generic viagra sales online drugstore s club 7 reach for the stars buy chloroquine next day is there a generic for cymbalta in canada generic pills for cardizem viagra by mail order cabergoline reviews for men pastillas para una ereccion prolongada famvir for sale australia buy premarin paypal accepted hydrochlorothiazide without a script fluoxetine fast canada cialis kopen den haag endep 10 mg what is celexa used for to treat what does bupropion hydrochloride do elocon cream over the counter can you buy inderal countries buy erection packs 1 with what is hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg for generic rx in vancouver avapro on the internet buy alli without a subscription buy generic cialis online uk best place buy meclizine metformin without insulin resistance vytorin uk next day delivery round gray pill abg 100 comprar ralista en argentina generic name for naprosyn benadryl now advair diskus australia generic ginseng vytorin medication dosage levitra tablets 150 mg fastest cefadroxil uk delivery accutane mild acne pictures thyroxine side effects mail order actoplus met viagra 150 mg how to take it generic xeloda us discount rocaltrol indian buy periactin online 4mg order snovitra super power cheap no prescription clavamox for dogs combivent dosage for children erythromycin cream for acne reviews how to gain weight without any medicine cialis price in uae safe to buy generic zovirax from usa abilify without a prescription moduretic discounted erythromycin long term use side effects motrin 800 mg tablet upj buy famciclovir famvir no prescription arjuna india cheap lotrisone drugstore band london discount alphagan of canada is there a generic for lexapro yet is there a generic for bactroban nasal ointment ginseng 40 mg generic dulcolax stool softener big blue round pill 44 532 health canada fertomid venlor women buy bentyl ibs medicine how to buy roxithromycin brand colospa for sale skelaxin 800 mg vs flexeril 10 mg pilex coupons ordering low dose omnicef cut metformin 500mg er in half onde comprar levitra finasteride hair loss baldness tablets buy cleocin gel online cheap antabuse online australia elimite from usa pharmacy does mestinon cause weight gain common side effects of desyrel how to purchase doxycycline online amitriptyline migraine dosage ordering norvasc online cheap cialis cymbalta side effects+patient reviews buy fertomid with no rx where to buy prilosec in canada safely best online foreign pharmacies search prescriptions without a script cheapest bactroban to buy pharmacy mexico crestor rules for buying claritin d prescription metformin no furosemide mg india doxycycline no rx mentax uk next day delivery viagra patent expiration dates where can i order sarafem health canada quibron-t imitrex coupon card robaxin order canada lamictal reviews and dosage buy antivert pills review indian online pharmacies my viagra.co.uk order generic cozaar why was antabuse discontinued in canada levitra professional generic australia order cephalexin overnight order minocycline medication by mail where to buy glycomet diltiazem without script augmentin fast uk albendazole suspension zentel can buy clomid online paroxetine without prescription medication missed dose of doxycycline for chlamydia how to buy aceon rudolf zentel uni mainz buy lexapro mexican pharmacies carafate cost can you buy relafen over the counter in germany levitra professional shortage canadian non prescription pharmacy pills that make you get hard aspirin dose for dogs dog health lexapro pill canadian combivent online canadian which causes more weight gain lithium or depakote cipro usanze aleve precio mexico best natural viagra review amantadine no prescription compare prices buy xeloda in australia buy vasodilan online from usa kamagra canada head office trimix course tdi buy abilify cheap online canadian citalopram mist canada lortab side effects in women tijuana pharmacy online minocin more drug_side_effects terramycin generico online ventoline pour homme drugs similar to cipro use dostinex coupon online cipro canada pharmacy iai arava for sale acquistare prednisolone in italia accutane without a prescription from uk lozol online australia dutas 20mg tab zithromax antibiotics for sinus infection ultra low dose pletal xenical suppositories buy actonel actnow patient support program viagra cialis online bestellen asacol on line over the counter viagra equivalent where can i get brand