cardinal community credit union online banking lasuna garlic clove alphagan 0.2 can you buy phenergan online letrozole for sale online birth control mircette reviews generic drug for vytorin valium overdose amount diazepam overdose contact yahoo triam hctz mail order tetracycline without prescription oristat pills overniight meds onlone pharmacy use of paracetamol in pregnancy lamisil spray free trials team viagra bupropion hcl xl 300 mg coupons robaxin 500mg vs flexeril famciclovir drug class indomethacin dosage gout meloxicam 1 5mg uk peritol side effects flazol 500mg vicodin inderal la for migraines zofran ex vrdrug medicine cabinets sibutramine for sale philippines zantac side effects clozapine side effects rocket power theme song sureway transportation company actos warning patients pioglitazone novolog 70/30 sliding scale therapy for depression and anxiety nosipren prednisone 20 mg tablet 5 months pregnant celebrities 2015 zoloft and breastfeeding antidepressants do you need a prescription of strattera renagel 800 mg baristanet montclair nj police news lidoderm patch buy cialis 20mg online atenolol drug medication glycomet sr 500 domperidone canada vitamin world finasteride generic uk buy viagra jelly wellbutrin weight loss wellbutrin and alcohol has anyone bought generic vigra epanutin medication identification buy aldara cream india magnesium citrate side effects overdose sertraline medication for children nitrazepam prospect capital corporation medicines without a prescriptions pilexil capsules sizes thuoc renapril 5mg percocet lamisil foot cream website 1000mg oral dose of azithromycin online tiotropium pronunciation of words zantac 150 vardenafil hcl 10mg generic ampicillin overnight delivery metformin dosages pfizer stock price morningstar kemadrin procyclidine purchase music lexapro vs celexa what pills can get you high list micardis hct 80mg 12 5mg side effects zovirax cream treatment genital herpes doxycycline canada propecia from india global pharmacy canada caffeine overdose symptoms cups salazopyrin en tab what is zithromax called in mexico diclofenac over the counter uk primamedics scam school caffeine side effects headache elavil dosage cardizem cd caps 240 mg side effects amoxicillin dosage chart for kids lialda coupon 2013 dianabol for sale online why clomid day 3 and not 5 adipex side effects doctor misoprostol induction guidelines prinivil lisinopril pictures mircette side effects mood how long neurontin to work for pain asacol hd 800 mg who is the manufacturer levitra price at costco rogaine rebate walgreens morphine sulfate liquid aviane reviews weight gain dalacin 300mg interactionsdanazol how much does linezolid cost quien vende lipitor prednisone side effects in humans inderal for migraines dosage liquidex for sale canadian pharmacies selling avodart diamox dosage for altitude sickness levofloxacin side effects anxiety actos plus metformin dosages cytoxan in usa online buy birth control without prescription vipps buy viagra valacyclovir hcl 1 gram how to make sildenafil citrate cialis 20mg forum erectalis 20 cheap online bisoprolol hydrochlorothiazide side effects flomax for women with kidney stones kegunaan obat grathazon dexamethazon cialis viagra levitra tizanidine 4mg side effects maxaman ingredients in benadryl hydrodiuril manufacturers flexidol tablets doxycycline for cats generic cialis without prescriptions vente viagra penegra xpress 50 wellbutrin and alcohol seizure suprax antibiotic for children does teva 5312 500 treats stds amlodipine side effects side effects viagra for sale in nz arthritis symptoms in hands and fingers erectile drugs sale prednisone 5mg side effects cialais pills best price for viagra brand trusted rx pharmacy polarmeds in canada application best generic cialis pharmacy cost of clozaril medication mometasone cream side effects finasterid buy london us online pharmacies overnight delivery mestinon medication myasthenia alli online shipping canadian pharmacy cialis professional claritin d side effects with alcohol advantage car rental denver airport pulmicort nebulizer dosage epharmacy usa ordering metformin canada magnesium rich foods list proscar canada nizoral shampoo 2 walgreens viagra with american express canada generika logo allopurinol medication information medication dictionary cialis and blood pressure goodrx app for ipad toprol xl side effects taking acheter alli en ligne dostinex recall doctordoxazosin trazodone sleep dosage avodart side effects in women cephalexin for dogs without rx cheap celebrex without a script buy regenon online acyclovir philippines strattera medication information omeprazole side effects and cautions albuterol inhaler side effects in kids buying pain pills online vivanza 20mg insulin syringes 1cc safe black market viagra pulmicort respules 0.25 mg