Sunday, September 05, 2010

I Reserve the Right to Not Know

The following summary regarding Baseball's old Reserve Clause and System, is taken from Baseball

The reserve clause was a clause in player contracts that bound a player to a single team for a long period, even if the individual contracts he signed nominally covered only one season. For most of baseball history, the term of reserve was held to be essentially perpetual, so that a player had no freedom to change teams unless he was given his unconditional release. The clause was widely believed to have been overturned in the 1970s, but in practice young players today are still bound for up to 12 years (6 in the minors and 6 in the majors) before they have free agent rights.
With the death of the PL**, players were forced to accept a system built around the reserve clause. Until the amateur draft was instituted in 1966, amateur players were free to negotiate with any team interested in signing them. For most players, that was the last time in their careers that they had any control over where they played. Once signed to a professional contract, players could be re-assigned, traded, sold, or released at the team's whim. The only negotiating leverage that most players had was to hold out at contract time, refusing to play unless their conditions were met.
**PL ~ The Player's League operated in 1890 as a direct competitor of the established National League. (BTB)

I do not believe in a Salary Cap. 
I don't believe they work.  They are too restrictive. 
Salary Caps were created to be circumvented.  
They amount to punishing teams who find themselves on firm financial footings. 
The Capitalist's way is basically survival of the fittest, 
and two of the fundamental principles are
"Buyer Beware" and "Allow markets to set the price". 
I have a very firm if not cut throat belief about business and Teams (Leagues):

If you can't afford your Team, sell it; move it or fold it.

Now..., just because I believe that doesn't mean I'll act on it.  There are many things in life we all apply that notion towards.  There in lies the rub.  We fans are totally willing to entreat Baseball to a double standard.  We all do it.  And the phenomena isn't limited to Baseball.  As passionate fans of any sport, we apply the double standard.  If so-and-so can help us win a championship, we're most likely willing to look the other way.  Baseball is a trickier call than say Football where we, the passionate ones, are just complete and utter degenerates.  Am I right guys, and many gals?  I mean...C'mon ~ we overlook a lot of character flaws in people if it means we can raise a "VINCE" over our collective heads,
don't we?
C'mon, be honest. 
What does this all have to do with the Reserve System in Baseball?

I don't know.


What I meant to say was I'm not a cold hearted Capitalist with regards to Baseball as I may be in life.  But I am a pragmatist.  It's a way of life for me.  More on that later.

When DUD Selig suggested The Minnesota Twins be contracted, I considered running for gov't service so as to learn how to "disappear" someone.  They do it all the time so I figured it would be a safe, legal and effective way to eradicate DUD Sellout Selig and release our game from his feeble grip. 
The Twins?  The Old Washington Senators? Are you kidding me?  That plan kinda fell apart for me and as you can see, Dud is still ruining, I mean, running Baseball.

Remember the game of Three Card Monty Bud Sluggy played with Jeff Loria and John Henry?
...How he allowed the Expos to float away on an inner tube to Puerto Rico; orphaned with no owner because Bud Sluggy allowed Jeff Loria to bolt Montreal without paying child support.  Dud Selig allows him to buy the Marlins where he's still snivelling to Dade County.  John Henry was allowed to divest himself of the Marlins and buys the BoSox.  The rest is, as they say....fugheddaboudit! 

Dollar and a dream yo! 
All you gotta do is find the Baseball nugget of gold underneath the right coconut shell
in the con-game of Dud Sluggy Three Card Monty.


What's going on in Pittsburgh is a freakin crime!!
There are executives in the Steel City who should be incarcerated for crimes against the hard working people of Steel Town and greater Pittsburgh and against their history in Baseball spanning 130 years.

(before I continue, my inner Esquire reminds me to advise everyone this is just my opinion and any and all comments are for entertainment purposes only.  This post is intended for immature audiences only and any charges levied upon any individual related to MLB and their teams by me, is the victim of nothing more than hyperbole and non-fictitious and childish rants and/or poor behavior on my part.)

