Friday, October 31, 2014

Category: Uncategorized


You can now find me on ESPN!

October 31st, 2011 | Comment »

I have joined ESPN as their sports business reporter and will no longer be posting on this site. Please come visit my Sports Business blog on ESPN.com.

My book Balancing Baseball: How Collective Bargaining Has Changed the Major Leagues will hopefully be out in 2012, as it is on hold currently pending a new CBA in MLB. For the latest updates on my work, visit KristiDosh.com.

Thank you to everyone who has frequented this site over the years!

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Me vs. Boyfriend

January 31st, 2011 | 5 comments »

I’m crazy competitive, especially when it’s something I’ve worked hard at like my sports business writing or softball (which I played for 22 years).  Thus, I expected to have no problem out-hitting my totally-uninterested-in-baseball boyfriend, Chadd.  This weekend we had the pleasure of spending the day with the Ambassadors of L.E.A.D. and getting a little hitting instruction from founder, CJ Stewart and Jason Heyward’s father, Eugene (who kicked my butt with some tough drills). 

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve read about L.E.A.D. If not, here’s the story: I have been blessed to be a part of an organization called L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct) for the past couple of years. This group provides travel team level play to inner-city youth who would otherwise be unable to compete at an advanced level in baseball. Scholarship and community service are emphasized, with 100% of the participants during L.E.A.D.’s two years being accepted to college and over 2,000 hours of community service being performed. Since being formed in 2008, 83% of the participants in the program have gone on to earn college scholarships to play baseball while pursuing higher education.

Back to my 22-years of softball experience versus my boyfriend who doesn’t even like baseball.  CJ was kind enough to send over some video of us hitting. I’m not convinced this was my best swing of the day, but I’ll concede…my boyfriend beat me.

Here’s my video:

Here’s Chadd’s video:

Seriously though, there was a linedrive I hit right back at CJ’s head (who was pitching to me), which I’m sure was better than Chadd’s swing…and look at the still shots before you watch the videos, I totally have the better batting stance, haha!

You can check out Chadd’s blog, “College Football’s Most Dangerous Blog,” on ChuckOliver.net, the premiere online site for SEC, ACC and C-USA news and analysis. They’re debuting a brand new website today, so head on over and take a look!

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SEC Football Finance

January 27th, 2011 | Comment »

As we all anxiously await baseball’s arrival…

Check out Kristi’s revealing look at finances in SEC football in her piece on Forbes.com, which was written about on ESPN.com!

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espnW: A Marketing Message Gone Wrong

December 13th, 2010 | 2 comments »

Last week, I told you about the initial reactions from consumers when espnW was unveiled.  In short, it was a sea of negativity. 

Females who were already frequenters of ESPN.com and viewers of ESPN television were outraged.  They wondered why they needed a site of their own when they were perfectly happy with ESPN.  Then they fumed when they read quotes from a USA Today article they felt portrayed women as unable to understand or appreciate sports in the same way as men. 

Rest assured, ladies, I have found the problem, and I think I can change your mind about espnW.com. 

The biggest issue with espnW.com isn’t the colors, or the format, or the all-female writing staff.  It’s the message.  So, let me try and present you with the message I wish I’d seen last week.

Let’s start with why espnW was created.  Half the women I’ve talked to who are angry are upset because they feel as though they’re being told ESPN is not for them.  The other half thought espnW was only going to cover female sports and are disappointed to find men’s sports being covered.  The truth is that neither of these were espnW’s intent. 

Straight from their press release announcing espnW last Monday, here is a quote from Laura Gentile, VP of espnW and ESPN RISE digital and publishing, about the mission of espnW:

espnW.com represents our commitment to serving female fans and athletes on a dedicated platform. After more than two years of research and preparation, we are excited to create a specific community for women to talk sports and be inspired both as a fan and as a participant.

espnW is not about segregating women, either in terms of readership or coverage, it’s about creating a platform that caters to women.  In a call I had on Friday with Ms. Gentile she said espnW, “is meant to be additive to ESPN,” and to serve needs that ESPN does not currently serve for female consumers.

It may seem like semantics, but I think there is a big difference between a separate website and a “dedicated platform.”  And I’m not the only one. 

Quite unexpectedly on Friday, I received a phone call from a woman within the sports industry who is a supporter of espnW, who spoke with me on condition of anonymity.  She hopes that once the misconceptions are cleared, women will celebrate espnW.  She pointed out that ESPN chose to dedicate funds to creating a place just for female consumers.  They’re dedicating manpower, resources and cold hard cash to reaching women in ways they haven’t before, from discussing more women’s sports to covering fitness and wellness topics not normally tackled by ESPN.

