Tuesday, November 22, 2011
A Letter to Bud Selig
Under your new CBA, you and the MLBPA have agreed on terms that appear to be unfit for most markets in baseball's highest competitive league. While teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies have been allowed to spend astronomical amounts of money on free agent players at an unimpeded rate, it appears the Pirates, Brewers and Nationals will be forced to limit their spending on the only fathomable process for building a competitive team in their market: the draft.
How is taxing a team 100% of the money they spend on the draft AND removing a future first round pick a fair "punishment" if they spend 10-15% over the allowable amount? How is that going to level the playing field for all thirty teams in the league when teams like the Pirates need to spend on several players while teams like the Red Sox can afford to pour all their money into a few players? How is it fair to create a higher tax rate for spending in the draft (75-100%) than spending in free agency (20-40%? Remember, every team can afford an 18 year old high school phenom; only a handful of teams can afford Albert Pujols.
The truth of the matter, Mr. Selig: It's not fair.
Therefore, I have a new proposal for alignment. Since you were thinking about moving Houston to the American League (which, at this time is a done deal) let me convince you to move them somewhere else. Move them back to the NL Central with the Pirates. How will you balance the league? Simple. Take the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Angels and Cubs, and create your own "superleague". Allow the remaining teams to play under a hard cap which allows everyone to compete at the same level. While you're at it, create a cap floor to prevent the Pirates, Royals and Marlins from spending $10 million total at the major league level. While so many fans will enjoy watching the superleague compete with video game-type rosters, the other 24 markets will be excited knowing each and every season, their team has a chance.
Face it, Bud, as much as you try to talk up the "returning popularity" of baseball, the fact remains that the league's structure is an absolute joke. Under the rules you agreed upon, do you honestly ever expect the Orioles or Blue Jays to win a division title? What about the future of teams like the Rays, Reds and Brewers, whose success has been built upon over-slot spending in the amateur draft? Or do those teams not matter? It has become apparent that your willingness to protect the biggest markets while crushing the smallest ones, has been a decision based on money and greed. While other leagues have a hard salary cap to create parody every season, you continue to keep things the same, leaving most of the small-mid market teams unprotected for decades. Are you so afraid of the owners and union reps that you cannot speak for the little man?
Or maybe it's the fear of another strike.
Please, Mr. Selig, hear my cry. Create another league with baseball's largest markets. Let them spend hundreds of millions of dollars, let everyone have a designated hitter, and let them pay that player hundreds of millions more. I simply do not wish to have my city play in a league where the commissioner holds no power and allows the bullies of Major League Baseball call the shots without any resistance. Realign the teams and allow all markets the opportunity for something to root for. You will still get your revenue with high TV ratings and you could eliminate the luxury tax in the process. Let cities like Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati get back to watching baseball out of love for the sport, not an auction.