chase generate virtual credit card online application for credit card in bank of india best credit card with bad credit rating credit card debt settlement letter uk ltd company credit cards uk instant online payday loans uk credit card number wiki creditcards for building credit walmart store credit card reviews best no fee credit card for international travel if i apply for a credit card online can i use it immediately virgin credit cards customer service telephone number standard chartered credit card bank statement best business credit cards 2012 westpac credit card insurance contact number student credit card with no credit tesco credit card application referred fast cash loans now best free credit card with no foreign transaction fee guaranteed visa credit card canada average credit card merchant fees how to apply for credit card in sbi bank business credit card machines cost compare business credit cards with rewards is it easy to get a walmart credit card with bad credit what is the best credit card to apply for with bad credit ge capital credit card customer service capital one credit card cash advance interest average merchant credit card fees chase credit card for college students credit card charges abroad hsbc payday loans just like wonga whats an easy credit card to apply for visa credit cards for students first premier platinum credit card login list of different types of credit cards best credit card points blog best credit card merchant account for small business make payment chase credit cards online best credit card offers low interest rate charge for going over credit limit best credit card machine rates uk capital one uk credit card login mail rewards cards cash register with barcode scanner and credit card reader ge money credit card uk sbi mastercard debit card what is my monthly credit card payment calculator apply for a halifax clarity credit card wells fargo credit card rewards catalog iphone credit card processing app reviews credit card apply online instant approval uk cibc visa reward cards best credit card rewards programs 2011 pc mastercard online credit card service providers uk easy store credit cards for bad credit 4 main types of credit cards amex starwood credit card reviews axis bank credit card offers on ebay bluetooth ipad credit card reader unsecured credit card debt consolidation loan pay chase credit card online online apply for credit card axis bank credit card offer on snapdeal hsbc credit card machine rolls best cash rewards credit card 2013 square ipad credit card app chase credit cards for business hsbc uk credit card market share comparison of usaa credit cards quick ways to pay off student loans first cash advance reviews icici credit cards offers apply for credit cards for bad credit free reloadable virtual credit cards top cashback credit cards canada can you apply for a lowes credit card online chase bank credit card limits bad credit installment loans direct lender uk first premier bank credit card account access no fee unsecured credit cards for poor credit how to cancel a credit card without hurting your credit score how do you calculate interest payments on a credit card pnb credit card application form free download first millenium credit card uk top no fee credit cards canada cash advance using citibank credit card halifax credit card say no to 0870 instant direct payday loan lender will paying off credit card debt help my credit score hsbc credit card balance transfer offers orange prepaid credit card paypal best business rewards credit cards 2012 chase southwest visa rewards card instant approval credit card canada american express platinum card login facebook credit gift cards at walmart how to use a mastercard gift card online guaranteed unsecured bad credit loan chase contractor visa business credit card best online payday loans for bad credit how to transfer sbi credit card balance to bank account how can i apply for a mastercard jpmorgan chase student credit card credit union credit card agreement does applying for a credit card affect your credit rating canada post pay as you go credit card bad credit online payday loans no teletrack title loans online texas are capital one good credit cards how to get credit card details off ps3 staples credit card business top 10 best student credit cards online cash advance loans lenders instant credit card approval in canada cash payday loans in georgia prepaid credit card paypal hdfc instant credit card against fixed deposit prepaid credit cards for europe travel bank of ireland credit card rate increase aspire credit card login bad credit credit cards no deposit how to use jquery credit card validator disputing credit card charges uk do i really need a credit card for itunes account manual credit card machine canada credit card interest free balance transfers best credit card rewards programs australia apply for business credit card with ein number mobile credit card processing android uk very bad credit credit cards authorization to release credit card information form credit card rate comparison calculator african bank blue credit card limit increase chase disney credit card status what types of credit cards does starbucks accept canadian tire credit card payment address small online loan bad credit credit card processing companies uk bank of scotland student credit card ppi chase credit card student royal bank of scotland india credit cards apply best buy credit cards hsbc horrible how to apply credit card online in hdfc go compare credit card hdfc bank master credit card online payment paypal virtual credit card 2012 spg credit card bonus chase visa card application status applying for chase credit card after bankruptcy credit card debt relief company reviews low interest rate credit cards with no annual fee credit card visa number format pnb credit cards online application paypal vs credit card conversion rates how to increase hdfc gold credit card limit online credit cards with guaranteed approval for no credit random credit card number and name help with credit card debt from the federal government credit card reporting to all 3 credit bureaus credit cards with low interest rates and no annual fees easy department store credit cards to get approved for 2012 how to get your name off a joint credit card emi on credit card