If you’re like me and you’re a female who goes to ESPN for the latest hot stove report or this week’s power rankings, you probably wondering why ESPN needs to cover these other topics.  What they’ve found through their research is that this is how many women currently engage with sports. They are the road warriors, the triathletes, the skiers and cyclists who may have come to sports later in life. I hadn’t considered before that there is an entire generation of women out there who grew up pre-Title IX who may not have had the same opportunities to participate as I had, but they are athletes and sports fans (albeit of a different sort), too. 

Through my conversations with both Ms. Gentile and the woman who called me in support of espnW, I have come to realize that espnW is not meant to be the go-to source for sports news for women.  Sports savvy females, like myself, who frequent ESPN will continue to do so.  espnW is not meant to supplant the news I would go to ESPN to receive.  Instead, it is meant to cover topics that interest women, much in the same way ESPNNewYork.com targets fans of New York teams with additional coverage of topics pertinent to their area and teams. 

When I spoke with Laura Gentile today, I asked about the quote in the USA Today article that many of us took offense with:

…women see us as an admirable brand that has authority. But they see us as their father’s brand, or husband’s brand, or boyfriend’s brand. They recognize it’s not theirs.

The confusion and hurt feelings seem to be all a matter of taking that quote out of context.  When asked to explain, Ms. Gentile said that when speaking with a representative group of 2,000 women in their target audience the message they received was that, “women recognize ESPN is credible, and is fantastic at covering the entire sports landscape.”  However, she went on to repeat parts of the above quote about women not feeling ESPN targeted their interests.  Further discussion with her revealed the meaning behind saying “it’s not theirs,” wasn’t meant to imply that women somehow don’t belong on ESPN.com or that women can’t understand the content presented by ESPN, but that ESPN is not making a concerted effort to cover the topics women are telling them they’d like to hear.  Thus espnW was born.

Although my conversation with Ms. Gentile certainly helped put things in perspective, it was the surprise phone call I received from an anonymous espnW supporter that really had an effect on my view of the situation.  This person pointed out that they’d heard from women who watched their child’s little league game from the car because they were afraid they would clap at the wrong time or who wanted to coach their kid’s team but had no idea how to run a practice.  As a woman who grew up after Title IX, and who has spent my entire life playing and coaching sports, I was honestly oblivious to such issues.  These women—the ones who aren’t part of ESPN’s existing 26% female audience—deserve to be engaged.  They want to be fans, but are a little shy about it.  They don’t want to look stupid.  They are lost in the world of sports and no one is catering to their needs.   

Add to that the efforts to educate women over on ESPN RISE, a site targeted at high school athletes, and the picture is becoming clearer.*  In my interview of Ms. Gentile, she emphasized the connection between espnW and ESPN RISE.  The latter features invaluable resources for female athletes (and their male counterparts) to learn about training and recruiting; things I know I was never taught as a young female athlete. 

espnW is not about creating a separate ESPN targeted only at females.  It’s about serving the needs of female consumers not currently served by ESPN.  Although it is accessible through its own URL, it is also a part of the ESPN site under the More Sports heading.  Do I think they could do a better job of promoting it through ESPN’s site?  Yes.  I would have never found it there if I hadn’t been told where to look.  Perhaps in the future they could feature a post from espnW on the main site from time to time. 

Another change I’d like to see, which I discussed with Ms. Gentile, is the absence of male writers on espnW.  She assured me that there would be male writers in the future, saying, “We’re not under any misconception that females only want to hear from females.” 

After my conversation with the person who called me anonymously, I understand that there are some women who need a “safe place” of sorts to learn and discuss sports.  I wonder if they would be intimidated by the presence of male writers on the site.  With that in mind, I think it might be nice to have perhaps a regularly scheduled column to be written exclusively by male writers.  Something like “From Inside the Male Mind: [name of piece].”  Instead of having a littany of male writers, there could be one column, easily identified as male written, where the males could come discuss the topics that aren’t covered on ESPN and might be of interest to the female community on espnW.  Just a thought. 

The bottom line is that there is certainly work to be done over at espnW.  I think the majority of that work needs to be in how the site is marketed.  There needs to be a unified message coming out about what espnW wants to accomplish and how they plan to do it.  I know they’ve done the research behind this, and I’m now convinced they’re serving both an untapped area and underserved consumers.  The issue is the message. 

