new payday loan lenders direct credit card no annual fee fair credit gas reward cards best accept credit card payments online free psn wallet credit card information not valid bank of america 2 cash back credit card unsecured bad credit loan uk royal bank visa black card canada free valid credit card numbers with cvv2 2012 online loans instant decision bad credit how to apply for credit card in icici best cashback credit card offers closing low limit credit cards loans with bad credit rating in australia what credit cards can i apply for online i need to get a credit card fast pnb credit card application form pdf credit card apps for windows mobile online payday loans no phone calls change apple credit card online petro canada credit card cibc whats the average credit card apr best place to get a credit card uk alaska airlines credit card through bank of america bank of america 2.5 cash back credit card gold card derbyshire go ge capital credit card aqua credit card online payments chase slate request credit limit increase canada secured credit card compare free background search no credit card orchard credit card payments online small business credit cards best rewards credit card number and security code hack credit card number location mastercard bank of america alaska airlines credit card canada low income credit cards philippines standard chartered credit card review philippines how to use paypal prepaid credit card 0 transfer credit cards us average credit card apr guaranteed approval credit cards unsecured disney premier visa credit card from chase hdfc credit card online payment through netbanking starwood preferred guest credit card offer american express cash advance australia tesco credit card minimum payment 0 military bad credit car loans major credit cards accepted in hong kong american express black card net worth requirements care credit application and credit card account agreement chase freedom credit card 150 cash back make a payment best buy hsbc credit card easiest to get credit card uk capital advance payday loans sbi online credit card payment through net banking hdfc credit card payment by other bank credit card reducing credit limit on credit card jetstar credit card fees best business credit cards 2012 american express gold credit card wiki secured credit card comparison chart sbi credit card eligibility calculator 3 month payday loans direct lenders uk how to buy application from apple store without credit card i need a credit card today with bad credit amazon credit card payment checklist for comparing credit cards top ten best credit cards 2013 african bank credit card limit increase online application best small business credit cards 2011 best credit card for travel no annual fee what is the best online payday loan site how do you get a starbucks gold card old navy visa credit card application best buy credit cards apply for capital one unsecured credit card air canada credit card offers orchard bank secured credit card 2013 virgin credit card balance transfer offers credit card holder cath kidston where can i pay my orchard bank credit card discover credit card login usa what are some major credit card companies post office credit card balance transfer fees free credit card numbers generator download fixed vs variable interest rate credit card mastercard credit cards with rewards delta skymiles?î credit card companion ticket natwest gold credit card ppi online credit card processing fees comparison apply online credit card hdfc bank buy virtual credit card with credit card bass pro bank of america credit card login credit card number and cvv2 generator orange prepaid credit card uk credit card charges home loan quotes online 0 apr balance transfer credit cards canada british airways visa card uk quick cash loans online bad credit south africa redwood credit union secured credit cards uk visa credit card number example bank of america credit card usage abroad discover student card no credit history sears credit card login pay my bill bank of america credit cards customer service best secured credit cards to build credit 2013 hdfc credit card login payment billdesk compare australian credit cards rewards wireless credit card machines for sale 0 credit cards transfer balance how to get a credit card with bad credit score instant bad credit loans australia black cardamom powder usaa virtual credit card number current best credit card rates credit card comparison chart malaysia balance transfer offers no fee credit card protection act 2009 best travel credit card 2012 india fast cash online loans apply for capital one credit card application credit card settlement figure credit card travel rewards reviews credit card online barclays prepaid credit card online gambling best business visa card australia bank of america credit card login mastercard fidelity cash back visa card hdfc credit card limit information charge credit cards online free standard chartered 5 cash back credit card hsbc credit card apply online india best prepaid credit card to rebuild credit apple support credit card declined different types of icici credit card citibank credit card apply kolkata best credit cards for college students 2013 credit card machines uk reward credit cards travel spend natwest credit card points average credit score for walmart card list of payday lenders only qantas frequent flyer points credit card comparison top 10 best store credit cards how do banks work out interest on credit cards credit card low interest rate canada nab credit card travel insurance capital one credit card app for android bad credit personal loans uk lenders toys r us credit card customer service phone number credit card minimum payments are usually around what percent using us credit cards in canada indusind bank credit cards statement best payday lenders 2012 free prepaid visa debit cards anz credit card balance transfer application best usaa credit card for students sears canada credit card ipad credit card reader different types of credit cards in canada hdfc credit card limit enhancement online how to reduce my credit card debt fast bad credit credit cards no annual fee visa credit card services ireland credit card payoff calculator chart what do all visa cards start with uk credit card debt statistics unsecured credit cards instant approval bad credit credit