Contraction

The dust had barely settled at Bank One Ballpark after the World Series when Major League Baseball’s equivalent to Forest Gump made his way to Washington D.C. to tell the United States Congress about the state of baseball. He ranted and raved about what dire straits America’s pastime was in. In the midst of his dissertation he uttered a word unheard of within the context of baseball in over a century, “Contraction”.


I could not believe my ears when I heard this. When baseball expanded in 1993 and again in 1995, there were teams standing in line wanting a team for their city. For nearly twenty years I have been hearing how Northern Virginia and Portland Oregon were clamoring for a team attempting to wo an existing franchise into relocating. Now, here stood a used car salesman from Wisconsin trying to tell us that no one wanted baseball and that the owners were losing money like hair from a cancer patient.

Maybe this word didn’t mean what Bud Selig thought it meant. Maybe he was thinking of that old Milton Bradley game we played as kids. Contraction, that goofy game for dopey doctors. That had to be it. The Commissioner of baseball was reminiscing about when he successfully removed the patient’s wrenched ankle without touching the sides. Well, in the immortal words of the 60’s commercial for that game, “Bzzzz! You blew it Buddy!”

Rather than attempting to coerce money for new stadiums from municipalities, you should think about reeling in some of these out of control owners who are ruining the game. It is time that the owners begin to realize that baseball is a community, not a pyramid scheme for some to get rich quick. For decades you have bullied the players and kept secret your little community hiding away what each team is actually making. There needs to be full and complete revenue sharing. There needs to be independent auditors who review each teams books and be held accountable. The players need to be viewed as partners rather than the opposition at a bargaining table.

The fans of baseball have had enough of ownership’s parlor games. It is time to put up and shut up. If the commissioner’s office and the owners continue to try and manipulate the public into thinking the players are wrong in accepting these ludicious salaries, the fans will ultimately turn their backs on the game leaving the game to flounder into obscurity like candlestick bowling. Please quit insulting our intelligence. We can see through your parlor games and two-bit accounting tricks. Be straight with the public and quit calling wolf. It is obvious baseball is making money it is just a matter of divying up this money to each franchise and requiring the owners to reinvest this money back into the game. Remember you are only caretakers of baseball, it is time you start acting like it and doing your job.


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