Someone in one of those pretty looking office windows over looking PNC Park needs to go to jail for stealing money from Pirate fans in a scam lasting 18 years and counting.  In the annual letter sent to season ticket holders/subscribers I'm sure there has to be some kind of wording saying how committed ownership was to providing an exciting product.  Isn't there?  Is there anything written in that letter we can misconstrue? Misinterpret? Bend a little truth with?...All for the sake of accusing them of lying also??  Aren't they misrepresenting themselves?  Shouldn't they reclassify themselves as a Charity; a for-profit one at that!? (see leaked report on teams making profit HERE ~ Not!... find it yourself.)

OK..what does that have to do with the old Reserve System in Baseball?

I don't know.


I believe the present economic system is OK for Baseball.  The luxury tax is serving as a counter to revenue imbalance.  It should be.  Some recipient owners of the MLB hand-out are pocketing the money.  Some teams could be managing their stadium issues better, or have better luck with their plans.
Some owners are just horrible.  It takes a village I guess.  You don't get to pick your neighbors in life.
But I'll say this much for the current Baseball system ~ It's free.  I like it this way.  Bad decisions are no reason to change the landscape of Baseball.  Just get smarter owners.

I am not against free agency.  I am a capitalist remember?  The only problem I might have with free agency and run away salaries is that the costs get passed on to us.  Ticket prices and everything inside the joints are ridiculous$$$.  Other than that, I like the system.  That's not what this is all about.

I want all teams to be in relatively good financial health.  If every team was in a state of health to match each other's free agency bids, well, now you're talking about Baseball in Asgard or something.  That day is folklore, myth, fable, tall-tales, fantasy and just plain ludicrous to think.  It won't exist until you employ a system of communism upon Baseball. 

Not Happening!

Baseball History is the History of Rich and Poor; always has been. 
Connie Mack sold off Championship players because he no longer (wanted?) could afford them, Twice!  The St. Louis Browns? Poor!  The Washington Senators?  Poor!  The Boston Braves?  Poor!
The mighty Philadelphia A's?  Poor!  The Seattle Pilots?  Failed!  Hello Milwaukee; oh yea...that came after Goodbye Milwaukee ~ see Braves..btw POOR!

Salary Cap?  Should not happen.

Salary Caps and Long Term Contracts are the Devil's playground.

Even in a best case scenario, say a team like.., Plato's Utopian Wishful Thinking Nine, a salary cap will only work if you're dealing with one to three year contracts at the very most.  Anything beyond that for a club and a fan base is pure unadulterated torture and very very unnecessary.  Texas created a problem for themselves with ARod's contract and agreed to eat a lotta damn cheddar to rid themselves of the burdensome deal.  The Rockies ate $50 Mill to get out of Mike Hampton's contract.  The Astros ate millions to get out of Oswalt's deal.  There's more examples.  We don't need to go through them all.

I want to see all teams be able to build a winner if they make smart decisions. 
Making smart decisions in a system you can't compete in is futile.  But if you can make smart decisions and arrive in the post-season through different means than say, the NY clubs, Boston, CHI clubs, LA...can "pay" for...OK then; Good.  The system works and there's room for different philosophies and plans to get things on a competitive level.

I come from one of the big market cities.  The biggest in fact; N.Y.C.  I really don't have much to worry about as far as my team spending money (all my other rants about the Wilpons aside).  I especially do not want a Salary Cap prohibiting my team from going out, adding payroll, and making a key acquisition when needed because of an arbitrary number based upon the cat from K.C.'s (in)ability to hang with that figure.
That's wrong. 
But the Yankees continually sporting a payroll over $200 million is obscene. 
That doesn't make it wrong though.

And here we go...I'm actually getting closer to my point now.

