instant online loans no credit check can you get a personal loan with bad credit western union prepaid credit card canada top store rewards cards pay sears credit card citibank credit cards for bad credit pay jcpenney credit card with gift card secured capital one credit card login credit card protection compensation how do i check the status of a us bank credit card application what is a secured credit card best way to get credit card with no credit mobile credit card machines for small business uk hdfc titanium international credit card login standard chartered bank credit card customer care online credit card processing companies instructions on how to use a credit card machine marathon gas credit card black card visa uk secured major credit cards google credit card compare credit card service providers uk td canada trust visa infinite rewards halifax credit card application process mastercard debit card philippines s&p credit rating how long does it take to get a lloyds credit card cibc mastercard credit card login venture capital one credit card limits prepaid vanilla visa card do i need a credit card to sign up for amazon what is a credit card cash advance rate city bank credit card apply india hdfc credit card helpline no chandigarh first premier credit card cash advance limit united mileage plus credit card customer service phone number typical credit card limits canada pay off credit card debt with student loans credit cards 101 what are credit cards black card points commonwealth bank australia visa debit card hdfc credit card online payment through sbi credit card nandos black card how to get best balance transfer credit cards existing customers how to get a credit card with very bad credit instant cash loans now credit card calculator apr interest pay standard chartered credit card payment credit cards with low interest rates for students visa credit card application instant approval sears master credit card login nab credit card interest free period valid credit card numbers with cvv online best online payday loans reviews credit card payments over the phone uk how to pay hdfc credit card payment options opt out of credit card offers gov westpac visa credit card travel insurance delta skymiles credit card baggage fee best rewards cards canada 2012 ge amazon credit card phone number update apple id credit card on ipad credit card banks in pune how to best use a secured credit card to build credit apply for halifax credit card online visa canada credit card no interest credit cards for fair credit apply for mastercard credit card balance transfer credit cards good credit rating how long does it take to get a credit card rbc how to get a black card in fifa 12 santander 123 cashback credit card annual fee elavon credit card machine rolls hsbc credit card rewards philippines visa card uk contact number discover card credit score tracker lloyds tsb student credit card apply online hsbc premier credit card hong kong citibank balance transfer existing card best credit cards for college students with bad credit citibank credit card customer service number usa credit card travel rewards comparison 0 apr credit card meaning orchard bank credit card application bad credit need a credit card list of online payday loan lenders balance transfer explained best short term cash loans credit card online abn amro ics apply for a walmart credit card online discover credit card reviews 2011 what is the best credit card deal at the moment barclays credit card ppi refund applying for credit cards with poor credit bank of america instant credit card approval number apply for maurices credit card online cheapest way to transfer money from credit card post office platinum card review uk payday lenders no brokers visa credit card return protection business credit card with cash back rewards how to check bpi credit card application status online are credit card consolidation loans good bad credit loan no broker lic online payment through hdfc credit card charges the best credit card transfer deal credit cards with low apr for life sunoco gas station credit cards low interest rate credit cards for college students walmart credit card number customer service interest free credit cards on purchases and balance transfers citibank credit card payment billdesk bad credit loans no guarantor no fees cerulean discover credit card application aspire credit card contact number how to apply for a hsbc credit card in the philippines how to allow credit card payments on ebay which is the best credit card to have in india transfer balance credit cards fair credit td us visa cards how to get a prepaid credit card under 18 best american airlines credit card 2013 free apple credit card reader first usa credit card login hdfc credit card reward points redemption gold easy fast payday loans no faxing citibank cash back credit card cash back credit card explained credit card apr rates average barclay bank credit card bill pay prepaid credit cards in canada with no fees virgin prepaid credit card uk halifax credit card online security prepaid credit cards travel abroad walmart credit card prepaid vodafone to airtel balance transfer code axis bank credit card reward points for platinum card what are some of the best credit cards to have how to pay sbi credit card bill online with other bank i have no credit but i want a credit card credit cards abroad compare prepaid credit cards freedom post office uk credit card store credit cards with instant approval capital one cash credit card reviews credit cards with cashback on gas best buy credit card accounthdfc credit card settlement process india chase british airways credit card hdfc credit card interest rate 2013 chase freedom credit card customer service american airline credit card promotions credit card merchant account no monthly fee pay direct student loans 5 best credit cards for travel chase british airways credit card customer service luma credit card reviews best credit card canada no annual fee horizon unsecured credit card reviews apply for nationwide credit card online credit card debt help forum best credit card interest rates south africa disney rewards visa credit card review visa low interest rate credit cards compare premium credit cards in india walmart credit card score requirements all of the following are limitations of the existing online credit card payment system except credit