there are a lot of people who only have a tenuous connection to the city, it would be embraced by locals (especially since they no longer have to make the trip into the city)? At first, it might only be as a secondary option for those who can't get, or afford, tickets to the Yankees and Mets, but over time the fanbase will grow.

Problem two: Without demand from fans, it is unlikely that the local government will do what it takes to get a team. Nor is it likely that taxpayers would approve any proposition to pay for a new stadium even if the lawmakers decided it was good idea.

Hopefully the team moving would build a new park, making this moot.

Problem three: Without a new stadium, where are they playing? Not New Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, which are paid for, at least in part, by their future occupants. Not their current parks, which will be demolished. So where?

In a lot of places, I bet the government would be able to make a good argument that leases aren't exclusive :P

Problem four: With all of these issues, why would NYC be the choice of an owner? Why not go somewhere where you are wanted, and don't have to compete with two juggernauts in the same location?

Because "where you are wanted" isn't necessarily where you will be successful.

I'm sure cities like Sacramento, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Buffalo, etc. would love to get a baseball team, but in the present economic system they would have no chance.

However, if one were able to cut into the cash flow of the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, etc., then other places could be able to support successful teams.

I don't think that plan would equalize markets at all, and if it does, it would take a very long time, and anger a lot of fans in the process. A better revenue sharing system, draft system, along with a salary cap/floor would work much better, and more quickly.

Really, it comes down to socialism vs. capitalism. A professional sports league needs to lean towards one or the other to be successful, and the further they lean, the better it becomes.

The NFL is heavily socialist, with extreme revenue sharing and the salary cap, and the parity this provides is the reason for the popularity of the league, and it's success in places like Green Bay and Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

On the other hand, the English Premier League (I don't know what the whole system is called, so sorry soccer fans), is heavily capitalist, with teams allowed to play wherever they can find a field, and a system of promotion and regulation that allows teams to rise and fall to their own level of success. I doubt fans of those teams want to see a salary cap.

It is just a different thought from what we're used to in America.

It would take a while to get used to, but either way we go, something has to be done.

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