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!]]>
These accusations surrounding Bonds are from six years ago, and a lot has changed in that time. “The Steroid Era” is looked at as a dark time in baseball, but no one, particularly commissioner Bud Selig, was complaining when the home run race between St. Louis’ Mark McGwire and Chicago’s Sammy Sosa boosted sagging rating in baseball back in 1998. It should also be noted that Bonds had one of his best seasons in 1998, smashing 37 homers with 122 RBIs, posting a .303 average along with 28 stolen bases and a Gold Glove in the outfield, but does anyone remember that? No, they remember the seasons that McGwire and Sosa had as they chased and surpassed Roger Maris’ record. Anyone looking for a reason as to why Bonds started to allegedly take steroids only has to look at the attention that McGwire and Sosa received during that time.
It took McGwire years to begrudgingly admit that he used steroids, although he says that he didn’t do it to aid his strength, but to recover from injuries faster. Sosa still hasn’t admitted it, although like Bonds, all you have to do is look at their physiques and see what was going on. Bonds shouldn’t have lied to the grand jury six years ago, and he probably shouldn’t have done so, but regardless of whether he did or not, his legacy was going to take a hit, much bigger than McGwire, Sosa, or any other player involved with the steroid era. One of the prevailing theories is that Bonds has never been known to be friendly with most of the media, so they kept bringing it up until something happened. Some think that is just Bonds being paranoid, but that would be short-sighted. It’s the only reason that Bonds has been vilified and why this trial is going to be a major storyline during the upcoming season, especially in San Francisco where the discussion should be surrounding the Giants’ quest to repeat.]]>
AMATEURISM PANEL: Different sports entities answer the question “what it means to be an amateur” in different ways. This panel takes a “comparative” approach to amateurism and look at how domestic and international sports organizations and entities (e.g., NCAA, IOC, and other sports regulatory bodies) define “amateurism.” This panel will discuss how each type of organization defines “amateur” differently, and ask, normatively, what is the best way to define “amateurism”.
CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT PANEL: Over the past year, the landscape of college athletics has been dramatically altered with the movement of numerous teams to new conferences, including Nebraska to the Big 10, Colorado and Utah to the Pacific 10, Boise State to the Mountain West, and Brigham Young to independent status. This raises issues about amateurism (when the main driver for conference realignment is money, what is the impact on student-athletes and the traditional model of amateurism?) and the role of the NCAA in either facilitating or impeding conference realignment (what historical precedent or legislative authority, if any, exists for the NCAA to be involved in conference realignment?). This panel would explore legal and ethical issues related to amateurism and the role of the NCAA in conference realignment.
SPORTS LEGACY INSTITUTE LUNCHEON
ATHLETE-AGENT PANEL: The relationship between player agents and college athletes remains a hot topic for colleges, players, agents, players’ unions, and state governments. First, assuming we want to retain a model in which student-athletes are amateurs, how should colleges, unions, and states prevent agents from engaging in impermissible relationships with athletes? Is the best method through sanctions from the players’ unions who licensing the agents, oversight from universities and the NCAA who have the most resources and are “on the ground” with the athletes, or states/localities who have athlete-agent laws on the books and do not enforce them? Alternatively, is it possible that paying college athletes would be a partial solution to this problem, and if so, how should the NCAA or universities structure a system in which student-athletes are compensated? This panel will discuss the athlete-agent issue by exploring the positives and negatives of players’ unions, universities, the NCAA, and states regulating player agents and alternative methods for solving this problem. Additionally, this panel will explore how to assist student-athletes who “go pro” in sports.
LITIGATING AGAINST THE NCAA – O’BANNON/KELLER/AGNEW LAWSUITS: Two pending class action lawsuits filed by former NCAA athletes Ed O’Bannon and Sam Keller have reignited the debate about whether college athletes should be compensated, at minimum, for the use of their likenesses and images in merchandising, video games, and television broadcasts. A judge recently refused the NCAA’s request to toss out the eight lawsuits filed across the country by former student-athletes, and all eight lawsuits have been consolidated into a single federal action in San Francisco. This panel will explore the merits of the pending lawsuits; whether, normatively, college athletes should be paid for the use of their likenesses and images (with a specific focus on men’s football and basketball); and the legal and business implications if college athletes were compensated. Former NCAA college football player Joseph Agnew recently filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California (Agnew v. NCAA) challenging the NCAA’s one-year scholarship rule as an illegal price-fixing arrangement. This panel will explore Agnew’s legal arguments, the NCAA’s response, and the lawsuit’s potential impact on college athletes.
BCS PANEL: The BSC has been attacked by legal scholars, state attorney generals, and other interested parties as violating federal antitrust law. In 2010-11, however, non automatic-qualifying schools took home a record $24.7 million. Additionally, Playoff PAC recently submitted a report to the Internal Revenue Service challenging the tax-exempt status of the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar Bowls and arguing that the three BCS bowls should not be considered Section 501(c)(3) charities. This panel would explore both sides of the antitrust and tax issues.
I know it’s hard to believe, but even guys making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year live paycheck-to-paycheck. We all sit around and wonder, what does a guy do with $400,000 that he can barely make ends meet? It’s the same question a guy making $30,000 and getting by would ask someone making $100,000 and barely making it to the next paycheck.
The bottom line is that many people are slave to a natural tendency to try and keep up with his peers. A baseball player making the league minimum of $400,000 may feel pressure to keep up with the guys on the team who are making $1 million. He wants to give his wife a nice house, park a luxury vehicle next to the others in the lot and treat his family to big vacations during the offseason.
Add in the fact that many pro athletes make loans to friends and family and invest in their second cousin’s newest money making venture, and it’s not that hard to see how things get out of contol. That’s not even taking into account the guys who drop $100,000 on a bar tab in one night.
Many football players can’t afford a lockout, but now perhaps neither can the owners. In a ruling yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge David Doty ruled in favor of the Players Association on their claim that owners left money on the table in television contract negotiations in exchange for provisions providing for payment in the event of a lockout. A hearing will be scheduled where Judge Doty will decide if any television money received during a lockout would be put into escrow and unavailable to owners. You can read more on the latest in the NFL labor battle here.]]>
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.]]>
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.]]>
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.]]>
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!
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!]]>