card with bad credit canada portable credit card machine iphone easy credit cards to get approved for with bad credit canada hsbc credit card travel insurance apply online for credit card with bad credit credit card bad credit rating ireland best low interest fixed rate credit cards corporate credit card policy guidelines capital one aspire world credit card lost gap visa card im 18 and have no credit how do i get a credit card coast capital credit card desjardins hsbc credit card 50 cash back payday advance no credit check apply credit cards online no credit does costco accept credit cards best credit cards bad credit no deposit make credit card payments with paypal online merchant credit card processing companies how to make standard chartered credit card online payment what is a credit card cash advance can i do a balance transfer from someone else;s credit card to mine does newegg accept international credit cards low rate credit card offers search bhs co uk credit card average credit card rate uk payday advance loan uk ann taylor mastercard credit card login prepaid credit cards no fees canada credit card processing app for kindle fire small business credit card offers best neiman marcus credit card approval best balance transfer credit card india does mobil gas station take credit cards credit card terminal app for blackberry visa credit card application no credit visa credit card for students bank of america bank of america credit card apr chase slate credit card international fees barclays lost credit card usa how to load paper in verifone credit card machine free credit card reader for android phones bank of america report credit card fraud delta credit card cash program credit limit calculator java program old orchard bank credit cards starwood preferred guest business credit card from american express open calculate credit card minimum payment excel hdfc credit card application form download american express black credit card india best buy store credit gift cards money magazine credit card ratings 2012 how to redeem icici credit card reward points online usaa credit card score requirements view hdfc credit card statement online 1 hour no credit check payday loans free credit card details 2013 uk opening new credit cards hurt credit score apply for credit card with bad credit in canada 0 interest credit cards for 18 months payday loans like speedy cash instant payday loans online uk your access to natwest credit card online services is locked out 0 interest credit cards no balance transfer chase credit card payment history manual credit card machine requirements for credit card application hsbc pay belk credit card sears credit card current interest rate credit card balance transfer no fee no interest guaranteed unsecured credit cards for poor credit calculate monthly credit card interest calculator secured visa credit cards canada how old do you have to be to get a credit card in ontario canada next payday advance reviews government travel credit card login payday loan no credit check no broker ny and company credit card payment address hsbc premier credit card minimum payment best buy credit card no credit how can i apply for payoneer mastercard starbucks platinum card sold out capital one balance transfer fee amex starwood credit card reviews small business loans for veterans with bad credit cash back credit card calculator tribute gold mastercard credit card application citibank credit cards online india can you pay sears credit card with a gift card is it illegal to charge customers for credit card processing fees american express black card no credit limit fbi credit card information form cash converters pay day advance nz the loan shop payday loan online post office credit card contact telephone number travel rewards credit cards uk credit card with good exchange rates suze orman new credit card rules generate us credit card number what do i need to accept credit cards online value city credit card customer service phone number walmart credit card credit card nhs black card code lowest rate credit cards 2012 african bank credit card limit increase online bank of ireland visa credit card services bank of america student credit card no credit history canada credit card comparison 2012 natwest credit card online services review email sagepay test credit card numbers indusind bank credit cards statement tesco credit card deals for existing customers secured credit cards for really bad credit new visa credit card fees best usaa credit card 2012 target debit visa card balance bad credit loans no credit check chevron texaco credit card payment login best balance transfer credit cards 2012 malaysia prepaid credit cards canada visa types of credit cards available for tourists signed credit card verification form best no foreign transaction fee credit card 2013 icici credit card status check amscot cash advance tampa fl disposable credit card numbers uk getting a credit card machine for small business what is a credit card number i can use anz credit card insurance cover compare credit cards for business holiday gas station credit card offers best credit cards for college students 2013 cibc visa reward cards what is the best credit card in canada for rewards pay as you go credit card processing canada chevron credit card login in biggest credit card companies get instant payday loan online how to pay sbi credit card bill online from citibank bad credit mortgage lenders 2013 no fee low interest rate credit card mobile credit card processing iphone uk top travel reward credit cards canada apply for apple mac credit card is credit card insurance necessary black cardamom curry payment protection credit card vs debit card easy payday loans online how to get an unsecured credit card with bad credit bpi credit card application form pdf how to get a black card from american express bank of ireland visa debit card locked new cash advance lenders uk store credit cards and bad credit how to verify paypal account with virtual credit card where is the issue number on a visa debit card best american airlines credit card signup bonus citibank credit cards offers in india starbucks gold card perks best reward credit card offers 2013 mbna credit card canada review gift visa card standard chartered credit card travel points online payday loan scams review same day loans online bad credit credit card types in canada best