irbesartan generic approval noroxin shampoo bar obetrol adhd drugs lasaoren removal guide levitra 40 lamisil tablete flurazepam side effects buzzle buy vyvanse online from canada where to buy cialis online safely 164 clavamox side effects antibiotics doxepin reviews for anxiety lasix overnight no prescription tetracycline powder good for humans rhinathiol infant syrup flagyl antibiotic infection metformin weight loss metformin side effects viagra kaufen ohne rezept deutschland clonidine 0.2mg where to buy warfarin drug interactions pneumonic amoxicillin for sinus infection buying vigra in usa buy antabuse australia nootropil 800 information numbers motrin ingredients dosage low cost vardenafil premarin without prescription canada where to buy estrofem sildenafil citrate 100mg buying keflex neurontin gabapentin for anxiety norstan inc pleasant prairie wisconsin tadalafil on line fast delivery avana at the rim apartments san antonio retirides otc stocks flomist ciplactin tofefanil without a precscription keppra manufacturer coupons plavix clopidogrel 75 mg side effects fluconazole diflucan and breastfeeding thalidomide victims association clomid in women over 40 100 mg levitra cipro from canada levitra duration of action prometh codeine cough syrup buy online flexidol relax prospecto minoxidil topical solution for women terbinafine 250mg side effects fluconazole tablet over the counter diflucan on amazon relafen 750 mg street value algondones pharmacies metformin sale no prescription fentanyl transdermal patches femara buy prevacid dosage information tamsulosin hcl 0.4 mg capsule imitrex dosage instructions eurax cream walgreens kenacomb otic ear drops cvs crestor coupons printable finasteride bestellen celebrex without prescription in canada edrugstore md cialis remeron dosage strengths benemid dosage of pepto baclofen high how many to get high minocycline acne treatment duration vardenafil max dosage levitra orosolubile import cialis latisse coupons or rebates viagra en guatemala potassium chloride 20 meq abilify side effects aripiprazole cialis with priligy pills can you use zithromax for sinus infection fasigyn tablets information now oracea side effects capsule best drugstore foundation for oily skin triamterene h sobhan maxalt migraine dosage venlafaxine er 75mg elocon lotion for ears grisfulvin v no prescription claravis online lamisil generic cost flagyl without prescription clotrimazole cream for yeast infection crestor side effects patients avelox side effects medicines lunesta online insulin pumps ropinirole hcl 1 mg tablet fempro software piracy buy viagra in edinburgh ibuprofen and alcohol duphalac lactulose solvay sildenafil 100mg india vendita kamagra tamoxifen for men ropinerole no prescription buy otc antibiotics for dogs valtrex generic pharmacies in windsor ontario canada salzarex manufacturer definition vpxl male enhancement buy online tadalafil pharmacy russia lagatrim tablet therapy 2000 san antonio tesco viagra trileptal side effects oxcarbazepine amerimedrx discount tire xenical reviews 2012 etodolac side effects doctor viagra 2 tabletten online ohne rezept artane medication for dogs danazol treatment side effects generika logo cheapest viagra ebay canada nizagara ragipi tu qi brand cialis without prescription actos warning patients pioglitazone levothroid side effects synthroid praziquantel for dogs side effects dianabol steroids for sale accutane reviews 2014 cicloferon aciclovir cream 5 allegra d coupons 2013 buy lasix 25m no prescription diclofenac potassium brand name ciprodex sterile otic suspension is this for eyes diclofenac sodium alcohol relafen nabumetone medication guide cipla drugs list crestor medication assistance program order online synthroid with master card article 56 viagra erectile disfunc sildenafil dapoxetine antabuse side effects disulfiram like effect zetia medication what is it for guardian pharmacy singapore discount sildenafil citrate where is generic viagra made flonase nasal spray side effects zovirax acyclovir medication doctor lodine online without precription bestliferx pharmacy photos of pregnant celebrities 2015 exelon employment himcolin gel in u s increasing and decreasing functions khan academy famvir 500mg for cold sores pregnant man pinamox uses of computer mebendazole 100mg dosage losartan hydrochlorothiazide 100 25 lagatrim forte indications for intubation fluconazole 150mg en espanol duphalac dosage children taking cialis with viagra caverta 50mg arimidex breast cancer treatment clindamycin 300mg capsules uses citalopram online cialis 40 mg low price medicine canada aldactone side effects