calculator capital one secured card credit limit increase uk vanilla mastercard amazon what to look for when comparing credit cards chase amazon credit card cash advance understanding credit and credit cards loans for bad credit to pay over 12 months best small business credit card 2012 canada how many first premier credit cards can you have is capital one a good credit card after bankruptcy average credit card limit 2013 list of clothing store credit cards can a credit card company take money from a joint account best way to get credit card with no credit post office credit card contact telephone number credit card rate to apr calculator orchard bank first credit card hdfc credit card personal loan offers halifax credit card customer services email first cash advance hdfc bank credit card 5 cash back 0 credit card transfers australia zero interest credit card malaysia biller code for commonwealth bank credit cards credit card interchange fees explained best free balance transfer credit cards barclay credit card apply online chase visa credit card my account how do i sign up for an amazon credit card standard chartered credit card customer care number india pay off credit card debt with 401k loan credit card debt consolidation companies reviews compare travel rewards credit cards in canada who will give me a loan with bad credit and no bank account best airmiles credit card singapore 2013 easy store credit cards to get with poor credit best travel reward cards natwest black card review tata sbi credit card statement best high limit credit cards 2013 best airmiles credit card canada bank of america amazon credit card application what is a cvv cvc in a credit card m&t visa credit card with rewards hdfc travel credit card offers visa business credit card offers can you get a chase credit card with bad credit hdfc titanium credit card cash back offers credit card apr explained get instant loans online top credit cards in india dubai first credit card charges credit cards no interest no annual fee compare icici bank credit cards apply credit cards instant approval fast online cash loans best rewards credit cards no annual fee chase request credit limit increase link chase secure deposit credit card disney premier credit card login hsbc premier credit card hong kong gas saving credit card canada ge capital credit card payment center apply target visa credit card uk credit card association app for accepting credit cards hdfc credit cards online apply prepaid credit cards canada bankruptcy how to get a portable credit card machines how to apply for credit card with bad credit history how to set up apple id without credit card details first premier credit card phone number can you use personal credit cards for business expenses payday lenders list forum credit card online apply bank of india prepaid us credit card outside us best credit card apr 2013 the best credit cards for students getting a secured credit card bank of america low interest no fee credit card australia disney rewards credit card login credit card approval with no credit best small business credit cards for travel android credit card reader paypal american express prepaid credit cards paypal which credit card can i get without a job hsbc credit card 55 days interest free dillards credit card payment center secured credit cards for bad credit chase discover walmart credit card payment barclay credit card apple ipad credit card reader case valid credit card number 2013 heritage first usa credit card analysis on credit card fraud detection methods ieee base paper american airlines aadvantage credit card login what does it mean if a credit card is secured pay shell gas credit cards online no credit loans alberta best credit card compare black card points login chase credit card fraud contact credit card apr payment calculator application status for citibank credit card citibank corporate credit card login india paypal virtual credit card download banks offering virtual credit cards in india barclays platinum contactless credit card td visa card contact us bank of america corporate credit card login cheap online credit card processing what are the major banks that offer credit cards in philippines hdfc bank credit card payment through sbi credit card fee free credit cards nz barclaycard company credit card application form printable sears credit card application credit card fraud detection project download air miles credit card comparison uk disney credit card reward dollars interest free credit cards balance transfer credit card application form format give me a fake visa credit card number western union prepaid credit card canada which credit card is best in india yahoo answers i need a car loan with bad credit track halifax credit card application where can i use my rbc visa debit card best cashback credit card canada 2012 bad credit loans instant decision lenders aadvantage credit card offer 2013 international credit card indian railways capital one visa platinum card first premier credit card login page should i pay off credit card debt or save money store credit cards easy to get uk orchard bank credit card for bad credit apply what is a credit card issue number mastercard free credit card details that work pre approved credit cards capital one hsbc credit card balance transfer existing customers best southwest credit card deal get credit card bad credit no bank account post bankruptcy credit cards no annual fee best credit cards for new grads natwest business credit card rewards mastercard amazon bank of america online credit card processing instant paypal virtual credit card change apple credit card online sbi credit card application status bank of america credit cards payment everest cash advance unauthorized loan bad credit loans instant decision no guarantor zero interest credit card offers for 12 months same day payday loans no phone calls hsbc 2 cash back credit card virgin credit cards contact beli virtual credit card indonesia credit card processing free online credit card processing software how to get credit card numbers off the internet intuit credit card processing chase low credit credit cards online credit card processing without merchant account jp morgan chase credit card payments credit card apps for ipad hdfc credit card application status best buy