card uk history best gas credit cards cash back jp morgan chase credit card payments discover cashback bonus card credit score canada credit card balance transfer best credit cards with low interest rates capital one credit cards for business best 0 interest credit card delta airlines credit card no annual fee 0 interest credit card transfer visa credit cards uk clark howard free credit report online standard chartered credit card payment india best marriott rewards credit card offer hdfc credit card online application status check guaranteed credit card canada visa credit cards for bad credit canada icici credit card with no annual fee in india choice freedom credit card anz debit visa cards what banks offer visa debit cards canada citibank virtual credit card number what is credit card payment gateway credit score needed for chase freedom credit card compare credit card interest rates australia how to get a personal loan with bad credit in india cimb credit card application form singapore best no fee transfer balance credit cards consolidate credit card debt chase valero business gas credit cards online loan lenders philippines easy payday loans uk cash advance payday loans credit card validator jquery what happens to my credit score if i cancel a credit card hsbc credit card customer care number singapore visa signature credit card wiki natwest black card compare credit cards canada government top credit cards in india 2012 loan against sbi credit card how can i apply for a firestone credit card can a credit card company garnish your wages in pennsylvania direct payday lenders bad credit online credit card interest rate reduction scams aqua credit card instant decision best international credit cards for students best canadian air travel credit card sears credit card special offers best credit card rates ireland jcpenney credit card payment mailing address wireless rfid credit card scanner credit card limit reduced below balance national cash advance new credit card charges law hsbc old orchard credit card personal loans online today wells fargo secured credit card graduation is there a starbucks credit card 0 interest rate credit card australia best credit card rates in ireland balance transfer credit cards for bad credit rating can i get a discover credit card with bad credit air miles credit cards mastercard credit card credit limit credit score o balance transfer no fee credit cards 0 balance transfer credit cards for average credit best credit card to get cash advance who has the lowest interest rate credit card cash advance lenders direct online what does it mean if you have a black credit card how to up your credit limit on very capital one secured credit cards for bad credit credit card for no credit rating new payday loan lender 2011 hsbc premier credit card rewards redemption instant unsecured bad credit loans best buy credit card cash advance credit card search tool capital one credit card online credit card companies list wiki preloaded credit cards australia tribute gold mastercard credit card application credit card charges and vat online sbi credit card registration american express credit card customer service number uk hdfc credit card payment online from hdfc bank of america credit card travel insurance 0 apr balance transfer credit card offers walmart credit cards account credit card search engine american airlines credit card uk residents visa credit cards bad credit no deposit first cash advance reviews credit card cashback bonus offers icici virtual credit card paypal are visa debit gift cards reloadable best credit cards for business canada hdfc credit card loan capital one credit card review credit card helpline icici citibank credit card settlement letter prepaid visa cards with no fees who has the best student credit cards barclay credit card iphone app jp morgan chase credit cards for bad credit rbc visa low interest credit card amex spg credit card canada guaranteed unsecured credit card pay icici credit card bill online through other bank new small business credit cards with bad credit how do i report a lost wells fargo credit card where can i use my bestbuy credit card citi credit card travel notification best credit card offers bonus rewards unsecured credit card after bankruptcy no annual fee walt disney credit card offers how long for best buy credit card approval rbs apply for credit card online credit card company liable unsecured credit cards with no credit check best rewards credit cards canada 2012 axis bank credit card offers on mobile recharge orchard credit card bill payment easy store credit cards to get approved for with bad credit credit card to build credit for bad credit best credit cards for good credit 2013 how to pay off high interest rate credit cards best american airlines credit card offers 2011 western union prepaid credit card uk how to reduce credit card debt is it good to apply for multiple credit cards how many times can you get cashback on a walmart credit card compare visa credit cards tesco credit card 0 balance transfer daily credit card interest calculator post office credit card online banking login credit card services calling to lower my interest rate bad credit need credit card canada check us bank credit card application status marriott rewards premier credit card credit card fraud concerns at schnucks stores do i need a credit card to rent a car from enterprise cibc credit card insurance bank of america secured credit card for students long term bad credit loans lenders can you get a credit card and use it the same day air miles credit cards comparison canada hsbc student credit card limit gap credit card services login best 2 cash back credit card how does a wireless credit card terminal work valid credit card numbers that work 2012 barclays apple credit card phone number lowest interest rate credit card singapore corporate credit cards definition halifax student credit card online canada credit card cash back comparisons sear credit card pay my bill cash advance loans online no credit check capital one secured credit card review 2012 sears credit card rewards login compare corporate credit card india instant payday loans with bad credit apply for all credit cards with one application best 0 credit card offers what does it mean when a credit card is secured how to settle credit card debt