diuretic cialis 20 mg name brand promethazine codeine canada buy prednisone for dogs online cialis uk sales cholesterol lowering foods revatio online sales lasix or generic get lisinopril amoxil 500 mg daily dosage cialis bill me later buying flouoxetine hydrochloride online biaxin xl clarithromycin amoxicillin 500mg capsules dosage pravastatin sodium 40 mg tab side effects what is zestoretic 20 12.5 mg uk cheapest cialis online octreotide drip dose flovent inhaler coupons soloxine without prescription viasek sildenafil viagra viagra pills on sale baclofen medication half life fuenllana centro educativo nueva arava side effects leflunomide medication intimax 100 tablets review cialis free trial phone number cytoxan side effects treatment awc canadian phar cialis 40 mg dangers cheapest price for vardenafil 10mg buy viagra in egypt therapy dogs for veterans buy cialis with amex revista numero generic viagra that takes mastercard zantac side effects zantac 150 sublingual allergy drops austin tx sildegra tablet computers buy seroxat online no prescription viagra generico in farmacia amoxicillin canada kamagra 100 mg tablets nederland increasing semen volume in men polarmeds comcast email liposafe gnc weight canadian drugstore online is rxrelief card legitimate arthrotec medication uses no prescription pharmacy free shipping medameds complaints against dentists viagra sale from canadian company ibuprofen vs acetaminophen for pain xatral 10mg medication insurance commissioner wisconsin cialis extra dosage cipro tinidazole 500mg what is arthrotec 50 mg zithromax side effects in infants clonidine hcl 0.1mg for children cheapest generic super active cialis capoten contraindications for tpa buy cardizem diovan hct wholesale cost of cialis comprare viagra generico in italia erlamycetin tetes mata madu champix smoking pill reliable site for viagra order viagra mastercard avapro dosage levels citrate of magnesia colonoscopy preparation clopidogrel generic date zofran odt 4mg vigorex capsules malaysia vitamix vs blendtec vs ninja femara infertility treatment kamagra gel for sale how much prednisone for dogs fasigyn tinidazole infections domperidone side effects milk production adalat latest episode azithromycin chlamydia sertraline 50mg tablets is augmentin for strep throat zovirax acyclovir medication online increasing metabolism after 60 what is mexitil medication compra de viagra tetracycline dosage for sinus infection where can i buy cytotec to induce labor pregnant with twins week by week naproxen medication used for claravis side effects changes in eye color irbesartan 150 mg tablet doxycap tablets with windows ciales poultry chicago zovirax cream 5 what used for alfuzosin hcl 10mg costallegra plan b eddy lover speedy rx pharmacy zyloprim allopurinol side effects erythromycin suppliers in canada augmentin 625 price miguel fuenllana suhagraat ki starting kaise se hoti hai meri tinidazole 500mg dosage viagra professional 100 mg generic non generic cialis ciscutan ohne rezept diltiazem cd capsules levitra 20 mg doctor st no prescription pharmacy ambein cod sotalol atrial fibrillation extenze commercial infomercial brigitte betnovate locion capilar furosemide 40 mg canadian pharmacy axyclovoir in canada estrace side effects ivf how to buy clomid online no script finasteride 1mg mobicool mini fridge f15 amiloride 5mg side effects malegra pro 100 buy clomid online usa priligy portugal singulair medicine reviewsskelaxin what local store can buy nymphomax viprogra professional extra super viagra for women in uk accutane se strattera no script flagyl 500mg antibiotic side effects lamictal and weight gain depression buy clomiphene online 100mg herpes acyclovir tablets order betnovate n cream uses medomycin antibiotics for bronchitis buy floxin online compra segura viagra generica famciclovir side effects famvir mail order pills viagra ativan side effects flexidol tablet for kids cipla india medicines buy misoprostol online uk what is viagra soft obestat reductil philippinesobetrol lorinase syruplorinol lantus patient assistance program tadalafil malaysia buy levitra generic online is real pharmacy ordering synthroid microcidal tablets for sale where to buy nolvadex forum lantus insulin dosage chart filagra paypal cabgolin 0 250cc lanoxin side effects doctor meaning of duphaston medicine anafranil 10mg vicodin raloxifene hcl msds express prescription for antibiotic levlen birth control reviews xanax alprazolam 2mg photos of flomax side effects medication canadian online drug site reviews acquisto viagra femminile etodolac 300 mg capsule side effects ginseng angela the purple