The Yankees over years past have been mocked a bit for not procuring talent through their farm system.  Their plan, sarcastically described, was to wait for other team's best players to walk then just offer them the most money.  This isn't about the Yankees either.  It's not my want to poke fun at them right now.  We could be talking about the N.Y. HoodRats for all I care.

But now I'm even closer.  Nothing about today's current system really needs to change.  However I am sympathetic to teams who consistently loose their best talent because they have no shot at making competitive free agent bids versus the ability of much more wealthier clubs
(example ~ this winter Tampa/Crawford).

I propose a policy beneficial to all team owners and fan bases, and there's no reason why financial rewards to the player can not be incorporated into my idea to make all parties satisfied.

Many teams get screwed because after the 6th year with a big club, the player becomes a free agent.  The club who drafted and developed said player never gets to enjoy any of the prime years of said player.  If a team could keep a player for just one more year; two more years and be able to benefit from one or two years of a player's fully developed prime, I submit to you history might look just a little differently.

What if the A's could have kept Giambi, Damon, Tejada, and all their pitching together just one more year than they were able to?  What if the current Tampa Rays could keep together their core of young players for just one or two more years?  What if the 1993 Pirates could have kept that team together for just one or two more years?  What if the Twins were able to hold on to a miriad of players just one more, or two more years...The Twins would be a much different story today!  What will happen to the Reds, Orioles, Padres and Rangers when in 4 or 5 more years they can't retain everyone they'd like for just one or two more years that would make all the difference?

It's fair if a team who drafted you should get the benefit of at least one or two of those very prime years beyond what the current system dictates; which is 6 years in the pros gets you to the Free Agent market.
Allow teams to exercise the Reserve Clause on a one year basis only, like it was originally intended, and not the reinterpreted version the owners ran away with.  One year or for two consecutive years, then never again.  I am not looking to curtail free agency in the least bit.  I would just like to see teams who absorb the venture capital costs into player development enjoy a player's production at an optimum level, if only for a short time.  But for many teams, many times, I believe one more year with the ability to keep a core group together can mean all the difference in a teams future success

Of course the Reserve must come with a financial reward.  I'm reluctant to call this the NFL's version of Franchising a player.  Baseball was here first and the reserve clause walked on the Earth before there was an NFL.

The Reserve Clause is not a dirty word.  Don't be bugged out by it.  It's something we all want as fans because we like to see our teams retain it's talent before money ruins our day.

 Say Strasburg never got hurt and in 5 years their other pitching prospect and Zimmerman have their team at the precipice of a championship.  After year 6 you can kiss that dream goodbye!  But if they can reserve the right to retain their core for one year, or two at the most, it could change everything and make all the difference for a team struggling with finances.  For the rich clubs it's not a situation of the rich getting richer; Not at all.  It's a wash for them really but the plan would really help out the league as a whole.

If you're a Capitalist don't be afraid to embrace a one or two year reserve.  You know you want it.  Everyone hates seeing their favorite player walk after that 6th year only to have him enjoy his prime for someone else's club and fan base.  All I want is for a team like the Rays to be able to reserve one or two of those prime years they deserve to benefit from.  Then afterwards, he's free and most likely still in his prime.

There it is:

Keep the current Baseball Economic System as is and incorporate a very limited Reserve System.  The fans will come flocking to the park because they know their core, their guys still have a chance before the ticking time bomb goes off and explodes all your best players all over the baseball landscape.  That one more year, with one more complimentary transaction without being restricted by a salary cap will get more varied cities competing for a World Series.

This post was brought to you with the help of cerveza Corona.
Could you tell?




  1. Well said. That's baseball for you.

    "If you can't afford your Team, sell it; move it or fold it."

    A message for Frank McCourt.

    Oh yeah, thank you Bud Selig for allowing this fraud to "buy" the Dodgers.

  2. I'm with you 100%. The Dodger owners used to be one of the biggest power players in the game. McCourt ran them up the river. Dodgers used to have more power than Steinbrenner.


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