September 05, 2002
Reason weighs in

Kevin forwarded me this link to a Reason article which argues that the baseball settlement which averted a strike is just snake oil. Regular readers of this site and of the Baseball Prospectus will see a lot of familiar stuff.

Speaking of the BP, they really dislike this agreement as well. They believe, and I tend to agree, that the owners won the battle of public opinion decisively enough that the players basically capitulated. They're also not very optimistic about the next time the CBA expires.

Getting back to the Reason article, I was checking out the standings this morning and was struck by a thought. If baseball were football, with 12 playoff teams and a 16-game schedule, there'd be a hell of a race for the postseason in the National League. Consider: The Braves are the equivalent of 9-5, as is Arizona. The Dodgers, Giants, and Cardinals are all 8-6. Then there's the Phillies, Expos, Marlins, Astros, and Reds at 7-7, while the Mets are a half-game back at 6-7. Even the Pirates, Cubs, Rockies, and Padres, all at 6-8, likely have some complicated mathematical scenario in which they can make the cut. Keep that in mind the next time someone extols football's "competitive balance".

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 05, 2002 to Baseball

OK, I'd wondered if this settlement wasn't awfully favorable to the owners. The combination of the '94 strike and 9/11 must have given the players impetus to keep playing, since it's quite clear the owners don't much care whether the games happen or not. If they make money one way or the other, why should they care?

Posted by: Chris Quinones on September 5, 2002 4:41 PM

It sure looks that way. It's possible now that the owners got a new form of revenue sharing and a luxury tax that they won't be able to hide behind the standard small-markets-can't-compete argument (as if that were ever true) any more. I certainly hope so.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on September 5, 2002 5:57 PM