14 August 2002

The owners' lawyer seems to think that a deal can be worked out before a strike, which would be great. But it looks like George Steinbrenner may get fined for remarks he made about how the new CBA (Created for Bud's Allies) may not really be in the large market clubs' best interests. He said, essentially, that El Bud's interests lie with the small market teams much moreso than with the large market owners, though he did not go as far as to say that Bud was colluding with said small market owners to screw people like Steinbrenner and Rupert Murdoch. People like Royals' owner David Glass have criticized him back, indicating that his perspective is kind of warped, and that "If the rest of us had as much revenue as he has, we might take that kind of selfish approach as well."

Selfish? Of course he's selfish, you dolt! He's a Capitalist! He likes to make money! Almost everybody does, and why shouldn't he? In fact, what Glass' comments don't address/admit is that David Glass is also selfish. If he were not, he wouldn't be own a baseball team. And he wouldn't be whining, along with the owners of teams like the Pirates, Brewers, Tigers and Expos that they're losing money fist-over-hand. If he were really unselfish, he would simply run the franchise by spending all of his own money to make the best team he could, regardless of how little or much money the team made (or lost), in an entirely altruistic effort to make sure that his players and fans were completely happy. But he's not doing that, is he?

Steinbrenner is in an interesting position. He's an owner, but he's one of a few owners who have a pretty large revenue stream, though there are not as few of these as Selig would have you think. The presumption on the part of the mainstream media has largely been that the owners have a pretty united front, or that they have as united a front as they ever have, at least since the salad days of collusion. But the reality may simply be that the $1million gag order imposed on the owners by the Commish has prevented anyone from really seeing the dissention that's there. This seems especially true in light of the fact that every time the order is lifted, Ol' George runs to the nearest group of reporters, adjusts his turtleneck, and begins to explain how this whole process is going to screw him, and consequently, the Yankees. This is invariably followed by someone like David Glass or Cleveland owner (the team, not the town) Larry Dolan saying that George is a Big Fat Idiot, at which point George starts describing how he could wallpaper his house with all the AL pennants the Yankees have won, and it just goes downhill from there.

But really, how can the owners be totally unified? People who own teams like the Yankees and Dodgers can't possibly be happy about the proposal to have half of their revenue shared amongst the clubs, though this idea makes a lot of sense. This way, big market clubs still have an advantage, just not an enormous one. And they really can't be happy about the proposed 50% luxury tax on salaries over $98 million. That would have meant that this year, George would have had to spend something like $21 million more on his roster than he did, which was already a ridiculous $140 million! I think Steinbrenner sees this as funding the incompetence of these other owners, who have not had the creativity and ingenuity to make a winner with a low payroll/low revenue, such as Minnesota and Oakland, and I don't blame him. Why should Steinbrenner have to pay for the Pirates to spent $9 million each on Terry Mulholland and Derek Bell? Why should he have to help a team like the D-rays to sign Jose Canseco, Vinny Castilla and Wilson Alvarez to long-term contracts? Why should he have to subsidize the man who let Tony Loser, um..Muser be a "manager" the Royals for not one, not two, not three, not four, but almost 5 years! With absolutely no evidence whatsoever that he knew how to

A) develop a young pitching staff
2) develop young hitters
iii) manage a bench, or
IV) organize a lineup.

What else is there to do as a manager? And what more evidence do you need as an owner than his record to indicate that he's not any good at it. As far as I'm concerned, if you won't take responsibility for your own team and admit to having made poor decisions and work on changing that pattern, then you have no business being in the conversation about what to do to help alleviate baseball's problems, because incompetent, irresponsible ownership is one of the top problems in the first place!

I'm getting off my soap box now.

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