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Absurdity of collusion in baseball

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Last winter, the free agent market for Major League Baseball experienced one of the rarest situations since the free agency came about.  In years past, bidding wars between teams filled the free agency period, with teams spending big bucks to get the hottest players available and fill their rosters with talent that held the potential to make a run at a pennant or even the World Series.

Back then, huge multi-million dollar contract offers were thrown out in hopes of luring players to cities with sport teams that didn’t have salary caps.  

The Yankee’s have had a history of throwing out big salaries and making the largest payroll in baseball even fatter, yet, this year, the Bronx Bombers restrained their over-the-top spending habits.

With the recession depression that has hit the world economy, it has been proven that no industry is safe, not even sport.  The NFL has dropped employees, as has the NBA.  It would only make sense that MLB would feel the same retraction, especially because the total cost of operation is substantially higher with the larger payrolls and significantly more games are played.  The only people this concept doesn’t seem to make sense to are the players and their wily agents who negotiate their contracts of epic proportions.

These agents claim that the owners of teams colluded to drive prices down in the free agency market, which was detrimental to the earning capacity of those players.  Yet they don’t consider that the business side of the team involves more than just how much they can throw at a player.  

Each team must balance a budget, and while some teams like the Yankee’s don’t care if they end up in the red on their balance sheet, most teams have to run as a business just to sustain operation.  

Without this being the most important element of a franchise, there would be no profitability within baseball, and many teams that don’t have the luxury of the Steinbrenner clan would be forced to close up shop. Then there would be even fewer people to potentially bid on these overplayed players like Manny Ramirez.

Rob @ July 15, 2009

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