The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 Gamble, known for big hair, lefty power, dies

Oscar Gamble, a lefty-swinging hitter popularly known for the large Afro hairstyle he wore in the 1970s, died Wednesday at age 68.

Gamble’s death was confirmed by Andrew Levy, his agent. His wife, Lovell Woods Gamble, said Gamble died in Birmingham, Ala., of a rare tumor of the jaw, according to a report by The Associated Press.

Gamble played seven of his 17 Major League seasons with the Yankees, who employed him as a pull hitter who could platoon or come off the bench and take aim at the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium, in 1976 and again from 1979-84. He hit a career-high 31 home runs for the “South Side Hitmen” White Sox in 1977 and also spent time with the Cubs, Phillies, Indians, Rangers and Padres.

His agent, Levy, had a beautiful quote about Gamble, “He was the player on the Yankees known for big hair. But those who knew him best will remember his big heart.  R.I.P. Oscar Gamble.” Very sweet tribute to his client.

It was always a bit of a shame that Gamble missed out on the two World Series wins of the late 1970s.

Here’s his afro in all of its (slightly reduced when he joined the Yankees, so you can only imagine how big it was for other teams) glory…

--Posted at 7:45 pm by Brian Cronin / 109 Comments | - (0)


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They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.

RIP Oscar.

Cool batting stance, cool baseball cards, and a career 127 OPS+. RIP.

Was just looking up contemporaries, and was reminded again about Jim Rice and his pissant career WAR, and Craig Nettles not being in the HoF despite having over 20 more WAR in his career.

Fucking Gammonites.

But Jim Rice was so grim. That was worth a more than your silly advanced stats. Where’s the stat to measure grimness?!

Don’t remember 70’s Gamble, but do for the 80’s stint.  Big fan. Very sad to hear about his passing.

They traded him away in spring training of ‘77 because George had been daed set on getting Reggie. Oscar was pulled off a bus bound for an exhibition game somewhere and said, you’re making a mistake–I’m better than Reggie Jackson. It wasn’t true, but then he hit 31 home runs and besides, you have to admire the cojones.

Just one more thing on Gardner (and again, I’m cool with keeping him.)

If a team is willing to value him as a 4 win player for the next two years and give up value as such, the Yankees really need to consider it.  The Yankees have two plus defensive COF already who are better overall than him.  A big part of his skill set is his defense.  The Yankees won’t be able to fully utilize Gardner without lessening the value of either Stanton or Judge (by DHing them to give Gardner playing time.)

If they traded Gardner and got a big bat to DH on the cheap, they would have about the same projection as a team while saving a few dollars to throw at another need (like an infielder or gold toilets on the Steinbrenner’s assistant’s yacht.) 

As deep as their OF is, their IF is shockingly thin.  The backup 1B is Tyler Austin and their backup infielder is…Jace Peterson? Torreyes?  Tyler Wade?

Playing Gardner in CF and trading Hicks is another, similar solution.

Betts won his arb hearing with the Sox.  Good for him.  Good for the Yankees.

Everyone keeps talking about trading Gardner, just want to add my two cents.

If Gardy is producing at his typical level the first few months of 2018, does he have more trade value during the season than now? Wouldn’t we expect GMs to be more motivated to get him if they lose a player or two to injury or if their teams are in the hunt and they need a piece to put them over the top? Obviously with the potential for greater reward, there is a greater risk (Gardy could get hurt, or his performance could be worse than expected).

Cashman has gambled before, but it seems like his gambles would typically involve paying more money to get value out of an old player or a rehab case.

I can’t believe I am saying this because I a numbers person. I need data to qualify something. So “intangibles” and “chemistry” is kind of bs to me. That said, there is a major psychological factor to playing sports and being on a team. As mentioned before, Gardner is the team leader. Trading him now is one thing. Trading him mid-season would be a WTF moment for the players and could have a negative impact. I mean, at the end of the day talent wins, but you can’t help but think the clubhouse losing Gardner would be a problem with the players.

If a team is willing to value him as a 4 win player for the next two years and give up value as such, the Yankees really need to consider it.  The Yankees have two plus defensive COF already who are better overall than him.  A big part of his skill set is his defense.

I’m curious about who these two other CF are that you think are better than Gardner ?

COF=corner outfielder

Stanton, Giancarlo
Judge, Aaron

[10] I hear you.  I have no problem talking about “intangibles”, because players are not robots (although I am pretty sure John Flaherty is a robot).  The impact of those intangibles on performance is speculation, of course.  There is the story about Mattingly putting a stop to the hazing of Bernie Williams early in Bernie’s career - whether or not we can see an impact on the field, it was probably a relief for Bernie to not have to deal with BS every day at work. 

When you hear players gush about the personality of guys like Thome, Jeter, and the elder A-Rod, you imagine that clubhouse drama gets tamped down pretty quickly when those guys are on your team - less distractions equals more focus I suppose.  Unless every player kept extensive diaries every day about their “feelings”, there is no tangible way to show any relationship between the emotions and the performance.  I suppose it would be interesting to collect that data from a sports psychology perspective, but is any team going to want to participate in something like that?