viagra sample packs 8 mg zofran purchase prednisone no prescription cleocin hcl dosage propecia generico where can i buy cialis online cheap micardis 40 mg generic where to purchase cortisone injections buy caverta viagra in thailand proviron side effects mesterolone dosage awc canadian phar cipro without prescription yasmin le bon amber confidex silverline audio casodex 50 mg compra viagra online sofilex wikipedia himcolin gel in india zithrogen 500 calorie bay levrita from usa where to buy cialis daily use lopressor generic brand viagra online ratings tryptizol 10mg uses for baking spiriva inhaler coupons nizoral cream 2 information claravis treatment for acne leukeran drugstore ativan medication rumafen diclofenac sodium 50mg tbec kamagra perth topimax paypal canadian pharmacies in windsor parafortan tabs3 venlafaxine 75mg capsules luvox crazy meds terramicina pomada dilantin toxicity symptoms canadain amoxicillin buy accutane canadian pharmacy online carbimazole dosages viagra sicher online kaufen artane dublin map 132 buy antibodies without pres order kamagra online mixing amoxil and alcohol azulfidine sulfasalazine dosage for dogs leconfield kennels of springdale prozac for dogs drug fluoxetine keflex bactrim chlamydia pulmicort side effects carprofen 100 mg 180 count zovirax for cold sores torsemide dosage for dogs aleve pain medication aleve dosage super viagra for sale achat de viagra au oracea side effects doxycycline rash zinoxime 750 ml hyzaar side effects grapefruit macrodantin side effects breast feeding benadryl for infants and toddlers zovirax canada cymbalta and weight gain cymbalta and weight loss quinine in tonic water side effects i need to order levlen express buy viagra powered by phpbb allegra d side effects doctor buspirone and alcohol interactionbuyindocinbuylevitra cheap generic viagra uk vrdrug forum cinemas mojo pills to get erections albuterol sulfate inhalation solution price requip medication generic zyrtec coupons printable zyban side effects wellbutrin aciphex medication information where can i get predisone clindamicina dosis zoloft rx canadian express pharmacy viagra with ot prisetion oxybutynin medication dosage tenormin 100 mg cialis 5mg filmtabletten 28 stuck where can i buy cialis with paypal real viagra online no prescription hydroxyzine pamoate vistaril for anxiety mirtazapine for dogs dosage clenbuterol side effects athletes novolog 70/30 vs humalog 75/25 bactroban nasal ointment before surgery lawrence walter pharmacy mincorp plcmc cephalexin 500mg capsule antibiotic used to treat teeth doxazosin 2mg side effect terramicina oxitetraciclina uses anxiety disorder symptoms in women liposafe gnc store walmart online shopping russian dianabol reviews vitamix vs blendtec consumer reports achat en ligne cialis canada pentrexyl ampicillin mexico lamotrigine rash pictures tadapox in india clozaril side effects clozapine amikacin injection for dogs vermox dosage metazole 5 mg buy cyprostol without prescrition linezolid mechanism of action ciproxin ciprofloxacin eye rhinocort nasal spray generic does doxycycline work for acne amerimedrx scam cefabiot 500mg tylenol order pain pills online no prescription healthy man viagra scam erexin maximum male strength by age samonas sound therapy brain betacin tablets for sale can you break generic viagra xerograx capsulas de colageno sildenafil citrate tablets 25mg bonadoxina pfizer dosis pastillas para adelgazar ventolin tablets lagatrim tablets at walmart tadalafil cialis phamacy ciprobay ciprofloxacin antibiotics canadian pharmacy generic drugs baytril dogs antibiotic infectionsbeconase order cipro 500 mg tablets cialis 20mg tablets prices buy zoloft overnight delivery ny buy amatriptyline cheap canadian drug store no script levitra price increase viagra online indonesia asthma action plan for children in spanishatacand insulin resistance in horses glucophage without prescription buy sildenafil 100mg xenical shipper vosteran removal instructions livial tibolone treatment for ringworm paracetamol in pregnancy buy prednisone without precription glipizide er 5 mg tablet generic viagra pictures exelon patch for dementia ciacil tablets computerscialaiscialasciales medrol dose pack 4 mg no rx alendronate sodium long term side effects omaggio olive oil private reserve indianapolis chlamydia symptoms in women sumycin and achromycin oracea reviews acne biomedical alliance order cialis from india walmart pharmacy sildenafil 100mg med baristanet montclair nj police salary zestril 20mg tabletszetia what is calis made of order nitroglycerin femara drug classification original viagra online profesional viagra vicodin pills fir sale in montreal evista generic cialis super active 20mg pills hoodia weight loss patch oprah differin cream 0.1 reviews thalidomide history wikipedia kamagra hong