can you order lamictal switching from zoloft to wellbutrin during pregnancy buy luvox capsules beconase aq cost without insurance avodart comprar safe place order yagara birth control pills cozaar yasmin levy laznia nowa pastillas para tener una ereccion safe buy requip online can female use cialis ordering cheap brand levitra pharmacy motrin online what is mobic compared to can you buy allegra over the counter in the us sarafem generic wikipedia drugs gasex sold over counter improve-it ezetimibe retino a cream price buy zpak without a prescription what is chloromycetin is zyban subsidised in new zealand sample of viagra pills overnight pharmacy cheap bentyl fedex levitra australia cost actos without prescription miami rumalaya liniment usa cost of cyklokapron finpecia online coupon code suprax prescription prices order aciphex lowest price genuine brand name cialis orlistat generico senza ricetta can you drink on clarithromycin tablets gasex prices at costco aricept medication assistance program online pravachol overnight delivery tenormin drug in mexico pharmacy get medication without prescriptions buy plendil with paypal buy altace online pharmacy glyset usa benadryl without a script walgreens generic claritin sandoz-mirtazapine and alcohol how much is cialis in singapore what are the side effects of augmentin 625mg goes you buy oxycontin at mexican pharmacies mycelex-g order by phone what does noroxin do cephalexin non perscription countries tolrest cloridrato de sertralina emagrece buy aciclovir tablets 800mg pharmacy the online drugstore voltaren beconase aq 100mg cheap cheap aricept uk how to spot fake viagra is nitroglycerin available over the counter can you buy pharmacy zovirax ointment best online pharmacy generic nolvadex where can i buy low dose naltrexone in the uk lithium capsules versus tablets suhagra canadian pharmacy xeloda shortage discount code for diclofenac side effects of altace 5mg brand cialis costco finpecia without prescription miami azulfidine for dogs side effects bentyl capsules 10 mg original hyaluronic acid online will generic aciphex available para que sirve la aspirina bayer de 100 mg aceon coupon code order proscar on line mexico pharmacy support services cerritos ca parlodel tablets uses cost of acivir pills without insurance plendil daily use reviews albuterol inhaler price india how to use fertomid tablets aceon medicine how to get nexium samples half price etodolac mifepristone and prostaglandin buy online lukol to buy in england buy clomid cheap uk what is cymbalta 60 mg used for air max 1 leopard print acticin india buy generic minocycline with bonus buy orlistat (xenical) skelaxin side effects rash norvasc medication order what is cardizem made of fluoxetine without a prescription where can i order flovent pharmacy that sells zebeta where can i buy aspirin in canada abilify by mail aripoprazole canadian prometrium pregnancy success side effects of voltaren cream can you buy nootropil generic pills for zerit accutane 40 mg a day results ventolin 100 mg isotretinoin generic names sinequan overseas liquid dapoxetine review abilify tablets used for buy topamax online usa urispas 200 tablets keppra epocrates online vantin deluxe massage recliner diclofenac gel no rx atarax online overnight glimepiride metformin brands in india cheap zenegra do you need a prescription for diflucan buy genuine dutas uk cephalexin medicine viagra for women pink pill femara online canadian sale zestril online cod pyridium 100mg tablets buying codeine cough syrup online cymbalta and alcohol blackouts metoclopramide prokinetic mechanism of action can i order antivert no prescription in the usa how to take cordarone aldactone medication dosage xanax bars street price 2012 discount metformina canada pharmacy what does silagra do citalopram side effects weight loss gain pharmacy assistant jobs ireland can i make lisinopril desyrel for sale australia promethazine pharmacy where can i order fincar snafi price in egypt clomid pharmacy cheap propecia 0.25mg effective buy diclofenac gel 80 mg online buy actos pioglitazone hcl type diabetes increasing breast milk during pregnancy to buy leukeran in uk prevacid online sales pharmacy that sells protonix rx relief card walmart acquisto neurontin sicuro online female cialis order by phone midamor for men in usa ordering doxycycline 500mg lexapro pharmacy prices buy calan in india online lowest price noroxin purchase ditropan on line in mexico finast no prescription canada can you buy flonase in ireland buy vermox bulk trental pentoxifylline 400 mg cefixime cost without insurance how long does it take for bupropion sr to work buy hyzaar online no prescription united states buy cyproheptadine (periactin) doxycycline for dogs same as people erexor in the uk augmentin tabletki powlekane 1000 mg cena tegretol carbamazepine dosage what is the correct dosage of dapoxetine best pharmacy to order mobic resources for acai cheap dutasteride uk buspar for anxiety dosage buy ranitidine ordering prescription drugs online from canada do you need rx caverta how much will amantadine cost over the counter medicine zestoretic what types of aricept are there hair loss after using accutane buy generic terramycin online no prescription baclofen 5 mg tablets eulexin paypal order drugs online mexico gasex results forum order tadacip in eldepryl tablets uk purchase clonidine 2 mg tramadol dosage for dogs xanax wiki sk pletal overnight leukeran shelf life buy generic synthroid with bonus hyzaar sale click here paste what does zofran do is provera a form of birth control alli diet reviews orlistat buy zyban from mexico online lexapro manufacturer discount card buy suhagra next day betoptic prescription coupon mobic meloxicam side effects dostinex buy prescription buy cheap acticin online xenical prix suisse voveran sr 100 mg side effects saw palmetto mg buy coumadin to buy in england original revatio online zyrtec tablets online get aceon las vegas costco pharmacy generic drug prices how to order glyset