Aug 17

Voiding K-Rod’s contract won’t be a slam dunk.

Let’s hope the Mets’ front office shows more fight, more spunk and aggressiveness in dealing with Francisco Rodriguez’s contract than it did in addressing their myriad of holes in the offseason.

RODRIGUEZ: Another Mets mess

Since this one is about saving money, bet on it.

In a punkish rage, Rodriguez hit the 53-year-old father of his girlfriend and tore a ligament in his throwing hand, and consequently will be lost for the season.

No matter the igniting words, Rodriguez was out of control did not act like a professional, but a thug. With a history of confrontations on the back of his personal baseball card, Rodriguez had know his behavior was under examination.

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Aug 13

Mets Chat Room; the circus is in town.

Game #115 vs. Phillies

Evidently, the Mets weren’t all that “disappointed” in the behavior of closer Francisco Rodriguez as word is the combustible closer could be available to pitch as soon as tomorrow. Of course, with their ace facing a civil suit for rape, just how much could they say?

There were suspension limitations without facing a grievance from the Players Association, but it would have been interesting to see them tangle and watch what lame defense the MLBPA would come up with to defend assault.

The Mets’ handling of their off-season issues has been embarrassingly poor from the disciplinary stances of Rodriguez and Santana to  their lack of activity in the off-season and at the trading deadline in bolstering its pitching staff.

I understand the clubhouse mentality of “he’s our teammate and we support him,” but I wonder how much they really will embrace him for his behavior in front of their wives, girlfriends and children. Carlos Beltran, the quiet one, came out strongest calling what Rodriguez did was wrong. Otherwise, the word “mistake,” was thrown out too much.

Evidently, the words from his father-in-law, to quit being a baby, man up and play better.”

Those words can apply to ownership on down.

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).

Nov 01

Welcome to November ….

It is November and tonight is Game 4 of the World Series. There are so many things wrong with that picture.

We know this is all because of greed and MLB prostituting itself for the bucks. We also know that as long as Bud Selig remains commissioner things will not change. Hell, regardless of who is commissioner things will not change.

That’s because the owners are running the game in all capacity, and the Players Association, once powerful, doesn’t stand up anymore because they are getting their share.

Yes, the World Series scheduling is dictated by the network, but so are the earlier rounds. With both FOX and TBS broadcasting, MLB will not schedule conflicting games as to interfere with each other’s ratings. That also necessitates spreading out the scheduling. God forbid they broadcast in the afternoon (there were some, but not nearly enough).

There is another solution, but it is doubtful MLB will go in that direction because it makes too much sense.

MLB can cut a week off the season – and STILL keep it at 162 games – if it implemented day-night doubleheaders throughout the season for division games. Interleague play and the unbalanced schedule has provided enough opportunities because teams within the division play each other up to 19 times.

We know MLB won’t go for the traditional doubleheader because of its insistence of not wanting to lose a gate. So, schedule the day-night variety once a month. In doing so, over the six-month season you’ll free up six days. That means starting the postseason a week earlier.

Even better, would be doing it every other week. That could free up to 12 days.

MLB says the Players Association won’t go for it, but they never asked. I’ve spoken to numerous players and they like the idea because it would mean more off days during the season.

Returning to the old way of starting the World Series on a Saturday would be a prudent thing to do. IT’S THE WORLD SERIES!!!! People will watch on the weekend, and they’ll watch during the day, too.

MLB, in capitulating to the networks, says the ratings will go down. Who’s to say? Will the drop be that significant? We won’t know unless they try it.

Instead, MLB doesn’t want to compete with college and pro football. In taking that approach, the sport is saying it isn’t good enough. Nonsense. Baseball is plenty good enough to compete, and if the match-up is good, it will win. If the match-up is bad – and MLB defines that as anything without the Yankees – they won’t watch anyway.

This weekend, the games are in the National League city. Had Colorado made it, we’d still be stuck on Game 2.

MLB should say, “this is when we’re playing, if you want to broadcast the games, show up. … If this isn’t good enough for you we’ll get somebody else to televise the games.”

Instead, MLB just takes the money and rolls over.

Nov 23

Open those wallets.

Do you remember a few weeks ago Commissioner Bud Selig asked the sports’ owners and general managers to be fiscally responsible as to be sensitive to the public during these tough economic times?

As unemployment spirals and prices rise, will the public be receptive to the sport’s shopping season?

Selig wasn’t telling teams not to indulge in the free agent market, but be cognizant and feeling to a public struggling to survive. He couldn’t tell teams not to spend because, after all, that’s collusion and the Players Association already won that battle.

Then the Yankees offered $140 million to CC Sabathia and talk about signing anybody not nailed down. But, this isn’t a Yankees’ rant, as they are only the poster child for the economics of the sport.

Mediocre players – read Oliver Perez – are about to make untold millions, and over the next few weeks teams will announce ticket prices for the 2009 season. Care to guess how many of the 30 teams will lower prices?

It’s not hard.

It’s easy to be cynical of Selig’s plea because he’s always talking about keeping salaries down, but he’s not about to throw his “best interest in baseball weight” around, because baseball’s best interest, at least to the short term thinkers in the sport, is today’s bottom line.

How nice it would be for the sport to place a moratorium on ticket and concession prices for next season, perhaps cut them five percent. That would be a gift to the public who always gives to the game, in both heart and wallet.

That won’t happen, because he can’t order a team to set prices. It won’t happen because he knows the players won’t take less.

It doesn’t work that way. Players are under pressure from the Players Association to take the best deal because it helps other players.

Sabathia, for instance was offered $100 million to stay in Milwaukee, but even if he were giddy happy there, he won’t re-sign and leave $40 million on the table. It’s easy to say, “how much is enough?” But, you’re not the one leaving money on the table, and the truth is, if in the same position you’d do the same.

It’s never enough.

Baseball doesn’t know the meaning of enough as it expands overseas with the reach of a poker player leaning across the table to pull in his chips. The players will get their millions because teams can afford it, and they can afford it because you always foot the bill. Whether it be tickets, or T-shirts, or watching on TV, the public always pays.

And, does so willingly.