MLB is a $6.5BILLION industry. It's time for it to start getting some things right, and making other things better. Below is the first in a list of things that can be AND needs to be improved upon for the 2010 season:
Salary Cap/Salary Floor
This is a LONG time coming. I often wonder how good at their respective positions Brian Cashman (Yankees), Bill Smith (Twins), Dan O'Dowd (Rockies) or Jim Hendry (Cubs) would be if the financial playing field was leveled to within a few million dollars of one another. Could the Yankees have afforded to take so many of the most highly valued free agents off the market the last few years? With their scouting program, would the Twins have won more playoff games/the World Series with true access to the best free agents?
Bud Selig and the present owners in MLB are running the risk of rendering many of the teams in MLB obsolete by allowing the same teams year in and year out to have NO SHOT at post-season play. But, hey why not? On Bud's watch ('92 to present) the game has grown in revenue 505%! Owners--Bud's Buddies--are making money hand over fist. Meanwhile, teams like the Royals, Pirates and Natinals..err.. Nationals go in to every season understanding that they can not win a world series. These same teams go into every off-season understanding that they can not afford any of the highest paid players on the free agent market. Helluva catch-22, no? The final straw had to be last off-season which saw the New York Yankees purchase the 3 most expensive free agents on the market. A feat MAYBE 3 other teams in baseball could achieve.
A salary cap--with a punitive AND escalating tax for those teams that break the barrier--needs to be instituted, to increase the competitve balance. A salary floor--also with a punitive and escalating tax--needs to be enacted to MAINTAIN that same competitive balance. For Bud Selig to consistently spout that teams like the Royals, Nationals and Pirates aren't making any money despite the current revenue sharing model, and low comparative payrolls is an insult. If the owners in these cities did not make money, they would cease to be owners. On that note, it needs be said: For as much as I think the Yankees/Mets/Cubs over-spending is bad for the fans of MLB, I think the UNDERSPENDING of other teams (Marlins and Pirates come to mind) is EQUALLY as bad if not moreso. Because Royals and Pirates fans in particular are not "bandwagoners". They are loyal fans who root for their teams generationally, and for that loyalty they get....the shaft.
The MLB playoffs are the hardest post-season to get into of the 4 major sports. Bud and the boys need to stop making it even more difficult for the smaller market teams, and institute some change.