credit cards contact number wells fargo credit card rewards review s&p credit rating mbna credit card canada instant approval how to pay sbi credit card online payment bank of america hello kitty student credit card credit check report merchant fees for credit cards comparison canada lowest fixed interest credit cards 2012 ace cash loans online easy quick cash loans credit card rates ireland comparison how does chase credit card cash advance work chase wireless credit card machines cashback payday advance anaheim ca compare best small business credit card hdfc credit card offers on air travel american airline credit card promotions southwest rewards business credit card british airways credit card offer uk how to get an american express card without credit history bank of america credit card student platinum plus credit card comparison site free credit card numbers list td canada trust visa debit age canadian travel credit card comparison virtual credit cards uk loans for single mothers with bad credit and no bank account transfer credit card balance to someone else free credit score check uk no credit card how does cash converters payday advance work citi credit rewards cards premium credit cards barclay credit card online login hostelworld gold card review square credit card reader iphone ipad im 18 what credit card should i get bpi credit card cash advance interest how does a prepaid credit card work yahoo bank of america credit card balance transfer offers balance transfer calculator savings hdfc credit card reward points redeem sbi credit card apply eligibility sanrio hello kitty credit card citibank platinum credit card india can you sign up for a walmart credit card online payday loan online first modern credit card introduced 1950s credit cards offers cash back best gas credit cards for students sbi credit card reward points redemption catalogue natwest credit card insurance on purchases marathon gas rewards credit card new credit card laws minimum payment apply for student credit card natwest ge online services credit card how to apply for a credit card natwest small business accepting credit cards disadvantages standard bank platinum card requirements tfl annual pass gold card visa credit card services number quickbooks credit card processing login credit card charges for paying holidays retail services best buy credit card login credit card processing address verification nab credit card travel insurance clark howard how to choose a credit card best usaa credit card for active duty business credit cards offering air miles real visa credit card number generator citibank credit card application status bangalore nab credit card insurance cover maybank philippines credit card review navy federal credit union address how much money to get a black credit card good first credit card for students travel credit cards no international fees first premier bank credit card for bad credit reviews payday advance direct lenders no credit check online credit card processing for small business quick personal loans online bad credit no credit loans cash advances payday loans toronto data secure credit card aluminium wallet hbc mastercard login easy to get store credit cards 2013 cash loans to your door belfast credit card late fees law us fast cash loans how to get a business loan with bad credit and no money chase southwest rapid rewards credit card review easy to get credit cards online kotak credit card helpline number anz credit card promotions singapore apply for citibank credit card india use paypal for credit card cash advance capital one no fee credit card best buy household bank credit card chase freedom credit card rotating categories student no interest credit cards airline rewards credit cards review apple credit card scanner for iphone approved cash advance store hours credit cards for bad credit how to apply for a mastercard in kenya how to calculate credit card interest charges signed credit card verification agreement maurices credit card mailing address nandos black card application usaa federal savings bank credit card phone number unsecured credit cards for bad credit not prepaid walmart gift visa card credit card companies that will approve anyone american express credit card settlement offer natwest student credit card contact number virtual visa debit card canada offers on visa cards india my premier credit card pay online barclay credit card number lufthansa miles and more credit card uk store credit cards for bad credit canada balance transfer natwest to barclaycard contacting capital one credit card uk capital 1 credit card sign in instant approval credit cards for fair credit when was the first credit card invented kohls credit card phone number usaa platinum credit card benefits best visa credit cards 2012 all bad credit card offers offers on credit card balance transfers unsecured credit cards for poor credit score credit card selector tool canada best american airlines credit card offers 2011 what is the best credit card for airline miles air miles canada credit cards comparison citibank online credit card application status where do i mail my capital one credit card payment bank of america credit card fraud protection phone number payday lenders no brokers balance transfer tesco credit card online log on can i get a balance transfer credit card with bad credit comparing australian credit cards best travel credit cards canada 2011 0 balance transfer credit cards for fair credit top 10 unsecured credit cards for bad credit rewards credit card uk high limit credit cards uk barclays platinum card travel insurance can you pre pay credit cards sbi advantage credit card how to get a credit card with no credit in canada tiger airways credit card holder must travel which is the best student credit card in canada secured citibank credit cards easy credit cards canada best credit card with rewards no annual fee top cash advance lenders reviews how much does advance america pay does it hurt your credit to apply for credit cards pnc credit card services login credit card payoff calculator app standard chartered credit card apply eligibility apply for student credit card discover master credit card numbers that work accepting credit cards on website delta air miles credit card canada dillards credit card payment number