That message has been skewed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the USA Today article I quoted in my first piece about espnW.  After my conversation with Ms. Gentile, it appears that her quotes were used out of context.  I’ve already addressed the first one above, but the other one was the pedicure quote.  Ms. Gentile explained to me that the reporter was given a copy of the agenda for the espnW retreat and spa time was one of the activites.  What she said was merely to describe the range of activities being engaged in at the retreat.  You can see a full schedule and list of participants here.  Interesting that one of the other activities was Navy Seal Boot Camp.  Wonder why the reporter didn’t mention that one.

Because of the vast amount of both misinformation and criticism out there, I would love to see Ms. Gentile write a guest post on espnW (which they could leave a link to right on the front page for new visitors) introducing the site and explaining it the way she explained it to me.  Not everyone will have the access to her that I had, but I would love for them to get the same message I received. 

I now have a much better appreciation for espnW and the spirit in which it was conceived.  If everything I heard from Ms. Gentile about the goals and the plans for espnW come to fruition, then I applaud ESPN for dedicating the time, money and resources to develop this unique site and only hope that the marketing begins to do it justice. 

*As a side note, if you have a high school athlete, I encourage them to visit ESPN RISE. I think it’s unfortunate that I had not heard of it before now, and I hope it’s only because I’m not a high school athlete and do not have children that age, because it seems like a good resource.

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More on espnW

December 8th, 2010 | Comment »

If nothing else, espnW is getting a lot of attention.  Good and bad and somewhat undecided.  Here are a variety of blogs and articles on the new site:

Criticizing 

Brand Mismanagement: ESPN Lights Itself on Fire 

So it is with no surprise at all, that we come to bury ESPNw, not to praise it. 

Why I Hate the Idea of espnW

If ESPN really wants to attract more women stop hiring bimbos just because they look good and get some smart, sports-savvy women on your network.

Get women in the broadcast booth as well as in the studio. Hire more women to write for espn.com. Stop relegating women to the sidelines and personal interest stories.
She said it, not me.  I’m just sitting here nodding my head.  Really great piece by Julie DiCaro, which you should definitely check out.

Undecided

espnW: The Lifetime Network of Sports Sites

espnW: it’s vagitastic!

Like a booster shot of estrogen into the masculine arm of conventional sports coverage, espnW burst onto the scene today…

But then:

…espnW is little more than a weak, ill-conceived attempt at pandering which I imagine some women will find kind of silly and a waste of time, much like the ab0ve-mentioned Lifetime.

They also take some shots at Sarah Spain, but you can go there if you want those.

Separate but Equal

If ESPN is trying to cater more to women with its content, it’s about damn time. Title IX will have its 40th birthday in 2012. Women now account for 46 percent of NFL fans…

But, then she says:

It’s refreshing to read sports commentary written by women, but what’s puzzling to me is why ESPN felt the need to put it on its own site rather than simply promote women within ESPN.com.

Applauding

Cue the crickets chirping…I can’t find anything genuinely applauding espnW.  I’d be happy to post if anyone else can point me towards something, however.  Seriously.  I just spent over an hour searching and couldn’t find anything better than the “undecideds” above and some generic “Here’s the new website. Wish it the best of luck.”  Send me some praise and I’ll gladly post it.

I did want to share this article in the New York Times, however, which includes some much better quotes from espnW VP Laura Gentile than the ones in the USA Today article. 

I also happen to be at the Winter Meetings currently with a writer from espnW.  Hopefully we can chat later today and she can shed some more light on the situation.  I’d love to be able to present their side of the story as well.

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Is ESPN Alienating Current Female Fans to Gain New Ones?

December 7th, 2010 | 7 comments »

I started out my day on Twitter today by saying I was going to take time to check out the new espnW.com, a site ESPN recently unvieled that is geared towards women.  It took less than a minute for my reply feed to fill with women eager to tell me about their distaste, and sometimes intense hate, of the new website.

At first glance, espnW.com looks nothing like espn.com, save the photos of athletes.  The format of the site is completely different, with an array of colors, a design that seems focused on boxes, and a script “W” in the “espnW” logo. 

At first, I was pleased to find all of the articles on the front page written by women.  I’m always excited when I see female sportswriters.  However, that excitement soon faded.  This tweet from one of my followers (a male follower, for what it’s worth) sums it up best:

Cordoning off the female writers? It’s odd, I will give you that. 

It’s not odd, it’s terrifying.  Is ESPN saying women can only write about sports for a female audience?  I’m sure that’s not their intention, but they need to make their message clearer.