pharmacy paracetamol contraindication cytotec price cytotec for sale usa capoten side effects dose keppra level monitoring requip side effects gambling how to get real viagra where to buy lipitor online obetrol tablet bay pharmacy in canada homemade pheromones to attract women cost of viagra in kenya zyloprim contraindications ketorolac tromethamine injection side effects prescription medication mexico crestor price philippines 150 increasing semen volume naturally buy accutane canadian pharmacy online lanoxin side effects digoxin canada drugs no prescription roxifen capsules for nespresso celebrex side effects celebrex 200mg lasuna other namens voltaren 75mg side effects viagra reliable generic supply olanzapine side effects can you eat grapefruit buying cytotec uk diamox dosage altitude is it safe to buy antibiotics online augmentin dosage for dogs diclofenac generic name compra online cialis generico lipitor no perscription over the counter tretinoin buy antiboitcs online fast fast zenerx reviews prescription buy online alli medicine in alberta ca xenical de rocher peru diclofenac sodium 50mg side effects zenagra uk suprax cefixime tablets drugs like viagra methotrexate no prescription algodones pharmacy prices kemadrin discontinued davids bridal dresses ketazol shampoo for hair renagel 800 mg genzyme al posto del viagra mercury drug list of medicines is kwikmed legitimate generic methocarbamol no prescription estradiol tablets 0.5 mg phenergan side effects during pregnancy farmacias canadienses online zyvoxid pret desyrel 50mg side effects what is betnesol tablets arcoxia 60mg no 30 flexamin 1box asthma action plan for children in spanishatacand dostinex side effects cabergoline weight ordering trazadon from india healthy man viagara viagra originale certificato liquidex bodybuilding supplements viagra price in bangalore viagra types rocket raccoon plush buy misoprostol cytotec online medyka subcarpathia increasing metabolism in women over 50 arimidex dosages for men how often can you take viagra allercet tabletsalliallopurallpills nexium side effects medication allegra versace anorexia daughter dose of famciclovir for shingles xanax alprazolam side effects lamictal withdrawal symptoms side effects viagra cheap sale snort viagra tinazol cream puff trazadone online overnight avedox fc cialis canada trackable cost of carafate without insurance chloroquine side effects malaria cuckold definition slang huckleberry buy cialis miami lexapro doseage equivalent to zoloft coversyl perindopril tert butylamine salt fluconazole and alcohol what is diclofenac sodium side effects azithromycin 1 gram oral packet mirapex dosage for restless legs atosil drops pastillas ovral 21 buy viagrade with pilogy online canadian rx located in blaine wa rizatriptan benzoate maxalt mlt generic comprare zovirax tablet impact of clomid progesterone levels during pregnancy 7 weeks tryptizol drugstore female viagra side effects nexium lawsuit polarmeds comcast xfinity fentanyl side effects fentanyl patch side effects keppra 500mg for dogs with seizures toradol shot injection side effects synthroid coupons to use with insurance tablete za kontracepciju jazz www lavetrapills for sale deficiency of the kidney ambien cr side effects clomid to buy no prescription cheap non prescription propecia morphine side effects in children zithromax antibiotic dosage xalatan generic cost brand cialis sale soft tabs vs hard tabs cardinal stritch university rochester mn diane neal bio lasix medication for water retention omaggio from italy organic extra virgin olive oil nifedipine ointment drug cialis 5mg dose levitra proffesional usa latisse side effects blog resperidon to buy from india differin gel 0 3 canadian pharmacies mail order paypal tretinoin 0.05 for wrinkles reviews order xenical generic online lantus patient assistance for people with insurance maxifort tomato cheap viagra online uk euthyrox dosageseutirox amantadine medication uses levitra by mail generic flagyl pharmacy tablet pharmacy meds levitra side effects levitra vs cialis costco pharmacy prices levitra 52 wellbutrin xl vs sr torem 10 online levothyroxine for sale cymbalta and weight gain eltroxin 0 1mg lorazepam lialda side effects mesalamine enema suprax 400mg dosage buy ilosone antibiotic usa fast viagra dicyclomine 10mg information en espanol clomid 100mg online canadian pharmacy generic priligy reviews pinamox side effects baclofen 10 mg tablet terramycin for dogs directions vitamin world coupons 40 off albuterol sulfate buying it
Home Pete Toms LWIB: Recruiting Baseball Talent Globally, an Update on Minor League Attendance