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 976 guests online

Atom RSS

State of Major League Baseball - 2008 - Page 2 PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 25
Articles & Opinion
Written by Various Authors   
Sunday, 15 June 2008 23:04
Article Index
State of Major League Baseball - 2008
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
All Pages

Craig CalcaterraCraig Calcaterra
Author of ShysterBall

The game is resilient. Be it labor strife, financial and competitive inequality, drug scandals, or anything else you can name, the game seems incapable of being diminished. Its essential patterns and rhythms so ingrained that no matter what happens off the field, all is forgotten between the first pitch and the final out. There are as many as 15 games a night nearly every night between March and October. With that kind of signal to noise ratio, it's easy to concentrate on the good stuff and let the bad stuff seep towards the margins.

Not that it's all good. I fear we are approaching a day of reckoning with respect to the Rule IV draft. It's original purposes -- to put a cap on signing bonuses and provide a means of parity-encouraging talent redistribution -- have largely been thwarted as as teams which pick high in the draft are increasingly unable or unwilling to pay the bonuses demanded by the players and their agents. This phenomenon, in turn, has allowed the richest and best teams to enhance their already-strong farm systems. I'm no wizard when it comes to this stuff, but it seems to me that revenue sharing money has to be tied to talent acquisition and development somehow, or else we're going to see an increasing talent disparity as time goes on.

Game time and pace is also a problem, particularly in the playoffs. I've been watching a lot of 1970s and 1980s games on tape recently, and I am shocked at how bad the time in between pitches has gotten compared to where it was a mere 20 years ago. The umpires need to enforce Rule 8.04 and something needs to be done to cut down on batter baloney (i.e. adjusting gloves, hats, cups, etc.). Let's just play some ball already.

Finally, baseball has to be reminded to trust its product. I went to a game at PETCO Park last year and was shocked at how much singing, dancing, clowning, and general farting around goes on between innings. Giant dancing Muppets and pep squads and t-shirt cannons and the like may have a place somewhere in polite society, but a baseball park is not one of them. It's as if the people running the game are worried that all of the casual fans they've managed to attract over the past few years will simply go away the moment they aren't being assaulted with entertainment. Maybe some will, but are they the ones we want hanging around to begin with?