online himalaya evecare capsules is used for hydrochlorothiazide medicine online where are parietal cells located in the stomach pastillas alli en mexico norvasc without a prescription from canada safe place order naprosyn side effects accutane wikipedia what works better than diflucan current alligator price per foot retin a uk no prescription buy paxil in australia combivent inhaler price prevacid generic 2013 drugs motilium generic generic lincocin refills flagyl suppository alli availability problems how to get adderall in london canadian alliance of student associations 1995 buy erection packs 3 online with out prescription azithromycin uses for cats ortho tri-cyclen online generic furosemide lasix cost phenergan sublingual dosage albuterol sulfate dosage for babies venlor generic wikipedia drugs flovent rx buy nymphomax pills chloramphenicol limited india order estrace online in usa washington low income housing alliance executive director third promethazine india singulair with american express best pharmacy to order brand viagra zyprexa prescription drug estrofem 28 film tablet discount canadian pharmacy doxazosin buy minomycin in india online zetia usa what is lisinopril 10 mg used for carafate shortage 2012 do i need a prescription for kamagra gold what is erythromycin used for buy aciclovir uk tablets cream how long does depakote take to kick in order trazodone from india without prescription side effects of thalidomide treating myeloma voltaren medicine india where to buy arava ointment where purchase fucidin 10 lidocaine cream where can i buy metformin from cheap genuine requip online cheapest places to live ashwagandha pills how many 25mg benadryl should i take to get high levaquin for sinus infection spironolactone without prescription compare prices lukol what is trileptal used to treat viagra side effects in women zyrtec results forum canada pills online for klonopin generic lisinopril septilin pharmacy prices list cardizem iv bolus dose cost of finpecia without insurance buy wellbutrin sr paypal accepted buy unisom online pharmacy celadrin tablets from buy buy lantus insulin pen order carafate online uk genesis today acai berry chews reviews antibiotics for tooth infection for sale glucotrol xl prix en pharmacie en france zovirax cream safe during pregnancy prograf generic side effects how to use fresh brahmi leaves buy methotrexate in usa typical paxil dosage claritin online in us bupropion cost cvs is generic doxazosin available in usa himcolin gel in bangladesh side effects of xenical orlistat 120mg wo viagra rezeptfrei kaufen cialis reviews user acheter xenical sans ordonnance discount urispas mg is ethionamide a prescription drug yasmin order in the us generic name for benzac generic hoodia usa pharmacy taking viagra drinking alcohol ortho tri-cyclen perth australia buy canada no prescription for dipyridamole viagra over the counter thailand prescription generic pills for atorlip-5 free or low cost minipress discount crestor canada drugs similar to exelon phone in order for azulfidine vp 120 drug levitra professional no prescription pill bayer uroxatral not generic ajanta pharma limited dahej buy differin online from australia pharmacy has best price aleve legal buy finpecia online canada generic geriforte syrup in usa what is ic indomethacin 50 mg bactrim forte uses ciprofloxacin 500mg tab what is it used for anafranil reviews for depression cymbalta price walgreens buy allegra mexican pharmacies buy nolvadex pills in the canada cheapest place to buy baclofen cheap medrol pills metronidazole gel bv alcohol rid canadian pharmacy emails lamictal 25 mg tablet voltaren tablets 75mg generic lithium safe purchase generic ginseng sandoz rabeprazole 10 mg lipitor 40 mg price india para que se usa levothroid safe buy tretinoin 0,025 online fucidin over the counter india buy accutane uk online isotretinoin vermox in italia can you take weight loss pills while synthroid buy cymbalta (duloxetine) without rx order nymphomax online in usa amantadine in canada delivery buy premarin online prescription what is zenegra 100 how to by zetia online augmentin weight gain buy keflex boots pharmacy buy toprol xl discount zyvox pills drugstore buy levitra professional online from australia buy online zetia generic how to buy benzac aspirin order by phone extendaquin pharmacy do you need rx sarafem pharmacy cephalexin penicillin diltiazem iv to oral dose pilex buy online ireland zithromax buy on line best place to order zestril in us buy fluoxetine with no rx long term side effects of nizagara requip how to buy buy birth control pill in singapore best prices propecia avapro direct pharmacy generic betapace in usa prednisone dose for asthma exacerbation viagra online samples floxin medication on line where to buy precose drugs online to buy cefixime in uk cheap prescription drugs uk what does protonix do for gi bleed discount canadian pharmacy epivir-hbv where is the cheapest place to buy diet pills alli weight loss nizagara 100 reviews stopping allopurinol medication very cheap vantin amoxil from canadian pharmacy mircette delivery purchase propranolol 40 mg what is zerit canada meds sarasota fl lopressor on line rocaltrol uk next day delivery what is diltiazem hcl er online pharmacy no prescription needed dilantin how much does evista cost without insurance cheap aleve no prescription generic no prescription lexapro online metoclopramide online overnight shipping silver slimming tablets they safe alli over the counter prescription orlistat medrol steroid for dogs fungsi salep bactroban viagra super active drug oversea alli pills discontinued cheapest cordarone paypal order diclofenac potassium approved what is clonidine tablets what is the penalty for buying prescription drugs online how to purchase prednisolone order non generic levitra lithium drug schedule generic cialis 10mg online cheap levaquin no prescription horse meds online canada how much does lipitor cost at walgreens exelon corp stock price get levlen las vegas dilantin 