So far they’re not doing the best job of marketing the new site.  At this point, all of the comments coming out of ESPN are trending towards making a statement that ESPN thinks women can’t relate to sports in the same way as men. 

Consider these quotes from a USA Today article on the new site’s rollout:

…women see us as an admirable brand that has authority. But they see us as their father’s brand, or husband’s brand, or boyfriend’s brand. They recognize it’s not theirs.

That quote, from ESPN Vice President Laura Gentile, was the first of several that upset me.  I am female.  I’ve been watching ESPN most of my life.  In fact, I probably watch it more than my dad, and he’s a huge sports fan.  In particular, “They recognize it’s not theirs,” really bothers me as a female who watches ESPN.  I didn’t know ESPN wasn’t meant for me.  Other women agree; here’s a comment from @MissReingold:

That quote is ridiculous. Not my brand?

Then there’s this one, referring to a retreat this week where ESPN will meet with female athletes and discuss ideas for espnW:

…the retreat, where we talk about women finding self-esteem in sports and about getting a pedicure, is a reflection of what we want to do with the espnW brand…

This enraged several of my female followers on Twitter.  One of my Twitter followers, @jdunderwoodjr, replied in a way that I think summarizes why the last quote was offensive:

I think that ESPNW is actually a slap in the face to women. Its like they are trying to “dumb” it down.

The perception (right or not) is that espnW is necessary because women can’t understand sports the same way as men, or that we get something completely different out of sports.  I’m just not sure that’s true.

Recently I wrote a post about what I’ve learned from playing sports.  I received responses from males and females who linked to the post or tweeted about it, and I noticed nothing different about the responses from the different genders.  The quote above about self-esteem gives the perception that only women get confidence from sports, which simply isn’t true.  Have you ever heard a male professional athlete talk?  There’s not many of them who have issues with self-image. 

Last weekend, I watched the SEC Championship Game with a group of male and female friends.  I noticed no difference in how we watched the game.  One of the females in attendance was probably the loudest and most passionate, and she knew plenty about her team. 

Sure, there are tons of women who don’t understand or care about sports.  The same can be said for men though.  I meet men all the time who don’t know what a balk is or can’t tell you what the center does in football. 

One of my followers, @racheldulitz, had this to say about the pedicure quote:

…once u say the word pedicure – i mean come on!. That in and of itself is sexist and ridiculous…

…to say that women just sit around gabbing over pedicures…

Women reading the USA Today article are getting this message from ESPN: women understand sports in a different way than men and have to be catered to separately.

What about the women who do watch ESPN and log onto espn.com?  What message is ESPN sending to them?  Well, here’s what one of them had to say via Twitter (@agrot):

I’m just as sports competent as men and I’d like access to all of the sports in the manner ESPN.com has it.

And another (@sportsbroad):

the problem isn’t that we don’t have a network for “female sports fans” it’s that they think we need to be separated from men

Words I saw over and over in my Twitter feed on this topic (which was extremely active): patronizing and sexist. 

There are two questions here: 1) Is a separate website necessary, and, if so, 2) Are they marketing it the right way.

Several of my followers on Twitter disagreed on the need altogether.  In addition to @agrot’s comment above, there was this one from @MissReingold:

ESPNw is horrible. Why do I need separate coverage?

And this one from @racheldulitz, which comes with a suggestion:

But why can’t they draw new women in on ESPN?? More female writers, more pieces on female athletes. I like those ideas…

That brings up another question: does ESPN’s male audience not like hearing from female anchors/writers?  I don’t have much else to say on that, but it is an interesting question.  One that takes us back to the issue of having only female writers on espnw.com’s front page today.  Do they think women only want to hear about sports from women?  Yes, I love finding a new female writer that really knows her stuff, but I want to read pieces from the men too.  I’m at the MLB Winter Meetings right now, and the first thing I did was find my favorite two male writers when I arrived Sunday. 

Yes, women want to see more women working in sports-related capacities.  However, we want to see them being treated just like their male counterparts.  Having a website geared towards women full of female writers is not the way to do that. 

What would have been a better way?  One of my followers (@cowsarecool220) had a great suggestion:

The best result would be for the content to be folded into the main site, increasing the almost nonexistent presence of women.

If you want to have some alternate content, why not make it a tab at the top of the ESPN page?  Talk about more “holistic” topics for women there.  Don’t imply that we need our own separate website to go to for sports.  That’s insulting and offensive to those of us who have always thought ESPN was meant for all sports fans. 