for less in india how are business credit card limits determined actual online payday loan lenders ipad credit card apple id hsbc credit card application pinoyexchange natwest credit card travelling abroad chase credit card $200 cash back offer public savings bank open sky secured visa card settlement of credit card dues in india does it hurt your credit score to close a credit card standard chartered credit card online banking credit card comparison australia balance transfer airline credit card promotions free tickets student no credit credit card compare credit cards with cashback british airways credit card deals bank of america credit card cash advance check how to get a secured credit card with bad credit natwest apply for student credit card anz debit visa card nz apply for a credit card with poor credit rating banana republic visa credit card rewards walmart visa debit gift card target credit card applications online bank of america credit cards payment india credit card no foreign transaction fee credit card apps for smartphones lic credit card application form status credit cards with gas and grocery rewards unsecured loans with bad credit australia the best business credit cards for small businesses prepaid credit cards international use can i apply for a sears credit card over the phone easyjet no credit card fees visa mastercard prepaid credit cards home depot canada credit card application barclays credit card contact hsbc credit card application retrieval pc richards credit card review post office platinum card limit online visa card balance checker how bad does applying for credit cards hurt your credit american express credit cards wikipedia new fees for credit cards 2013 compare credit cards balance transfer offers payday loan online uk best credit card consolidation companies axis bank credit card visa verification valero gas credit card payment can you do a balance transfer from an overdraft to a credit card indusind bank credit cards payment how to get a credit card at 18 canada which credit card should i get with bad credit credit cards apply online south africa paying off credit card debt too fast prepaid visa card uk gift care credit for pets best secured credit card for no credit history prepaid credit card online purchase pay barclays credit card payment online what is the best cash back credit card for business free credit card numbers with cvv and expiration date 2013 ge money credit card customer service costco credit card processing uk starwood credit card australia 123 mobile credit card machines help with credit card debt singapore sbi credit card application process bad credit payday loans direct freedom credit card review top zero percent credit cards westpac credit card rates australia moneysupermarket credit card search pay day loans over 12 months no brokers joint credit card application canada test credit card numbers sagepay how do no interest credit cards work easy to get credit cards uk chase credit card rental car protection best credit card for students canada toyota visa rewards card login bank of america credit card minimum payment formula visa credit card exchange rate calculator ibc bank visa cash card american express platinum card benefits singapore mastercard prepaid credit cards ireland how to prevent credit card fraud online standard credit card approval form what credit cards does walmart canada accept best student credit cards with no credit clark howard best credit cards for students marriott rewards credit card uk login do you need a credit card to rent a car in spain bank of america launches three new travel rewards credit cards nissan visa cash card offer brought to you by edmunds com offer credit card credit cards with airline miles for fair credit compare credit cards travel insurance credit card charges refunded forum mobil gas credit card is horizon gold card legit cash loans online co uk best credit cards for poor credit 2012 do company credit cards affect credit score spg amex credit card offer capital one credit cards for first timers icici credit card status using reference number discount tire ge credit card capital one small business credit card reviews how to eliminate credit card debt without paying best australian visa card accepting credit cards at craft shows with paypal citibank student credit card application lord and taylor credit card services phone number citibank credit card online banking credit card cash advance hsbc platinum credit card review hdfc credit cards rewards point catalogue how to use apps store without credit card lowest credit card rates in the philippines top credit card companies in india can you transfer credit card balance from one person to another international credit card chip and pin capital one platinum card rewards commonwealth bank credit card travel insurance jcpenney credit card payment online credit score applying for credit cards best airmiles credit card with no annual fee how much does a mobile credit card machine cost canada best credit card points myer visa card application balance transfer credit cards martin lewis hdfc credit card offers emi compare travel rewards credit cards in canada hdfc credit card online payment through debit card hdfc credit card add on card application form free credit card details can i get credit card with bad credit rating uk credit card travel insurance hdfc credit card helpline number jaipur credit card cash advance charge calculator verifone credit card machine manual td visa card exchange rate top rated secured credit cards for bad credit orchard bank credit card payment phone number how to buy a house with bad credit uk credit card fraud online payment virtual terminal credit card processing no monthly fee low credit credit cards australia credit cards instant approval fair credit aqua credit card payment protection best secured credit cards for very bad credit vanquis credit card payment plan low rate credit card westpac apply for credit card online instant decision what is a bad credit score 2013 credit card search engine uk virtual visa card wiki what does your credit score have to be to get a sears card credit card processing fees lawsuit new york and company credit card payment login best fast cash loans hsbc credit card promotions dining
Home All Articles State of Major League Baseball - 2008 - Page 3

