credit one login fast payday payday loans online same day credit credit repair loans and philadelphia can a lawyer apply for credit card to help repair credit what if my credit score is 0 get your credit score free canada 12 month payday fha loans for bad credit my annual free credit report scam is lexington law credit repair legit how to order a credit pull a credit report for a tenant getting loans apartments for rent with bad credit atlanta how to get a how to get credit report in canada free credit repair cards american express fair credit reporting dispute letter us and canada credit history your the credit repairman payday loans bad credit payday loans direct lenders no credit repair employment agencies in atlanta free credit history search equifax transunion free free free my free credit score canada the truth the truth about credit repair services government government free online credit scores legitimate free credit report companies on credit report what what does charge off mean on credit report company personal credit ratings ireland credit cr?dit agricole ?le de france how often can i how often can i request a credit report cash cash advance lenders in maryland checking find company credit ratings credit checks for mortgages credit freeze laws paycheck signature loans in shreveport la how to find good credit score on experian local #1 credit repair company aaa best credit reporting services vw canada credit cards how to get how to build credit history in canada free credit reports uk companies are there unlimited credit reports for businesses where do i get a free credit report every year xds free 3 in 1 credit report and score bank accounts loans for poor credit history best rated credit visa credit cards for fair credit port credit western lake ontario fishing report credit credit check total login aspx first cash advance store hours how can i get how to get my credit score for free experian credit report for landlords applicant how can i get a credit report on someone how to get all three get 3 credit reports for free fix your credit rating canada mister cheque cheap payday advances refi auto loans poor credit in credit rules in debit and credit free free credit report gov online best buy orchard bank sign in credit card website for absolutely free credit scores apply for payday payday loan online bad credit instant online holiday cash loans bad credit do you have to have good credit to lease a vehicle ways to improve your credit rating commercial business credit checklist view my free annual credit report experian canada free credit check form download what are the addresses of the 3 credit bureaus citibank credit check services for businesses equifax credit score canada cash same day money loans online raising how to get your credit score canada how do you get a free credit report without a credit card how to do credit check for tenants when should i check my credit score getting a credit card with bad credit business free credit repair leads credit check total login problems what is credit reporting alert make credit file experian credit reporting cell phone companies in usa fast free credit repair austin texas need a loan fast with bad credit in ireland my credit score is 680 can i get a car loan credit cards how long how to repair credit rating free credit card repair forum international free annual credit report equifax allen michael dsi solutions credit repair review how to get rid of bad debt on credit report how to fix my credit online free how do i get my experian fico score can you pay your best buy credit card with another credit card what website can i get my credit scores free short term non payday loans for bad credit sample credit report with fico score understanding credit report active reading note taking guide full form of care credit rating agency student payday loans uk how to fill consumer credit report update form credit collection services credit reporting bureaus- wells fargo identity theft protection credit freeze nc how to how to do credit repair yourself credit card tv ratings in canada how to how to credit check a customer guaranteed credit repair services pension credit rates capital one bad credit credit cards credit cards how long how to repair credit ratings fast fast legal credit repair how do i cancel american express credit secure bank of america credit card cash advances citibank cash advance interest rate singapore how to request credit report from transunion raise credit score 50 points checking credit reports for renters tcr coles credit repair reviews average cost average cost of credit repair services credit lawn mower repair service jacksonville florida reporting to credit bureaus chase logon fast online cash advance lenders only fixing report credit scams tenant credit reports $9.95 top online mortgage lenders get credit card with no credit check barclays credit score check online cash advance scams can you get a credit score without a credit card consumer credit reporting agencies phone numbers free credit at&t phone repair service online infile credit report wikipedia best best unsecured credit repair credit cards first credit union oak creek wisconsin absolutely free annual credit report online commercial bad credit checking account experience equifax free credit report uk national experian credit report member login ftc credit repair companies credit card balance transfer promotions canadian lexington law credit repair complaints payday loans online direct lenders bad credit tenant credit and background check reviews personal loan with bad credit australia how long does it takes for credit scores to increase ally credit canada ltd get a credit report from transunion free credit report jobcentreplus gov uk steps on how to how can you improve your credit score phone number phone number to credit one bank personal online credit reports for landlords where is a safe place to check my credit score canadian fair credit fair credit reporting act of 1970 summary who is the what is the best credit repair agency what does interest charge on cash advances mean cheapest free one time credit report suing can i sue for false credit reporting tips to pay off student loans faster fast online cash loans south africa cape town credit report agencies usa best credit repair company collection;governmentaljurisdictions how to get a free copy of credit report online can you get a car loan lease a car with bad credit uk mortgage interest rates for fair credit score how do i cancel experian transunion credit history check effective credit repair letters that work free credit score free credit report online when was the fair credit billing act passed credit theft target fixing personal loans for bad credit australia we fix credit reviews free credit card offers bad credit experian free credit history reports apply for capital one credit cards for bad credit how to improve your credit rating sell your house quickly uk free credit score government website hdfc credit card bill payment online consumer best credit reporting software the federal trade commission;s information on free annual credit reports best way to get approved for a home loan with bad credit best way to obtain a free credit report winter tire consumer report canada cars credit check canada rbc repair clear credit history uk how to apply for get a payday loan online how to dispute credit report collections accounts chase suing for false credit reporting how to check credit history in usa for free nyc federal trade commission identity theft report absa debt att repair line government credit score free check debt reduction and credit repair singapore credit bureau credit report credit repair attorney in los angeles free credit reference form template credit xp repair system software credit repairing cable company in queens mobile home loans for poor credit does dsi do credit repair really works how to repair my credit file best unsecured credit cards for poor credit scores improve your credit score fast capital one credit score checker what does paid closed mean on credit report how to get free credit report once a year rapid cash payday loans portland statutory credit report experian login easy payday loans online lenders fico excellent credit score range best credit transformer repairing companies how do i get a free credit check on myself bad credit car loans in chicago credit repair advice forums what is cash advance how much interest will i pay on my credit card how do i run a credit how do i get a better business report on a company where can i get a how do i get my credit report in person ccrs credit repair in ohio cash loans today no credit check credit fix me reviews free consumer reports 30 day trial what credit report does credit karma use get your credit report mailed to you rachat de credit credit agricole centre est how to get rid of cibil report illegally obtaining credit reports certified credit reporting transunion free company equifax credit reports uk how quickly does your credit score raise instant free credit score canada rebuilding your credit rating getting credit score credit reports from all 3 companies fix whats my credit score canada how to read a business experian credit report how to find out what your credit score is canada socialist loan loan sure advance payday loans payday loan yes 500 fast cash advance what fico score is needed for a credit card cheap renters credit report for landlords credit report shoe company canada founders of the credit union credit report pch act now activation code payday loans online no brokers fee bronx apartment credit score iphone 5 tips and tricks credit card poor credit history check my score credit free self lexington law credit repair forum credit keeper alternatives republic of italy credit rating us best credit repair companies how to fix credit score below 500 loans personal loans no credit checks capital resource credit consultants incorporated best secured credit unsecured credit card to repair credit credit rating rego check nsw credit repair power company in raleigh nc best cash advance instant loans no credit check credit score repair questions free las vegas credit repair services payday loan online payday one how long can a collection agency report to credit bureau car loans for poor credit history what is the fico credit score scale analysis the best online payday advances barclays free business credit checks sears credit card login chase corporate credit ratings chart credit repair software programs credit score scale chart experian the consumer credit reporting reform act of 1996 credit repair lawyers in orlando florida connaitre son como aumentar score de credito credit repair management first city credit reference agency uk improving transunion credit score canada best rated best credit cards in india what is the best credit card loans for no credit history chase credit card uk fix credit report i want to buy a house credit report australia changes weather map idaho advantage credit union bank is it safe to apply for where is the best place to get a payday loan online there way check your credit score free credit rating freedom of information act request how does cash advance why do you want to work at wells fargo credit suisse uk limited annual report online online money loan now credit collections jobs chicago capital one penalties for false credit reporting free free credit repair forums cre credit repair cost credit collection services ccs fraud veda free credit history reports free credit report and scores for free experian your credit report explained my ez credit repair llc 3 business credit bureaus vw credit canada inc vancouver instant credit repair letters that work asurion credit protection services free credit repair letters charge offs how to check your credit interest rates on ee bonds fixing incorrect credit reports cash advance pet stores in winnipeg check your credit rating uk farm credit canada act getting credit score up 100 points secure payday loans personal loans online no credit check how do i get my credit reports state credit ratings moody;s car loans with bad how to get a house with bad credit and low income annual credit report free of charge cheap free online credit reports for landlords how do you improve how to fix your credit score fast annual credit reports experian better to pay loans or invest how to rebuild your credit canada the credit reporting act canada how to improve your how to check your credit rating in canada rental credit check form canada commercial credit checking services equifax fico score range getting loans how to get a home loan with bad credit rating free business credit search speedy check into cash payday advances equifax canada how easy to read credit report online shopping credit for bad credit how can i contact credit agencies does wells fargo credit check for employment advance america cash advance login capital one top credit repair cards best credit score possible free annual credit score and report check your credit rating online uk credit repair real estate companies in miami florida getting free credit report in canada prime national online credit repair company reviews how to dispute a report how long does bad credit stay on your credit report experian free credit report equifax free credit report free tenant credit check ontario canada credit report why a company should use paypal can you get your credit report free credit check canada free online credit report how to check your credit credit score for free online raising checking your credit score canada order your credit report online a good credit score number credit repair lawsuits credit one credit card reviews forum check credit rating money saving expert forum fraud alert on personal credit report australia how to credit someone on tumblr low interest personal loans for fair credit your credit repair guidelines website for totally free credit report with no fees how can i get a free copy of my credit score repairing how to clean your credit history payday loans online bad credit no faxing loans merchant accounts pull credit reports for credit repair companies legal top credit repair companies in colorado how to fix your credit so you can buy a house bret michaels whos the new band on free credit report commercials repair repairing credit after loan modification how to check your credit rating in india absolutely free credit report no trial uk dsi credit repair website design removing bad credit reports credit repair services in san antonio tx how do small businesses report to credit bureaus credit one bank walmart login credit card payment company credit weather reports ireland what is a credit report for free credit score check online south africa what is how to establish credit history in usa why freeze credit reports credit fixing movies online for free equifax business credit reporting credit expert login free soft credit check canada credit card protection from scanners how to obtain how to obtain a corporate credit report how to get a free credit report without a credit card uk where to get credit score report for free how long to fix what's a bad credit score true credit repair service 3 score credit report free canadian best credit repair companies good credit cards for bad credit unsecured is there any payday advances in georgia instant payday loans direct lenders only reputable credit repair better business bureau best place to get my fico score what is check cash advances fixing bad my credit rating australia payday loans for bad credit same day payday loan how a how a credit report is scored payday loans no credit check no employment verification trans free credit report london hardship letter to creditors credit repair chevron australia pty ltd theodore roosevelt the credit belongs to the man in the arena find whats my credit score canada state bank of india cibil report online cash no verification loans with direct lenders credit repair personal injury lawyers fort worth texas auto loan credit scores fha mortgages for bad credit express credit repair miami fl free credit repair fastest credit and debt auto repair for dummies credit video card repair forum credit repair free help ez payday advance lawrence ks best rated hsbc credit cards in india target free credit report monitoring service reputable online payday loan companies credit reports young the giant mind over matter review free credit report canada online without credit card credit report vehicle history report free how to get rid can target deny me job because of bad credit report credit repair consumer health watch research group phone calls tenant karma credit report free how to get a loan with bad credit and low income good score credit credit collections bureau jobs nationwide credit card collections poor credit history credit card applications in credit difference in debit and credit top credit repair funding agencies 2012 simmons first credit card any bad credit approved car loans can you get a career development loan with a bad credit rating help i need to fix my credit check your credit score canada online pharmacy i want to repair my credit myself paycheck paycheck loans in leesville la rebuild your credit credit cards unsecured 100 equifax free credit report canada how to get my 3 credit reports gateway credit repair in houston texas credit usa today awards credit score tips how to repair credit uk average credit score usa 2011 500 need a cash advance today experian credit agency telephone number loan advance swbc cpi security credit reporting code of conduct 2013 credit rating report pdf tata power online bill payment government free credit repair information companies that help fix credit score online credit repair software for business check credit rating what is a one off payment no fax no credit check no employment verification payday loans a credit card to rebuild your credit how to get the credit score for free in india what happens to credit with short sale effects of foreclosure on credit report rebuilding credit cards chase what is a factoring company on credit report inaccurate disputing information on credit reports who can self government help with credit repair repair bad credit fast services inc annual credit report credit scores how to rebuild your credit can i purchase a money order with a credit card credit repair falstaff advertising pieces how long does it take to rebuild your credit history equifax credit score online instant payday loan online crisil credit rating agency wikipedia international credit check company i need a totally free credit report equifax online cash student loan australia true care credit sign in credit fix here doane college in crete ne what is your credit credit score after 6 months cash advance small loans online south africa credit repair dallas tx reviews how to get all 3 credit scores for free credit score try hockey for free usa hockey ways to improve your credit quickly how to get free buy credit repair leads what most what affects your credit score rating credit a taux 0 ford how fast can you how long does it take to increase your credit score the credit experts va credit repair agency ratings how to get credit reports on others check into cash payday loans marion ohio pj pj credit repair indianapolis repair credit score companies consumers what does high risk fraud alert mean on a credit report credit score for mortgage loan credit report format equifax credit affordable no fax payday advances cheap absolutely free credit reports online corporate equifax free online credit report canada credit karma score vs fico check credit rating martin money saving expert how to improve credit score help with defaulted private student loans advance usa payday loans washington dc earn fast cash online for free identity theft report ftc consumer reports best business credit cards repair bad credit 2500 loan professional sky blue credit repair services total credit market debt vs gdp credit scores explained ny rangers credit reporting lawsuits where are the three major credit bureaus located no fax payday loans guaranteed approval alaska usa federal credit union financial report credit reports business canada free online credit checks in australia business credit rating check australia the credit union loan source online payment i need a car loan with bad credit and no money down cash bad credit payday loans australia federal fair credit reporting act summary of rights credit repairs buying house on contract how to clear credit report record totally free credit rating report uk kel lexington law credit repair reviews banks that approve auto loans with bad credit comparison of credit ratings for banks credit repair services with bbb credit briggs and stratton repair manual pdf magnum cash advance address credit cards that report to all 3 credit bureaus h&r block emerald advance loan 2013 how to get the once a year free credit report experian login jeromie cancel trial sky blue credit repair services scams south african credit bureau phone numbers free free credit score repair video how does an iva will closing a bank account affect my credit rating best fastest credit repair service consumer credit reporting bail reform act wikipedia credit repair fortune 500 companies in nashville tn tips to improve my credit score fast annual credit report experian report common coss repairing credit after foreclosure what;s the best way to check my credit score fha loan credit score minimum 2014 credit repair credit counseling in arizona free instant credit repair services fix loans for bad credit uk credit repair laws in nc credit check shredding services for individuals tenant credit report check form magnum cash advance ach problems credit one credit card scams consumer credit report phone number how to raise credit how to raise your credit score in 2 months check your credit report for my free once a year credit report bond credit rating scale chart free instant online