Monday, June 16, 2008

The State of Major League Baseball

The Biz of Baseball asked 30 experts for their opinion on the state of the game as we sit here today. Included in the panel are Tim Marchman, Andrew Zimbalist, Ken Rosenthal, John Brattain, David Pinto, King Kaufman, Jeff Passan, Jonah Keri, Dayn Perry, Blez, Fred Claire, Chuck Armstrong, Jerry Crasnick, Rich Lederer, and many, many others.

One of those others is me for some reason, which means it's really a panel of 29 experts and one good for nothin' blogger/lawyer, but there you go.

Lots of great opinions there, so definitely check it out.


themarksmith said...

Nicely done. I like the article in general, and I agree with your comments. While I like some of the entertainment (sausage races and the like), I agree there is too much. I went to a Louisville Bats game (Reds AAA), and they had something every half an inning. I have to go to the bathroom at some point. Geez.

Pete Toms said...

Great stuff from Maury.


From a strictly dollars and cents perspective, I think MLB has reached it's apex. New stadia has been the biggest factor in record attendance & ticket prices in MLB and there are few franchises remaining in "non retro" ballparks. MiLB and Independent Leagues have set attendance records during this era as well, also due to the stadium boom.

International ball is the new frontier, particulary Japan & China.

The "economic downturn" or whatever it is and "changes" in credit markets are having an impact on MLB. Both the Rangers' Glorypark & Cards' ballpark villages have stalled.

Lots of commentary on player development, Rule IV, locking up young talent....This is an interesting subject. More and more clubs are ignoring Selig's slot recommendations ( the final numbers aren't in, but BA reports that is the case ) and more small market teams are competing with the big markets in the Rule IV draft. Free Agency is dying and soon to be dead. Can the PA influence agents to reject long term deals for young players which buy out arb years? Is an international draft imminent? More and more MLB clubs are purchasing minor league affiliates, will this continue? Industry wide, MLB is spending $600 million per year on player development ( how you count this expenditure makes an enormous difference in calculating the % of industry revenues going to the players ). Will MLB abandon the affiliated minors?

David Chalk ( who I hadn't heard of before today ) writes that there is " no real revenue sharing ". Frank Coonelly (sic?) went on the record in April (IIRC) as saying his club rec'd $35 million last season in revenue sharing. I consider that real.

Dayn Perry criticizes MLB at length for the MR. I said it before the MR and I'll say it again. The MR worked masterfully. Jeff Blair correctly called it an " industry mea culpa " and the rank and file ate it up. Bonds the villian has been vanquished and MLB has apologize and strengthened it's testing rules and yada, yada. Everybody is happy, nobody gives a crap and never did, save for us chattering classes.

Lots of talk about baseball's "place" in America. Somebody points out the crap World Series and All Star game ratings. ( TV ratings are down for all programming, sports is a more valuable TV property than ever because it still draws a mass audience who don't "TIVO" it, but I digress ) Wasn't baseball the dominant sport in the US for many decades simply because it had no competition?

What will MLB do with the MLB channel? Coming soon, Jan 01! Lots of talk about MLB's inability to market young stars on a national level. Perhaps the MLB channel can be an effective platform for this. NFL Network apparently is deveolping such programming, chronicling the paths of young, newly drafted, future stars on their road to NFL stardom. This has no appeal to me ( nor would it if it was baseball players either ) but this could be the present and the future. Didn't the most popular MMA enterprise ( can't recall which one, don't watch ) have great success promoting their talent in a "reality" TV series?

Don't underestimate Norman Braman in his efforts to scuttle the Marlins new ballpark.