But these are mere quibbles, because baseball may very well be at an all-time high. The worst drawing team in baseball will still likely get a million and a half butts in the seats this year which, not too long ago, would have placed them pretty squarely in the middle of the pack. For all the moaning many of us do about publicly funded stadiums, there's no denying that a night at the ballpark is a much more comfortable, enjoyable, and accessible thing than it used to be. Above all else, the quality of play is fantastic right now, and is even poised to improve as more and more teams realize that the youngest players are the best players. Speed and kinetic energy is on the rise, and those things are going to attract more fans than a giant dancing Muppet ever will.

David ChalkDavid Chalk
Reports on the Devil Rays and MLB for Bugs & Cranks, Contributor, Yahoo!'s Big League Stew and East Windup Chronicle

Economically, baseball seems to be as healthy as it has ever been. Personally, I've been more interested in baseball the past few years than ever before. Still, there's plenty of issues that I would like to see addressed and which make me skeptical about how long baseball can sustain its current level of success.

For starters, the simple joys of the game seem to be dying out. Whether on TV or at the ballpark, baseball is getting harder to watch and especially listen to. I made my first trip to Fenway Park earlier this season, and after a few innings it hit me -- I was hearing nothing except baseball and music. How refreshing that was compared to the mindless promotions that assault fans at every break in the action at the four other parks I've visited this year. On TV, it's difficult to think of more than three or four announcers I really enjoy listening to -- at least that many send me reaching for the mute button, and most are mediocre at best.

There's also obviously something wrong with the game when the 2007 NLCS between the Rockies and Diamondbacks had a lower rating than the 12-year-olds competing in the Little League World Series. Marketing could be better, but the dearth of talent and personalities on those two teams was also a problem. While more small-market teams are competitive and signing more of their young stars to long-term deals, they'll always be working with little or no margin for error -- as long as there continues to be no real revenue sharing and no salary cap. It's hard to see the trend of successful low-payroll teams continuing for very long before the balance tips back to the big-market behemoths.

Baseball also seems to lose some of its unique character when an 83-win team like the '06 Cardinals can be called world champions. I'd love to see a return to 7 and 8 team divisions to try to cut down on weak divisional races. Another return to tradition was suggested by Cork Gaines of, who proposed adding a second wild card to each league, and for the non-division winners to face off in one-game playoffs. That would be exciting and give more meaning to the division races and regular season.

Perhaps most importantly, while Major League Baseball takes many opportunities to celebrate its civil rights legacy, it continues to fail to live up to that legacy in many ways. The way Barry Bonds has been treated by the commissioner, by the Giants, and by the Hall of Fame is a continuing disgrace -- and one that has surely alienated many fans, particularly in the African-American community. The possible collusion to keep Bonds out of the game has cheated fans everywhere, and seems especially ridiculous when amnesty was given to everyone named in the Mitchell Report. Gary Sheffield's allegations of unequal treatment of black players were not acted upon, despite being confirmed by Kenny Lofton and others. Discrimination has also extended to the fans in ballparks, as the Seattle Mariners continue to defend kicking two lesbians out of Safeco Field for daring to kiss in the stands. And the Cleveland franchise still uses a racist caricature for a mascot and logo. In these and other areas, baseball could and should be doing much more to become a true symbol of diversity, inclusiveness, equality and excellence.

Too much to ask? Probably. But it's baseball -- hope springs eternal.

Fred ClaireFred Claire
Former Executive VP and general manager of the L.A. Dodgers and author of “Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue"
(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Fred Claire)

In so many ways, the game of baseball never has been in a better position. Ownership and the Players Association have figured out, at long last, that labor peace is better than being at war. The two parties have come together to recognize that nothing is more important than the integrity of the sport and the players who perform.

The marketing of the game is at an all-time high, as reflected by the attendance, and there is a great awareness of the importance of growth on an international level.

There are new stadiums throughout the country and all of this will be in even better focus next year when New York celebrates the opening of new venues for the Yankees and Mets.

With all of the good news and big deals and general razzle-dazzle it is my hope that the most important thing of all doesn’t get lost in the shuffle—baseball needs more young players being developed in the United States and throughout the world and baseball needs to attract more young fans.