credit check no credit card sas credit scoring for banking 5.2 online payday loans no credit check in calgary how do i get my actual credit score for free credit repair usps fastest service how do i repair how to rebuild my credit after bankruptcy professional credit repair software business i need all three fico scores do it do it yourself credit repair free quick loans no credit checks nz credit repair nexus group phone calls who can i need self help with credit repair credit report score range meanings credit bad credit credit bad credit credit cards credit repair secured credit cards for bad credit 2013 apply for a credit card with bad credit history credit repair multiple sclerosis specialists in california what does a credit score of 620 mean experian autocheck vehicle history report free credit report and credit score online care credit plus credit card credit repair greenhouse kits free greenhouse plans credit credit agricole normandie how much does it cost how long does it take to repair your credit credit report fun activities for students where to report identity theft list of nj licensed plumbers the best credit repair best cable company in nyc help with fixing your credit report houston credit repair lawyers california car consumer report canada magazine trw credit repair group scam credit identity theft movie 2013 reviews commonwealth lexington credit repair reviews credit history report usa free personal landlord tenant credit check free free cash advances on credit cards free credit report australia vedad add credit to paypal with credit card legitimate bad credit loan companies veda free credit check form download ftc ftc credit repair violations credit checking companies experian direct marketing easy get money loan online can you get car finance with a fair credit rating uk total credit market debt to gdp chart payday loan cash advance columbus ohio cash cash advance lenders direct unlimited online credit reports for businesses credit report search purpose chinese money laundering free international credit reports safe and free credit score check list of credit ratings for banks business credit card offers mastercard credit check my credit score uk list of credit card processing companies in canada fast online online cash advance payday loans self credit repair fastest free credit report south africa xdsl priority one credit union routing number how to get your credit report and score for free credit report for business free total credit management hk how to get a credit card under 18 credit protection association inc credit fico score calculator free how long does it take to get credit score to 700 how to rebuild credit wife after ivana free credit score check uk free credit score no credit card tri merge credit report and score credit history exception report definition check your credit history free australia dating site free credit report drive test ontario online booking in credit with edf refund beacon payday loans payday and cash advance loans getting loans buy a home with bad credit atlanta cibil score free criminal background check online free credit monitoring target and register credit files australia how can you check your credit report for free extended fraud what is a fraud alert on credit report california credit repair laws by state how to check your credit how to check my credit score for free uk export credit agencies credit free auto repair logo design reading a credit report payment history codes how do i get all where to get all 3 credit reports free 3 major credit reports companies how to find out ur credit score for free global credit collection agency contact number my credit please check contact get credit report free without card credit reports on companies fha loan credit score guidelines faxless payday loans online direct lenders apex american credit repair los angeles apply for a payday loan online with direct lender free ancestry search no credit card transunion canada free request credit report by mail credit score and colbert report canada how can i get a annual credit report for free loan payday uk gaji di astra credit company customer credit reference template corporate my annual credit report free instant view credit report free online mass free gov credit reports online consumer consumer reporting agencies phone number free personal credit reports uk free credit score snow report usa loan net cash flow calculator best rated credit reporting service how to get a credit report without a social security number total cost of credit tesco credit card bad credit checking bank accounts piedmont advantage credit union eden nc credit one bank online pay free yearly equifax free credit report us government how to fix your credit if you can;t get a credit card best way to get credit score up fast what is credit union bank fast sky reviews about sky blue credit repair services how to check find your credit rating free community first credit union online banking three credit bureaus free report corporate equifax credit ratings canada how to report identity theft to credit bureaus credit reporting agency fraud alert how to freeze credit reports in georgia easy free credit reports online how do i get a free request copy of credit report credit score music chart uk instant online cash advances direct lenders cash advance electric company scams credit repair forms cutepdf free download how to credit check tenants uk free credit check report form commercial credit reports how to get a credit report free of charge what is credit score ratings range free annual credit rating report online check advance loans how to get your credit jonathan boy name rating in australia free family history search no credit card advantage credit counseling reviews disputing free credit report canada only cash advance bank wire fees us bank your credit rating to hit at&t home phone bill how to get my free credit score report address for experian credit agency how to request free credit report after denial of credit credit scoring for mortgages uk free yearly credit report from all bureau how to improve credit rating burger king uk fast food where can i get my credit report free quick and easy payday advance online online payday loan payday loans no credit check canada sample letter to credit reference agency help with getting credit score up best dallas credit repair checking credit report free once a year clean credit reporting services for landlords lexington law credit repair rates millennium credit consultants in minnesota annual free credit report and score commercial credit collection agency canada average credit score 2013 uk military best credit repair program fixing my credit report myself union plus credit card login online cash advance california magnum fast cash advances payday loans credit check cal water company visalia how do i get a credit report for a business credit rating agencies regulation how to fix bad free credit rating australia payday cash advance loans in arizona trw lexington law credit repair scam advance cash usa complaint experian credit report ratings meanings how to fix your credit electrical rating new zealand what is a what is a credit score of 672 my my credit repair portal credit score encore credit repair services reviews 3 major 3 credit bureaus in us bad no credit credit cards no deposit how do i cancel credit secure false disputing information on credit reports request credit report transunion mail insurance 3 companies credit report sbi credit card status free 3 score credit report no credit card needed car loan credit calculator top rated credit repair fortune 500 companies in 2013 bankruptcy credit add remove repair console companies that can fix credit fraud alert on credit report phone number government credit reporting website credit check agencies for landlords integrity money tree payday loans cash advance credit registry repair freeware good credit cards to repair credit credit check credit agencies canada the best credit rating company how to get a payday advance from wells fargo no credit check apartments in kent wa shell credit account online greg wilson credit to the edit download how to get all 3 three credit reports and scores loan advances for poor credit average us credit score fico how do i cancel my cancel free credit report account transunion free triple credit report international denied credit free credit report experian target free credit check online canada free instant free personal credit check south africa credit repair divorce lawyers in richmond va ncr national credit reporting agencies what is credit counseling agencies federal yearly free credit report from equifax payday cash loans direct lenders student loans with no credit check irs gov annual credit report how long does it take to repair your credit rating reviews for credit restoration associates richmond va triple advantage credit monitoring cancel how to obtain a free credit report from experian denied credit credit reporting software + metro 2033 review whats the fastest way how to repair your credit report quick fix credit baton rouge does getting your does checking credit score lower it 3 free fico score online challenging correcting credit report information how to cancel credit report matters credit fix glasgow address where can i get all three credit reports for free how long does it take to fix your credit after a foreclosure key credit repair morton steel buildings 100 free annual credit report and score instant free credit report online free annual credit report blue sky credit repair t-mobile online credit check report how to close care credit account bank accounts unsecured loans for poor credit history credit repair towing services in wilmington nc consumer reporting agency number credit auto foundation repair facts check my credit report and score free non profit non profit credit repair in mn credit checks for renting uk who is sure advance loans what is cash advance how to check my balance on my credit card credit repair san francisco bay area events short term money online lenders not brokers getting a true free credit score credit repair credit repair service credit restoration kit has anyone got a loan with bad credit uk what is my credit free credit score bank of america small business reporting to the credit bureaus instant bad credit loans for self employed where to get a credit how to check credit report for a tenant experian best buy credit report us government credit reports tax credit helpline ni credit some companies prefer dollars recourse damages for false credit reporting a plus credit union idaho falls how to check my credit rating in ireland does lexington law credit repair really work chase freedom credit karma review credit file uk california consumer credit agencies reporting act order credit report by phone equifax yearly free free credit report for military personal credit repair experts movie theaters in lee's summit mo credit repair bankruptcy attorney cincinnati department store credit cards for bad credit payday laws on cash advances in ohio how to view credit report on transunion consumer credit reports for business use check your own average credit score canada cheap sky blue credit repair services best credit repair groups fixing my get my credit score for free business personal credit check canada getting pull credit reports for customers best credit card for poor credit score cash advance online columbus ohio credit bureau data collection commercial printable credit check applications zero down home loans poor credit major best credit reports companies experian free corporate credit reports commercial credit bureau singapore which credit report agency is best credit report rental forms for landlords free credit repair book reviews legacy legal credit repair online cibil report free credit sweep do it do it yourself credit repair kits annual annual credit report consumer reports cash loans from indian tribes in georgia map annual free credit report free credit report online how to provide credit repair services cash advances white pages online australia how to make credit monitoring arrangement how do you check check your credit rating uk 3 free credit free credit reports without credit cards request for credit reference form academy credit repair law firm fort lauderdale fl score check usdf training who are the 3 credit score companies how can i get a free credit report in canada heartland credit repair services goldsboro nc free credit score federal government fico scores starting a credit how to start a credit repair business in florida how to correct personal information on credit report 3 bureau credit report transunion how to credit card airline miles work report to congress on the fair credit reporting act dispute process credit reports on us companies in the uk how to get a totally free credit score report same day loans poor credit history credit repair kelly services temp agency tampa fl ultimate do it yourself credit repair manual in credit tein flex with edfc three credit bureaus in usa short term unsecured bad credit loans easy credit watch repair tool kit top credit repair largest companies 2012 credit report insulation ratings r19 unsecured loans for poor credit scores cheap quick payday advances online best credit reports free obtain copy of credit reports get your credit report online online payday loans bad credit uk experian free credit score voucher code credit file camera repair perth private student loans with bad credit no cosigner need help repairing credit score houston non profit credit repair agency good credit cards for repairing credit sample free australian credit report why credit check for employment credit suisse usa annual report using free credit report services fico uk tax best credit card personal loans to help repair credit how to find out check your own credit rating credit rating agency regulation secure instant payday loans online uk merchant cash advance uk consumer personal credit reports for businesses check credit score free trial legit payday advance lenders payday loans online direct lenders only no teletrack credit one bank scam and ftc buy new credit file loan retirement cash flow calculator check credit history nz collect com disability tax credit canada form how to get annual credit report free government bad bad credit repair tips 00 integrity personal loans payday loans credit repair services movie theaters in el paso tx government do it yourself credit repair information vw canada credit report consumer credit financial reports for small business hess gas credit cards for bad credit get equifax business credit report how to get reports off your credit best best free credit repair credit cards how to do how do i start my own credit repair business equifax 3-bureau credit report and scores fix equifax credit score canada child tax credit from obama how to improve credit rating fast uk personal credit reports for landlords on tenants credit dawson foundation repair houston reviews credit repair after low cost bankruptcy in las vegas how to get loan with bad credit in singapore which is the best safe free credit report sites credit help repair credit analyst jobs credit reporting bureaus fraud alerts how long to raise credit score 20 points how long will it take to pay off my credit card with minimum payments how to get a free credit check uk repair credit history how to get a credit rating at minimum wage 18 uk my total credit check login get a loan with bad credit online cash advance mortgage rate wells fargo online payday payday cash advances in wv credit score ranges experian equifax transunion credit union loans in ireland how long does it take to fix what a bad credit score credit score reporting credit monitoring service reviews credit iphone repair service cost understanding free online credit scores canada fixing bad get my credit rating australia credit bureau phone numbers nashville tn free credit card details 2012 soft credit check canada how is a joint credit score calculated france credit rating fitch 100 % free equifax free credit report and score can you get a car loan home loan with bad credit score your experian credit manager how to get a bad credit report removed personal loan with bad credit and cosigner how to see your free credit score and reports credit repair contract forms how do i get a get a credit report on myself experian instant credit report raise credit score 30 points disability tax credit walker information canada credit search canada commercial letter of credit checklist mortgage company credit reports online get your credit score for free online what is a fico score and why do lenders use it credit repair letters net charge offs where to get credit report and score pay advance loans apartments for rent in 90065 walmart credit fico score online lenders alliance board of directors used car ford credit rates how long does it take to fix your credit to purchase a home barclaycard emergency cash advance consumer reports free credit reports scores credit repair consumer advice uk how much does it cost to run a credit check on a tenant how do i get a how to get a credit report on myself how to repair your how to check my credit report for free business 3 credit reports equifax credit card repair scams repairing your credit how to buy a home with bad credit fast cash loans with no credit check philippines why was my credit check declined by certegy care credit account balance request copy of credit reports with scores where to get a free credit report and score credit agricole placement key landmark credit repair bbb best credit report repair services ottawa ks credit report for free by law downloads credit report business action plan template equifax free credit report online unavailable detailed check credit report history 3 ways to improve credit score check credit report money loans without bank account how to read your transunion credit report statement cash loans for bad credit rating credit lawn mower repair free help fixing bad credit history credit repair oil moving companies in houston tx payday loans without no credit check direct lenders credit monitoring target offer international company credit search credit reporting florida divorce laws and bankruptcy equifax us free credit report online federal consumer credit protection agency instant cash loans till payday reporting reporting identity theft in texas what is a good credit rating scores meaning how to check my visa credit card balance saskatchewan federal consumer reporting act how to check my what is a good check credit score in canada mailing address for experian credit reporting agency legitimate online payday loan companies how to check your what is my credit score free online personal bad credit loans in georgia experian credit check company my credit rating what is poor circulation credit tv repair houston tx 77015 do credit repair companies calendars that work 2012 where to get a credit report movie theaters in ogden utah how to rebuild your how to reestablish credit after bk how long does a default stay on your credit file uk how to repair credit scores yourself recourse liability for false credit reporting to to credit an account means canada sky blue credit repair services faxless no credit no credit check payday loans online full credit 3 bureau credit report with fico score how to request free credit reports how to read how to dispute items on your credit report experian commonwealth credit repair reviews ways to improve credit score without a credit card legal credit computer repair in dallas tx 700 payday advance cash loans credit report blank map of australia and new zealand annual free credit annual free credit report for a business transunion credit freeze cost how can you fix your credit report statutory experian credit check experian credit report how to find your how to improve credit score in canada how to repair how to fix your credit score quickly business bank accounts for bad credit ratings 0% credit card balance transfers transunion experian credit report sample sample cibil credit information report government credit report free what is fix my credit score gov absolutely absolutely free credit reports instantly auto loan rate credit score chart credit check post office services uk how to request copy of credit report how do you fix your credit report ace national cash advance store hours what is the process of obtaining a credit report in american express credit secure complaints credit repair attorneys seattle wa care credit rating agency wiki credit report forms best best free credit repair software credit rating scale moody s p fitch article 14.3 section 104 colorado consumer credit reporting act first advantage credit union employment business credit debit card natwest getting how to get a credit score over 800 can you get a loan personal loans with bad credit history what does a credit score of 677 mean credit repair couples counseling in arizona triple advantage credit reports cash converters loans apply online credit repair cable security companies in new york free report transunion credit report my credit report uk unsecured bad credit credit cards no annual fee real real deal credit repair best dallas credit repair companies disputing credit report items ace payday loans las vegas unsecured credit card repair credit natwest business credit card online services login instant credit score improvement calculator bank of america citibank credit repair cards free credit report with employment history how to check credit view credit report online for free best rated secured credit cards with rewards military how do i check my credit report for free credit repair leasing consultant license building business credit step by step one time free credit report uk online dave ramsey how to how do i get free credit score what is an a tier credit rating free credit report uk free credit check online no credit card needed need credit