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Archive for February 2011

Taking Sides: Players vs. Owners

February 19th, 2011 | 3 comments »

As I read dozens of columns, blogs and tweets on Albert Pujols this week, I was struck by the number of people who think Pujols is being greedy or should take a “hometown discount” to stay with the Cardinals. I’ve always said I admire players like John Smoltz and Chipper Jones who either took less or restructured their contract to stay with the Braves. I like the idea of players staying with one team their entire career. Not like the days of the reserve clause where they were forced to stay, but when they love a team and a city so much they choose to stay.

All that being said, I don’t think any player should feel obligated to give a team a “hometown discount” just because he’s played there a long time. That brings us to Pujols. National writers and commentators seem to have come to consensus that what he’s asking for ($30 million/year for 10 years) isn’t outrageous in today’s market. However, I’ve been shocked by the number of everyday fans who are disgusted that he turned down what was reportedly up to a $210 million offer over 10 years from the Cardinals.

I thought about it and tweeted out the following:

Fans tend to side with owners because they hear player salaries in the media every single day. What if they heard owner revenue every day?

I firmly believe that fans take the owners side because they hear figures like $21 million per year and think, “Wow, that’s more than I’ll make in my entire lifetime. Who needs that much money? And he’s going to turn it down?!”

First, I think if you heard owner revenue numbers every single day and compared that figure to what they’re putting into payroll and other team expenses, you’d feel differently.

Second, it’s all relative. If Pujols had taken the Cardinals offer, he would have been making less than Ryan Howard and A-Rod. The bottom line is that he’s a better player than either of them and deserves to be making more per year.

I had a follower on Twitter (you can follow me @SportsBizMiss) engage with me after the tweet I shared above. He said perhaps if player salaries were lower it would be more affordable for fans to go to games. Really? No one can really believe that just because owners are paying less they’re going to make attending games cheaper. Have you ever seen a big slash in ticket prices following a decrease in payroll for any team in professional sports? I don’t think so. Every dollar the owners save is likely going right back into their pocket.

I asked this follower if two other guys with his same job title were making more than him but he was producing better work, would he be cool with that? He said probably not, but that it’s different because these guys are making hundreds of millions of dollars.

I’m sorry, but that does not make it different. Let’s say this follower makes $75k and his coworkers make $100k. Don’t you think the guy down the block making $25k feels roughly the same way about them as this follower does about baseball players?

Owners got salaries to where they are, not players. All a player can do is ask for the money, the owners don’t have to give it to him. I don’t think any owner has ever paid more than he thought a guy could be worth to him. No owner thinks, “Gee, that guy looks great in our uniform. He’s not going to win us games or put fans in the stands, but what the heck, give him what he wants!”

So, here we are with arguably the best player in baseball right now asking to be paid more than other guys who he’s out-performed. Why doesn’t he deserve that?

Mark my words, Pujols is worth $300 million over 10 years to someone.

UPDATE: Several followers on Twitter pointed out that it’s really the fans who are to blame for rising player salaries, because it’s their money that goes to pay these guys. That’s true, whether it’s directly from ticket and merchandise sales or indirectly through advertising and tv dollars thrown at teams in order to get to fans. So, if you want to complain about player salaries, I hope you’re not buying tickets or licensed merchandise or watching games on television. Doing those things would be the equivalent of enabling an alcoholic.

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The Pujols Ultimatum

February 17th, 2011 | 3 comments »

I was thinking about the variety of topics I’ve discussed on Twitter in the last 24 hours – NFL labor issues, friendship, marriage ultimatums, who’s going to win the World Series and Albert Pujols – when it occurred to me that two of those topics are analogous. Pujols gave the Cardinals an ultimatum: sign me by February 16th or we’re done.