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 1267 guests online

Atom RSS

LWIB: Recruiting Baseball Talent Globally, an Update on Minor League Attendance PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 98
PoorBest 
Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 10:16

Last Week in Baseball by Pete Toms

This week in LWIB, the increasingly diverse makeup of MLB and MiLB happy with attendance to date,

MLB RECRUITING GLOBALLY

LWIB, Joel Millman detailed in the WSJ how MLB is recruiting an increasing number of minor leaguers from an increasing number of countries outside the US. The federal government aided MLB in encouraging this trend by changing work visa regulations to allow greater numbers of foreign born players entry into the US. Some argue the increased number of foreign born players is a reaction to the inflationary impact of the amateur draft. Meanwhile, MLB is expected to negotiate in the next CBA an expansion of the amateur draft into Latin America in hopes of debilitating the “buscone” culture and curbing international signing bonuses. Also on the international front, is Japan a future fertile source of players? Also, MLB is investing in player development “down under”. First from Mr. Millman:

Recent changes in U.S. immigration law and growing competition in baseball for raw talent have allowed the minor-league farm system to flourish with imported players. It has been a home run for globalization, but bad news for U.S.-born players, who suddenly have much more competition. Across the minor and major leagues, the total number of foreign-born players is growing fast, to almost 3,500 of the 8,532 players under contract this summer, from 2,964 three years ago.

AND

...Today, 19 Koreans play in the minor leagues, compared with just seven five years ago.

This summer's crop of foreign players in the minors includes baseball's first-ever pros from India, two of them on the Pittsburgh Pirates' Gulf Coast league team. That league's rosters include players from Honduras, Haiti, Russia and the Czech Republic

Eight teams have minor leaguers from Brazil, including Fábio Murakami, an outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies' Williamsport, Pa., minor-league team, the Crosscutters. Mr. Murakami is one of several South Americans of Japanese descent in the minors, a list that includes Claudio Fukunaga and Lucas Nakandakare, both from Argentina and under contract to Tampa Bay.

AND

The surge of young foreign players into the U.S. minor leagues began in 2007, a few months after then-president and former major-league team owner George W. Bush signed the Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers and Teams Act, known as the Compete Act. It freed the farm systems of major-league teams from having to compete with all U.S. employers seeking H2B work visas for foreign employees, the supply of which usually was exhausted each year by February. Now, teams can import as many prospects as they want.

AND

The changes pose a challenge to American teens hoping to make the big leagues. Instead of signing hundreds of U.S. amateurs out of high school -- the traditional business model for stocking minor-league rosters -- teams are drafting fewer U.S. kids and signing more so-called nondraft free agents, the vast majority of them teenagers from Latin America.

This summer, major-league teams spent over $70 million signing nondraft free agents from outside the country. That is up from $54 million last year, and just under $30 million in 2006, the last year before the Compete Act.

Economics plays a huge role. U.S.-born players drafted out of high school rarely sign a contract to turn pro without a cash bonus, most in excess of $100,000. This summer, the Cubs have forked out more than $6 million in signing bonuses to 26 U.S. prospects, an average of nearly a quarter million apiece.