50 mg tablet buy azulfidine pills pilex spain order generic albendazole flomax over the counter equivalent generic lexapro available 2012 what does prinivil pulmicort buy online ireland canadian pharmacy in florida buy viagra sublingual online pharmacy what does prilosec help with top 20 pharmaceutical companies uk better than serophene florida skelaxin pain medications online no prescription the online drugstore atorlip-10 prescription prednisone for cats effexor vs cymbalta fibromyalgia indocin 50 mg cap wellbutrin medicine side effects most common side effects of paroxetine yasmin dosage instructions digoxin online forum what does allegra drug side effects is tinidazole over the counter buying kamagra using paypal google search alli weight loss reviews 2012 genuine cialis jelly best price maximum dose of aleve in 24 hours what does depakote dr look like propranolol and sleeping pills actos coupons 2012 where can i get rogaine 5 flomax shelf life pharmacie cialis pas cher paris purchase nootropil online amantadine comprar best generic colchicine review buy zyban next day generic exelon cost penegra online legally exelon patch rxlist buy bactrim online usa what is the classification for aricept can teva-cephalexin get you high emsam medication side effects order digoxin drugs blopress canada drug store mexican pharmacy no prescription mircette sale prescription altace without what does decadron blood over counter drugs avoid coumadin como comprar kamagra feldene 20 mg price cheap rogaine 50 pills hair buy sinemet cr generic from paroxetine does doxycycline work for acne and cause it to dry out torsemide low dose birth control flagyl 500 mg tabletas dosis zofran on the internet pfizer samples direct chloramphenicol over counter wellbutrin sr generic equivalent duetact price buy colospa online from usa generic geriforte syrup safe order augmentin online no prescription with a echeck zanaflex with american express what does cardura do wellbutrin medication how to get diclofenac gel in australia buy amaryl online buy over the counter acivir pills online order proscar europe brand cialis from europe anyone taking phentermine and levothyroxine weight loss etodolac sa 400 mg side effects synthroid drugs online purchases acheter artane pas cher buy furosemide online australia purchase acai max generic haldol uk paypal buy online prescription viagra without buy online discount alphagan p buy diet pills online alli weight loss long do take tamoxifen pct buy cheap voltaren pills cost of abilify 2mg usa buy finpecia without prescription cheap premarin cream canada rx reviews purchase fml forte online nolvadex australia customs where can i get zerit t3 thyroid medication effects viramune next day delivery how much is generic accutane without insurance buy ciplox in uk exelon patch side effects insomnia order ranitidine medication by mail oder mg tablets of methotrexate lozol mist canada lamictal xr canadian pharmacy prilosec 20 mg tablets buying evecare from canada no prescription no script flomax mg which uk site to buy digoxin cheap citalopram free delivery order erection packs 21 from maxifort zimax info i pill viagra plus website vasodilan suppositories buy how to use erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide topical gel usp why does zyvox cost so much prograf medicine children use nolvadex coupon online brand amoxil legal us where to paroxetine pharmacy purchase liv lanoxin uk online buy tetracycline without a subscription sustiva legal us human pain meds for dogs how many unisom can i take to get high discount canadian pharmacy toprol xl tretinoin 0,05 medicine online buy unisom without rx sale anacin are alli and roberto still together how to buy snovitra super power in london viagra vs. cialis which is cheaper best price for betapace otc aleve dose what is levitra tablets finast delivery cialis soft online in uk legal buy saw palmetto online canada indinavir cheap price do you take doxycycline with or without food levaquin results forum is generic cialis professional available in usa retino a cream for face where can i get voveran pills urispas delivery uk can maxalt get you high brafix online usa no prescription buy brand levitra 50 fr6 l91 aa-size lithium batteries price in india wellbutrin and celexa weight loss benemid for men in usa what is the generic for lotrisone cream pet medication online australia purchase mobic pills alesse levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets letrozole uk discount coupons for viagra buy lexapro online pharmacy can i get high off elavil where can i purchase geriforte canada drugs trimox with prescription ginette-35 pas cher what is promethazine 25 mg prescribed for cheap glycomet pills what is valtrex used for tinidazole overnight shipping cheap augmentin 875 mg tablets price buy paxil in india online cleocin gel free shipping overseas pharmacy no prescription promethazine indian pharmacy council registration micronase canadian pharmacy avapro prescription only how to buy flonase over the counter tretinoin topical cipro looking for how should lamictal be discontinued purchase viagra online org bystolic price walgreens tesco pharmacy order diclofenac buy benicar boots puerto rico board of pharmacy license prednisone 5 mg tablet purchase valtrex on line in uk stent without plavix avalide medication cheap alligator hairclips for hair bows order amaryl lowest price list discount medications walmart drug market order beconase aq buy cheap lopid using pay pal prescription water pills for weight loss generic prednisone for sale on line best place to buy reglan buy cabgolin australia how to get propranolol in australia generic aricept in softtabs tadalafil aurochem avandamet tablets price cialis value packs zestril on line for sale no script legal to buy cabgolin canadian alliance party policies generic dostinex cabergoline how to get rumalaya forte drug cytoxan from canada strattera pill canadian coreg patient reviews celebrex sales figures ginseng without insurance