levitra pills alli by mail via address canadian pharmacy voltaren yagara australia cipro hc otic generic cost buy zovirax cream online diflucan 150 mg dosage ceftin lowest price does allopurinol cause weight gain himalaya confido price cipro 500mg twice a day for 10 days quickest delivery of viagra to sydney glucophage dosage instructions what is post cycle therapy pct viagra generic online cheap buy antibiotics online no prescription canada having sex on 7 day pill break buy cheap suprax using pay pal how to buy unisom cheap accutane 10mg buy cheap zofran pills best site get tenormin jia yi jian sale atarax next day atorvastatin dose limitations tofranil medication order celebrex cheap us pharmacy didronel online usa no prescription how to by risperdal online nexium medicine stomach vardenafil 10 mg tab capoten for men sale in uk antibiotics for chest infection children alesse overnight pharmacy prescription 24h pharmacy leeds azithromycin diarrhea treatment best online pharmacy generic lisinopril chloromycetin billig kaufen zithromax 1 g packet online skelaxin purchase femara generic drug buy aciclovir with overnight order ranitidine online cafergot dose comprar fluoxetine pela internet best place to buy topamax online ordering penicillin online combivent from usa ordering fluoxetine online best place buy doxazosin what are the side effects of stopping reglan buy bystolic with paypal how to take amitriptyline for insomnia what does meclizine hcl treat college of medicine ambrose alli university ekpoma use uroxatral coupon online 100 free samples of viagra cheap haldol pills cialis vs viagra sales buy cheap glycomet using pay pal where to find generic lipitor american lamictal iv pain meds for labor pletal drug oversea uses for triamcinolone acetonide cream usp 0.1 buy provera in uk florida kytril norvasc without a prescription should women use propecia viagra professional store prescription acheter toprol xl pas cher cialis sex pill estrogen online no prescription purchase lioresal pills best site get lamisil intrathecal baclofen indications can you take viagra daily generic cialis 60 mg clomid fertility drug buy online can viagra help maintain an erection eurax hc discontinued diflucan tablets uk cheap tricorne ranitidine generico italiano micardis pills drugstore where to buy bactrim vpxl tablets side effects where to get lithium pills purchase generic valtrex praziquantel side effects in humans buy viagra soft usa levothroid prix en pharmacie en france anafranil limited india benicar sales daiichi where can i get propecia in ireland best way to get high on methadone pills buspar generic online buy hydrochlorothiazide pills in the canada generic detrol usa pharmacy alphagan overseas risperdal consta administration zentel pret lasix furosemide weight loss propranolol online from usa aceon through discount medicine generic vermox buy canada propecia cheapest price australia vicodin generic pill identifier free valtrex in miami can you buy voltaren online purchase an alligator prescriptions buy generic alphagan nexium dosage for gastritis abilify weight gain children ordering abilify mexico zestoretic 100 review medicamento vytorin 10/20 mg quinine sulphate tablets side effects cost of lisinopril 5 mg i missed my dose of wellbutrin feldene coupon code cefixime tablet sale nexium from canada pharmacies canada cipro lawsuit buying clomid over the counter uk where can i buy alligator meat in shreveport la benicar 50mg tablets can you buy acai berries stores imitrex manufacturer coupons buy grifulvin low cheap price the generic name of cardura viagra jelly online overnight shipping singulair prices usa pariet 20 mg tabletas tadalafil 20mg preis dostinex tablete srbija side effects of alli weight loss tablets glucophage metformin hcl eritromicina bula purchase bayer crystal aspirin cost generic methotrexate what does ataraxia answer libido edge labs testosterone cream zithromax shoping what is azithromycin 250mg tablets overnight buy cheap pariet cash cialis daily use formulary tadalafil where to buy online drugs in the canada evista medication guide can you over the counter in canada buy lamisil tablets generic pulmicort shortage capoten pharmacy mail order legal drugs in canada salvia order elocon pill acheter abonnement xbox live gold pas cher singulair online legally levitra super active drug schedule buying viagra using paypal cheap tablets purchase abilify the online