On to the second question: if a separate website is needed (let’s just pretend for a second) is ESPN marketing this new website in a productive way?

It was suggested by one person on Twitter that perhaps ESPN was attempting to appeal to younger women who are not yet sports fans.  Consider this response from @racheldulitz:

Disagree! I think this sends the message to those potential young women – you’re separate but equal. NOT OK

Again, women want to see more women working in sports.  As equals.  Right next to men.  On the same website or show. 

One follower (@obsgiantscompul) compared the espnW.com rollout to the campaign for New Coke.  Great analogy, and we all know how that turned out!

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Why is Cam Newton Not Guilty of SEC Bylaws Violation?

December 3rd, 2010 | 14 comments »

I don’t normally post anything here that isn’t related to baseball, but I had a need to get this published ASAP.  So, for those who don’t care about college football (what’s wrong with you?), thanks for being tolerant!

After hearing multiple talk radio personalities declare that Cam Newton clearly violated an SEC bylaw, I thought I’d put my lawyer hat on and try to make some sense of this situation.  First, let’s take a look at the bylaw everyone is pointing to in this situation:

If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.

Those highlighted words – “receives or agrees to receive” – are the key here, and I see why it’s confusing to some.  This is one of those times that my three years and mountain of law school debt actually pays off.

When I first heard that the SEC had declared there was no violation, but first thought was that they must be interpreting this provision in terms of contract law.  It’s logical to read “agrees to receive” and think, “Hey, Cam’s father told Mississippi State he would take x amount of money for Cam to go to school there; that’s agreeing to receive.”  Not in the world of contract law, however.

In contract law, Cecil Newton’s statements were merely an offer, or perhaps a solicitation for bids.  An offer is a manifestation of willingness to enter into a bargain.  Basically, you’re saying to the other person, ”If you’re willing to do x, then y will happen.” 

In order to have a completed contract, one party has to make an offer, the other has to accept (on the same terms proposed by the offer) and there must be consideration (the money actually changing hands would have been consideration). 

Cecil Newton made an offer, which Mississippi State was free to accept (and create a contract), but did not.  Alternatively, you could say Cecil Newton was merely soliciting bids, which doesn’t even constitute an offer.  In that case, Mississippi State would have had to make the offer and then Cecil could have accepted. 

I found this quote from SEC spokesman, Charles Bloom, in The Clarion-Ledger that confirms my suspicions about why there was no violation here:

SEC Bylaw 14.01.3.2 does not apply in this situation. It only applies when there is an actual payment of an improper benefit, or an agreement (such as a handshake agreement) to pay and receive an improper benefit. The facts in this case, as we understand them, are that the student-athlete’s father, without the knowledge of the student-athlete, solicited improper payments (which were rejected) from an institution the young man did not attend, and that the institution where the young man is enrolled was not involved.

Notice I highlighted “agreement” – they’re looking for a completed contract.  Could they have worded the bylaw better and made it a violation for a student-athlete or his parent to solicit an offer?  Of course, and I would imagine that’s what they’re planning to do now that they’re saying they’re going to revisit the provision.  This is absolutely a loophole they need to close.

Could they have interpreted this bylaw differently and declared Cam Newton in violation because of his father’s actions?  Sure, but they would have opened themselves to a lawsuit by Cam and possibly Auburn.  The decision may defy logic for some, but it was absolutely the decision the SEC  had to make in order to protect itself.

*For more of Kristi’s sports business articles, visit www.kristidosh.com!

This article offers the personal observations of Kristi Dosh, and does not represent the views of her law firm or its clients. Any information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. Consult your own attorney for legal advice on these matters

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Did They or Didn’t They: the Sugar Bowl and Charitable Donations

October 28th, 2010 | Comment »

It has come to my attention that a lot of you only read my baseball work here.  No problem, I’m glad you stopped by. 

However, if you’re a college football fan, and especially if you’ve read Death to the BCS, you should check out my newest piece on SportsMoney on Forbes.com: Did They or Didn’t They: the Sugar Bowl and Charitable Donations.

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The Hardball Times: About those leaked financials…

August 27th, 2010 | Comment »

Check out my in-depth look at what the leaked financials of several MLB teams has taught us about how the current collective bargaining agreement is working on The Hardball Times!

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The Pirates Prove My Point

August 23rd, 2010 | 9 comments »

First, if you haven’t read it before, please read this post: click here.  It contains my thoughts on why MLB fans are always in search of more competitive balance and why mechanisms like a salary cap or hard slotting are not the answer.  It makes a number of the points that the Pirates have now helped me prove….