wellbutrin 100 sr fluoxetine and allergy medicine can viagra be bought over the counter in the uk no prescription needed augmentin online purchase allegra what is imuran side effects caverta discount approved canadian pharmacies online etodolac pill shop discount code buy naprosyn xr without prescription what does zantac do for hives buy cheap prograf where to buy arimidex uk can you get apcalis sx buy aciphex 15mg online prescription chest nitroglycerin online herbal equivalent propecia tamoxifen mail order doxycycline treatment lyme disease dogs prednisone discount card reliable site for viagra reglan discount no prescription dramamine suppliers overseas flovent doctors online how to get prescription drugs with no prescription ordering levaquin 100 mg/ml ampicillin recipe comprar amaryl pela internet aristocort italiano where to buy protonix online canada best price for real eurax where pyridium can you buy aciclovir over the counter uk safe synthroid no prescription accutane total cumulative dose walgreens mail order pharmacy florida how to buy allopurinol can you buy kytril over the counter in germany ordering elocon mexico ordering low dose flagyl er how to buy cialis online safely low cost does alli work prescription drugs pharmacy salary 2012 ireland prescription diflucan online doxycycline 100mg eurax delivery london alesse pharmacies estradiol brand advair diskus perth australia pill prescription drugstore rx generic propranolol er viagra ohne rezept bestellen per nachnahme pharmacy rx one coupon nizagara without rx tadalafil tadacip forum cost comparison canada propecia seroquel 100 effects renagel annual sales diclofenac online buy is generic seroquel safe side effects of dipyridamole tablets toradol medicine side effects buy cheap keftab indian generics online hydrea claritin doctors online ciprofloxacin 500mg and alcohol buy caverta online allegra otc vs rx order minipress online uk can you buy asthma inhalers over the counter in australia non prescription duphalac benzac reviews philippines topical zovirax for genital herpes zithromax dosage for syphilis what is viagra soft tablet what are the side effects of generic zocor where purchase januvia atarax dosages caverta overnight delivery diclofenac composition in what is fexofenadine hcl used for overnight pharmacy jobs ventolin user reviews medication endep side effects zofran discounts codes doxycycline hyclate 100mg drug do you need rx actos how long does it take for metformin er to work buy avapro online overnight cheapest price for abilify what does wellbutrin generic coumadin overnite shipping buspar buy without que es y para que sirve la clorfenamina quiero comprar levitra plus emt nitroglycerin dose order buspar online canada femara online in usa top ten drugstore concealers buy keflex next day triamterene tablets uk buy generic cymbalta online acheter lamictal buy propecia australia can meclizine get you high doxycycline used for acne treatment can i buy carafate over the counter cheapest alli diet pills uk dostinex best online non prescription pharmacy elocon dosering levothroid from india dapoxetine online order fertomid 120 mg come comprare cialis in italia flagyl er capsules india lvaquin buy deltasone with no rx cheap bupropion online elocon cream 30g how much does a prescription of singulair cost discount indocin average cost generic zoloft styplon medication comprar viagra pela internet brasil ventolin overdose dosage can i buy a visa gift card online with paypal lisinopril 20 mg tablet lup strattera dosering fast viramune deleviery clozaril prices furosemide daily use reviews buy estrace canada cytotec birth control online us best pills to get cut necesito comprar cytotec en quito alli mas barato can you buy albendazole trusted pharmacy aldactone usa sale diclofenac cost uk zoloft without prescription medication where to buy glucophage without a prescription renagel legal in england aleve liquid gels reviews probalan shoppers drug mart over counter cialis super active comprar cardizem original buy neurontin online without a prescription zaditor phone orders how to take midamor mg sertralina 50mg capsules olanzapine tablets usp 5mg allegra cole facebook american brafix baclofen uses ms metformin pills not dissolving florida glucotrol xl can i take two 5mg cialis cheap usa zyprexa online purchase cheap generic valtrex online singulair prices at costco is micronase a prescription drug order femara uk cozaar pharmacy coupons order alli 120mg how to buy strattera in london lotrisone cream 45gm order live crawfish from new orleans buy tetracycline online in usa artane boys band cd moduretic canada prescription non prescription kamagra soft pharmacy using cialis and viagra together paroxetine prescription cr cheapest place to buy zovirax is there a generic brand for allegra d flonase 10 mg cost can you get high off bupropion 300 mg viagra boots can taking too much synthroid make you gain weight avandamet italiano cialis price europe where to buy alli weight loss capsules ovulation symptoms while taking clomid what does propecia do to women avapro medication kamagra offer acai comprar genuine alligator handbag generic zovirax safe what is levitra professional best place to buy sustiva prevacid medication used levitra amlodipine interactions kamagra delivery next day order etodolac online uk emsam daily use reviews medicine nitrofurantoin mono mac prescription drugs online pharmacy best pct for anavar only cycle minocycline no prescription reviews phone in order for diarex mail order cialis super active buy female viagra 80 mg online accutane for men sale in uk generic drug for relafen pyridium pharmacy mail order bentyl side effects webmd cilas orleans strattera discount canadian imuran india finax refills cheapest prometrium tablets uk medicine crestor 5mg where to buy yasmin pill in singapore avinor vigra lufthavn minocin no prrescription licensed pharmacy colchicine accutane alcohol interaction side effects of testosterone therapy in children olmesartan side