Major League Baseball announced their new CBA today and they bragged about maintaining 21 years of labor peace. While that is a pretty remarkable accomplishment considering what’s happened recently in every other sports league, they completely screwed up the competitive balance of the league (as if it wasn’t stacked in favor of large market teams in the first place).
The new CBA imposes stiff penalties on teams that pay draft picks above the recommended slotting and puts a cap on the amount of money teams can spend on international signings. These changes disproportionately hurt small market teams like the Pirates and the Rays, since they spend heavily on the draft. Throwing money at talented prospects committed to colleges in the late rounds is the only way small market teams can accumulate talent, since they don’t have the money to pay for MLB level free agents. One instance of this was the Pirates using a 2nd round pick on Josh Bell, a top-level prospect that nobody wanted to draft because he explicitly told teams he was committed to going to the University of Texas this year. The Pirates called his bluff and made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse. While the MLB draft is always a craps shoot, I wouldn’t be surprised if Josh Bell is an All-Star caliber player a few years into his major league career. There’s no way in hell the Pirates would be able to afford him by the time he becomes a free agent. Offering him a huge contract in the draft is the only way the Pirates are going to get a prospect like that. The new CBA effectively prevents something like that from ever happening again.
What bothers me is that MLB sees draft spending as a huge issue, but they don’t have a problem with Carl Crawford getting $142 million dollars over 7 years. Their selective acceptance of free market principles is troubling. They would never impose a salary cap on the league to ensure a level playing ground, but they’ll come down hard on small market teams trying to work the system the only way they can. This is why baseball will continue to decline as nostalgic baby boomers die off and the NFL will continue being America’s real past-time.
This is exactly what I was talking about in my last post. Banks are feeling vulnerable because people are challenging their power. Their answer is to throw money at lobbyists to discredit the people asking the pertinent questions.
For all the criticism about the Occupy movement not having a coherent message, they have made one crucial breakthrough which I hope they can keep building on. The movement has finally gotten people to address the issue of income inequality in America and corrosive effects it will have on our future.
For decades, we’ve been lowering taxes on high earners under the false idea that their money would stimulate the economy and create jobs. The effect has been a concentration of wealth among fewer people than at any time since the Great Depression. This is troubling because money buys influence in today’s political system. One of the reasons why Congress has historically low approval ratings is that representatives are siding with lobbyists and corporations more than they are regular American citizens. They’re handcuffed because those entities fund their campaigns and they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds. Those entities represent the interests of the wealthy individuals running them, which undoubtedly want to preserve the status quo. We get left behind.
So it’s slightly heartening that the conversation has shifted to the actual problem. Hopefully it will get fixed, but it’s going to be tough to shake up such an entrenched system.
You might have seen this story today, but I thought I would add my two cents. Patrick Witt was selected to interview for a Rhodes scholarship on the same day of the Yale-Harvard game. There was absolutely no way that he could do both, because Yale’s stadium can’t hold night games and the Rhodes committee refused to hold the interview at another time.
Yale-Harvard is the biggest game on the Ivy League schedule every year. More importantly, Yale hasn’t beaten Harvard in The Game since 2006. It’s not Auburn-Alabama, but it’s pretty important to both schools. I can’t imagine having to make a decision like that, because the consequences of either choice will hurt somebody no matter what.
Witt is an NFL prospect at QB and he has a chance to be a mid-round draft pick if he does well in this game. If he decided to skip the Harvard game, NFL scouts would inevitably question his commitment to football and wonder if he was too smart to draft (see Myron Rolle and Ryan Fitzpatrick). Being too smart is a liability if you’re an NFL prospect and Witt would kill any chance of making the NFL. In addition to that, he would let down 70 or so guys in the locker room who need him to win against his team’s biggest rival.
Winning a Rhodes scholarship is the highest honor you can receive in academics in the United States. Seeing the lineup of influential thinkers who have won the award is proof that being a Rhodes scholar can set you up for life. It would be selfish for Witt to skip out on his team, but if there’s ever a reason for it I think this would be it. The fact the Witt transferred to Yale from Nebraska shows that he takes his education seriously. As a former Ivy League athlete, I think it’s almost impossible to put up a 3.91 GPA while dealing with all of the rigors of classwork at a school like that.
I just don’t understand why the Rhodes scholarship committee is so rigid about their scheduling. The kid shouldn’t have to make a choice between letting down his team or foregoing the opportunity most people can only dream about. Luckily for Witt, he’ll be fine whether he plays in the NFL or not.
"If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. They don’t have the modern welfare state, and China’s growing," she exclaimed, adding: "And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone." - Michele Bachmann at tonight’s GOP Debate
I don’t know where to start with this. Other than Huntsman, I don’t know if you could find a group of people with less knowledge of foreign policy than the candidates at last night’s GOP debate. I don’t even know where to start making fun of these clowns.
Cain advocating waterboarding? Or Cain pretty much admitting he doesn’t know anything about foreign affairs and he’d defer to his advisers?
How about Bachmann saying we could learn a few things from Communist China? Doesn’t she advocate smaller government? Could somebody let her know that China’s government is their private sector?
Rick Perry thinks he could be commander-in-chief because he knows generals in the Texas National Guard. Laughable.
Also, why does Rick Santorum keep showing up to these debates? He’s like the kid that stands around when a bunch of other people are having a conversation and tries to interject when somebody else is talking. He’ll get frustrated because everybody blows him off, because nothing he says matters. That’s his presidential campaign in a nutshell.
Sometimes I feel like the Onion is reading my mind, except they take my snarky thoughts and turn them into hilarious articles for mass public consumption. His LA Kings article was 10% about the LA Kings/NHL and 90% bitching about the NBA lockout.