The emphasis of the game needs to be focused on the basics—how does the Major League Baseball work with youth leagues to do everything possible to build programs for the youngsters; and how does MLB develop a solid plan to make the game more affordable for the families and for the youngsters.

Without the continued development of youth programs and the attraction of young fans, baseball is simply spinning in sea of momentary dollar signs with no real way to advance the greatest game of all.

Jerry CrasnickJerry Crasnick
Baseball writer for; Author of License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent

Which issues are paramount in Major League Baseball’s Campaign 2008? For Barry Bonds and Kenny Lofton, it’s all about the job market. John Smoltz is a health care guy, Barry Zito is concerned about gas (or a lack thereof), and when a new round of hostilities breaks out in the war zone, you can bet the Boston Red Sox and those feisty Tampa Bay Rays will be right in the thick of things.

OK, let’s dispense with that tortured, half-baked election theme and get down to reality: Two months into the ’08 season, the MLB landscape is rife with positive signs. When you peruse the standings and see Tampa Bay and Florida hanging tough despite the game’s 29th and 30th biggest payrolls, it’s a tribute to astute management and an indication that Bud Selig’s “faith and hope’’ mantra is alive and well. Chipper Jones is still hitting .400, Chase Utley is a joy to watch, and Edinson Volquez and Josh Hamilton are proof that front office executives really can put economic concerns aside and make the old-fashioned, equitable, mutually-beneficial baseball trade a reality.

Finally, mercifully, we’re drifting toward a focus on topics other than Jose Canseco’s latest book or the contents of Miguel Tejada’s medicine cabinet. Can baseball institute a fair and workable instant replay policy? Is someone -- be it a pitcher, third baseman or a fan -- destined to get impaled by the business end of a shattered maple bat? What’s with those startling home-road breakdowns in Cincinnati and Atlanta? Why aren’t the Washington Nationals drawing more than 29,000 fans per game in their new park? And can there really be room in the good-old-boy tent for a Mark Cuban ownership group in Chicago?

After a winter of Mitchell report overload and body language experts assessing what Roger Clemens must have been thinking when he swigged bottled water and had difficulty making eye contact with Mike Wallace during that “60 Minutes’’ interview, you get the sense that steroid fatigue has prompted us to flip to a new chapter. MLB’s drug policy is by no means perfect, but it’s about as good as we’re going to get. And from here on in, the debate will be more about putting those inflated home run totals in their proper historical perspective and coming to grips with a new, more nuance-friendly game.

In the meantime, while the NBA deals with a new referee scandal and the NFL sweeps up the remnants of “Spygate,’’ baseball can enjoy the latest milestone homers by Ken Griffey Jr. and Manny Ramirez, the storybook tale of Jon Lester’s return from cancer to pitch a no-hitter, and the prospect of Lou Piniella and the boys making this an October to remember at Wrigley. There are a lot worse ways to spend a summer.

Ken DavidoffKen Davidoff
Baseball writer, Newsday

Even as a registered cynic, I think the state of the game is outstanding. Each of the 30 teams has a clue as to what it's doing. The morons have been weeded out altogether. Fans never cared about steroids, and now the Mitchell Report, while put together by a profoundly conflicted, overrated man, succeeded in that it convinced Congress its work is done.

Instant replay is a problem, but it will be remedied next year. I just don't see any issue holding back the game - which disappoints my cynical side.

Jeff EricksonJeff Erickson
Senior Editor, RotoWire


Despite a number of negative issues and thorny problems, the state of major league baseball is as strong as ever. Attendance is up, revenues are up (and yes, so is the cost of going to a game), and the number and quality of ways we can interact with the game are as great as ever. We've been blessed with a series of great rookie classes, ensuring that the quality of the product on the field will remain in good hands. This past offseason was as ugly as it can get, with the Mitchell Report findings and the ensuing fallout with Roger Clemens, at the end of the day the game itself will carry the day. The issue of performance-enhancing gear in the game is a significant, but at the same time, some of the coverage of that has been overwrought. There's a tendency to always look for the story, particularly in the wake of existing news, and that search for the story is a self-perpetuating machine. But the core audience of the game is as connected with it as ever, and fans don't seem deterred.