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 475 guests online

Atom RSS

State of Major League Baseball - 2008 - Page 3 PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 25
Articles & Opinion
Written by Various Authors   
Sunday, 15 June 2008 23:04
Article Index
State of Major League Baseball - 2008
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
All Pages

Jonah KeriJonah Keri
Writer for, a contributor to and the New York Sun and recent blogosphere entrant at

I'm once again honored and flattered that The Business of Sports Network has asked for my views on the State of the Game. Doubly so given the other names in this illustrious panel.

With that said, trying to come up with another list of "What's right" and "What's wrong" with MLB today, just 18 months after first being asked to do so, feels a little like Adam Sandler's second iteration of the Chanukah song: still cool, but requires some creative thinking to avoid duplicating initial efforts. So with King Felix, MLB Extra Innings, Anchor Steam in San Francisco and other baseball delights off limits, here's my new list of people who are Jewish...err...list of what's right and wrong with MLB today.

What's right:

Tim Lincecum. Jay Bruce. A view of the Pittsburgh skyline from PNC Park. Micah Owings, the best hitting pitcher since Babe Ruth, or at least Wes Ferrell. Old-timey minor league ballparks. Baseball's next dynasty, the Tampa Bay Rays. The 4 p.m. "I've got an extra ticket at Fenway" phone call. Cooperstown. Edinson Volquez's changeup. A friend randomly giving you a 1969 Montreal Expos schedule. Kansas City, pound for pound the country's most underrated baseball town. The enthusiasm and infectious smile of Howie Kendrick. Chris Coste, the 33-year-old rookie who made good.

What's wrong with MLB today:

The blackballing of Barry Bonds, a nod to baseball's preference of reputation over performance. Baseball writers who dismiss the outsider's view. Ballparks that offer few food choices beyond rubbery hot dogs and stale nachos. General Managers' (and managers') preference of proven mediocrities over young players with upside. Marvin Miller and Bill James still waiting for a Hall of Fame call. Patriotism forced down our throats during the 7th-inning stretch. Saturday afternoon out-of-market games blacked out by FOX. Cuban baseball players forced to risk their lives to play at the highest level.

Jordan KobritzJordan Kobritz
Regular contributor, Business of Sports Network; Professor, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Eastern New Mexico University and teaches the Business of Sports at the University of Wyoming. Former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner.

What’s right with the game is what’s always been right with the game: It’s the greatest game that man has ever invented. I’ve always believed that and I don’t see it changing in my lifetime, regardless of how the game evolves.