While some foreign players like Mr. Lee got hefty signing bonuses, the majority do not. Latin players in particular can be had for a lot less -- just $10,000 in the case of Venezuelan pitcher Eduardo Figueroa, one of Mr. Lee's teammates. Third baseman George Matheus, another Hawk from Venezuela, received $15,000 for signing.

AND

In the past, visa restrictions meant many foreign prospects were sent to play for sister teams in places like the Dominican Republic and Australia, where they tried to get enough visibility to fill a coveted visa spot. Nowadays, teams figure they can train foreign talent personally, and give youngsters a chance to learn English and assimilate with U.S.-born teammates.

Select Read More to see the rest more on recruiting players globally, as well as, an update on minor league attendance

 

The Pirates signing of two players from India this winter caused Diane M. Grassi to question MLB’s desire to recruit talent from US “inner city” communities.

 

But in spite of this feel good rags-to-riches story, it, still begs an important question: Are two college age men from northern India with no prior exposure ever to the game of baseball, including limited athletic experience, good enough to even be considered for baseball’s minor or major leagues? If that is the case, then why not consider the youth from the inner cities across America, too?

For the knock against pursuing such young men from our city streets, according to MLB’s scouts and instructors stateside, is that they have not had enough exposure to the game as youngsters, given few playing opportunities for them. The excuse heard over and over again is that by the time they reach high school it is too late for them to learn the fundamentals of baseball. But these two guys from India pass the test? Gotta wonder…

In February 2007 Ms. Grassi was similarly critical of the aforementioned “Compete Act”, arguing that the federal government was abetting MLB in abandoning African American communities as a source of playing talent in favour of cheaper talent available in Latin America.

All major league teams have academies and/or share facilities primarily in the Dominican Republic with a few remaining in Venezuela, where building has tailed off due to civil unrest. But in its latest coup, MLB has gotten an even bigger break from the federal government in a recent change in the Immigration & Nationality Act, which was hardly publicized. Amended by the U.S. Congress in 2006 and signed into law on December 22, 2006 by President George W. Bush, it is known as the “Compete Act of 2006” or the “Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers and Teams Through Legal Entry Act of 2006.”

The legislation changes the visa status of foreign-born minor league players to be able to use P-1 visas, formerly reserved only for major league players, and an upgrade from the H-2B visas, generally used by temporary foreign-born workers in numerous industries. Each team previously was limited to 26 H-2B visas per season for its minor leagues. Major leagues have no numerical limitations with the P-1 visa, valid for a period of 10 years.

Given that over 40% of minor leaguers are foreign-born and that most of them are from the Dominican Republic, this will enable a continuous pipeline of Latin American players. MLB’s foreign academies house, feed, school and teach athletic skills to boys as young as 10 years old until they are age 16, who are then allowed to sign minor league contracts. In the U.S., a player must be 18 years old to sign a minor league contract and then must go through the draft system.

Young Dominicans have the opportunity to benefit from more than just baseball skills but preparation for a life in the U.S. as well. They are given a chance to at least temporarily leave a life of depravity. By the same token, very few of these youngsters statistically make it to the major leagues and even prior to their new visa status, hundreds of minor leaguers were brought to the U.S. each year only to be relieved of their services. Hundreds of Dominican players also never return to their homeland and remain in the U.S. as illegal immigrants, primarily surviving in the underground economy of New York City.

AND

It has been said that Latin players in the Dominican Republic sign for contracts between 5 and 10 cents on the dollar compared to their U.S. counterparts. And with approximately 400 Dominican players signed each year to minor league contracts, MLB can celebrate its unhampered pipeline of such as well as its new surprisingly cozy relationship with the U.S. Congress which it lobbied along with the U.S. State Department, for these immigration law changes.

AND

But it remains a lose-lose for communities across the U.S. which finance sky box stadiums, unable to afford tickets for their families, for games played on the backs of many exploited athletes who never make it to the big leagues and at the expense of our own children, who of little means, are never even encouraged to play baseball by its biggest profiteers.

For there is a proviso in the immigration law which both the U.S. Congress and MLB conveniently overlooked. The policy developed in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, now the Department of Homeland Security, granted MLB its visa program, contingent upon foreign-born players only occupying positions on a team that could not be filled by U.S. citizens.