The state of the economy as a whole is a story that might have a greater impact than some of the other hot-button issues that have threatened major league baseball. Hockey attendance was down for the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings this year, despite their continued excellence all season, due in large part to the state of the economy in Michigan. So far baseball hasn't seen similar drops in attendance, but there's a significant risk that attendance could drop as disposable income becomes scarcer.

Meanwhile, the fantasy baseball industry hasn't tracked along with the state of the economy. In fact, business is better than ever, judging by the experiences of RotoWire and some of our main competitors. It's also a time of consolidation within the industry. Corporate interest in fantasy baseball, led by the involvement of ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo and FoxSports has picked up, and there has been a wave of acquisitions and partnerships. It may be more difficult to thrive with a new business in an increasingly mature industry, but those that have established a toehold are doing well. The long-term outlook for companies and individual fantasy players looks strong, after the biggest threat to the fantasy industry, the lawsuit between MLBAM and CBC, resolved in favor of CBC. Existing games and companies can continue to operate, new companies and games can still be created, and the lack of high licensing fees will allow those companies to operate without passing on the higher cost to the consumer. The next big challenge for fantasy companies will be how to adapt to new technologies and ways people interact with each other. As thriving as the game and the fantasy industry both are, it's always a constant battle to evolve and capture the public's attention and imagination.

Brent GambillBrent Gambill
Senior Producer, MLB Home Plate, XM Satellite Radio

Major League Baseball is in the golden age of the game. Record revenues and attendance heights have surprisingly been achieved through transformative technology and relentless media. Baseball, not known for embracing technology, is leading the online video revolution in professional sports around the globe. MLB Advanced has continued to branch outside of baseball with its online video work and fans can follow their teams in more ways than any other league in history. Opportunities include network and cable television, DirecTV, MLBtv, XM Satellite Radio, local flagship radio, mobile phones, and creative internet means outside of rights-holders’ efforts. Attendance records could be better explained with turnstile clicks as opposed to the usual “ticket stuffing” of the figures, but the numbers will continue to provide record-setting press releases yearly.

The game is not without its issues. Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB have shown flexibility of late by acting in a timelier manner. USA Today recently reported that instant replay will be added on August 1st. Maple bats have become a safety in the workplace issue which baseball continues to discuss. Selig has stated he has “deep and abiding concerns,” and on Baseball Beat with Charley Steiner on XM Satellite Radio, Selig stated he has already made a “recommendation on what we should do” concerning maple bats. The Commissioner has also made it clear that the pace of games has to improve. He recently instructed each team and umpire crew to enforce the rules already in effect to increase the flow of games. In one of the more impressive moves, MLB released information on each club’s efforts to provide affordable ticket options during these challenging economic times. This shows swifter action by the league and a resounding shift from a decade ago to directly reach out to ticket buying fans.

A state of the game overview would be remised if steroids and HGH were not mentioned. Although I was not a fan of the Mitchell Report at the time of its release, it did provide the media a finality to the story of performance enhancing drugs in baseball’s past. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds not withstanding, the game took an immense step forward in the public’s record of opinion. I do not see the National Football League or other professional sports leagues taking this same step.

Major League Baseball’s media coverage is exceptional and relentless compared to other league’s and the stories from game eight to game 142 are covered with extreme detail as no professional sport has as close a kinship between its athletes and media. This “truth” in media makes baseball the most well documented professional sport. Imagine if a player in baseball was suspended like Shawn Merriman in the NFL or Josh Howard’s admission of drug use during the playoffs in the NBA. In baseball, the stories would have been front page news and discussed for weeks. Baseball is held to a different standard than other sports, which shows its impact as the true national pastime.

Baseball’s historical and present influence on society will continue to make it the ever-present national pastime. To date no sport has as passionate a fan base concerning the sanctity of the game from the designated hitter to the wild card to on the field advertisements and PED’s in the game. With the advent of transformative technology, relentless media, and record revenues along with the recent changing of the guard with new superstars emerging (David Wright, Ryan Braun, Chase Utley) and old superstars closing out their career (Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, John Smoltz) this is truly the golden age of baseball.

