Dec 23

Dec. 23.10: On this Date ….

It would have happened eventually, but on this day in 1975 arbitrator Peter Seitz announced a landmark decision in favor of the Players’ Association. The decision made Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally free agents. Baseball, as we knew it, would never be the same.

Seitz was immediately fired by John Gaherin‚ chairman of the owners’ Player Relations Committee.

So, I guess you can thank Seitz for all the Jason Bay stuff.

When people discuss the economics of baseball, free agency immediately comes to mind, but what really spikes the salaries and movement is the arbitration system, which is totally out of whack. Free agency at least allows for negotiation, but arbitration is an either-or proposition.

There are several things I would change about the current economic system, beginning with arbitration. I would give the arbitrator the leeway in determining a compromise figure. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of a salary cap. The luxury tax isn’t a deterrent to limiting the spending. But, if they are going to have a luxury tax, there should be some spending minimum for the hands-out teams (Kansas City, Pittsburgh).

Oct 28

Commentary: I believe Selig, but ….

Message to Bud: Don't pray for it, make it happen.

Message to Bud: Don't pray for it, make it happen.

Bud Selig said it and I believe him.

After Carlos Pena’s single drove in B.J. Upton with the tying run, and the grounds crew practically following him across the plate, Selig said he would have not allowed the Phillies be crowned champions with a rain-shortened victory.

“It’s not a way to end a World Series,” Selig said. “I would not have allowed the World Series to end that way.”

I believe he wouldn’t. He would have played his “best interest in baseball,” card and done the right thing.

Giving that, why couldn’t he have done the right thing earlier? Perhaps not start the game at all, given the forecast? Or, once it started, said, “if we have to stop this, we won’t have a rain-shortened winner?”

The late start times and scheduling are other matters he needs to correct. My thinking is the World Series is the ultimate. It’s baseball’s showcase event, and it should be treated that way. Too often MLB lets those who don’t love it make the decisions and that has to stop.

If Selig’s words are to be believed, he must follow them up with actions that mean something. So far, his legacy as commissioner has been the steroids era, interleague play, new divisional alignments and a work stoppage that killed the 1994 World Series.

Time to change that for the better. Schedule the Series start times so people can see the game, and if worse, to give you more leeway time with the weather. If you don’t like playing this late in October, then you’re going to have to do something about shortening the playoffs?

Since you won’t reduce the number of games, then you must alter the regular season schedule. I have already suggested in these pages to have at least one day-night doubleheader a month. That would give you six days to play with. There are things that can be done, and in the end they won’t hurt as bad as the embarrassment that was last night.