effects alcohol clomid and nolvadex for sale lipitor mexico no prescription black market viagra uk cheap requip usa relafen over counter equivalent asacol maximum daily dosage sildenafil online india antabuse buy online mexico kytril lawsuit canada acticin canada companies only worldwide pharmacy artane can we trust voveran sr online dipyridamole costco licensed pharmacy glucophage can you split bupropion tablets awp ranbaxy pharmaceuticals doxycycline monohydrate 100 mg tadacip online pharmacies with out prescription ciprofloxacin 500 mg purchase cialis super active generic 2013 drugs rumalaya tablets 150 mg ciprofloxacin tablets indian delivery alesse next day citalopram 20mg tablets overdose astelin by mail order how to buy actonel ciplox 5mg tablets ampicillin shelf life augmentin suspension australia clomiphene clomid serophene milophene cost of depo provera shot without insurance viagra soft cheap price can you get high off bupropion 150 mg order fucidin on line uk what is diclofenaco how much does retin a micro gel cost no prescription viagra canadian pharmacy what is actos 15 mg used for order non generic cardura aleve overnight shipping cheap order vasotec online in usa cordarone reviews order tenormin overnight buyers of geriforte canada cheap aciphex arimidex no prescription needed chlamydia antibiotics can you drink alcohol non prescription ginette-35 actos canada sale lipitor next day shipping lowest priced fluoxetine cheap artane usa better than imitrex cordarone coupon code zestoretic cost without insurance can aldactone cause weight loss buying glycomet proair generic ventolin colchicine buyers caverta buy on line where to get beconase aq pct viagra cheapest buy beconase aq discount cleocin gel without a prescription buy proscar pills desyrel drug oversea typical length of accutane treatment prozac and weight gain in children best generic cytoxan sites best place buy sinemet florida quibron-t main active ingredient in viagra prevacid online overnight shipping zocor online in usa over the counter singulair substitute procardia without a prescription how to buy zocor in canada is mail order aleve safe order does alli work day buy crestor online overnight how long does it take for cleocin ovules to work minomycin tablets side effects online pharmacy compazine buy ortho tri cyclen mevacor express canada erection packs 1 dosage nitroglycerin patch for achilles tendonitis estrace lawsuit cymbalta and birth control pills buy rosuvastatin online india viagra capsules price craigslist new york city classifieds for jobs apartments personals nizagara tablets 100 mg wholesale drugstore suppliers detrol next day piracetam uk powder europe buy aciphex online information on micardis medication studying clinical pharmacy in canada tadacip weekender tablets best place buy cleocin gel pct adalat xl reviews to buy finpecia buy levitra super active 80 mg online decadron results forum increasing breast milk supply when pumping exclusively india venlor price aspirin visas zales washington low income housing alliance contact coalition where to buy viagra professional ointment where to buy nitrofurantoin drugs online xenical stock shortage lisinopril 10 mg tablets picture precio adalat oros mexico actonel purchase viagra plus 40 mg dose brand l-tryptophan buy generic motrin for sale on line mirapex generic equivalent albenza low dose birth control how to use urispas original strattera online yasmin medication side-effects is levaquin better than zithromax Purchase cephalexin 500mg capsules safe voltaren buy can you buy over the counter in australia cheapest ventolin mifepristone buy uk do over the counter ed pills work buy brand cialis online reviews free coupon for glucotrol xl what is lithium ion made of sildenafil 100 can you get high off buspar indian elimite can you drink alcohol with fexofenadine pomegranate juice increases testosterone buy tegretol online amazon discount amaryl mg non generic aleve glucophage without a prescription online medrol purchase buy minocycline bulk prometrium generic name maxalt generic cost where do i trental in canada cost of benicar without insurance health canada propecia best place buy acivir pills pct cialis price comparison - walmart pharmacy mexico atarax betnovate no prescription canada vpxl cheap is lasix available over the counter generic risperdal paypal buy jia yi jian original zithromax online pregnancy symptoms after taking clomid cialis professional for sale liv 52 tablets review the online drugstore dulcolax what is caverta drugs cheap alternative to zovirax online paxil no prescription health canada lithium orotate dulcolax shortage lipitor canada purchase confido next day does herbal blue pill work canadian pharmacy roxithromycin pastillas para mantener la ereccion peru can i order micardis no prescription in the usa cialis sale cheap get generic viagra overnight tadapox order by phone can you plus in ireland buy levitra online generic can you get high off medrol why has kamagra been discontinued buy generic avodart with bonus how much will tegretol cost how to buy viagra in the united states no script antivert mg no place to buy alli diet pill betnovate n steroid cream iovate health sciences 100 pure premium hoodia review abc pharmacy canada reviews legal canadian medical sales vasotec nombre generico when is actos generic available diltiazem hydrochloride floating tablets buy cialis for women online lasix rx med how to take amaryl buy mentat mg medicine ciprofloxacin dexamethasone used femara from mexico solu medrol tablets buy antivert bulk clozaril medicine children cheap differin 0.3 where zerit express care pharmacy az how long for finasteride to take effect yasmin to buy in australia is differin gel good for acne buy genuine fluoxetine uk voltaren dosage rapid 25 promethazine codeine syrup dosage for adults buy lotensin without a script pharmacy that sells prednisone lowest priced skelaxin buy aleve hong kong tetracycline online with prescription buy etodolac drug oversea kamagra 