corporate credit cards in india hsbc credit card minimum payment percentage 10 top credit card for bad credit no fax easy payday loans retail store credit cards after bankruptcy icici virtual credit card india best uk credit card offers amex gold credit card uk credit card numbers master cards business cash advances website to pay maurices credit card payday loans direct lender no credit check online uk large personal bad credit loans bank of america amazon credit card terms and conditions clark howard best travel rewards credit cards quick credit card approval online chase credit limit increase chase disney rewards visa card login how long does it take to get a credit card once approved icici credit card customer care number kochi credit card terminal rental agreement bank of america student credit cards best small business credit cards canada ryanair credit debit card charges wireless credit card machine costco zurich credit card insurance australia best credit card app for ipad 0 apr credit cards offers us bank credit card consolidate credit card debt calculator how do you get a nandos black card can you sign up for amazon without a credit card anz platinum credit card travel insurance ebay change payment from credit card to paypal guaranteed approval unsecured visa credit card tesco credit card interest refund how do cash advances on credit cards work mbna credit card canada instant approval personal loan bad credit direct lender square credit card business model all types of hdfc credit cards natwest student credit card ppi best credit card cashback deals hdfc credit card payment by cheque wells fargo secured credit card no annual fee south west trains gold card customer service virgin credit card rate jacking costco business credit card application unsecured loan bad credit instant decision 0 percent interest business credit card goodyear credit card login in pay firestone credit card online how to get a joint credit card payday loan online uk american express gold card credit score credit card fraud punishment can range travel rewards cards barclays credit card login uae how to lower credit card apr rate world;s first credit card 1950 credit cards for those with bad credit rating best travel rewards credit cards canada 2011 hdfc credit card payment online from other credit card apply for barclaycard platinum credit card my first premier credit card customer service hdfc credit card reward points redemption business credit cards with cashback how to apply for a credit card online with hsbc best long term bad credit loans best unsecured credit card for no credit free credit cards with no annual fee best credit card rewards comparison chase visa business credit card credit card verification process india credit card with no annual fee real visa credit card numbers 2013 top 5 credit cards 2013 same day quick cash loans can i get a discover credit card with bad credit credit card reader app for iphone uk credit limit increase capital one credit card hdfc credit card verification form chase apply credit card how to improve credit score when you can;t get a credit card how is interest calculated on credit cards in canada credit card logos for website monthly apr calculator credit card credit card debt relief citi debit visa card balance check best no annual fee credit card 2013 apply visa credit card online india aib visa debit card fees which credit card charges chase credit card compare visa low apr credit cards how to apply credit card in bdo philippines singapore airlines credit card verification form what do i need for an amscot payday advance bank of america pay loans online low apr credit cards with rewards hdfc credit card offer on goibibo can i use discover credit card in canada fake visa credit card number with security code electronic stores that offer credit cards credit card reward points value best no fee credit card canada easy to get credit card ireland how does bank of america secured credit card work car loans with bad credit history mastercard business credit cards rewards ge capital bank credit card customer service best miles credit card for international travel how do thieves get credit card numbers hdfc instant credit card bill payment best 0 apr credit cards no balance transfer fee dbs credit card promotions singapore hdfc credit card payment by cheque drop box credit cards no foreign transaction fees 2013 santander 123 credit card cash back list best travel credit cards consumer reports credit card minimum payment formula citi corporate credit cards login new credit card apply online hdfc personal loans to consolidate credit cards discover cashback bonus credit card review direct payday loan lenders only no credit check old navy visa card application pay best buy credit card online standard chartered credit card online payment login student with bad credit need credit card online payday lenders california best unsecured bad credit cards credit card terminal for iphone 4 withdraw paypal virtual credit card cheapest credit card machine for small business what is my american express credit limit best fixed rate credit cards 2013 top 10 credit cards for bad credit uk should i consolidate credit cards visa credit card number 2013 with cvv free cash back credit cards india public savings bank open sky secured visa card make ann taylor credit card payment can you get store credit cards with bad credit top credit card issuers in malaysia chase credit card student sbi credit card online apply how to use provident gold card online credit card offer opt out website va loans with bad credit score free visa credit card number and cvv 100 guaranteed payday loans does applying for credit card hurt score best credit card with airmiles canada when was the first credit card issued in australia unsecured credit cards bad credit no bank account citibank credit card uk where is the credit card number located on a visa gift card mastercard credit card foreign exchange rates best credit card consolidation companies reviews zurich credit card insurance cba premium credit cards low rate credit card comparison australia credit card fraud detection project source code pay sbi credit card bill online icici online payday loan companies no credit costco elavon credit card processing best first credit card to get uk
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Interview - Bob Costas - Broadcast Icon and Author