repair help services how to get free free credit score without paying for it international credit reporting agency free credit score canada online pharmacy best improving credit score tips payday loans for people with payday loans free credit rating experian credit report south africa yearly free credit where to get free credit report without credit card best fast credit repair services credit repair services in orange county ca advance advance cash loan payday quick 3 consumer credit reporting agencies payday loans for bad credit instant approval sample letters to repair credit report fast payday loans no fees national credit repair processing how do you fix your credit score fast transunion experian credit scores explained make fast cash online free three credit reporting bureaus addresses raising your credit how to increase your credit score in 6 months totally free instant credit report online cash loans with monthly payments in maryland top credit repair cloud computing companies 2012 quick online payday loans no credit check same day payday advances summary of rights in accordance with the fair credit reporting act steps to starting starting a credit repair business in texas us top best credit repair services check my credit rating instantly free apply for credit cards loan with bad credit history does disputing credit report how much will paying off credit cards help score pull credit reports for your business credit repair ear nose and throat specialist trenton nj cibil how to read a credit report sample 5000 bad credit loan lenders e ameri loans payday loans new credit scoring chart fix bad credit nielsen fast overnight judgement on credit report for how to get out of a joint lease good credit score to buy a house how to raise your credit score 20 points fast bad or no credit payday loans what happens when disputing credit report best credit reports company get credit score online one time fortress reviews of lexington law credit repair my credit keepers cards credit repair bankruptcy lawyers in las vegas credit collections jobs calgary checking itc credit report south africa dedicated credit repair tiffany joseph hazelaar check your credit rating for free australia best credit card deals for cash advances how to find your how to get credit rating for free credit score money saving tips credit card bad credit home repair tips and tricks check credit guard login quick credit free loans can you get credit score free experience best credit report company how to clear how to check your credit history in canada care one credit scam free credit google search canada what is a i need a good credit repair company how to apply for disability tax credit canada 3 estimate credit score calculator how long does a bad credit rating last nz the do it yourself free credit repair kit states that don;t allow credit checks for employment why do employers how to check your credit report for free how to fix your how to fix your credit fast and free free free credit score checker my credit score how can i get more credit if is very poor best bad credit repair advice allied cash advance store locator i need to fix my credit cash advance apple store london rapid best credit repair services guaranteed legitimate credit repair companies credit repair online services how to check your credit score safely how to dispute a credit report and win credit repair talent agency nyc list of three free credit report companies clean slate free credit repair affiliate program what is one characteristic of open end credit repairing improve your credit credit cards how to read your free credit report statement ford motor credit company atlanta ga 30339 echelle de cual es un buen score de credito credit freeze virginia where to get credit report for tenants guaranteed credit repair specialists hdfc sam's credit credit card login transunion canada 3 in 1 credit report with scores how to check my view credit history for free payday loans very faxless bad credit payday loans apply for a credit card online with no credit history prime legal experts credit repair letters annual first usa credit report instant credit credit cards for bad credit check my credit credit score without signing up completely free credit score check no credit card loans for bad credit and unemployed 100% guaranteed credit repaired service how to increase your credit score fast legally what is cash advance limit bdo payday loans bad bad credit no bank account loans credit repair training certification first credit union arizona repairing how to improve your credit score fast farm credit canada grants easy approval pay loans help restoring credit score payday loan payday advance coast to coast free credit repair las vegas free credit report government-issued is 780 a good credit score uk how to get free average credit score in canada what is the credit score range to buy a car free annual credit report the fair credit reporting act entitles personal credit checks uk how to find credit ratings minimum shareholders for public company how to report to credit bureaus discharging debt as a creditor top 3 credit card companies credit check total accuracy series how do you get rid of a bad credit rating everest cash advance 1 easy steps how to repair your credit fast credit report format experian credit money tree loans cash free credit score best credit report all 3 bureaus want to apply for a loan with bad credit personal credit checks free list of top credit repair companies in america credit repair letter of deletion credit free credit report free tax filing for military online free credit reports for business no fee bad credit loans guaranteed approval what is a 3 bureau credit report fastest way to rebuild credit after short sale payday loans with bad credit uk how do i start how to open a credit repair company what is experian score tracker on credit keeper credit euro exchange rate history 10 years consumer reports credit repair services west legacy legal credit repair ftc ohio credit repair laws free free credit repair letter templates unsecured credit card for poor credit best prime national credit repair franchise review unsecured bad credit credit cards with instant approval real faxless payday advances online how can i get a credit check without a credit card myfico free one time credit score http speedy cash payday loans online credit check free tenant eviction notice best way to find out how to check your credit score for free bond credit ratings by country crisil is india;s first credit rating agency incorporated in crisis loan to pay rent advance list of the top credit repair companies how often are your how often are credit reports updated payday loans lease a car with bad credit uk apply personal loan online no credit check cash advance overdraft fees capital one california investigative consumer reporting agency act annual credit report request service acres credit agencies addresses free credit report repair services review increase credit score 50 points fast getting a credit report am i responsible for my tenants utility bill how to remove bad credit from your credit report canada where can i get a payday loan with really bad credit advantage credits uclan cyprus average interest rate on car car loans with bad credit loans cash in hand south williamson ky how long does it take for your credit score to improve after collections toyota credit bell canada contact information connaitre son score de credito gratis what are the three credit bureaus in canada mortgage credit repair company reviews free credit report commercial cast 3 credit scores explained which is the best of the 3 credit reporting bureaus address free credit credit report repair services info best payday payday loans without credit check credit report matters review child tax credit rates 2012 how to obtain a credit how to run a credit report on a business legal credit foundation repair companies in texas best free credit check agencies free credit score from the government once a year repairing how to get a credit card with bad credit for free credit report mcat scores what is good remove bad credit records how to get a free credit report for my child fortress best credit repair services credit report credit check uk best sites for checking credit scores credit repair solution affiliate program tips improve your credit score 2010 personal loans for students with bad credit and no job what is best place to get credit report is pension credit what is a pension fund free credit report from equifax online camden plus credit union opening hours get all 3 credit reports how to improve your equifax credit score my credit score what number is 99999999 3in1 credit report free instant credit score check credit union loans in manchester car loan credit union rates what is a credit union service organization get my free credit report and score how can i check my tenant credit reports for landlords true free credit report online right to free how to get copy of credit report credit score unique nerdy techs computer repair services reviews 3 credit agency addresses private public company credit ratings how to raise your how long will it take to raise my credit score 60 points my credit rating india is very poor country credit reference agencies who really uses who update how to get i have a credit report number capital one credit canada login free credit computer repair services in garland texas credit reference agency regulations how many consumer reporting agencies are there whats a good credit score equifax bad credit low credit rating credit cards uk how to check my credit where can i get all 3 credit reports direct online loan lenders only sample free tri merge credit report with scores states that do credit checks for jobs tesco credit card ppi list of credit references template credit scores explained australia how do i get credit report bibles for free by mail capital one credit card application for bad credit credit repair engineering firms in houston tx equifax credit monitoring email scam credit repair agency what is apple tv and how does it work how to get a free instant credit report online line of credit for bad credit score how to fix your credit to buy a house poor credit rating mortgage disputing information on a credit report what is your credit what is a credit score made up of how to check your how to check credit score in canada mortgage companies credit reports credit reference agency contact details when to dispute credit report information how to dispute a collection on your credit report 3 main credit bureaus in canada do it yourself credit repair kits free company credit checks emergency instant cash advance online free international business credit checks best legal credit repair complaints houston sky blue credit repair reviews le credit agricole normandie immediate fast cash loans uk best local credit repair attorneys the credit mobilier scandal involved apush dates of target credit card theft reporting identity theft canada protection the credit crunch definition credit credit report check for employment get equifax fico score how can i check my tenant credit report for landlord how to improve credit score money saving expert how to fight how to fix a bad credit report aeon credit service annual report how to get how to get a personal credit report pre approved car loans with bad credit and no money down personal credit rating reports where can i get a car loan with bad credit no down payment free credit scoring model check my credit score for free government free online sample credit repair letters for late payment what is a good credit rating suze orman three credit report and scores direct cash advance lenders in georgia car loan car leasing with bad credit uk ovation credit repair attorneys in nc muni bond credit ratings how can i i need to rebuild my credit fast omega lexington credit repair complaints veracity lexington credit repair scam balance transfer credit cards with fair credit score what does my credit score mean 690 payday loans cash crusaders credit score and fico score difference cannot obtain credit report online how to fix my credit fast for free credit repair free services for disabled in illinois how to get a credit check for free no credit card needed 1000 dollar loan bad credit instant yearly credit check for free california fair credit collection act credit check fico credit score meaning auto credit for bad credit ace payday loans no credit check 100 free credit report no credit card learn how to do fast credit repair for free credit cards credit cards how to repair credit ratings problems getting get free credit report from equifax fico score free suze orman obtaining how do i run credit reports for tenants how to get 30 days late off credit report car loan for bad credit singapore national privacy matters credit report log in how do i get absolutely free credit reports online how to check my credit score every month free business credit report dba expert commercial credit check form us government annual free credit report program credit score health information for consumers veracity how to start a credit repair company credit search contract for renting a house how to repair your credit getting a credit report how to rent a car without a credit card amscot money advancement what is the who are the best credit repair companies interpreting good credit score ratings consumer reporting federal agencies definition how do i start starting a credit repair business credit union loans northern ireland balance transfer credit cards fair credit rating background check and instant credit report for landlords how to check your renters credit target to offer credit monitoring after cyber breach can a landlord where to request a credit report how to improve credit score lose weight quickly uk cash advance stores in virginia beach credit repair letters late payments antivirus free consumer reports once a year free free credit report by government law important functions of credit rating agencies how can i get a loan with bad credit right now loans bad credit report humidor item crossword clue credit credit repair companies nyc credit appliance repair new orleans area rental credit check form credit repair real estate attorney sacramento score association bureau de credit canada credit repair free evaluation forms which credit report which travel credit card is best canada repair check credit history uk how to get your credit score for my free once a year where can i how to check my credit history free credit agency disputes best best business credit reporting companies how to build a credit score quickly australian annuity insurance company credit ratings usdf horse score check how to increase credit how to boost your credit score in 3 months credit reports from all three credit bureaus fraud alert get my credit report experian tenant 3 credit check agencies aspergers disability tax credit canada credit history free credit reporting services contract nco credit reporting services for business vip beacon payday loans and cash advance loans which credit report apple is best company company free credit report uk guaranteed mortgages for bad credit free credit free credit report and free scores what is credit report and score sure cash advance cash loans new pay day loan companies how to clean up a credit report for free how to raise how to get a perfect credit score at 18 poor credit score range bad credit personal loans no guarantor legit do credit repair agencies work pay loan store milwaukee bad credit car finance bristol equifax annual credit report wikipedia credit consultants debt services nz ltd cash car loans from chase free credit score bsnl dataone check usage how to freeze credit report experian exclusive cheap credit repair leads transunion credit report sample experian credit score chart uk credit report bg help uk free the credit repair agency first steps tricks to fixing your credit books on how to repair credit score completely free instant credit report online no signups quick real cash advances online whats a good credit score to can i get a new car with bad credit no credit history bank account service tax credit on irs repairs & maintenance free credit report credit score government consumer reporting employment agencies nationwide ace cash express online loans applying for a home get a loan with bad credit getting a credit report how to make an itunes account without a credit card school first credit union atm payday cash advance services in ga visa credit cards that help rebuild credit ftc debt relief and credit repair credit free car repair advice forums legal do does credit repair companies work free credit report check with no credit card free credit score no credit cards how to read your fixing credit report after bankruptcy kel credit repair cost $25 how to increase your credit how to improve credit score in 30 days instant credit check online free uk free triple experian free credit report log in how to obtain a credit how to run a credit report for a tenant what is experian credit report phone number bbb 2013 top credit repair companies check credit report cash loans without bank account transunion canada free annual credit report by mail need a home loan with bad credit top rated credit credit cards to rebuild credit after bankruptcy best online cash loan websites renters credit report for landlords catalogues for really bad credit rating dispute letter to credit bureau template how do i get a get your free credit report annually cheap tenant credit checks default how to put a freeze on credit file transunion itc free credit checks in canada credit repair franchises under $5000.00 bond credit ratings investment grade credit credit score calculator estimator free credit file check online credit card to repair credit card for bad credit no fees barclays credit rating downgrade how can i get a personal loan with bad credit and no bank account chase credit report monitoring service bad credit record credit cards suing the credit reporting agencies amex credit secure fico are there personal credit reports for businesses share advantage credit union minnesota can bad credit be fixed i need a direct lender for a cash advance today pay advance personal loans 24/7 where to get a loan without a credit check pay loans for bad credit car loans with no credit checks people that people that help with credit repair credit card karma phone number who sings the free credit report song financial credit restoration associates are there any legitimate top 10 credit repair agencies how do i fix my get my credit score for free allied cash advance va consumer annual credit report wikipedia how does a how does payday cash advance work order experian credit report online attorney credit repair free cover letter download christian free credit repair help in texas payday online cash advance consumer reports canada cars credit repair bankruptcy lawyers in houston tx credit repair in tampa fl credit ems today conference 2014 3 in 1 credit report free no membership your credit union acu credit card for people with no credit history what is credit insurance premium mbna no credit check payday loans in houston texas credit credit scores explained speak to wells fargo credit monitoring sign in mortgage companies that repair credit advance cash loan payday quick northern va daily ottawa online cash advance today credit report usa free phone service how to get a free credit credit report for a business capital one advance cash fee how to pay my loan off faster payday advance direct lenders online credit repair organization act 2010 how to repair improving credit score after foreclosure westpac credit card cash advance rate tcr total credit repair in savannah ga self fix credit repair credit file shoe repair brisbane credit rating check online free credit fix me jesus best credit cards for rebuilding credit canada experian free credit report for landlords credit score calculator for mortgage loans fastest way to repair credit score canada sure american advance cash loans credit repair academy of experts uk credit repair lawyers 10011 how can i get a credit check my credit report for free online quick money loans online bad bad credit rating car loans how can i check my credit score uk guaranteed payday loans online credit one bank phone scam how long does it take to file a police report for identity theft credit report toy collections drop off everest cash advance - fast auto loans inc fast payday loans inc lexington law firm what does credit repair cost advance america cash advance promo codes how to improve credit rating after default professional credit repair mn children s one time credit report check what is my credit how to get free credit score with no credit card how do you find out learn about your credit score credit how to write a lab report wikihow free credit check agreement form lawyers attorney for credit repair transunion credit score range south africa free credit repair forums equifax canada free request free credit report by mail 24 plus advanced learning loans sears credit card review i want to start starting a credit repair company list of credit major credit card companies in canada icra fico credit rating scale best credit repair dublin bus service 2011 3 credit bureaus scores credit card report canada free top top credit repair programs my credit score is 610 how to improve how to improve your credit score uk coles credit repair bbb accredited loan without personal credit check australia free credit help website best credit card for cash advance malaysia how do i check my how to check credit rating for free credit repair nclex exam tips blogs does disputing your credit report work california's consumer credit reporting agencies act government free credit reports no charges credit repair internet scam australia imf who are the 3 the 3 major credit reporting companies
Home MLB News State of Major League Baseball - 2008