100 gold uk skelaxin generic shortage doxycycl hyc acne review buy lotensin 10 mg buy mevacor boots pharmacy side effects of pilex ointment identify digoxin pills doxycycline 100mg capsules price lisinopril hctz without rx buy pamelor online overnight cardura pill shop discount code adalat 20 mg xl femcare drug class speman comprar en espan~a purchasing betapace online uk paroxetine weight gain generic cordarone paypal is methotrexate available on line in canada what is claritin d made of canadian healthcare association learning allopurinol medicine side effects lipvas 40 mg florida arjuna how much does lithium pills cost abilify price canadian pharmacy flonase 100mg tablet elocom 1mg g mas'c' ulotka where do i abilify in uk is it illegal to order generic antivert buy actonel uk no prescription needed accutane pills what drug category is prazosin nexium 40 mg buy online zithromax limited india aricept generic release date lexapro buy online no script how much is allegra without insurance buy allegra d us how to buy viagra over the counter in canada phenamax uk online generic cialis shipped from canada norvasc 20 mg side effects non prescription brand advair diskus zofran generic 2013 drugs order lipitor rx best place to buy propranolol in mexico buy haldol with e check order bystolic cheap cabaser for gyno low cost overnight glycomet order torsemide canada discount canadian pharmacy nitroglycerin getting lasix in australia actos class action florida harga cialis 50 mg reminyl from canada what is lansoprazole lotrisone for sale australia cheap generic fertomid harga voltaren salep where to buy cheap generic retin-a ge provera 20 mg three times daily oracea doxycycline 40 mg kamagra reviews uk what are the pregnancy success rates using clomid buy amaryl online india keflex ftbl 1000 mg vendita viagra generico in farmacia buy imitrex online at canada pharmacy voveran bonus pills prescription lexapro buy snovitra super power paypal finast tablets on line to buy furosemide australia pharmacy billig bactrim online kaufen bristol-myers squibb ireland leopardstown what does metformin do buspar anxiety uk metformin hcl drug class prograf cost price buy tramadol pay with mastercard mail order dostinex online how to take flovent hfa alli weight loss double dose zolpidem 10mg tablets all types nootropil pills metoclopramide echeck online generic endep safe buy yagara online best place to buy viagra online in the us uk version of cardizem where can i get some neurontin buy periactin paypal azithromycin alcohol caffeine female viagra in indian market list of pharmaceutical companies in indiana cialis at walmart pharmacy dipyridamole discounts codes zoloft indications and usage med cab clonidine dramamine tablets on line to buy what does amitriptyline cure order aleve online with visa cafergot medication side effects where to buy propecia in canada safely viagra in wilmington nc non prescription gyne-lotrimin pharmacy best generic cialis forum mevacor drug schedule buy online ethionamide generic order aygestin cheap azathioprine eczema children do i need a prescription for dostinex celexa mail order india mexico diamox lipothin 100mg cheap what is the correct dosage of differin amoxil without prescription canada pill rx health sinequan products lowest price cozaar where can i buy trimethoprim antibiotic sulfamethoxazole buy voltaren bulk what is combivent prescribed for 100 mg alli buy cialis super active online india levaquin dose for uti Purchase accutane 400 mg is it legal to buy viagra in uk buy premarin in ireland penegra sold over counter order strattera from buy generic lamisil tablets online no prescription cheapest baclofen alcohol nhs depakote online prescription allegra pills children tretinoin 0,05 women buy how to get olanzapine in australia cheapest skelaxin to buy how to take diflucan for candida indian medrol approved cheap alphagan for men sale in uk cheap viagra professional usa buy fucidin from india buy eldepryl 50 beat way to order benzac target com pharmacy list generic drugs fake cialis packaging canada buy terramycin without prescription best online pharmacy generic toradol discount bentyl erection packs 2 usa tretinoin 0,025 canada head office metformin tablets for sale can you drink alcohol with doxycycline tablets where to purchase cardura where can i purchase effexor xr late ovulation on clomid 3-7 get ophthacare las vegas billig lexapro online kaufen buy endep fast shipping exelon purchase john deere zocor prices costco can men take hydroxycut max for women plavix cost comparison generic buy depo provera injection online ajanta pharma kandivali job beat way to order flagyl er the pharmacy express legit lowest priced naprosyn primamedics online pharmacy cheap requip 0.25 mg rabeprazole tablets ip erythromycin stearate tablets 500mg spc doxazosin 10 mg cost viagra generic 2010 liv 52 generic reviews glyset from usa cost of tamoxifen in india torsemide no prescription overnight delivery diclofenac medication order nitroglycerin extended release capsules buy ranitidine online pharmacy lipitor dosage every other day order mevacor cheap periactin medication overnight delivery withdrawal from prednisone how long does it last what otc drugs work like viagra cymbalta mg price acheter elimite pas cher buying voveran sr from canada no prescription lipothin buy on line buy arjuna online canada zetia pills online in the usa pharmacie france godbout how much benadryl do i give a 100 pound dog prescription price generic accutane prevacid italiano what is asacol for doxycycline monohydrate 100mg for acne korean ginseng standardized 100 mg cytotec pills dosage discount coreg effexor xr mg no prescription order ceftin drugs generic pills for trileptal buy wellbutrin sr online no prescription united states use of misoprostol for pph watch one man one jar free drug pills list viagra buying coumadin online over the counter entocort buying furosemide online purchase exelon where can i buy chloramphenicol in canada lamisil canada over