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 1012 guests online

Atom RSS

Interview - Bob Costas - Broadcast Icon and Author PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 13 May 2003 12:00
Bob CostasBroadcast icon, and baseball luminary, Bob Costas is uniquely tied to baseball. So, much so that he's often talked of as being a candidate for the Commissioner's position at some stage.

Costas talks extensively about the health and well-being of Major League Baseball, the Wildcard, marketing MLB, as well as relocation of the Expos.

Mention the name, Bob Costas, and there are few in America, let alone the sports world, that don’t know him. But, it’s after the acknowledgment of the man that the view shifts. Some may see him as a broadcaster. Some see him and think of the Olympics. Some see him as a personality that transcends sports into the world of one-on-one interviews from his show on MSNBC, “Internight”, or the “Bob Costas Interview” on “Dateline NBC” and “Today”, or his show "On the Record" on HBO and yes, some see him as a baseball luminary and scholar.

Bob Costas - Fair BallHis book, “Fair Ball - a Fan’s Case for Baseball” has been a best seller, and he has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the position of Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

What was discovered in conversation with the man, is that his knack for reaching people through the one-way medium of television or print, is not limited to the media, but rather something natural and unscripted.

Growing up in New York as a diehard Mantle fan, he has become a statesman for what the game of baseball means historically (Ken Burns “Baseball”) and in his knowledge of the game from a business perspective (key interview subject for a recent “Outside The Lines” on ESPN, and the aforementioned “Fair Ball”).