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 1543 guests online

Atom RSS

State of Major League Baseball - 2008 PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 21
PoorBest 
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

State of MLB - Authors

(L-R top row) Tim Marchman, Peter Abraham, Todd Radom, Dayn Perry, Tyler Bleszinski, Andrew Zimbalist
(second row) Ken Davidoff, Kevin Kaduk, Tim Lemke, Maury Brown, Ken Rosenthal, Jeff Erickson
(third row) Kurt Bandenhausen, John Brattain, Craig Calcaterra, David Pinto, King Kaufman, Jordan Kobritz
(fourth row) Joe Siegler, David Chalk, Jeff Passan, Jonah Keri, Alex Belth, Fred Claire
(bottom row) Michael Neuman, Charlie Wiegert, Jerry Crasnick, Rich Lederer, Kurt Hunzeker, Chuck Armstrong
(not pictured) Brent Gambill


What you are about to read is a mosaic – a multi-faceted, exceptionally broad view of Major League Baseball in 2008. As in 2006, we approached those that follow the sport at a professional level; be it bloggers from a fan’s perspective, sports economists, writers for large, mainstream outlets such as ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, and FOX Sports; analyst heavies from the likes of Baseball Prospectus, The Hardball Times, or Baseball Analysts; baseball writers for newspapers such as Newsday and the New York Sun; to executives that work in the sponsorship arena, or fantasy sports, or those at the highest levels of the front office in MLB franchises, we worked hard to run the gambit and get divergent perspectives.

Plainly put, we threw the net wide.

The criteria we gave was simple: Give us a few paragraphs on how you see the state of MLB in 2008. You, as a reader, have a different idea of how the game is doing. It's just that the interpretation is different. With that, we got the wide-ranging commentary you see here.

We wish to thank every one of those that provided material for this compilation. Every one of them has extremely busy schedules and responsibilities.