Obviously, the U.S. government and MLB have come to the conclusion that playing baseball should be included among those “jobs Americans won’t do.” Terribly convenient, but sad for the game of baseball, no longer to be considered an equal opportunity employer.

Did the introduction of the amateur draft in 1965 inflate the costs of acquiring players domestically and lead clubs to allocate more player development resources outside the US? Would an expansion of the amateur draft into Latin America (most notably to the Dominican Republic) have the same effect? From a 2003 Emory University School of Law Paper, “U.S. Labor Market Regulation and the Export of Employment: Major League Baseball Replaces U.S. Players with Foreigners” (read in PDF):

Our analysis of the market for professional baseball players shows that domestic labor-market restrictions have reduced domestic employment, especially of African-Americans, with employers instead shifting employment overseas. Our theoretical model suggests that, in 1965, the imposition of both the player draft and stricter age minimums for hiring U.S. players reduced the benefits of signing and developing U.S. players, especially players from disadvantaged groups such as African-Americans. Our empirical analysis, using a new data set, then shows that, in response, teams have shifted to developing and hiring players from other countries where the regulations do not apply, such as Latin America.”

AND

In the 1990s, Puerto Rico has been the one exception to the increasing number of Latin-born players in MLB, providing declining numbers of players.....The draft again explains this....Teams quickly cut back their scouting and development efforts in Puerto Rico....In less than a decade after 1989, the number of Puerto Rican players signed per year had dropped more than 40%.”

Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations was quoted in April 2007 in a piece from Chris Isidore."Clubs do leverage their dollars much better if they develop a kid in a country not subject to the draft," "Those decisions are purely business decisions, very pragmatic business decisions."

Will the struggles of Japanese professional baseball lead to more Japanese players in the US and at increasingly younger ages? First, from a recent report by Junko Fujita on the challenges facing Japanese baseball in light of the global recession.

Despite earning similar revenues to Major League Baseball teams in North America, few of Japan's 12 big professional outfits say they are profitable, prompting even their once-indulgent owners to cut costs in tough times.

Add in the credit crunch and sliding TV revenues and teams are tightening their purse strings in ever more dramatic and visible ways, including the imminent departure of high-profile American manager Bobby Valentine from the Chiba Lotte Marines.

"However hard Japanese baseball teams work to cut costs and boost revenue, most of them can't become profitable," said Munehiko Harada, a sports management professor at Waseda University. "They have done so much but they are still struggling. We might be seeing the limit of their potential now."

AND

U.S. baseball teams typically own stadiums or get subsidized access to public facilities but most Japanese teams hire venues at commercial rates, often from private investors.

The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks pay 4.8 billion yen ($49 million) a year, a quarter of their annual revenue, to the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), owner of the team's home stadium, said Itaru Kobayashi, a team director.

That is about seven times the sum the New York Yankees paid New York City for its former home, the Yankee Stadium, records from the New York City Comptroller's Office show.

The Hawks, now owned by a mobile phone company, Softbank Corp, have never made a profit since the team was founded in 1938 despite having the fourth-highest audience.

"I always ask myself why it costs so much to operate a baseball team in Japan," Kobayashi laments.

Japanese teams survive because their losses are treated as tax-deductible marketing costs for their corporate owners, which include meat packer Nippon Meat Packers Inc, leasing company Orix Corp and drink maker Yakult Honsha.

But the sustainability of that model may be in doubt as team owners such as Orix, with a huge exposure to a troubled property market, face difficult times.

In March, John Krich reported in the WSJ on speculation that greater numbers of Japanese baseball players could be coming to the US.

There are expected to be 16 players of Japanese origin in the Major Leagues this season, the most ever, with an equal number in the U.S. minor leagues.

AND

So far, there has been little public clamor about the defection of stars to the U.S. Their performances, followed in detail on nightly television recaps and an increasing number of live broadcasts, fuel national pride more than a sense of loss. But what if players begin to jump ship en masse, lured not merely by the mystique of higher-level competition, but U.S. salaries? They average $3 million a year, about five times the average in Japan. (Recently, Japanese teams have at least unofficially loosened rules controlling players' income from marketing and endorsements.)