In this extensive interview with the Business of Baseball, Costas touches on the relocation of the Expos, ballpark development, marketing MLB, the power structure between MLB and the Players’ Union, whether he’s interested in being Commissioner of Major League Baseball, the effect of an MLB team in DC on the Orioles, and how MLB in Portland could possibly realign the League for the better. – Maury Brown


Team Payroll and the Wildcard System

BizBall: We just witnessed a young Marlins team beat a vaunted Yankees team in the World Series. Given the fact that the Marlins payroll was 1/3 the size of the Yankees, is there too much emphasis placed on team payroll as a barometer for winning?

Costas: No, there isn't too much emphasis placed on it.

With the Wildcard and three divisions and always the possibility of catching lightning in a bottle, it doesn't follow that the teams with the highest payrolls will always be in the World Series, or the teams with the relatively low payrolls can't upset the apple cart, but over time that's the way it plays out.

If you have poor management and a high payroll, you might get nothing. If you have a relatively low payroll and good management, and a lot of luck, you might do well for a period of time. But, all things being even close to equal, high payrolls make a huge difference.

If Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland A's, had an identical twin brother, and you made one of them the GM of the Braves; or the Dodgers; or the Yankees; or the Mets; or the Red Sox, and you left the other Billy Beane in Oakland, over a 5-year spread the other Billy Beane would have more to play with.

BizBall: Since we're talking about Billy Beane, will his stock be diluted if he moves to a franchise with a higher payroll structure?

Costas: Yeah, because then he could never exceed expectations. He can only meet expectations.

BizBall: Given the fact that we've had two Wildcard teams win the World Series back-to-back, do you see the Wildcard system as a way for teams that performed marginally in the regular season to capture lightning in a bottle and make the regular season less dramatic?

Costas: Yeah, there's no question about it.

The Wildcard can sometimes yield good story lines. There's no question that the Florida Marlins were a good story line. And sometimes a team that's a Wildcard is playing as well as anybody, or better, come August or September.

So, the objection of the Wildcard was never that a Wildcard team wasn't good enough to be in the post-season tournament or couldn't win it.

The objection, for thoughtful fans was, that it destroyed the concept of a pennant race. As long as you have a Wildcard you can't have a true pennant race, because there's not an "all or nothing" aspect to finishing first in your Division, unless the pace of the Division is so slow that first place team would have lesser record than the Wildcard.

Otherwise, the Wildcard undermines the excitement of a close divisional race that goes to the wire. And, it actually penalizes teams that win their divisions in a blow-out, like the Braves or the Giants, because they get no significant advantage once the playoffs start over a mediocre division winners or the Wildcard. That's the real objection.

The contrast between that, and let's say, football - could Wildcard team go to the Super Bowl? Yeah, and God bless them if they do, because they have to go a tougher road - they have to play an extra game - they're on the road all the time. Whereas teams that do better during the regular season get a first-round bye, perhaps, which is a huge advantage. Then they have homefield throughout the Playoffs, and since Playoff round in football is only one game, that homefield is 100%. It's not one extra game out of 5, or 1 extra game out of 7.

Now, they're (MLB) never going to change this playoff format, at least not in the next couple of years. Because, by luck, this playoff format this year, coughed up the Red Sox, the Cubs, the Yankees, and a great story line with the Marlins; and all the Series went the limit; and they all had compelling story lines. And so, if they fiddled with the format, the superficial reaction would be, "Hey, why are you messing up a good thing?" But, it's exactly the same format that produced relatively uninteresting post-seasons in the past, and relatively low ratings on television in the past.

What they (MLB) really should do, is seed the playoffs in a way that makes sense. Not eliminate the Wildcard necessarily, but create a distinction between being the Wildcard and being a team that wins its Division.

The Relocation of the Expos

BizBall: If indeed MLB relocates the Montreal Expos, as MLB is currently looking to do, the Expos appear to be going into either a brand new market, or a market that hasn't seen MLB in over 30 years. Sports economists, like Andrew Zimbalist, believe that stadiums in existing markets are not economic drivers.

Since the placement of a team in one of these new markets is essentially a different paradigm, is it possible that those views may not be correct in this situation?