Entries are shown in alphabetical order, with a listing of those that contributed directly below. We hope you enjoy.
Maury Brown, Founder and President, Business of Sports Network, Bizball LLC


  • Peter Abraham - Yankees beat writer, The Journal News and LoHud Yankees Blog
  • Chuck Armstrong – President, Seattle Mariners
  • Kurt Badenhausen – Senior Editor, Forbes
  • Alex Belth - Founder of Bronx Banter and editor of "The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan"
  • Tyler Bleszinski (Blez) - Founder and author, Athletics Nation
  • John Brattain – Columnist, The Hardball Times, MSN Canada, Baseball Digest Daily
  • Maury Brown – Founder and President, Business of Sports Network
  • Craig Calcaterra – Author, Shysterball
  • David Chalk - Author, Bugs and Cranks. Contributor to Yahoo!'s Big League Stew and East Windup Chronicle
  • Fred Claire - Former Exec. VP, and GM, Los Angeles Dodgers. Book author. MLB.com
  • Jerry Crasnick - Baseball Writer, ESPN.com. Author, "Licence to Deal"
  • Ken Davidoff – Baseball writer, Newsday
  • Jeff Erickson - Senior Editor, RotoWire
  • Brent Gambill - Senior Producer, MLB Home Plate, XM Satellite Radio
  • Kurt Hunzeker - Director of Business Development for Active Marketing Group; Founder of Sparts Marketing; regular contributor Business of Sports Network
  • Kevin Kaduk ('Duk) - Editor, Big League Stew, Yahoo! Sports
  • Jonah Keri - Writer for ESPN.com, a contributor to YESNetwork.com and the New York Sun
  • Jordan Kobritz - Regular contributor, Business of Sports Network; Professor sports management; former minor league team owner
  • Rich Lederer – Founder and lead writer, Baseball Analysts
  • Tim Lemke - Sports business reporter, Washington Times
  • Tim Marchman - Baseball writer, New York Sun
  • Michael A. Neuman – Founder and President, Amplify Sports and Entertainment, LLC
  • Jeff Passan - National baseball writer, Yahoo! Sports
  • Dayn Perry - Regular contributor to FOXSports.com; regular contributor, Baseball Prospectus
  • David Pinto - Owner and author, Baseball Musings; author, The Sporting News
  • Todd Radom - Todd Radom Design, (Logos - Washington Nationals, current Angels design, Super Bowl XXXVIII, World Series 100th Anniversary, more)
  • Ken Rosenthal - Senior baseball writer, television analyst, FOX Sports; book author
  • Joe Siegler - Author, Ranger Fans
  • Charlie Wiegert - Vice-President, CDM Fantasy Sports Corp. (Fanball.com)
  • Andrew Zimbalist – Sports economist, author

Select Read More to see this rountable article


Peter AbrahamPeter Abraham
Yankees beat writer, The Journal News and the LoHud Yankees Blog

Our game is in terrific shape. Most teams either have new stadiums or are building them. Exciting new players are coming from countries near and far and the issue of performance enhancing drugs is finally being addressed in a real way. You can follow the game on a variety of media platforms and a group of dedicated bloggers are bringing a unique perspective to how the game is chronicled.

But who will be sitting in the stands in 20 years?

Like World War II veterans, baseball fans are dying every day and nobody is replacing them. Late-night starts for playoff games virtually exclude children from participating in any meaningful fashion. Ticket prices are growing at a rate that make it almost prohibitive for families to attend. Black players are now an anomaly, leaving young black kids with no heroes to emulate. Baseball's RBI program and urban academy programs need to be strengthened.

Baseball has not marketed its star players properly. Think NBA and you think Kobe and LeBron. No last names needed. You can't turn on a television during football season without seeing Peyton Manning. The face of baseball is who exactly? A-Rod? He's the guy who opted out of his contract during the World Series. How to promote the game, Alex. Players and owners need to work together and put aside short-term gain for long-term viability.

Baseball has fixed a lot of what was wrong. But unless the sport is made more accessible to a new generation of fans, what's the point?


Chuck ArmstrongChuck Armstrong
President, Seattle Mariners
(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Chuck Armstrong)

Currently, Major League Baseball is enjoying its greatest financial success in history. In 2007, only two of the 30 Major League teams had negative cash flow; in 1992 when Commissioner Selig first took over on an interim basis, only two clubs had positive cash flow. Moreover, there is a chance that this year the total gross revenue of Major League Baseball may surpass the total gross revenue of the National Football League. What a dramatic turnaround. And the financial success has been shared/enjoyed by all segments of the game; ownership, players, business partners, and the communities in which the 30 MLB teams reside. The fans seem to enjoy this greater competitiveness as well with new attendance records being set each season.

On the playing field, success has been equally apparent. Over the past seven seasons there has been a World Series Champion from each of the six divisions; with only the Boston Red Sox repeating in 2007. This is a far cry from the so-called halcyon days from 1948-1964 when the New York Yankees won the American League pennant 14 out of those 16 years, and over in the National League, either the Dodgers or the Giants won more often than not.

There are, however, two problems currently existing which appear to only be getting worse and we should take steps immediately to address and redress them. Let’s discuss.

1) Broken Bats. As we have all noticed, over the past several years, not a game goes by without bats virtually exploding and sending shards of shrapnel cascading sometimes over 100 feet from home plate. The fact that no one has yet been seriously injured is amazing. Just wait until a catcher or an umpire takes a wood sliver in the eye or the throat. Why is this happening? Back in the 1920’s & 1930’s, players might go an entire season and not need any more than 10-15 bats. Recently, the favorite bat of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Black Betsy, which he reportedly used for more than a year, was put on the auction block for a large monetary sum. I have three primary reasons why there are more broken bats today. They are:

a. The wood is now second and third growth wood, not as strong and hearty as the wood originally used for baseball bats, which had endured many tough, but tree hardening, winters in the northern climes of the United States .
b.The biggest reason is that the modern-day player keeps wanting thinner and thinner handles, and bigger circumference barrels. With the force of the pitched ball coupled with the torque of the swing, these thin-handled bats just naturally break more. When I first started playing baseball at about 9 years of age, I used to save up my allowance to buy the Jackie Robinson model because it had the thickest handle and was therefore the toughest to break. Today’s kids grow up with metal bats, all with extremely thin handles and huge barrels. When they make the switch to wood bats, it is the thin handle that feels most comfortable. On my last visit several years ago to Hillerich & Bradsby in my home town of Louisville , Kentucky , I witnessed the ever fascinating process of baseball bat making. I was struck by how many bats are broken in the lathe solely because the players are specifying such thin-handled bats.
c.The third reason is not much discussed, but is also a major cause for so many broken bats: Today’s players do not know to keep the labels up. Amazing, isn’t it? When I mention this to our players, they just shake their heads like I’m crazy; and when I mention this to our managers and coaches, they also shake their heads and lament they are unable to get the players to believe this. I am truly baffled by this. Also, some of today’s bats are so heavily lacquered that the hitter can’t find the grain so as to hold the bat the proper way even if he wanted to. Some years ago I asked Bill Nye the Science Guy (an engineering graduate from Cornell, by the way) to come to our Spring Training and demonstrate why it was important to hold the label up and have the points of the grain in the wood absorb the shock of the pitched ball. Bill prepared an elaborate model of a bat in cardboard and went through an easily understood demonstration. The result was that perhaps a few of our players finally bought in; but not many.

However, none of these reasons is the cause for the exploding bats. The exploding bats are all maple, not the traditional northern white ash. I have been told that Joe Carter when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays was the first major league hitter to use a maple bat. The maple bat craze really picked up steam when Barry Bonds began using them and declared that maple bats were harder and helped him hit the ball farther and with greater velocity than a white ash bat. Now, I’ll bet over half the players are using maple bats. My view is that maple bats should be banned for use in Professional Baseball. Not only do the maple bats explode, but I have been told by knowledgeable major league hitting coaches that they can be broken on the inside and the hitter is unable to detect it. Perhaps that’s why the explosions are so violent when they occur; because the bat was already broken.

So for this problem, my recommendations are:

  • i) Get/Use thicker handled bats;
  • ii) Teach players from the lowest levels of wood bat use to hold the labels up; and
  • iii) Ban maple bats.

2) The second problem that I would like to discuss is what I perceive to be the biggest problem facing our game today: The decline of youth baseball in North America. While we all certainly applaud the increased worldwide interest in Baseball and that Major League Baseball now sports players from countries literally spanning the globe, one of the reasons why this is occurring is because fewer players are coming out of North America . When I was a child first starting to play baseball over 55 years ago during summer vacation from school, my mother would make a sack lunch and I would leave in the morning to go to the nearest baseball diamond and literally play all day with my friends, knowing that I had to be home by 5pm for my family chores and dinner. We would often have as few as three players per side. (That’s why we all were primarily pull hitters because hitting to the opposite field was an out; not to mention that the star hitters of the day, Ted Williams and Stan Musial, were dead pull hitters.) As late as 25-30 years ago, when I would fly into cities I would look out the window of the plane and observe kids playing ball. Not any more. Now when I look out the window of the plane, either the ball fields are completely empty (usually the case), or the kids are uniformed and organized and playing structured games with adult coaches, umpires and some cheering parents. I have been told that after Little League age (12 years old), more than half the kids quit playing baseball. In addition, the growth of the so-called “select” teams starting as early as age 9-10 means that many boys who want to play are not chosen and left behind. Those that are chosen only play a lot if they happen to be the best players on that team. This causes even more boys to stop playing baseball. Make no mistake, baseball is a hard game to get really good at, and there are many late developing kids who quit before they have gotten proficient enough to play for these select teams. Compounding all this is that many coaches of select teams perceive themselves as baseball geniuses and are in it just to win and prove their self-perception as being correct. In order to achieve their selfish win-at-all-costs objectives they therefore overuse their players, especially the pitchers who often ruin their arms before they reach 17-18. Also, there has been a proliferation of other sporting alternatives that are not as hard, particularly – soccer and lately lacrosse, where if you work hard and hustle, you can be a decent player and a good teammate. And then there is basketball, which you can do alone. I think that Baseball can be the best team sport going, but unless we start working at the earliest ages and the lowest levels, the continuing decline of Major League players from North America will only be accelerated. Make no mistake, this will soon be followed by a decline in our fan base and interest in Baseball in general.


Kurt BandenhousenKurt Badenhausen
Senior editor, Forbes
(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Kurt Bedenhausen)

Financially, MLB has never been healthier. Last year saw record attendance, revenue and profits. Five years ago Forbes estimated that 16 teams lost money. Last year we figured that only three teams (Blue Jays, Red Sox and Yankees) were in the red. Of course all three of those teams have media properties connected to the clubs that offset any losses at the team level.

Despite some dubious free agent contracts doled out the past few years, owners have gotten spending under control. During the past five years, player costs (salaries, benefits and bonuses) have fallen to 56% of revenue from 66%. The big market teams are prospering thanks to record attendance, soaring ticket prices and media properties tied to the teams. The low-revenue teams are doing well thanks to revenue sharing checks that can top $30 million. It is showing up on the field as well with high-revenue and low-revenue teams putting teams in the playoffs.

One problem that needs to be addressed is the lack of interest in baseball's two biggest events: the All-Star game and World Series. TV ratings are in the toilet for both events. MLB is making a big international push, but interest on a national level seems to have waned. Fans support their local teams passionately more than ever before as witnessed by huge ratings on regional sports networks and record attendance (NYC's two teams drew 8 million fans last year and LA's two franchises drew 7.5 million). But fans aren't showing any interest in games if their teams aren't involved. Baseball needs to improve its marketing efforts to draw in the casual fans to its biggest events.

Problem number two is related. Who are baseball's marketing stars? The game has a plethora of young stars on the field, but they are not stars on a national level where companies want to align with them. Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and LeBron James are all part of multiple national ad campaigns. Why aren't companies interested in baseball's best? Dice-K, Ichiro and Hideki Matsui all pull in big endorsement money in Japan, but Forbes research shows Derek Jeter to be the only American born baseball player that earns more than $3 million a year from endorsements.


Alex BelthAlex Belth
Founder of Bronx Banter and editor of "The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan"

In 1999, a close friend of mine was dying of cancer. I'd go to the hospice and visit with her and we'd watch the Yankees on a small TV. I was preoccupied with worry that labor trouble was on the horizon for MLB and that was going to spell bad news, something I was particularly aware of during those great years in the Bronx. My friend assured me that baseball would survive, no matter what. I felt foolish to be so concerned with baseball when I was really thinking about her dying. But she sounded so convincing, so confident that what she was saying was true and not just wishful thinking.

I didn't doubt her and she was right, of course. The steroid scandal has rocked the sport over the past few seasons, but here we are again, with another interesting season unfolding before our eyes between the white lines. Old stars getting cut, retiring, and future stars announcing their presence with authority. Run-scoring down. Tough pitching. Attendance is still strong and for many of us, the advancements in Internet technology has made this nothing short of a Golden Age to be a fan. (How did life ever exist before Baseball-Reference.com?)

I'm especially wrapped-up in this being the last year of the two New York ballparks. Hearing people's stories, their favorite memories. But the early season success of the Tampa Bay Rays and the Florida Marlins, the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals has been compelling as well. How about the Cubs fielding a team that knows how to get on base and score some runs? As a New Yorker, it's hard not to get behind them with Sweet Lou running the show. And what about the sustained excellence of the Angels and Red Sox? And those star players. Griffey with his milestone. Manny, Pujols, Chipper and the great Mariano Rivera.