Is it perfect? I don’t think anyone truly believes that, although we may differ on the specifics. For example, I think the DH has been a great boon to the game. But many fans who vilify the DH can’t work up a sweat over artificial turf (which, thankfully, may soon be relegated to its rightful demise, at least at the Major League level). To those so-called traditionalists, I say artificial turf changed the way the game is played - offensively and defensively - more than the DH ever has.

Among the business aspects of the game that are right:

1. Average ticket prices, although on the rise, are still the lowest in Major League sports.

2. MLB Advanced Media is a winner. The eventual returns on MLBAM will make Warren Buffet envious.

3. Many of the lower revenue teams are competing with the big boys on the field of play. It takes more than money to win, just ask the Tigers, Mets and Yankees.

4. The higher standards - see the use of performance-enhancing drugs – to which baseball is held compared to other sports is a badge of honor, rather than a curse.

5. The Baseball Network will be far and away the best and most accessible sports-specific network on the planet.

6. MLB’s international efforts – especially the WBC - are second to none.

Going forward, what needs tending to:

1. MLB must keep ticket prices as affordable as possible. The $2,500 seats in the new Yankee Stadium are understandable on a number of levels, but a certain number of seats should remain accessible to families.

2. The revenue discrepancy between the haves and have-nots will grow, not narrow. That’s not a phenomenon limited to MLB. In the NFL, the revenue discrepancy among teams exceeds $100 million. In MLB, the revenue discrepancy can exceed $200 million. If it continues to expand, we may see a return to the times when fans of certain teams had no “hope,” which is the essence of professional sports.

3. Major League Baseball in Florida is in trouble. That’s been the case since MLB expanded to the Sunshine State, and new stadiums for the Marlins and Rays – both in jeopardy - won’t be the panacea some expect.

4. MLB’s association with gambling is troublesome, to say the least. The money available from gambling interests is tempting, but accepting it creates a double standard and is potentially detrimental to the game.

5. In its efforts to protect its brand, MLB should be less confrontational with its fans. As someone with a legal background, I understand the necessity of protecting intellectual property. But the heavy-handed approaches with Little League Baseball and the Cape Cod League, the black out rules, as well as MLB’s actions that precipitated the Fantasy Sports Case, are all examples of confrontations that may have been better addressed through negotiation and consent decrees.

6. Revenue sharing should be designed to create incentives for teams to generate revenue locally. Teams should be prohibited from participating in revenue sharing until they achieve a certain revenue threshold.

Lastly, Bud Selig never passes up an opportunity to decry the present as the “Golden Age” of baseball. And from a financial perspective, he’s probably right. I’ve always believed that the person at the top is ultimately responsible for what happens in an organization. On that basis, Selig, although a justifiable target of criticism on many fronts, deserves to bask in MLB’s success.

Rich LedererRich Lederer
Founder and lead writer for Baseball Analysts

Despite major differences in revenues, the competitive balance in baseball has improved of late and is likely to tighten up even further over the next several years. This is great news for Major League Baseball.

The primary reason for this sea change is that more teams are signing younger players to multi-year deals than ever before. This new philosophy should prove advantageous for smaller market franchises and less advantageous for larger market teams because lower payroll clubs will keep their best players for a longer period and organizations that have relied heavily on free agents in the past will have fewer quality choices in the future.

Since the beginning of the year, more than a dozen young stars have been signed to long-term contracts that buy out their arbitration years and one or more free-agent seasons. To wit, the Colorado Rockies made history this year when they signed shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a six-year, $31 million deal, the biggest contract ever given to a player with less than two years' experience. The Milwaukee Brewers topped that deal by giving Ryan Braun, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, an eight-year deal worth $45 million. Sandwiched between those two contracts, the Tampa Bay Rays signed Evan Longoria to a six-year deal worth $17.5 million, an unprecedented agreement for a player with less than a week's experience in the big leagues.

But that's not all. Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Justin Morneau, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rios, and Chris Young have all signed extensions that should keep them with their current clubs for at least the next five years.

Although these contracts are not without risk, there are valid reasons why clubs and players are entering into such deals. Given the historical salary inflation of approximately 10% per year, many of these deals will turn out to be at discounted prices at the back end as long as the players stay healthy and perform as expected. The players benefit by earning more money in the early years and have the peace of mind of long-term financial security for themselves and their families. As I like to say, the first ten or twenty million dollars are much more important than the last ten or twenty million.