drugstore forzest order ginseng tablets is generic coumadin available in usa maximum dosage of viagra aristocort prices usa buy famvir for daily use overnight erection packs 2 generic pharmacy overnight mastercard generic accutane sominex ships from india legal buy zyloprim online canada triamterene pharmacy online doxycycline malaria tablets inderal without prescription canada best soft prices cipla generic cialis allopurinol lawsuit settlements us online pharmacy cod femcare delivery london ran-atorvastatin 80 mg eriacta online uk bupropion depression forum how to get methotrexate in australia purchase allopurinol 300 mg irbesartan hydrochlorothiazide generic acai berry malaysia pharmacy best generic desyrel sites why is there a shortage of medrol glucotrol xl tablets for sale legal requirements emergency sale ventolin prescription tamoxifen steroids cycle effexor xr usa doxycycline cost walmart online sale of prandin zyprexa how long to take effect esomeprazole magnesium delayed release tablets 20 mg benadryl cream rxlist what is ic doxycycline hyclate 100mg used for best place to order cozaar in us metformin and alcohol consumption nexium how to by atrovent online generic erythromycin 500 mg buy topamax 50mg best site to buy parlodel where to buy anacin drugs online over the counter bupropion hydrochloride eltroxin side effects skin how to get viagra jelly on line sale haridra can you antivirals buy zovirax ointment levlen without prescription canada is sinemet available over the counter buying haridra where is the love lyrics wiki purchase tetracycline no prescription fertility drugs for menopause where can i buy seroquel in canada buy dilantin with visa provera online from uk buy abana with free shipping prescription side effects of coumadin long term can order cafergot online sinequan mg canadian rx cobix generic celebrex pharmacy www.canadapharmacyonline.com eritromicina es antibiotico cozaar cheap uk femara complaints abilify 2mg price what does olanzapine look like xeloda on line diclofenac gel without prescription fertility drugs for men with low motility stieva a cream 0.1 reviews why is there a shortage of depakote sales buy cozaar is there a generic for advair diskus coupon where can i buy viagra in birmingham uk can you buy benfotiamine in ireland nombre de pharmacie france viagra super active medication overnight delivery what is minipress for misoprostol online purchase zofran tablets purchase on line buy protonix 40 ophthacare generic wikipedia drugs citalopram missed dose effects forum baclofene et alcool syntheroid uk tofranil brands india uk pharmacies online that sell cipro nitrofurantoin veterinary medicine motilium uk norfloxacin and tinidazole tablets order viagra professional clomid for sale no prescription uk how much will cholestoplex cost pastillas para ereccion cialis augmentin prices cvs buy diakof online no prescription us how long does fluoxetine take to start working risperdal for anxiety reviews metoprolol beta blocker dose suppliers of prandin in us aldactone cost in canada best site to buy mestinon atrovent inhaler medicine can you buy elimite over the counter in germany can you buy femcare prescription drugs minocin comprar aldactone discounted toprol xl lawsuit canada lamisil tablet sale levlen online cheap lopressor cost price keppra roche precio argentina buy prometrium online uk best price for real antivert where can i order alligator tail zovirax for men sale in uk cheapest rumalaya in the uk purchase zovirax hyaluronic acid pills results best place to buy omnicef overnight without cod paroxetine buy zofran online cheap buy tretinoin 0,05 visa what does albendazole generic name of ciplox buy femara letrozole good drugstore makeup rogaine 5 non perscription countries kytril injection dose protonix and plavix drug interaction evista without prescription buy levlen birth control xenical pills online in the uk canada drug stores selling viagra viramune tablets online acai mist canada what is seroquel made of lantus online from canada atorvastatin calcium patent expiry the new order alliance daoc drugstore cost of generic lipitor at walmart realo discount drugs bridgeton nc buy torsemide online no prescription drug market order tenormin flovent visa singulair price comparison purchase cardizem mg buy cialis no script decadron pill shop discount code buy betnovate with paypal starlix uk brand name what is bystolic made of can you buy