counter online can you buy cleocin gel over the counter in germany comprar propecia original effects of male viagra on women 77 canada pharmacy phone number how to use mestinon low price rogaine 2 uk liquid baytril for pigeons top 10 online albendazole sites american express canada costco card how to take mifepristone and misoprostol at home danazol shopping blopress online price how much is erythromycin tablets viagra super active limited india buy betnovate c online how much viagra should a healthy male take serophene tablets uses diclofenac reviews premarin cream dosage instructions buy generic evista cialis vs sales viagra online claritin loratadine pregnancy can you buy aspirin gum cialis black 800mg pills lisinopril side effects after long term use buy drugs without a prescription best price for real coumadin can you get cialis professional buy generic prandin with bonus brand name calcium carbonate online hoodia brands india buy atacand with e check consolato italiano in cipro us online pharmacy no prescription trazodone where to get living steel recipe effexor xr store meclizine tablets us online ajanta pharma limited contact details codeine aspirin australia is it legal to buy prescription drugs online from mexico how much does alli cost uk levitra super active medicine online canadian pharmacy siligra kamagra oral jelly 50mg sale actos 100 buy haldol 50 hydrea dose adjustment aceon prix en pharmacie en france order cialis rx safe erythromycin buy ginseng by mail nexium medication cost order furosemide online lasix what do cipro tablets look like cilostazol pletal medication how to order celebrex online phone in order for eurax treating cancer in dogs with prednisone what is singulair 4mg chewable tablets to buy trileptal in uk donde comprar feldene buy elimite 5 generic brand viagra for sale on line voltaren medication used for how much is methotrexate without insurance kamagra chewable tablets review voltaren 100 mg xr buy haridra pills seroxat 30mg side effects alavert drug schedule medicine amoxil 250 what is doxycycline used for treatment vibramycin quando usare voltaren emulgel comprar motilium original en madrid atarax medication cost Purchase allegra 120mg can i get high off aspirin ponstel express canada my mircette coupons walmart pharmacy drug list 2009 fucidin side effects skin dosis correcta de cytotec para abortar cardizem where to get pakistan pharmacy online how to order eldepryl online drugstore online buy hyzaar torsemide medicine online aristocort uk brand name xenical 120 mg buy online uk celebrex 200mg tablet compare pet insurance tadapox canada head office desyrel tablets from buy where can i buy dramamine in canada atorlip-10 india best place to buy capoten us pharmacy online zithromax what is brand cialis drugs digoxin over the couter what is provera 10mg used for brafix online aciphex fedex delivery rx buy cheap nizagara levitra 20 mg online levothroid generic drug purchase buspar in canada prilosec 10 mg cost buy tadapox for daily use purchase generic singulair i pill zestoretic website lisinopril drug information clomid walmart allegra uk brand name viagra 150mg online quiero comprar pletal alli buy online india lanoxin tablets 40mg list of tesco stores selling celebrex best place buy colospa pct januvia sales data in india can you buy live online side effects of tricor tablets nexium sales 2011 depo provera weight gain side effects allopurinol alcohol side effects nolvadex uses medication buying abortion pills online safe what drug category is retino-a cream 0,025 get accutane nhs buy eurax online no prescription united states buy brahmi tablets canadian online pharmacy for prazosin acquisto capoten sicuro online accutane hair loss statistics protonix over counter uk buy frumil have no prescription colospa pill shortage effective cefixime gonorrhea how long does it take for tegretol to get in your system baclofen birth control online canada beconase long term use aristocort dosage recommended buy tamoxifen online no prescription uk what is nexium esomeprazole for buy prednisolone for daily use lowest price myambutol buy bactroban online india pilex tablets dose vermox plus bebidas alcoholicas lisinopril 10 mg tablet lup coumadin clinic south florida lov cost flomax can you buy emsam over the counter where to purchase capoten medrol pills images clonidine no prrescription renagel generic name cost of proventil hfa without insurance generic robaxin buy generic accutane guaranteed equivalent amaryl pills sweat augmentin 1 gm differin spain cam you buy coreg canadian buy flagyl er paypal buy metronidazole tinidazole buy anafranil next day where can i buy live chickens in los angeles name brand wellbutrin cost my alli weight loss coupon pulmicort flexhaler 180 mcg price online motilium with no prescription what is the cost of sustiva online rogaine 2 india is mail order lukol safe terramycin mexico buy viagra plus greece what is doxycycline pills used for orlistat side effects forum web doctor prescriptions spironolactone side effects pregnancy remeron 30 mg 28 tablet cheap effexor xr online yasmin ed tablets side effects without a script rx buy depakote order olanzapine cheap ugg boots online shop promo code why is there a shortage of yagara aristocort reviews and dosage sarafem tablets us online generic actoplus met 17 850 buy lioresal in ireland cabaser tablets donde comprar xenical orlistat sarafem tablets online antabuse online sales bupropion xl 300 mg recall american kamagra oral jelly order lamisil canada cost of female viagra without insurance no script celebrex mg best precose prices next day cod prediction of physician visits and prescription medicine use for back pain buy adalat pills non prescription zocor pharmacy zyprexa looking for abilify generic alternative buy sildenafil citrate paypal tadalofil online uk cheap keflex tablets for dogs proscar 5 mg vs propecia generic advair diskus 60 50 accutane buy online no prescription doxycycline mono 100mg uses rocaltrol over the counter zentel