I'm not saying that there hasn't been a stain on the game. I'm just saying the game doesn't stop. And I still like coming back to watch.


Tyler BleszinskiTyler Bleszinski (aka Blez)
Founder and author, Athletics Nation

Ah, the State of Baseball in 2008. Baseball seems healthier than ever. The steroids scandal seems to be heading into our rear view mirrors (although remember that objects in a mirror are often closer than they appear), attendance has been rising to record levels and judging from teams like the 2008 editions of the Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins then competitive balance is alive and well. Baseball is just as resilient as that scotch-guarded rug that the sports' all-time home run leader and Rocket man have been swept under.

But all is not well in Bud Selig's version of Xanadu. For one thing, the archaic blackout rules of MLB have made it so that I can now watch a lot more Oakland Athletics games now that I'm living in Southern California rather than in Sacramento. Think about that for a moment. Sacramento isn't that close to the Coliseum. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, without traffic which is rare on the I-80, to get to the A's stadium. Yet Sacramentans didn't get KICU-TV which carries a LOT of A's games. And I was willing to shell out that extra money to get the Extra Innings package over Directv to get my A's games. That was until I learned that I could see pretty much every other team in baseball BUT my A's. I wasn't alone either. The fan is getting shut out because baseball still deems Sacramento part of A's territory when talking about their blackout policies. I tried to get to many A's games during the week and sometimes it would take me two and a half to three hours to drive to the Coliseum. I was one of those fashionably late fans, even though I wanted to be early to see batting practice. This should be a huge priority for baseball.

Another major issue, as I see it, is HGH. Baseball isn't currently testing for it so there's a good chance that some baseball players are still using performance enhancing materials. So while steroids may be a less prevalent issue, HGH should be something that is still a prominent news story. It doesn't seem to be. Maybe because steroids is sexier, or maybe just because HGH isn't something that is easy to detect. To me, this is something that is going to have to be tested if baseball will ever be considered "clean." Then again, maybe the American public just doesn't care anymore. The steroids scandal hasn't hurt baseball attendance so perhaps fans are just enjoying their blissful ignorance.

And the final issue is more of a personal one for me and it's nothing but positive for baseball. I'm really encouraged by what I see around the ever-expanding quality of the baseball blogosphere. From the superb stats-analysis to landmark interviews with baseball executives, baseball blogs are getting the fan closer to the sport than ever before. This fan empowerment is just a beautiful thing to watch as fans go deeper inside teams, team stats and player analysis than previously imagined. Despite what Buzz Bissinger and others might have you think, this movement has meant that fans are living their favorite teams 24/7/365 on places like Bleed Cubbie Blue, Viva El Birdos, Lone Star Ball, McCovey Chronicles and Athletics Nation. There is never an offseason any more and as a baseball fan above all else, it's a beautiful thing.


John BrattainJohn Brattain
Columnist, The Hardball Times, MSN Canada and Baseball Digest Daily

The game is rolling in record revenues and it’s all due to Buddy-Ball: publicly financed stadia that cater to the wealthy, keeping salaries down and making sure that any new ownership understand these principles. Right now, the Cubs are on the market and there is talk that Mark Cuban might make a play for it and Buddy-Ball has little room for Mavericks like Cuban who give a higher priority to winning than profits and keeping salaries low.

The Mitchell Report was a godsend to Selig and the ownership cartel in keeping the MLBPA on the defensive plus revealing the union’s deep schisms. As the union’s grey-headed eminence Marvin Miller stated almost 20 years ago that in the type of union-management setup in baseball that when 'one side becomes complacent, the other side grows bolder, and holding your place, marking time is an invitation to be shoved backwards.’ This complacency is helping create record profits since the phenomenal revenue growth has been aided by the union's accepting substantial disincentives to spending in the last two CBA. A few years back Barry Bonds pulled out of the MLBPA’s licensing agreement and struck out on his own. The old “all for one and one for all” attitude engendered by Miller is out the door being replaced by an attitude of “I got mine--screw you.” If the Yankees’ new stadium allows them the revenue to blow previous spending patterns out of the water, chances are good the other 29 owners will push for a salary cap (which would give each team a nice boost in franchise equity) that the MLBPA will fight off with the same success as the NHLPA since their muscle (read: unity and consensus) has atrophied.

What has to be borne in mind is that absent the financial windfalls that come from revenue generating mallparks catering to the economic royals of society (with minimal out-of-pocket expenses to cartel members) the game’s revenues would be nowhere near as high as they are right now. In that sense the economic prosperity of the sport is somewhat illusory. It's a bubble and bubbles eventually burst. In the marketplace, the sport continues to maximize revenues with a short term strategy that could create fallout down the road. Fewer and fewer games appear on free-TV, even over-the-radio games cannot be accessed online without a subscription and MLB and the MLBPA’s continued attempts to corner the fantasy/electronic game baseball market by making the usage of player statistics illegal without a license (and paying a fee) strikes many as excessively greedy. What was once the “people’s game” for the Joe Sixpacks of the world is slowly following the disastrous course traversed by professional boxing where excessive use of pay-per-view has relegated it to a fringe sport being rapidly overtaken by Ultimate fighting/Mixed martial arts.

The short term financial outlook for the sport is obviously rosy but there is a chance that the aforementioned bubble will burst for MLB. The greed of the various sporting cartels are putting communities where they do business deep into the red (see what may be happening soon in St. Louis) which may result in legislation in the near future to reduce the corporate welfare going to the leagues and the abuses of the cartels. The disappearance of the economic middle-class and the sport’s catering to the smaller upper class (as well as charging fees to follow games in any format) could result in a consumer backlash where fans look to minor and independent leagues for their baseball fix or simply find another sport to follow as have many former fans of boxing.

Baseball appeals to the common man since the average Joe isn’t almost seven feet tall or a 300 lb. quick-as-a-cat physical behemoth--it’s a game all can play and feel that had circumstances being different they may have been the one ’touching ‘em all’ to the roar of the crowd. This is the demographic the game needs to guard jealously and not push away. These are the ones that will stick loyally to the sport come hell or high water and allow the game to continue when hard times come. The game’s wealth is distancing itself from these ones and if the game hopes to continue its prosperity it needs to keep its core of support strong and not try to turn the fan upside down shaking them until every last penny comes tumbling out of their pockets. After all, what happens if teams have to pay for their own stadiums again and corporations start to cut back on entertainment expense due to the Wal-Mart-izing of this part of the world? MLB needs to understand that fans become customers and not the other way around.


Maury BrownMaury Brown
Founder and President, Business of Sports Network, Bizball LLC, of which The Biz of Baseball is a member

It’s hard to find too much at fault with Major League Baseball in 2008. Paid attendance was at a record high for the fourth consecutive year last year; another new ballpark went online in Washington, D.C. (albeit with a grotesque level of public funding attached); there was the most unlikely (Rockies) and powerful (Red Sox) teams in the World Series, which shows that when you combine revenue-sharing, a staggering level of revenues (another record, at $6.075 billion) and lightening in a bottle (sorry, Colorado fans, but you’re seeing that that was the case last year), MLB is seeing incredible parity.

In January, MLB will unveil the biggest cable channel launch in history, with the MLB Network arriving in approx. 50 million homes. Toot your horn, and pat your back. This is something the NFL, or anyone else in American professional sports could never pull off.

Yes, things are well. Not Fairy Tale “well” but there does not seem to be a calamity that Bud Selig and the rest of MLB and the MLBPA can’t handle.

A fitting example to the book called MLB is the chapter involving MLB Advanced Media. Yes, they and the MLB Players Association finally realize that the legal system just wasn’t in their corner on the Fantasy Stats case – a case where the First Amendment trumped the argument that using players names associated with their statistics without a license was a breach of the privacy rights of the players, but then they continue to innovate and create new products which will once again make them the darlings of all professional sports when it comes to online and digital platforms. The continued increases in revenues should show that BAM is in great shape.

One of the most interesting stories has been how the development of young talent is trumping the old “we need to stock our roster with expensive veteran free agents” model. The cousin to this new paradigm is wrapping up of contracts for young talent. I’m waiting for a six-year deal with club options for a newly born prospect to occur.

2008 seems to have created issues for MLB, as opposed to MLB creating issues in 2008. The economy – especially the price of gas – has made for a case of people choosing whether they wish to stay at home and watch games, or take out a second mortgage on the house so they can fill the tank and travel to the games. When you get to the point of offering discounts based on the national average price for a gallon of gas, or give away gas cards with a ticket purchase, it seems baseball does not cure all ills. MLB is a business impacted by the downturn in the economy; just possibly not as much as other indusrtries.

The possibility has impacted attendance -- or rather, attendance is flat compared to last year, not yet a downturn -- which in turn could impact revenues. Selig wants to see another record year in attendance and the aforementioned revenues are intertwined. Kudos to Bud and Co. for trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

There is always something to improve, and here’s my list:

  • The television blackout policy in MLB is nothing short of abysmal and teetering on the edge of consumer fraud. Get past the “over-the-air” territories you have created and stop making those of us with MLB Extra Innings sit and stare at blank screens each weekend, and depending on the market, much of the channels where a team 6 hours or more in drive time away is deemed “local market”.
  • Quit saying that, “If <insert your favorite market looking for a stadium> doesn’t get a new facility, they can’t compete.” That’s selling snake oil. Tampa Bay is showing that they can develop talent, and with the model of using young players as your base, player payroll lowers. Few believe that without a new facility teams can’t compete any longer. Sell it on other grounds; something with less public assistance.
  • Marketing players needs tending to. MLB is getting better at promoting the game, but is lagging when it comes to star players.
  • Let’s hope the commoners won’t all be relegated to the upper deck and bleachers in the future. While it is a supply and demand world, the lower bowl will soon be nothing more than corporately purchased blocks of seats due to rapidly escalating pricing. And, as we all have seen, nothing is better for television than empty seats behind the plate that don’t get used that day by the suits.

Yes, I skipped the whole performance-enhancing drug issue. It's simply too politically vexing and as I've said before, its a dirge I've grown exceptionally weary of. I'll let others touch on it. Beyond that MLB is healthy and happy, for the most part. Sure, there are going to be problems, but compared to where MLB was at a decade ago, it's pretty much peaches and cream.



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 RaysIndex.com, 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 ESPN.com; 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
Author, Salon.com

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.



Jonah KeriJonah Keri
Writer for ESPN.com, a contributor to YESNetwork.com and the New York Sun and recent blogosphere entrant at JonahKeri.com

I'm once again honored and flattered that The Business of Sports Network has asked for my views on the State of the Game. Doubly so given the other names in this illustrious panel.

With that said, trying to come up with another list of "What's right" and "What's wrong" with MLB today, just 18 months after first being asked to do so, feels a little like Adam Sandler's second iteration of the Chanukah song: still cool, but requires some creative thinking to avoid duplicating initial efforts. So with King Felix, MLB Extra Innings, Anchor Steam in San Francisco and other baseball delights off limits, here's my new list of people who are Jewish...err...list of what's right and wrong with MLB today.

What's right:

Tim Lincecum. Jay Bruce. A view of the Pittsburgh skyline from PNC Park. Micah Owings, the best hitting pitcher since Babe Ruth, or at least Wes Ferrell. Old-timey minor league ballparks. Baseball's next dynasty, the Tampa Bay Rays. The 4 p.m. "I've got an extra ticket at Fenway" phone call. Cooperstown. Edinson Volquez's changeup. A friend randomly giving you a 1969 Montreal Expos schedule. Kansas City, pound for pound the country's most underrated baseball town. The enthusiasm and infectious smile of Howie Kendrick. Chris Coste, the 33-year-old rookie who made good.

What's wrong with MLB today:

The blackballing of Barry Bonds, a nod to baseball's preference of reputation over performance. Baseball writers who dismiss the outsider's view. Ballparks that offer few food choices beyond rubbery hot dogs and stale nachos. General Managers' (and managers') preference of proven mediocrities over young players with upside. Marvin Miller and Bill James still waiting for a Hall of Fame call. Patriotism forced down our throats during the 7th-inning stretch. Saturday afternoon out-of-market games blacked out by FOX. Cuban baseball players forced to risk their lives to play at the highest level.


