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SBD/April 1, 2013/MLB Season Preview
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Touts League's Increasing Competitive Balance
Published April 1, 2013
GLORY DAYS: FOXSPORTS.com's Ken Rosenthal writes these are "baseball’s glory days," as attendance is "booming, revenues are soaring [and] performance-enhancing drugs no longer seem to be as prevalent." All but three teams have reached the postseason since '00, and "nine different teams have won the World Series." But Rosenthal notes Selig "should worry ... the most" about competitive balance, a "problem that baseball has addressed at great length, yet can never solve." Well-run low-revenue teams "reach the postseason often enough, or at least they have lately." But as high-revenue teams "benefit from increasingly lucrative regional TV contracts, the financial gap will only widen." The growing disparity "could influence the choice of the next commissioner if Selig retires as planned" after the '14 season. It also could "jeopardize labor peace when the current agreement expires in ‘16." The way to "better level the playing field is by giving low-revenue teams greater advantages in the draft." The current system "is not a fair fight," not when "local revenue drives baseball economics." The complaint of "some low-revenue executives is this: A poorly run high-revenue team gets rewarded by securing a higher draft position and larger bonus pool, while a well-run, low-revenue team gets penalized by drafting lower and receiving a smaller pool." Some question "whether the spending limits actually will benefit low-revenue clubs." MLB "can’t ask high-revenue teams to share more money." The league "can’t help the low-revenue teams better compete in the free-agent market." The draft, then, is "the most logical vehicle for the sport to address the growing imbalance between the haves and have-nots" (FOXSPORTS.com, 4/1).
WHAT'S OLD IS NEW AGAIN: In a special to SPORTING NEWS, Will Leitch wrote like "most baseball fans who initially were skeptical, I’ve come around to interleague play." It is "a gimmick that has gone on so long we’ve forgotten it’s a gimmick ... and it has changed the way we look at the All-Star Game, if not necessarily for the worse." But "even if it gets a little bit less different every year, it’s still different." Leitch: "Once we accept that there is nothing unusual about interleague play, that it’s just another game on the schedule, it both normalizes it and makes it not matter anymore" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 3/31).
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE: In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes baseball "is not romantic," but fans are "supposed to think so, this time of year." Opening day is "definitely fresh," but "not romantic." Once the first pitch is thrown, "the grind begins." A baseball season "is many things," but "primarily and happily, a baseball season is an unwritten book, just waiting for players to provide the plot points and write the manuscript" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/1).