Today’s post is where I get to say, “I told you so!”  Thank you Pittsburgh Pirates.  Put simply, just because a team is in a smaller market and not winning does NOT mean that Major League Baseball needs a cap or hard slotting in the draft or anything else to improve competitive balance.  The current system is actually pretty great (see here for how MLB compares with the other pro sports in terms of competitive balance), and MLB as a whole is doing exceedingly well.  In fact, as it turns out, at least one of the “poorer” clubs isn’t doing so poorly after all.

The real thanks goes to the Associated Press, who obtained financial data for the Pirates from 2007, 2008 and 2009.  Not surpringly (at least not to me), it shows the Pirates have turned a profit.  While losing.

The Pirates eighteen-season losing streak is the longest in professional sports history.  In the years covered by the financial statements, the Pirates received just slightly less than half its income from MLB in the form of revenue sharing, national television revenue, MLB.com and MLB merchandise sales.  Meanwhile, their payroll lingered at the bottom in the Majors.  In fact, their 2010 payroll is only $2 million more than their 1992 payroll.   

Nevertheless, MLB officials say the Pirates are complying with revenue sharing rules.  I’m sure they probably are.  So, what’s wrong with the Pirates making money at being a perennial loser?

I’ve said it quite a few times…baseball is a business.  Owners face decisions about where best to allocate their resources, and the answer is not always club payroll.  Sometimes they have to placate investors.  Other times they have another business venture that produces a greater return for their dollar.  There are hundreds of reasons an owner might not choose to pour money into payroll, or into the club in general.  It’s his/her/its prerogative as the owner of a business. 

Perhaps the problem isn’t with the Pirates or even with baseball.  Maybe it’s simply a paradox created by the relationship between teams and fans.  Here’s what I’ve said before on this (and still whole-heartedly believe):

I’ve thought about it, and here’s an analogy that illustrates the problem.  If your favorite grocery store in town wasn’t giving you what you wanted in terms of stocking your favorite items or keeping the prices competitive, you would simply start shopping in another grocery store.  You could abandon the one you originally preferred with little thought or remorse.  You can’t do that in baseball though. 

I’ll use myself as an example.  I’m a Braves fan.  If the Braves were a club who spent less on payroll than they received in revenue sharing, I would be irritated.  But would I stop going to games or stop being a Braves fan?  Probably not.  See, there’s not another team in town, so I can’t just go watch another MLB team play on Saturday.  And even if there was, I have an emotional attachment to the Braves.  I remember going to games in the late 80s with my dad when the Braves were bottom-dwellers and no one was in the stands.  Then I remember the worst-to-first miracle and all of the postseason games I went to for 14 straight years.  I’ve lived all over the country, and I’ve rooted for several teams, but I’ve never felt about a team like I do about the Braves, because I don’t have the history with the others.  So, even if the Braves owners were spending less on payroll than they received in revenue sharing, I’d probably still be a Braves fan.  That’s why clubs like the Royals still have fans and can still increase in value every year.

I don’t think there is an answer, there’s only a problem we can’t solve as fans.  Baseball is a business, but it’s one we approach with emotion and history.  That’s why there are so many books and blogs and analysts.  Fans want a salary cap even though MLB players make a smaller percentage of league revenue than players in leagues with a salary cap.  Why?  It’s because you want your team to be competitive, because you’re not willing to switch allegiances to another team.  You want a payroll floor for the same reason. 

The problem isn’t with baseball, it’s with fans.  Baseball has seen eight different World Series champions in the last ten years, with fourteen different teams playing in the series.  So, almost half of all teams have made a World Series appearance just in the past decade.  By comparison, the NBA has only had five different champions in the past decade, and only eleven different teams played in the championship.  The NFL has had seven different Super Bowl champions, with fourteen different teams playing in the series.  Yet, MLB fans cry out about competitive imbalance far more than fans of the other leagues. 

The bottom line is that MLB players share less in the league revenue than the other leagues (without a salary cap) and the championship series has seen just as many, or more, teams compete in the last decade as the other leagues.  I think revenue sharing and the luxury tax have been a part of improving competitive balance over the past decade, as has the Wild Card.  Remember that competitive balance is not perfect balance. 

So, what do you think about the information that has come to light with regards to the Pirates?  Are you mad?  Do you think MLB should find a way to keep owners of losing teams from making money?  Is revenue sharing a mistake?

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