xenical online lamictal generic name yasmin capsules cialis for sale australia buy revatio inhaler canada free coupons for medication prandin side effects of methotrexate injection low cost prednisolone zoloft no script prevacid cost overnight delivery discount amaryl cod buying zocor cheapest famvir to buy buy ginseng seeds ohio kesan pil perancang mercilon lipothin spain over counter how to use pulmicort respules video aldactone prescription blood drugs cheap tamoxifen tablets viagra uk delivery donde comprar venaflaxine acheter du viagra a montreal flomax drug usage zofran from canada goes you buy hyzaar canadian can i buy online purchase accutane symptoms of low digoxin level buy kamagra jelly cheap ventolin birth control online india cialis canada online pharmacy cheap tablets uk viagra free samples best place buy benadryl pct erexor male enhancement reviews levitra vardenafil side effects buy brand cephalexin sito italiano cialis zovirax dispersible 400 mg norvasc generic price acquisto imitrex sicuro online where can i order ceftin benfotiamine italiano what is mobic pills without a script order allegra atrovent for dogs buy buy ssri antidepressants online what does prednisolone do to the body the online drugstore ophthacare Purchase aciphex 25 mg chlamydia symptoms in men pictures original serophene online where to get suhagra pct long time side effects brand advair diskus comprar fincar en argentina mexico buy metoclopramide 10mg buy cheap viagra with mastercard rhinathiol expectorant cough long time side effects abana xeloda online store thuoc ciprobay 500 buy periactin 4 mg cleocin gel refills renova group viktor vekselberg clonidine suppression test cpt code reminyl overnight delivery what does alavert is generic bupron sr available in usa minoxidil 5 for women prednisone dose for hives worldwide pharmacy brand cialis casodex legal in england to buy cialis jelly in uk flexeril 10mg tab cheapest zofran to buy buy revia perth australia generic compazine in buy trimox amoxil online best pharmacy to order brand advair diskus buy seroflo pills online skelaxin online legally Purchase abilify 5 mg pharmacy where purchase avapro femara reviews pcos vasodilan uk brand name dostinex dosage bodybuilding forum zovirax by mail buy combivent 15mg online how much is keflex 500 mg without insurance moduretic 40 mg dose buy acticin cheap tofranil dosage where to buy viagra in hong kong where can i buy asthma inhalers online printable nexium coupons lopressor canada head office why was alesse discontinued cheap voltaren no prescription what is the medication protonix for glucophage 850 mg weight loss purchase viagra plus in us no prescription xenical sale generic proventil usa pharmacy torsemide 100 mg tablets zyrtec 10mg dosage for adults can a 20 year old get cialis methylprednisolone side effects 4 mg lexapro wikipedia portugues danazol from india where to apply differin desyrel phone orders actonel brands india suppliers of betnovate in us ultra low dose kytril comprar female viagra pela internet cialis professional generic india fluoxetine by mail order aleve cause weight gain finpecia (generic propecia finasteride 1mg) order yasmin online in usa where to buy la weight loss products buy premarin 15mg online i pill zestoretic website drug information thiazide azithromycin and pregnancy risks triderm krem zastosowanie retin-a 0,025 price india do i need a prescription for vasodilan seroflo generic reviews cheap biaxin 500mg
Home All Articles State of Major League Baseball - 2008 - Page 2

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 1186 guests online

Atom RSS

State of Major League Baseball - 2008 - Page 2 PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 21
PoorBest 
Articles & Opinion
Written by Various Authors   
Sunday, 15 June 2008 23:04
Article Index
State of Major League Baseball - 2008
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
All Pages


Craig CalcaterraCraig Calcaterra
Author of ShysterBall

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Baseball also seems to lose some of its unique character when an 83-win team like the '06 Cardinals can be called world champions. I'd love to see a return to 7 and 8 team divisions to try to cut down on weak divisional races. Another return to tradition was suggested by Cork Gaines of 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.



 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?