Jordan KobritzJordan Kobritz
Regular contributor, Business of Sports Network; Professor, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Eastern New Mexico University and teaches the Business of Sports at the University of Wyoming. Former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner.

What’s right with the game is what’s always been right with the game: It’s the greatest game that man has ever invented. I’ve always believed that and I don’t see it changing in my lifetime, regardless of how the game evolves.

Is it perfect? I don’t think anyone truly believes that, although we may differ on the specifics. For example, I think the DH has been a great boon to the game. But many fans who vilify the DH can’t work up a sweat over artificial turf (which, thankfully, may soon be relegated to its rightful demise, at least at the Major League level). To those so-called traditionalists, I say artificial turf changed the way the game is played - offensively and defensively - more than the DH ever has.

Among the business aspects of the game that are right:

1. Average ticket prices, although on the rise, are still the lowest in Major League sports.

2. MLB Advanced Media is a winner. The eventual returns on MLBAM will make Warren Buffet envious.

3. Many of the lower revenue teams are competing with the big boys on the field of play. It takes more than money to win, just ask the Tigers, Mets and Yankees.

4. The higher standards - see the use of performance-enhancing drugs – to which baseball is held compared to other sports is a badge of honor, rather than a curse.

5. The Baseball Network will be far and away the best and most accessible sports-specific network on the planet.

6. MLB’s international efforts – especially the WBC - are second to none.

Going forward, what needs tending to:

1. MLB must keep ticket prices as affordable as possible. The $2,500 seats in the new Yankee Stadium are understandable on a number of levels, but a certain number of seats should remain accessible to families.

2. The revenue discrepancy between the haves and have-nots will grow, not narrow. That’s not a phenomenon limited to MLB. In the NFL, the revenue discrepancy among teams exceeds $100 million. In MLB, the revenue discrepancy can exceed $200 million. If it continues to expand, we may see a return to the times when fans of certain teams had no “hope,” which is the essence of professional sports.

3. Major League Baseball in Florida is in trouble. That’s been the case since MLB expanded to the Sunshine State, and new stadiums for the Marlins and Rays – both in jeopardy - won’t be the panacea some expect.

4. MLB’s association with gambling is troublesome, to say the least. The money available from gambling interests is tempting, but accepting it creates a double standard and is potentially detrimental to the game.

5. In its efforts to protect its brand, MLB should be less confrontational with its fans. As someone with a legal background, I understand the necessity of protecting intellectual property. But the heavy-handed approaches with Little League Baseball and the Cape Cod League, the black out rules, as well as MLB’s actions that precipitated the Fantasy Sports Case, are all examples of confrontations that may have been better addressed through negotiation and consent decrees.

6. Revenue sharing should be designed to create incentives for teams to generate revenue locally. Teams should be prohibited from participating in revenue sharing until they achieve a certain revenue threshold.

Lastly, Bud Selig never passes up an opportunity to decry the present as the “Golden Age” of baseball. And from a financial perspective, he’s probably right. I’ve always believed that the person at the top is ultimately responsible for what happens in an organization. On that basis, Selig, although a justifiable target of criticism on many fronts, deserves to bask in MLB’s success.

Rich LedererRich Lederer
Founder and lead writer for Baseball Analysts

Despite major differences in revenues, the competitive balance in baseball has improved of late and is likely to tighten up even further over the next several years. This is great news for Major League Baseball.

The primary reason for this sea change is that more teams are signing younger players to multi-year deals than ever before. This new philosophy should prove advantageous for smaller market franchises and less advantageous for larger market teams because lower payroll clubs will keep their best players for a longer period and organizations that have relied heavily on free agents in the past will have fewer quality choices in the future.

Since the beginning of the year, more than a dozen young stars have been signed to long-term contracts that buy out their arbitration years and one or more free-agent seasons. To wit, the Colorado Rockies made history this year when they signed shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a six-year, $31 million deal, the biggest contract ever given to a player with less than two years' experience. The Milwaukee Brewers topped that deal by giving Ryan Braun, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, an eight-year deal worth $45 million. Sandwiched between those two contracts, the Tampa Bay Rays signed Evan Longoria to a six-year deal worth $17.5 million, an unprecedented agreement for a player with less than a week's experience in the big leagues.

But that's not all. Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Justin Morneau, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rios, and Chris Young have all signed extensions that should keep them with their current clubs for at least the next five years.

Although these contracts are not without risk, there are valid reasons why clubs and players are entering into such deals. Given the historical salary inflation of approximately 10% per year, many of these deals will turn out to be at discounted prices at the back end as long as the players stay healthy and perform as expected. The players benefit by earning more money in the early years and have the peace of mind of long-term financial security for themselves and their families. As I like to say, the first ten or twenty million dollars are much more important than the last ten or twenty million.

Participating teams, players, and fans should reap the rewards of this new trend and that should be a major positive for the long-term health and competitiveness of Major League Baseball.


Tim LemkeTim Lemke
Sports business reporter, Washington Times

Prior to this season, I would have argued that baseball's biggest problem is still the gap in revenues and payroll between the big and small market clubs. But then the Tampa Bay Rays decided to start winning. So I don't know. Maybe Bud Selig is right when he says the game doesn't need a salary cap.

What's clear is that overall, baseball is still in terrific shape. I would expect attendance and revenues to dip a little this year, simply because the economy is making it harder for the average family to head to the ballpark. But it appears the baseball has managed to get through the drama of the Mitchell Report with little damage, and if anything, the steroids scandal has forced fans to lay off the hero worship of certain players and just appreciate the game itself. And that's healthy.

You could always find chinks in the armor. Attendance at the new ballpark here in Washington is somewhat disappointing. Baseball in the state of Florida is still kind of a question mark. The whole television blackout thing still has yet to be resolved. And the Phillie Phanatic still struggles with obesity. But none of these are problems that will create any wide-scale or long-term headaches for the sport.


Tim MarchmanTim Marchman
Baseball writer, New York Sun
(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Tim Marchman)

Baseball is in great shape, probably healthier than ever, but it’s also coming up on a time of change, and I don’t know whether the sport’s leadership will handle it well.

Mainly that’s because I don’t know who will lead the sport. Bud Selig and Don Fehr are going to retire sooner or later, and while anyone who’s reading this site will surely have some ideas about who might succeed them, we don’t know how well those people will do once they get their chance.

Whoever takes over is going to face some big issues. The big two, I think, are whether baseball can overtake football and the evolution of baseball coverage.

The first isn’t likely; football is the national game largely because of demographic and cultural shifts and settlement patterns over the last 50 years. America is more suburban and, honestly, more violent than it once was, which gives football an advantage. If we’re coming up on a time of broad economic dislocation, and profound demographic changes, though, there’s probably a chance for baseball to become even more popular than it is now, central to people’s lives the way it once was and no longer is. With strong leadership, baseball just might seize that chance.

The second is tricky. With ballclubs owning and more fully integrating their own distribution platforms, with a 24-hour news cycle, and with the instant availability of raw information on all sorts of hardware, the traditional model of sportswriting, based around game recaps and columns working off the rhythm of those recaps, is looking increasingly irrelevant. If readers are getting the type of coverage they once relied on newspapers for from the teams themselves, that raises all kinds of issues, ranging from the editorial integrity and independence of the house organs to the actual purpose of journalists not affiliated with teams.

I think that team outlets will prove fairly reliable, that independent writers will increasingly serve as filters for widely available open source information, and that being able to obtain unique information will be less important than being able to make patterns and narratives out of what’s right out there in the open. But we well could end up with a really bad situation, where house organs will hoard access and independent outlets will continue to function as they always have despite not having access. I don’t know how that would affect the popularity of the sport, but I think it’s something baseball leadership should be aware of as a danger, and something they should work to prevent.


Michael NeumanMichael A. Neuman
Founder & President, Amplify Sports and Entertainment, LLC

More than a third of the MLB season is behind us and a few issues have our attention. As an agency that negotiates, activates and measures our client’s sponsorship investments with MLB franchises, these are the topics we are closely watching.

For Amplify, measurement is the central issue we’re focused on. We are experiencing the “dawn of a new day” as franchises better understand their role in the ROI equation. In one case, a 2007 post season analysis, using our proprietary measurement tool, the Sponsorship Amplifier™, was significantly enhanced when the franchise provided us with third-party TV visible raw media data. The data was procured and paid for by the franchise upon the insistence of Amplify (and other corporate partners, I’m sure).

After many years of providing corporate partners with top-line ratings and impressions, this enhancement allowed our measurement team to isolate branded TV visible signage and deliver a robust, comprehensive media valuation. We utilized a proprietary algorithm to ascertain the value of our client’s signage, something previous team reports were void of. In 2008, teams have demonstrated a keen interest in understanding our clients’ objectives and have shown a genuine passion in working as a true partner to help attain the lofty ROO/ROI goals we’ve established for our clients.

As a New York based agency, another issue is the geographical development of new baseball stadiums in our DMA. In addition to new stadiums in the Bronx and Queens, we have new venues on the horizon for the NFL, NBA and NHL franchises. Escalating raw materials and construction costs, coupled with run-away player salaries have put the bulls-eye squarely on the back of corporate partners and fans to fund these venue upgrades. A flood of pricier, new sponsorship inventories and economical pressures are forcing multiple team corporate partners to pull back sponsorship and activation budgets to the lone team that best impacts ROI. We see multiple Mets and Yankee sponsors having to make a choice for the 2009 season.

Finally, in the steroid era, it was the long ball that put fans back into the seats after the 1994 strike and with attendance records in 2007 I’m interested to see if these numbers are impacted since the release of the Mitchell Report. Will the current legal woes of Clemens and Bonds match fan and baseball writer’s apathy enough that they join McGwire as Hall of Fame caliber players who spend the rest of their lives on the outside looking in? The jury is still out…..


Jeff PassanJeff Passan
National baseball writer, Yahoo! Sports

I wanted to focus on something. I wanted to laud teams resisting the devil on their shoulder whispering Barry Bonds' name or castigate players who shave the handles on maple bats and endanger fans or marvel at all the phenomenal young talent today or wonder how in an age of open communication we still get blacked out from games or fawn over the data gifted to us all by Pitch f/x and Inside Edge or wax on about the singular perfection that pairs Rick Ankiel and a baserunner with hubris.

And then David Murphy said something I won't soon forget: "Watching Josh Hamilton is a privilege."

What he said dripped of innocence, the same kind anyone who passes though a ballpark's turnstiles knows. Murphy is 26 years old. He stands 6-foot-4. He has a businessman's handshake and an honest man's comportment. He wasn't going to be anything more than a fourth or fifth outfielder for Boston, the organization that drafted him, and then he got traded to Texas. Now he might win Rookie of the Year.

He plays in the same outfield as Hamilton, whose talents reveal themselves like an Advent calendar. Hamilton was a prodigy, then a junkie and now he's something altogether different: a star, the kind so easily admired because of baseball's nature. For six months, Hamilton is a history exhibit playing out live, and the greatest part is that no matter who we are -- David Murphy, the man who plays next to him, or the fan scraping together nickels to buy an double-nosebleed seat -- all of us get to partake.


Dayn PerryDayn Perry
Regular contributor to FOXSports.com and Baseball Prospectus. He's presently at work on his second book, a biography of Reggie Jackson.

For the most part, things are going swimmingly in MLB. Let's consider this a happy accident.

It's impossible to opine on the state of the league and not get around to the Mitchell Report and its many fallouts. First, the obvious truth: Commissioning the Mitchell Report was idiotic in the extreme. Baseball had already changed its testing policy and meted out strict punishments to every offender. What purpose, other than keeping frothy, terminally aggrieved columnists in business, did the Report serve? There's a time and place for righteous truth-telling, but when it comes in spare doses (which was all the Report was ever capable of giving us) and disinters an issue that's better left, well, interred, then it serves no useful purpose.

