I’ve had it with baseball. I tried to turn it around, I tried to believe. But in the end it comes down to this: Baseball is topheavy, and in that way, uninteresting, unless you’re a fan of a large market team who’s willing to spend the money to get the players needed to compete. You’ve got the big markets beating up on the small markets while every other sport in the country is going in the other direction. Even college football with its NCAA-imposed 85 scholarship limitations. Sure, Michigan, Notre Dame and Alabama may still vie for championships, but there are a lot of smaller teams that are making noise now that might never have in years past. (See: Hawaii, Boise State, South Florida, Texas Tech). In the MLB? Fat chance, doughboy. And take a look at the NFL, where every year it seems like there’re a few unaccounted-for teams who compete (See: New Orleans in ’06). But in baseball? You can almost write down who will be there at the end barring a precious few.
What can MLB do to right the ship? Basically, they need to emulate the NFL:
- Institute a salary cap for god’s sake.
- End guaranteed salaries. I hate to say that, I really do, because the MLBPA did their players a solid when they got them this one. But you need look no further than Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves to figure out that some people just need to find another vocation rather than bring home 20 mil a year.
- Stop allowing groups and corporations to purchase teams, which basically use them as a tax write-off and have no interest in putting out a competitive product. The NFL will only allow an individual to purchase teams, guaranteeing a certain competitive fervor built-in from the very top spot.
In the meantime, I’ll watch when there’s nothing else on, but I’m through having my heart ripped out for a team that has no interest in winning.