kong viagra 50mg and 25mg sample packs online apotheke deutschland cialis obat pariet maxaman reviews for 50 diflucan side effects in infants flonase coupons retin a micro website capoten 25mg cialis potenzmittel shop 2077 buy periactin weight gain pills canadian pharcharmy online online cialis sales aspirin vs ibuprofen distributor propecia di indonesia over the counter sildenafil citrate no prescription drugs overnight nuvigil vs provigil which is better for adhd side effects of terbutaline in pregnancy best price on cialis coupon fucidin ointment sublingual drugs list imitrex migraine medications bystolic medication pharmacy viagra online in sri lanka clonidine drug study general classification zoloft weight gain zoloft withdrawal motilium over the counter voltaren pills dosage slimex 15mg capsules erythromycin canada pharmacy clonidine side effects in children with adhd antibiotics overnight shipping norlevo torrinomedica buy rx without script levitra odt kamagra gold100 xanax withdrawal symptoms treatment pharmacy international kamagrafast crookshanks cialis cost at cvs canadian pharmacy femara cialis sky pharmacy advair coupons $50 buy tretinoin without a prescription buy gonorrhea treatment zyvox generic release date ritalin and alcohol erowid novolog side effects buy minocycliyn in europe zyprexa street value buy flagyl online legal online pharmacy valtrex zinoxime 750 amzocor purple pharmacy mexico usa overnight pharmacy software engineering tutorial lexapro withdrawal heart palpitations over the counter viagra canada viagra trial pack lumigan eye drops for glaucoma side effects caffeine withdrawal symptoms in newborns viagra in aereo forum viagra mexico shooting up buspirone to get high alendronate sodium fosamax cost cheap cialis brand name ebay canada for cialis 5 mg price donde puedo comprar viagra levitra on beprogel lotion warmer proventil inhaler coupons fluoxetine capsules 20mg wlik medicine alendronate sodium fosamax dosage prednisone dosage for dogs with allergies cheap viagra super active plus bactroban nasal ointment dianabol cycle length misoprostol induction of fetal demise where can buy viagra cheapest price buy indian erythromycin costco photo center canada whats the best mg of viagra insurance quotes online buy cialis without pescription frumil lsd buy cialis safely cheap viagra and cialis insurance companies in florida keftab vs keflex dosage levitra 20 mg dose cytoxan side effects message board ivermectin price usa cordarone amiodarone side effects etodolac 400 mg dose en espanol viagra melbourne augmentin for sinus infection side effects canadian phrmacy provera and clomid to conceive marcos feliciano costco locations in north carolina vigrx plus scam online pharmacy india paypal verapamil er 120mg cap jasmine sanders dl hughley show buy aldactone usa viagra stl buy online what is prometrium 100mg capsules bactrim ds dosage for skin infections viagra immediate delivery compra cialis 5 mg warfarin and vitamin k foods australia product characteristics cialis uk no prescription online thailand pharmacy buy tadalafil cheap order periactin no prescription hardon pills medicines how much is viagra 100mg salazopyrin for arthritis cheap generic cialis shipped from usa trazodone overdose emedicine fluconazole for dogs ears generisches viagra naproxen side effects patients aciphex 20 mg drug order cheap cialis cardizem side effects diltiazem propecia achat en ligne fosamax dosage lamotrigine lamictal side effects headaches nizagara tablets canadian pharmacy lantus insulin side effects astromenda uninstall windows 7 femara without a prescription actos lawsuit update coupon codes berifen 100 lasuna food poisoning skelaxin muscle relaxer over the counter cheap no prescription meds awc conadian pharmacy promo code who sell metformin sertralina de 50 mg enalapril side effects coughing misoprostol in saudi arabia zyban smoking cessation program
Home Biz of Baseball - Interviews Interview - Bob Costas - Broadcast Icon and Author

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 804 guests online

Atom RSS

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 


Team Payroll and the Wildcard System

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Relocation of the Expos

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


BizBall: How does Portland factor into this situation?

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

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

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


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


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


Marketing MLB, and the health of baseball

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The future of Bob Costas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?