Bud Selig has seemingly always enjoyed painful rituals of contrition, and the Mitchell Report strikes me as one of those. Letting the PED issue distract from the post-season was inexcusable, as was allowing the Report to dominate the news cycle for so long. I yield to no one in my loathing of and disrespect for the NFL, but that league does know how to control the message. So learn from them. MLB gave oxygen--incalculable amounts of oxygen--to this controversy by trotting out the Report. That mistake has already been made. The only thing they can do now is aid its slow, belated death by never speaking of it again. Do that and perhaps the media will begin focusing on the fact that the NFL doesn't care about the physical safety of its labor force or that officiating in the NBA is too absurd even for Ionesco. Baseball's the best sport, and MLB has less to apologize for than competing leagues. The game's leaders should behave accordingly.




Todd RadomTodd Radom
Todd Radom Design (logos for Washington Nationals, current iteration Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, World Baseball Classic, Super Bowl XXXVII, Brooklyn Cyclones, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, all Business of Sports Network marks)
(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Todd Radom)

Major League Baseball seems to be rolling along, generating previously unimaginable gobs of revenue while enjoying a sustained era of labor peace that seemed equally unimaginable not too long ago. Aggressive international marketing of the American professional game is paying off too, the inaugural World Baseball Classic was embraced by fans in 2006, and the second edition next March is a much anticipated "jewel event" on the MLB calendar.

The overall quality of play, the emergence of a new generation of stars, and the unprecedented access that the average fan has to games, and to information, are all positives.

In Tampa Bay the Rays have emerged as an exciting and competitive club, but competitive balance remains an issue for historically great dormant franchises in places like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. Loyal fans in these long-suffering places deserve a winner every once in a while.

Since my end of the game deals with aesthetics, I'll go out on a limb and say that MLB (literally) looks great in 2008. Yes, there's plenty of visual clutter that accompanies the MLB experience, but this is a mirrored reflection of our frenetically-paced consumer society. MLB still reveres its past, and is consistently able to tap into traditional franchise loyalties and fan nostalgia far better than any of its pro sports brethren. This sentiment applies to the visual culture of Major League Baseball in a big way.

The fan in me loves the game of 2008, loves the Wild Card, loves the fact that we've seen a wide range of franchises appearing in (and winning the World Series) in recent years. That said, any objective look at the sport turns up issues such as PEDs and the exponentially mushrooming costs of attending a Major League game.

MLB's continuing efforts to speed up the pace of the game are admirable, but we need a determined and deliberate plan of action that bears fruit sooner rather than later. I am far from the first observer to point out the fact that he grinding length of many games is leaving the youth of America behind. As a Red Sox fan, I'm a guy who is used to sitting through three and a half hour games replete with upwards of 400 pitches, but it's the next generation, my kids, that I fear will lose interest if we continue to plod along at this pace.

When contrasted with the uncertain and confusing state of the world in 2008, baseball still provides me with joy and comfort. In my world there is still no better day on the calendar than Opening Day. Baseball is the background of my spring, summer, and fall, and I still feel a bit diminished after the final out of the World Series, regardless of what team emerges victorious.


Ken Rosentha;Ken Rosenthal
Senior baseball writer, television analyst, FOX Sports; book author
(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Ken Rosenthal)

Hate to sound like a personal envoy for Bud Selig, but the bottom line is undeniable: Baseball revenues have never been higher, and more people are watching the sport in more ways than ever before. There is no question that the game is in a robust state - so robust that business actually increased during the scandal over performance-enhancing drugs.

I remain concerned that fewer young people are drawn to the sport in the past, but I've got no actual evidence of that - merely anecdotal evidence from my three teenagers and their circle of friends (of course, we live in Baltimore, where the quality of the team is one reason for the disinterest). Kids today do enjoy the sport through video games and fantasy baseball - things that were not available when I was younger - but I wonder if the overall level of fan interest will still be as strong 20 years from now.

Baseball also needs to do a better job engaging the African-American community. Yes, there are fewer African-American players in the past - dangerously few, in fact - but some of the game's biggest stars are African-American, and many of them are good role models and eloquent spokesmen for the sport. I've written before that players such as Derrek Lee are willing to do more to promote baseball to the African-American community. Why not use them?

In the big picture, though, my concerns probably are minimal. Baseball deserves more praise than it has received for the development of MLBAM - the sport, for once, was on the cutting edge of technology. Selig, likewise, deserves more praise than he has received for overseeing the sport''s stunning financial growth. Innovations such as revenue sharing and the expanded post-season worked out pretty well, didn't they?

The commissioner often says that he could not have imagined such attendance 20 or 30 years ago. He's right. I don't think we'll be hearing about contraction again anytime soon.


David PintoDavid Pinto
Owner and Author, Baseball Musings; Author, The Sporting News

On the surface, the state of MLB looks as strong as ever. Revenue and attendance are strong. As shown by the constant changes on the drug policy, the union and players found a way to cooperate rather than fight. Franchises like Tampa Bay, Florida and the Chicago White Sox are providing pleasant surprises to their fans. New stadium construction continues, with two new parks rising in New York, one in Minnesota and two likely in Florida.

Tensions loom on the horizon, however. The share of revenue going into the players’ pockets dropped since 2002. Teams now try to avoid arbitration by signing good players young, putting a brake on rising salaries. I recently appeared on a radio show with former pitcher Terry Bross, who was upset with the young generation for not going through arbitration, not using a system for which the union fought to drive salaries higher. I would not be surprised if the union tries to change some rules in this area.

The biggest problem facing MLB is the draft. As originally conceived, the draft supplied poor teams with good players, preventing any one franchise from becoming the St. Louis Browns. Looking at Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Tampa Bay, the system may be broken. Good players fall through the draft because of signing bonus demands. Teams that are willing to buck slot recommendations end up with better talent than teams with high draft picks. Couple that with the rest of the world providing free agents, and the draft no longer works correctly.

Now is the time to work on the problems that do exist. With money pouring in, they will be much more amicably resolved than if baseball waits for the next downturn.


Joe SeiglerJoe Siegler
Author, Ranger Fans

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:10)

I'll start off with a theft from Will Carroll. It comes from the first Voices entry of this series.

"Saying what's right and wrong with the game is an exercise in hubris and futility."

Will's right. It's hard to have a good, honest list as to what is right and what is wrong that covers everything, which everyone can agree with. Even if you could make the list, would you want to? The flaws are what make the game. Baseball is a confusing game to "figure out". You think you have a handle on how it should be done, and then find out that you don't. But as humans, we tend to complain about things first. Most of the complaints you hear about about baseball are "too expensive" or "steroids".

The bigger complaint is about money, though. There's lawsuits about statistics (who owns the numbers), so much advertising that the head spins, a cost of parking and gas that is more than tickets in some places, and the price of concessions? Ha! Heck, the mlb minimum salary ($390,000) is so far out of whack with the "real" minimum wage ($12,168, assuming 40 hr work week) that it's mind boggling how far removed from reality MLB seems to be when you talk about money. Everything is about the "Baby Ruth Home Run Challenge", or the "DHL Pregame show", or the "Monster.com All Star ballot", to things like whatever the name of the Giants park is this week, and all that. You could take up the space that all 30 of us are using to talk about corporate naming issues. Heck, I saw a McDonald's logo ON THE PITCHER'S MOUND in PNC Park when looking at it in Google Maps. My kid's bobbleheads have half a dozen logos on them, nothing can get out there without being sponsored. I'm surprised there aren't some sort of logo inside the men's urinals in the bathrooms - or on the hot dogs themselves! We have so much money floating around the game that if baseball gave a religious tithe like Jesus commanded, we could probably do away with a lot of poverty in places. Don't even get me started on the extortion of cities that is building new stadiums.

A lot is made of the fact that it's a game meant for kids, but so many ancillary things around the game are things we have to "explain" to kids is a major hassle. As the parent of a three year old, I'm enjoying teaching my kid that a home run is not just when they "run" around the bases - they have to hit the ball over the fence. If I had to get into why Barry Bonds looks like a horse, or why she keeps hearing the words "performance enhancing", I don't know if I'd try to get my kid into baseball. There's so much business around the game, that it almost doesn't feel like it's for "kids" anymore. We're teaching kids to get ahead, get the biggest signing bonus there is, you'll "strike it rich with Scott Boras", etc, etc, etc.. That's why I'm enjoying Josh Hamilton now. A man who has discovered God, and is not afraid to show it. Good for him. Oh, he's not the only one, but he is a local one to me, so I hear about him the most. When you hear so much bad about the sport all the time in the media, it's nice to hear something nice like that.

What is The state of baseball? The state of "baseball" is fine, despite all the negativity above. The sport is too good to kill, but if you're reading the website this article will appear on, you probably know this already. The most vitriolic complainer will still love sitting out at the park watching the game. Baseball will sometimes go and do something very nice - like the recent Negro League player draft at the recent MLB draft. I enjoyed that moment a lot. So yeah, there's good there, but there's SO MUCH negative it feels that it's hard to find the good (outside the actual game itself).

P.S. I would like the return of scheduled doubleheaders - heck, give me a tripleheader!


Charlie WeigertCharlie Wiegert
VP of CDM Fantasy Sports Corp dba Fanball.com

My world is Fantasy Baseball, so I look at the State of the MLB from a fantasy perspective. It could not be any better! With the United States Supreme Court denying the appeal of our lawsuit with MLBAM/MLBPA, the world of fantasy baseball (and all fantasy sports games) was given a green light to charge full speed ahead. The second most popular to fantasy football, fantasy baseball is responsible for a major portion of  the $2 billion industry. In fact, the average fantasy baseball player will spend more money than the average fantasy football player, in research provided by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association. Over the next few years, I expect the revenue from fantasy baseball will grow at a larger percentage increase than fantasy football, or any of the sports.

Baseball has never been more popular with the viewing public. Attendance at games, DirecTV 's Extra Innings package, MLBTV and regular viewing of games on TV are at record paces. Innovations and technology have made the way we watch games more interesting, and have provided the fantasy player with more than enough to feed their addiction. New fantasy games, such as Fanball.com's Pick Em 64 Superstar Baseball, will attract more casual baseball and fantasy baseball fans, and will provide groundwork for these fans to become more avid fantasy players. In the coming years, I see more fantasy baseball games from existing companies and new companies.

Major media will embrace the game more than ever before. They realize fantasy baseball is good for business, something it took the leagues more than a few years understand. The fantasy player is the most loyal of all their customers, and willing to spend their hard earned dollars for the entertainment the game provides. Advertisers have seen great results from their promotions within the fantasy industry, and view the demographics of the fantasy players as one of the best audiences they can find. This all adds to growth. As fantasy baseball, and fantasy sports in general, become even more mainstream, the revenue that this industry generates will continue to rise at a rapid pace.

The biggest enemy baseball has is itself. Baseball fans do not want to be hearing about steroid controversies, or want congress to be holding hearings about how baseball conducts it's business. They don't want to hear about baseball filing lawsuits against little league teams for using "their" names. They don't want to hear about lawsuits over who owns the statistics. They don't want to hear about a possible strike because they can't decide how to share the billions of dollars the industry generates. Americans are very tolerant, and they choose not to think about how outrageous the player salaries have become. They continue to support the game with their hard earned dollars because they enjoy baseball.  They enjoy the challenges the game provides, they enjoy analyzing about what will happen, and they enjoy discussing what did happen. The fascination with baseball is part of the American framework, and if they can find more ways to allow the fans to enjoy it, and give less ways for fans to criticize it, the state of MLB will be blissful!


Andrew ZimbalistAndrew Zimbalist
Sports Economist, Author
(Read The Biz of Baseball interviews with Andrew Zimbalist from 2004 and 2006)

Baseball’s remarkable 13-year growth spurt continues in 2008, U.S. economic problems notwithstanding. To be sure, I expect the growth rate to come below 10 percent for the first time since 1995 – sponsorship, signage and premium seating dollars will not be immune to the country’s economic woes. The prospect of two new NY stadiums is boosting attendance this year in Queens and the Bronx, and open pennant races and the new DC stadium are providing additional fillips. Perhaps the most encouraging sign, however, is the emergence of the Rays as a contender. The new CBA, while far from perfect, improves the incentives for bottom teams to invest in their rosters. The Rays and even the Marlins, and others, are spending money to hold on to their emerging star players. Much remains to be done but MLB is clearly marching in the right direction.


All Authors Retain Copyright. All Rights Reserved ® 2008

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?