Costas: I think that there are not enough test cases to measure this second circumstance that you outline. I respect Zimbalist, but if that is actually his view, I disagree with it to this extent.

I think that new stadiums in existing markets, of late, are less of an economic driver than they have been. You don't get the same proportionate jump that Baltimore got with Camden Yards or that Cleveland got with Jacobs Field, but certainly Pittsburgh is in a better position than they were. Is it a panacea? No.

But Pittsburgh is in a better position than they were. Milwaukee is in a better position than they were. I just don't think that it's going to be as much of a leg up as it was in the past, especially because the novelty of these new stadiums wears off quicker.

When Baltimore got it; when Jacobs Field got it; when Colorado got their new stadium, they stood out on the landscape. Now they are becoming more and more common place. Plus, when Baltimore and Cleveland got their stadiums, it was before the huge explosion of cable revenue negated some of that advantage. So, when Baltimore got the stadium and Cleveland got theirs, they made up a huge amount of the gulf between them and the Yankees. Then, the gulf exploded again when the Yankees tapped into the additional cable revenues that Cleveland and Baltimore and almost every market have available to them. So would Kansas City be better off with a new stadium? Yeah, they'd be better off. Would they be in the same league as the Yankees? No.

Vladimir GuerreroBizBall: The Expos played 22 games in Puerto Rico last season, and in conjunction with those games, the team played Interleague in the AL West setting up a marathon travel arrangement. There seems to be a good chance that another 22 games will be played in Puerto Rico again this season.

If done correctly, is the extra payroll incentive enough to keep the team competitive without draining the team due to travel?

Costas: Well, you almost have to. It's a trade off.

In order to maintain some level of interest, as you say, you come up with the revenues that could drive their payrolls up a little bit, you have to make that sacrifice. Otherwise, to go through another dreary season in Montreal, and if playing those games in Puerto Rico means you have a chance to keep Vladimir Guerrero, I think they're better off with Vladimir Guerrero and some jet lag, than without Guerrero and no jet lag.

 Obviously, the whole thing is a temporary situation that has gone on way too long. They have to solve this thing, and it is very clear they are treading water because they don't want to make a rash move, and for the long run, settle for something that isn't their best possible deal. They'd rather take another hit for a year, or even two, in Montreal until the perfect situation develops someplace else.

BizBall: How does Portland factor into this situation?

Costas: One thing, I think, is an ideal scenario -- and I am not in a position to evaluate the merits of all the pitches that will be made to baseball for the Expos -- but, let's say economically that the Portland bid makes sense. If the Portland bid makes sense, it fits in a more logical way, in terms of baseball alignments, with the Expos moving into the American League West, which has only 4 teams, and becoming a Portland entry into the American League West. So, now you balance that Division, in that they are all geographically approximate to Seattle, and Oakland - and it just makes sense. And at the same time, you would take a team out of the National League Central,  either Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh - probably Pittsburgh, and move them into the National League East. So, that six team Division (the NL Central) would again be five, and that team would replace the Expos and you'd have three geographically sensible, five team Divisions in each League.

Peter AngelosBizBall: While we're touching on this subject, do you feel that there's any merit to the argument that Peter Angelos makes that a team in the DC area dilutes both markets?

Costas: I do. But obviously there's a self-interest argument there. But, it's also valid. When they're that close together, and especially if one or both of those teams isn't very good, then one or both will suffer.

BizBall: If a city comes up with most of the public funding for a stadium, would you consider that a decisive consideration for the relocation of the Expos?

Costas: I don't know if alone it's decisive, but I think it's primary.

Marketing MLB, and the health of baseball

BizBall: MLB used a new marketing campaign this past season that said, "I live for this". This seems somewhat online with the NBA's use of the catch phrase, "I love this game".

What can MLB do to foster marketing growth in small to mid-markets, while retaining its individuality?