Participating teams, players, and fans should reap the rewards of this new trend and that should be a major positive for the long-term health and competitiveness of Major League Baseball.

Tim LemkeTim Lemke
Sports business reporter, Washington Times

Prior to this season, I would have argued that baseball's biggest problem is still the gap in revenues and payroll between the big and small market clubs. But then the Tampa Bay Rays decided to start winning. So I don't know. Maybe Bud Selig is right when he says the game doesn't need a salary cap.

What's clear is that overall, baseball is still in terrific shape. I would expect attendance and revenues to dip a little this year, simply because the economy is making it harder for the average family to head to the ballpark. But it appears the baseball has managed to get through the drama of the Mitchell Report with little damage, and if anything, the steroids scandal has forced fans to lay off the hero worship of certain players and just appreciate the game itself. And that's healthy.

You could always find chinks in the armor. Attendance at the new ballpark here in Washington is somewhat disappointing. Baseball in the state of Florida is still kind of a question mark. The whole television blackout thing still has yet to be resolved. And the Phillie Phanatic still struggles with obesity. But none of these are problems that will create any wide-scale or long-term headaches for the sport.

Tim MarchmanTim Marchman
Baseball writer, New York Sun
(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Tim Marchman)

Baseball is in great shape, probably healthier than ever, but it’s also coming up on a time of change, and I don’t know whether the sport’s leadership will handle it well.

Mainly that’s because I don’t know who will lead the sport. Bud Selig and Don Fehr are going to retire sooner or later, and while anyone who’s reading this site will surely have some ideas about who might succeed them, we don’t know how well those people will do once they get their chance.

Whoever takes over is going to face some big issues. The big two, I think, are whether baseball can overtake football and the evolution of baseball coverage.

The first isn’t likely; football is the national game largely because of demographic and cultural shifts and settlement patterns over the last 50 years. America is more suburban and, honestly, more violent than it once was, which gives football an advantage. If we’re coming up on a time of broad economic dislocation, and profound demographic changes, though, there’s probably a chance for baseball to become even more popular than it is now, central to people’s lives the way it once was and no longer is. With strong leadership, baseball just might seize that chance.

The second is tricky. With ballclubs owning and more fully integrating their own distribution platforms, with a 24-hour news cycle, and with the instant availability of raw information on all sorts of hardware, the traditional model of sportswriting, based around game recaps and columns working off the rhythm of those recaps, is looking increasingly irrelevant. If readers are getting the type of coverage they once relied on newspapers for from the teams themselves, that raises all kinds of issues, ranging from the editorial integrity and independence of the house organs to the actual purpose of journalists not affiliated with teams.

I think that team outlets will prove fairly reliable, that independent writers will increasingly serve as filters for widely available open source information, and that being able to obtain unique information will be less important than being able to make patterns and narratives out of what’s right out there in the open. But we well could end up with a really bad situation, where house organs will hoard access and independent outlets will continue to function as they always have despite not having access. I don’t know how that would affect the popularity of the sport, but I think it’s something baseball leadership should be aware of as a danger, and something they should work to prevent.

Michael NeumanMichael A. Neuman
Founder & President, Amplify Sports and Entertainment, LLC

More than a third of the MLB season is behind us and a few issues have our attention. As an agency that negotiates, activates and measures our client’s sponsorship investments with MLB franchises, these are the topics we are closely watching.

For Amplify, measurement is the central issue we’re focused on. We are experiencing the “dawn of a new day” as franchises better understand their role in the ROI equation. In one case, a 2007 post season analysis, using our proprietary measurement tool, the Sponsorship Amplifier™, was significantly enhanced when the franchise provided us with third-party TV visible raw media data. The data was procured and paid for by the franchise upon the insistence of Amplify (and other corporate partners, I’m sure).

