Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days, and I feel like the biggest problem in Major League Baseball is its car salesman commissioner. Jim Caple agrees.

Though I'll take him to task on a couple of issues. I think baseball does have a couple of problems.

I'm guessing the Twins and A's making it to the playoffs last year just shows that a small market team can compete if it's well run. My problem is that if you have a checkbook, George Steinbrenner, you don't have to be particularly well run yet still compete. But that's American business in general, isn't it? From what I hear Wal-Mart is one of the mose back-asswards places a man can ever work. But aren't they the single largest retail conglomerate ever?

If Randy Pearcy down at Outer Limits (my local comic shop) misspends a thousand dollars, hypothetically speaking, he can't absorb the cost the same way a Books-a-Million can.

I feel like a salary cap is still a good idea, if only to keep salaries from inflating further. Competitive balance notwithstanding, I feel like $14 million, $18 million and $25 million salaries are part of why tickets have gotten ridiculously expensive. Who can afford to take their family out to a game? Hell, how can your normal guy who attends a dozen games a year afford to pay? The economy has something to do with this. Simple economics.

That, combined with the fact that big league millionaire baseball players are so out of touch with and so far removed from the general public that where's the fun in going out to watch them?

I miss John Kruk. Kruk was a relatable human being. Because he looked slobby. He was heavy. He smoked. He drank. I think he was one of the last proponents of the idea of the everyman ballplayer. Once, during spring training, he got caught by a fan ordering and eating a hot dog during a game. She chastised him for being an athlete and eating crap. He told her "I'm not an athlete, ma'am. I'm a baseball player."

If there is a problem here, it's that there are too many athletes and not enough baseball players.

Not that I want to watch a team made up of Ron Darling, John Kruk, Rusty Staub and Greg Luzinski. But I certainly can't relate to these "athletes" and their weight training and nutritional supplements. Sammy Sosa is the Incredible Hulk. Todd Helton? Barry Bonds?

If I ran baseball, I think that's one of the big things I'd work on. I'd find new ways for the fans to relate to the players. Whether that's following the old NASCAR model from the 80's and early 90's and completely highlight a feud between teams or even players (I think they tried with Clemens/Piazza, but think Yankees/Red Sox or Cubs/Cardinals or Dodgers/Giants).

Or use the current NFL model to show the players as pillars of the community (I still dig the Eddie George commericial where he's trying to instill his work ethic on a couple of guys who just want to swordfight with their rakes).

Or just hire whomever David Stern hired for the NBA to get people to flock to the league like they did in the early 90's.

That's right. I'm talking about Michael Jordan. Let Michael manage the Marlins! Now batting for the Houston Astros...Stone Cold Steve Austin! And people love candy! Free Snickers.

Mmm. Snickers.

Also, get rid of this frigging interleague play. Nobody cares. Personally, I'd rather have the Cubs down in Atlanta a couple of times a year, but instead they're running, this year, to Baltimore.

I digress. Baseball's pretty good. Don't need fixing. Just a new commissioner. I think I'll send in my application.


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