Costas: I used to think that, because of my regard for the idea of a pennant race, or the integrity of the regular season -- I used to think that the way they had scrambled things in the mid 90's and tossed in the Wildcard was an entirely negative thing.

Now, I am not sure it is an entirely negative thing because you have to leave in the reality of modern baseball. And to hold up the Marlins; to hold up Kansas City or Minnesota, who happen to be luckily situated in a division that wouldn't exist without three divisions. So, you can say they had a chance and they were in the race for a while. Whereas if you stuck them in a division that had Oakland or Seattle or the Yankees or Boston they had no chance.

 One of the things they can sell, to these smaller markets, is that the Wildcard, and at least certain divisional line-ups, give most teams a shot. I don't know what you tell Tampa Bay in the same division as the Yankees, or what you tell Toronto, but you can sell it on that basis and they can sell baseball over all on the basis of what happened in this postseason.

[MLB needs] to seize upon the momentum of this postseason and how great it was. And if they are smart, they will try to sell it with a combination of how this year was "modern baseball" meeting "traditional baseball". The histories of the Red Sox and the Cubs; the tradition of the Yankees, but yet the excitement of multiple rounds of playoffs -- and the Marlins in, and new blood in -- it was sort of old meets new, with the best of both worlds. That should be their approach.

Messersmith, Parker, Torre, Marvin Miller, Dick MossBizBall: There was a point in the League's history when the pendulum was swung all the way in favor of ownership, with the players having very little power. Then in 1975, Messersmith and McNally, along with Marvin Miller changed the face of baseball, and the pendulum has been moving in favor of the players' union ever since.

Recently there has been the appearance of fiscal restraint on the part of ownership, and the union in concert with the League, agreed to expanded revenue sharing on both the local level and within the Central fund.

Is this good will something that can be sustained for more than the length of this CBA?

Costas: I think it depends, quite a bit, on the personalities involved.

Don Fehr and Bud SeligI think that Don Fehr and Gene Orza have been brilliant and they've always operated with honesty -- they can't be accused of some of the dishonest or contradictory stances that have been taken by ownership in the past.

But, there's a difference in being "capable" and being "honest" and being "reasonable". And as great as they have been over time with their membership basically they are connected to the whole mentality and the whole paradigm that was set forth by Marvin Miller back in the days that you mentioned when the players really were taken advantage of.

I think even the little bit they conceded this time around -- that gave ownership a small victory. They conceded it very, very reluctantly. And they knew two things, that most of the membership did not have the stomach for another strike. And, that even if they won in the strike and got favorable terms when the strike eventually ended, the damage that would be done to baseball in the public mind would so depress baseball's revenues that it would diminish the amount of those revenues that would flow to the membership.

I think that's the reason they did not go on strike.

 Not because they thought the owners had a legitimate point, or they really cared about reforming the game in a reasonable way; just because they didn't have a stronger hand to play as in the past.

That's why I've always said, even though Commissioner Selig has to be credited with a lot of things -- he's been an active commissioner -- some people take shots at him but he has a lot of accomplishments behind him. But I still think the game will be better off when you have entirely different faces representing both the owners and the players, who don't carry the baggage of all the past battles and some of the grudges and some of the premises that are no longer valid. You need people who can look at it with a fresh eye, and still represent their constituencies, but at the same time not feel like it's a capitulation to say, "Hey, this is what's good for the game overall."

BizBall: Beyond the ratings, and the overall popularity of the sport, Baseball was once viewed as microcosm for our Nation in terms of temperament and its dynamic. Things have obviously changed in the 100+ years that game has existed.

Has the NFL and the NBA supplanted MLB in terms of the pace in which the games are played, and in some ways mirrored American society?

Costas: Well, there is no doubt about that, we're a "short attention span" culture, and regular season baseball, at least, doesn't have the immediate tension of the playoffs.

Regular season baseball can't hold the attention of as many people as it once did, especially because you have "Baseball Tonight" and "Sports Center" on ESPN and all kinds of highlights, and the Internet; so you can tap into the highlights of the game at almost anytime. So there's no doubt that baseball has been hurt a little bit by that.