worm medicine commercial citalopram cost walmart my alli diet myalliplan comprare viagra e cialis weight loss injections 2012 alli discounts schedule order cialis jelly medication by mail depakote and alcohol side effects can you buy lukol over the counter in germany names of emergency contraceptive pills available in india mirtazapine withdrawal insomnia cheap viagra jelly 40 mg co diovan novartis buy estrace in singapore benadryl 100 mg to sleep is valtrex generic effective receding hairline treatment finasteride diltiazem 60 mg tablets etodolac 200 mg capsules Purchase abilify 5mg pharmacy comprar cipro pela internet diclofenac sodium prices strattera side effects sleep cefixime for sale uk generic paxil online pharmacy acquisto evecare sicuro online buy trental online from usa valsartan hydrochlorothiazide amlodipine buy brand amoxil online no prescription canada buy coumadin quick where is nitroglycerin metabolized cheap phenamax no prescription donde comprar viagra sin receta sevilla keflex from mexico acheter pas cher rumalaya forte kamagra sale europe keflex antibiotic for std buy risperdal 15mg online how to buy atacand in london where to buy tamoxifen ointment where to buy cheap generic valtrex online prescription drugs without prescription filagra super active topamax weight loss reviews 2012 can you buy quibron-t parlodel prices at costco keppra suppliers overseas online canadian pharmacy ratings can lipitor be discontinued buy actos 40 buy lipitor boots pharmacy domperidone tablets bp buy cardura canada most common side effects of meloxicam buy brand viagra online mexico no prescription alli refill best price buy zovirax without a script seroflo medicine online aricept buy on line buying floxin buy generic triamterene with bonus ventolin over counter victoria is it illegal to order generic hoodia buy alphagan p india affordable order elocon ointment mometasone indian alliances pharmaceutical what is aricept medication for finasteride cost cvs buy cialis discreet where can you buy generic propecia how to buy zoloft azulfidine australia pharmacy pantoprazole sodium sesquihydrate usp monograph paxil 20 mg high buy avapro mg diamox supplier in uk purchase generic viagra mastercard online pharmacy directory is lipitor generic in 2011 didronel online pharmacy uk mentax legal us proscar cheapest rate order cheap overnight atacand online buy astelin overseas side effects of clomid 50mg wellbutrin generic buy lamisil capsules buy antibiotics online from india pharmacy cafergot tablets side effects ditropan shelf life elavil dose for insomnia drug sales representative job description acheter aldactone en ligne compare prices casodex fda zofran pregnancy discount citalopram otc where to buy revatio mg adderall weight loss reviews minomycin australia pharmacy detrol online order fucidin crema costo generic viagra fast delivery canadian health measures survey cycle 1 prevent hair loss after accutane midamor shelf life biaxin on line in the uk best generic viagra sites how many topamax does it take to overdose moduretic medication overnight delivery buy acticin cream zyrtec on the internet seroquel cheap india pharmacy zaditor usa sale cheap generic clonidine buy over the counter zofran online buy allopurinol singapore germany drugstore keflex prices roxithromycin rxlist long term effects of ibuprofen overdose order retino a cream 0 025 cheap can you buy amoxil over counter pastillas disgrasil lafrancol blopress plus 8 mg tabletten decadron 50mg tablets buy zestoretic patch cost of wild ginseng topamax generic price is pyridium available over the counter zyrtec tablets used for can i buy betnovate cream over the counter birth control pills bentyl praziquantel tablets for humans order alli in canada there generic form proventil ou acheter levitra sans ordonnance postgraduate pharmacy courses in ireland naprosyn online forum bactrim ds 800-160 tab how to get vermox drug fucidin generico online feldene on line for sale no script can you buy zebeta drugs online canadian pharmacy free cialis sample zovirax 800 mg prometrium 100mg reviews trusted online pharmacy prazosin to buy in england why has rhinocort been discontinued ciprofloxacin pregnancy class finpecia medicine online foods to avoid while on coumadin medicine ventolin inhaler uk erythromycin pregnancy side effects order va prescriptions online lov cost brand levitra finpecia uk pharmacy best over the counter weight loss pills at walmart cialis professional 10 mg cost lanoxin for sale online non generic brand cialis finpecia purchase in canada no prescription canadian meclizine tablet keftab comprar side effects of half-inderal 80 mg best way to get pain pills prescribed acquistare tetracycline in italia best viagra site on internet research grade zoloft which works better viagra or cialis or levitra free coupon for eulexin cheap bactroban pills purchase medrol lowest price aceon lawsuit canada where to purchase hydrochlorothiazide what is cefadroxil for cats buy minipress with visa proscar prescription instead of propecia voltaren in croatia cefadroxil over counter discount prescriptions walgreens genuine tamoxifen best price how to use mobicop real canadian superstore drugstore pharmacy is it illegal to buy canadian drugs online over the counter roxithromycin generic ponstel switzerland online drugs prednisone cardizem discount medications drug market order asacol comprar medrol original en madrid lamictal antitrust lawsuit forum buy phenergan online click venlor mg price no rx accutane online metformin 500 mg price at walmart cloridrato de sertralina efeitos fluoxetine online pay paypal comprar diflucan original aceon looking for compazine 100mg cheap how to get hydrea in australia luvox limited india generic propecia india safe
Home All Articles 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 1303 guests online

Atom RSS

State of Major League Baseball - 2008 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

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?