Kurt HumzekerKurt Hunzeker
Director of Business Development for Active Marketing Group, founder of Sparts Marketing. He is a regular contributor Business of Sports Network

Gas above $4.00 a gallon. Foreclosures skyrocketing. Interest rate hikes on the horizon.

Who knew that baseball would have been a telling indicator for the economy’s current slog through rough waters?

The Fed should have noticed that more teams were depending on cost-efficient talent within their own organization, in lieu of spending millions for free agent veterans on the downside of their careers (looking good so far Angels, Cardinals and Marlins).

Governments who partnered with teams in building new ballparks and surrounding developments suddenly found the brake pedal and halted new projects (hello, Ballpark Village in St. Louis).

Sponsors like Citi who only two years ago signed on for $400 million naming-rights agreements are hiding from the Nationals, whose new ballpark’s marquee stands bereft of a catchy name like “The Amtrak Ballyard.”

Looking back, all we had to do was take a look at what was happening in baseball the past year to see where we were heading as a nation. If the Nationals do find a naming-rights partner, if the Cubs and Wrigley Field are sold and if the Marlins and Rays secure all the financing they need to build new baseball palaces in 2008, then we will know that the U.S. economy will be booming soon.

Kevin Kaduk - 'DukKevin Kaduk (aka 'Duk)
Yahoo! Sports - Editor, Big League Stew

From my viewpoint as editor for just one of the thousands of MLB blogs on the Internet, it's hard for me to say that the state of the league is anything but as solid as a complete game effort from Roy Halladay.

Oh, people might make a lot about the steroids mess and the disparity in payrolls between the 30 teams, but at least they're talking about it. They're talking about it because they care and because they want to see the greatest game grow even greater. If no one had objected to Barry Bonds' run to No. 756 then you know that Bud Selig might have had a problem.

I think it actually would be hard to make a case that this isn't the best era ever to be a baseball fan. The wealth of information available to us is bigger than ever before and we have access to it within seconds after the pitch is thrown. With a satellite package, you can watch any game anywhere in the country (though not on Saturdays, but very often in hi-definition) and you can dial up any hometown radio call on XM. Want a viewpoint from the other side? Easy, just e-mail your favorite opposing blogger and make a baseball friend you would have otherwise never met.

That's not even taking into account actually going to the game, where you're likely to be sitting in a ballpark designed for comfort and watching baseball players who are taking better care of their bodies and working year-round instead of spending the offseason painting houses to make ends meet.

Do the players make too much money? Yes. Could small market owners be spending more of their money on payroll to create good scouting systems and maybe wisely add a prime free agent now and then? Sure. But when it comes to baseball in '08, I think the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.

King KaufmanKing Kaufman

I'm one who believes that history moves slowly. I think baseball's post-World War II era, for example, ended in the mid-'70s, and that the era that started then -- I'd like to call it the Kaufman era but that doesn't seem to be flying, so maybe the age of free agency would be more apropos -- is still going on.

What I'm getting at is that I'll pretty much stick with the broad outlines of what I said two years ago: There's been an exciting influx of young talent, and on the other hand there's the whole drug issue, which is complex and confusing and thoroughly boring. The Mitchell Report hasn't really changed that. We have more details than we used to. I don't know that we're any further along in knowing what to do about them.

I sometimes wonder if baseball has sort of lucked into these boom times. MLB has done a great job with the Internet arm, but generally speaking, it still blunders around with a tin ear toward its public, and doesn't inspire confidence that it'll find the next cash cow without that cow landing in baseball's lap. Nor that it'll find a wise approach to the drug problem, or whatever the next problem is going to be.

And yet the game goes on, great as ever. The growing interest in the draft, prospects, the minors and so on is encouraging and exciting. A lot of that is driven by fantasy baseball. MLB recently lost in court in its bid to control fantasy, in a way that was thoroughly anti-fan. And so it goes.



Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?