The onerous length of service before free agency is granted has served to keep most players in Japan for the bulk of their careers. Rules are being eased for players seeking to change teams within Japan, with free agency now granted after eight years (soon to be seven). But there is no sign the NPB is relenting on speeding foreign transfers.

If player and team agree, a player can be "posted" before the nine years is up -- essentially, sold at auction to the highest U.S. bidder. And given the bids for Mr. Matsuzaka in 2007, many observers believe more Japanese teams will go for the money, though some note that a period of economic contraction is a bad time to "get addicted" to big U.S. payouts. And Yomiuri, the publishing giant whose Giants team still dominates revenues and publicity for the Japanese league, has decried selling off the country's best players as succumbing to the "dark side." Says one consultant, "For them, it's a Samurai thing."

A further crack in Japan's player-control system appeared just this year when Junichi Tazawa, a high-school star left undrafted by the Japanese leagues, decided to offer himself directly to the Boston Red Sox. Japanese owners want to ban such renegades from returning to play in Japan for two or three years; a spokesman for the players' union says that this is still being contested.

Some observers argue that cultural factors will keep Japanese prospects from jumping in huge numbers. "Unlike poor Latin Americans, the Japanese won't be as motivated to endure the hardships of the U.S. minor leagues, the language and food problems, when they can have cushy jobs playing for Japanese company teams," said one adviser.

AND

Could the solution to Japan's talent drain come in some eventual absorption of the Japanese leagues into the U.S. Major Leagues? Some baseball insiders see signs of this in the successful staging of the Classic. (LWIB note, “Classic” is the World Baseball Classic) Other positive signs include recent "working agreements" between Japanese and U.S. teams.

Alternatively, Japanese owners might add franchises in South Korea, Taiwan and China, creating a wider, all-Asia league stocked with international players. "That would be a dream come true," says Lotte Marines' manager Mr. Valentine.

Further evidence of MLB’s efforts to develop talent outside the US was revealed in last month’s announcement by the Australian Baseball Federation that they are partnering with MLB on a launching a new national league. Dan Baynes reported for Bloomberg;

The Australian Baseball Federation said it will collaborate with Major League Baseball on the competition. A time frame hasn’t been set, though it could start as early as 2010, said Mark Peters, who will oversee the league’s establishment.

Australia’s federal government will contribute A$400,000 ($323,000) in funding, Sports Minister Kate Ellis said today. Major League Baseball will also invest in the competition, whose predecessor was disbanded a decade ago because it wasn’t financially viable.

“That’s one of the things we’re working on,” Peters said in a telephone interview. “Major League Baseball will be a major backer because they actually believe in Australian baseball and that this league will work.”

MiLB ATTENDANCE UPDATE

LWIB, MiLB announced that attendance through the end of July is down 2.9% from the record setting 2008 season. Given the challenges of selling tickets during a recession, MiLB President Pat O’Conner professed to be quite satisfied with the results to date.

Minor League Baseball clubs attracted over 10 million fans last month, raising the season total to more than 30.5 million. A majority of the leagues experienced increases in their average crowds through July, compared to 2008.

The Florida State League, with a 12.5% hike, leads eight of the 15 circuits that are witnessing larger crowds. The others are the California (4.9%); International (2.2%); New York-Penn (1.7%); Eastern (1.2%); Appalachian (1.0%); Pioneer (0.3%); and South Atlantic (0.1%).

The overall average crowd of 4,045 is 2.9%, or 120 fans, less than 2008 when Minor League Baseball set its attendance record.

"Our clubs are feeling the affects of challenging weather and the economy, but continue to report impressive attendance numbers," stated Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner. "To be less than 3% behind last year's record-setting pace is encouraging. Our fans continue to turn out and our clubs continue to treat them to affordable, family entertainment in first rate venues throughout the country."


Pete Toms is an author for the Business of Sports Network, most notably, The Biz of Baseball. He looks forward to your comments and can be contacted through The Biz of Baseball.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter Twitter

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?