After many years of providing corporate partners with top-line ratings and impressions, this enhancement allowed our measurement team to isolate branded TV visible signage and deliver a robust, comprehensive media valuation. We utilized a proprietary algorithm to ascertain the value of our client’s signage, something previous team reports were void of. In 2008, teams have demonstrated a keen interest in understanding our clients’ objectives and have shown a genuine passion in working as a true partner to help attain the lofty ROO/ROI goals we’ve established for our clients.

As a New York based agency, another issue is the geographical development of new baseball stadiums in our DMA. In addition to new stadiums in the Bronx and Queens, we have new venues on the horizon for the NFL, NBA and NHL franchises. Escalating raw materials and construction costs, coupled with run-away player salaries have put the bulls-eye squarely on the back of corporate partners and fans to fund these venue upgrades. A flood of pricier, new sponsorship inventories and economical pressures are forcing multiple team corporate partners to pull back sponsorship and activation budgets to the lone team that best impacts ROI. We see multiple Mets and Yankee sponsors having to make a choice for the 2009 season.

Finally, in the steroid era, it was the long ball that put fans back into the seats after the 1994 strike and with attendance records in 2007 I’m interested to see if these numbers are impacted since the release of the Mitchell Report. Will the current legal woes of Clemens and Bonds match fan and baseball writer’s apathy enough that they join McGwire as Hall of Fame caliber players who spend the rest of their lives on the outside looking in? The jury is still out…..

Jeff PassanJeff Passan
National baseball writer, Yahoo! Sports

I wanted to focus on something. I wanted to laud teams resisting the devil on their shoulder whispering Barry Bonds' name or castigate players who shave the handles on maple bats and endanger fans or marvel at all the phenomenal young talent today or wonder how in an age of open communication we still get blacked out from games or fawn over the data gifted to us all by Pitch f/x and Inside Edge or wax on about the singular perfection that pairs Rick Ankiel and a baserunner with hubris.

And then David Murphy said something I won't soon forget: "Watching Josh Hamilton is a privilege."

What he said dripped of innocence, the same kind anyone who passes though a ballpark's turnstiles knows. Murphy is 26 years old. He stands 6-foot-4. He has a businessman's handshake and an honest man's comportment. He wasn't going to be anything more than a fourth or fifth outfielder for Boston, the organization that drafted him, and then he got traded to Texas. Now he might win Rookie of the Year.

He plays in the same outfield as Hamilton, whose talents reveal themselves like an Advent calendar. Hamilton was a prodigy, then a junkie and now he's something altogether different: a star, the kind so easily admired because of baseball's nature. For six months, Hamilton is a history exhibit playing out live, and the greatest part is that no matter who we are -- David Murphy, the man who plays next to him, or the fan scraping together nickels to buy an double-nosebleed seat -- all of us get to partake.

Dayn PerryDayn Perry
Regular contributor to and Baseball Prospectus. He's presently at work on his second book, a biography of Reggie Jackson.

For the most part, things are going swimmingly in MLB. Let's consider this a happy accident.

It's impossible to opine on the state of the league and not get around to the Mitchell Report and its many fallouts. First, the obvious truth: Commissioning the Mitchell Report was idiotic in the extreme. Baseball had already changed its testing policy and meted out strict punishments to every offender. What purpose, other than keeping frothy, terminally aggrieved columnists in business, did the Report serve? There's a time and place for righteous truth-telling, but when it comes in spare doses (which was all the Report was ever capable of giving us) and disinters an issue that's better left, well, interred, then it serves no useful purpose.

Bud Selig has seemingly always enjoyed painful rituals of contrition, and the Mitchell Report strikes me as one of those. Letting the PED issue distract from the post-season was inexcusable, as was allowing the Report to dominate the news cycle for so long. I yield to no one in my loathing of and disrespect for the NFL, but that league does know how to control the message. So learn from them. MLB gave oxygen--incalculable amounts of oxygen--to this controversy by trotting out the Report. That mistake has already been made. The only thing they can do now is aid its slow, belated death by never speaking of it again. Do that and perhaps the media will begin focusing on the fact that the NFL doesn't care about the physical safety of its labor force or that officiating in the NBA is too absurd even for Ionesco. Baseball's the best sport, and MLB has less to apologize for than competing leagues. The game's leaders should behave accordingly.



Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?