By now you’ve heard that Pujols gave the Cardinals until yesterday to get a deal done. Word is they made an offer right after the beginning of the year and while they’ve had talks since then, they have not made another offer. So, Pujols has said he’ll transition to playing mode and not discuss again until the offseason. In my opinion, this means he won’t be in a Cardinals uniform next year. If they were willing to ante up, they would have. (On a side note, I’m not sure it’s a good business move for the General Manager if their payroll remains at $100-110 million. They can’t afford for him to be a quarter to nearly one-third of their total payroll. That being said, the ownership is crazy if they think it’s good business to let him go.)

What’s really interesting to me, however, is how much this situation is like a girl giving a guy an ultimatum when it comes to marriage. She’s done wasting time having the same old conversations about the future over and over. In that situation, I think the girl figures the guy already knows what he’s going to do, so she’s giving him that extra shove so she can know for sure and get on with her life.

I think that’s what Pujols just did. He saw no point in dragging this out through the season only to arrive at the same ending. So, he set a deadline. He asked the Cardinals if they wanted to spend the rest of his (baseball) life together, and they essentially said, “What we have is great. We want to continue to be with you, but we just can’t give you what you want.”

Instead of marrying him, the Cardinals agreed they could continue to live together and act like they’re married. They’ll promise to cook him dinner evey night and take out the trash, but they just can’t commit to marriage.

So Pujols will continue to live with them until they finish out the current lease, all the while eyeing other potential suitors. He’s the most eligible bachelor in town, so he’ll find someone new. Someone who can’t wait to marry him and be with him for the rest of his (baseball) life.

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Searching for an Intern/Research Assistant

February 16th, 2011 | 3 comments »

I’m in need of another intern/research assistant. I have one fabulous one already, but I’ve got him on a project that is going to take awhile. Basically, I need someone who can do a lot of the research behind the articles/books I write.  I have a list of 19 topics (on a variety of sports) I currently want to write about, but I don’t have the time to write any of them because I still practice law full-time and am finishing up a book that is due to the publisher.

If you’re curious as to what sort of work it would be, my other intern right now is taking financial reports from college athletic departments and putting them into charts like the ones here so I can write pieces on the conferences I haven’t covered yet. If you email me, I can tell you a couple of the other topics that need research right now.

You do not have to live in Atlanta to apply. If you can get school credit, great. I’m also happy to write you a recommendation if you do good work, link to your work when I give you credit on my pieces, etc. 

If you’re interested, shoot me an email and tell me a little about yourself: education, why you’d want to do this, how much time you have, etc. A resume would be great too.

I will accept applications until 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. I’ll make a decision on Friday.

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Posted in General

To the Braves: Will You Be My Valentine?

February 14th, 2011 | 1 comment »

Almost every year since I started blogging I have written a Valentine’s Day poem to the Braves, so now it has become an annual tradition.  It’s always fun to look back at past years, so I’ve included links to a couple of my past poems after this year’s version:

This Valentine’s Day I have a handsome date,

But near the top of my list the Braves still rate,

February fourteenth is my favorite day of the year,

Cause pitchers and catchers are putting on their gear.

The season for football is finally done,

Hockey and basketball just aren’t much fun,

Now the gloves are out and the grass is green,

Your Atlanta Braves are back on the scene!

Huddy and Hanson will be back on the mound,

With Freeman on first, we look good all around,

We have Everyday Johnny to shore up the pen,

And Moylan’s as slim as he’s ever been.

Heyward and Prado will cover the outfield with ease,

While Uggla and Gonzalez in the infield will please,

Getting JJ back will make the rotation much stronger,

Last year’s pitching woes won’t be here any longer.

Chipper says he’ll be back as a starter,

Beating this team will surely be harder,

McCann behind the plate and McLouth in center field,

With Lowe and Minor the Division is sealed!

I don’t need candy or flowers on this Valentine’s Day,

For I got the best present of all, I’m happy to say,

Opening Day at The Ted is finally near,

Goodbye winter –  baseball season is here!



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Posted in Fun Stuff

Pre-order The Maple Street Press Atlanta Braves Annual 2011

February 7th, 2011 | Comment »

It’s finally here! The Maple Street Press Atlanta Braves Annual 2011 is now available for pre-order. Don’t miss my piece on the Gwinnett Braves!

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