On the other hand, I think people are too quick to say that the NBA has surpassed baseball. If baseball had anything like the ratings of the last NBA finals the sky would be falling. I've always been an NBA fan. I like the NBA. I'm going to the Suns game tonight, but I don't think the basic core support for the NBA runs as deep as that of baseball. And when Jordan and Bird and Magic went and if you have the Spurs and the Nets in the Finals you see that a lot of that interest falls off.

I think it is clear that football is the most popular sport. It has a lot of advantages that no matter what baseball does, marketing wise, it can never match. They play one game a week and it is a game ideally suited to television. Their playoffs are all Game 7's, because there is only one game. The seventh game, or the fifth game of the Divisional Series in baseball always will have a higher rating than the other games. Well, with football every game is a deciding game in the playoffs. And they are all played at the time of the year; in January in the winter; Sundays, Saturday nights when people watch television. You have the gambling aspect - football just has advantages as a television sport that baseball and other sports don't.

At the same time, people talk about the golden age of baseball.

I grew up in New York. In 1961, with a pennant winning team; and the tradition of the Yankees; and the Dodgers and Giants gone; and the Mets not yet in existence; and Maris and Mantle chasing Babe Ruth's record; and a box seat costing $3.50 in Yankee Stadium, the Yankees did not draw 2 million fans. They drew like 1.7 or 1.8 [million fans]. Now, even teams that are thought to be struggling draw 2 million fans. Some draw upwards of 3 million fans. The overall attendance, in baseball, is so much greater than it was, even a generation ago.

And, the overall revenues of the game have more than doubled since the early 1990s. The problem isn't that the game has insufficient popularity or revenues, the problem is that the game has an imperfect economic system, which often renders any amount of revenue, in the long run, inadequate. You know, they get another source of revenue and they flush it right down the drain.

Look what happened when NBC lost baseball in the late 1980s. CBS comes in with this enormous deal for baseball, so the revenues are exponentially increased, but they frittered it all away immediately when the salary structure just immediately exploded right after that. At that time the top paid player made about $2 million a year. Within a couple of years you had dozens and dozens of players making $5 million a year.

The future of Bob Costas

 BizBall: There has been a lot of talk about you possibly becoming a candidate for Commissioner of MLB once Bud Selig steps down. Has the thought crossed your mind?

Costas: I have never been coy about it. Never led anyone to believe it. Never have said anything like, "Well, maybe", or "Gee, they will never ask me," so it is a mute point. I have always flatly said I am not interested. I am not qualified. And I use the example that if someone's a good political columnist that doesn't mean you think he or she should be Senator or President. It's just that you think they have something to say about the affairs of the day. I am a commentator about baseball and if people think anything I say about baseball is of interest, then fine, toss it into the debate on the subject. But, I am not and never will be someone that should be considered for commissioner.

BizBall: This World Series marked the end of Roger Clemens career. How does he rate in the pantheon of other great pitchers?

Costas: He's probably one of the five or six greatest starting pitchers of all time, by any measure.

BizBall: Finally, do you miss calling the games, and if so, when will we see you return to the booth?

Costas: Well, the earliest that NBC could reacquire baseball would be the 2007 season, because it is all on Fox 2006 and luckily I think the number one team on Fox does a very good job. And I miss it a little bit but not a lot. I am very philosophical about this stuff. I have had wonderful opportunities in my career and no one wants to hear me complain about anything.

  • Interview conducted by Maury Brown in November of 2003 for the Oregon Stadium Campaign.

To read other interviews on The Biz of Baseball with the likes of Jayson Stark, Ken Rosenthal, Stan Kasten, Marvin Miller, Bowie Kuhn, Bob Costas, and others, select the Interviews navigation element to the left on any page.  

This interview is copyrighted. For republication information, please contact The Biz of Baseball.





Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?