[13] I actually didn’t read the article because I’m not an ESPN Insider, but MLBTR had this blurb on Cashman from an Olney piece:

After Cashman “saw a deficiency” in the way the Yankees were functioning in comparison to the Red Sox, he “went on a crusade” to improve the organization. Since then, the Yankees have revamped their pro scouting department, created what Cashman believes is an enviable quantitative analysis team, implemented a “second-to-none mental skills program” and tried when possible to copy the performance science methods of European soccer teams and Australian rules football clubs.

Second-to-none mental skills program caught my attention. I could see Cashman possibly going down that road to collect data from it.

If I’m reading that right Cashman is a Jedi now?

I have a feeling that importing Australian morale-boosters is not going to work for CC.

Was just looking up contemporaries, and was reminded again about Jim Rice and his pissant career WAR, and Craig Nettles not being in the HoF despite having over 20 more WAR in his career.

His career bWAR (without the BS Leverage adjustment) and his fWAR are better than Mariano’s. By a lot.

Just sayin…

But Oscar Gamble was before my time.  I have no memory of him at all.

One year and $7 mil was the sticking point on signing Bonds in 92. I completely forgot about this.

I met gamble once. He was sitting by Stans (on River ave) signing autographs. I told him thanks for the memories and the guy standing next to him told me autographs are $25, so I don’t have it.

[19] Signing Bonds might have gotten them to go all in and trade the core of the late 90s dynasty. Plus, Bonds might have never gotten hooked up with the BALCO guys to truly unlock his monster Ruthian years in the early 00s.

The Yankees missed out on Bonds and Maddux and still had a dynasty. Go figure.

F@#& Bonds.

The greatest play in Yankee Stadium history.

Did he ever break a TV in a bar ? From within the batter’s box, I mean ?

No. No, he did not.

“greatest”. Pffft.

Side note- all of MLB’s suggestions to speed up the game are DUMB. Extra inning runner on 2nd? Bullpen carts?

Everyone knows the biggest detriment are mound visits, especially by the catcher. Fans know it, players know it, the league knows it.

Coaches can only visit once an inning or else the pitcher must come out. Catchers can go an unlimited amount of times. Catcher visits should count towards the coaches visits. Moreover, you should only have a limited amount of visits a game where the pitcher cannot be removed.

Players will say they need the visit to discuss strategy, signs, calming a pitcher down. I say, oh well, that’s part of the game. If a pitcher isn’t calm, shit happens. That’s baseball. Mixed up on signs? Your own fault, figure it out between innings.

Also, actually enforce the pitch clock. I worked in MiLB for a few years. They had them, but never once was a ball called on a pitcher for going past 20 seconds. Players have been griping about that, but you can do your job in that time. The NBA didn’t always have a shot clock and the NFL didn’t always have a play clock. Those are leagues turned out fine.

And for those who think replay takes too long…how about a clock on that too? Can’t make up your mind in 2 or 3 minutes? Call on the field stands.

There’s nothing wrong with the speed of the game. Most games aren’t crazy long. The ones that are are often classics. People just need something to complain about.

If you want to fix something, shift all the West Coast games to EST scheduling.

[26] the extra-innings thing is fucking bonkers, but the bullpen carts is apparently a player idea.

MLB is talking about limiting mound visits to 6 per game, but that may just be coach/manager visits.

Why not just give pitchers/catchers headsets/earpieces like in football?

[27] 7PM starts anywhere are just dumb. Even 630 would be a vast improvement.

Isn’t the biggest issue with time of game all the commercials?  Followed by batters stepping out on every pitch then doing their little back in the box routine?

I don’t think games are too long, but I guess I rarely really watch games from start to finish anymore.  So maybe they are.

I don’t think games are long either. But we’re also big fans of the game who don’t care about time. I’ll watch the typical 4 hour Yankees game and not blink an eye.

Average sports consumers DO CARE though. MLB should be doing whatever it can to attract consumers and viewers. Else the sport we love will fall by the wayside in the coming decades. The NBA is about to eclipse it and MLS probably will too in 20 years. Getting a game to 2:30-2:45 is vital (among other things).

And yes, 6-6:30 start times would help too. The batter stepping out thing would be helped with the 20 second pitch clock enforced. If you’re not back in the box the pitcher will just fire an easy FB down the middle for a strike.

[31] There’s no chance of MLS eclipsing baseball. The MLS is fucking terrible.

I like soccer.

[32] I’m with ya. But who would have thought every menu would have GMO/gluten-free, vegan non-dairy options 20 years ago? Soccer is giant with the millennial. Yes, most people watch European soccer over the MLS but MLS is growing.

I can’t find where I saw it, but recently there was polling for people aged like 12-24 or something like that and soccer/MLS was kicking baseball/MLB butt in popularity.

One the biggest recent changes to the game is the proliferation of in inning pitching changes.  It takes a lot of time to change pitchers.  On top of that, lots of the catcher and infielder visits are to waste time waiting for the next pitcher to warm up.  This adds up to a lot of dead time.

I don’t have a good solution, limit the number of in inning pitching changes?  Cut down the number of warmup pitches?  Limit visits, thereby limiting the number of changes?  Bullpen cars (Sparky saves and Datsun saves)?  I don’t like any of those.

Why don’t they like it! Let’s just tear it apart until we find the hidden problem!

One inning games, every AB ends in a strike out or a 12-run HR. ABs limited to 12 seconds. Only approved good-looking players in spandex covered with sponsor ads.

None of the changes they’re considering will get them the audience you’re talking about. They’re not coming to baseball over basketball or soccer simply because you give them less baseball per game.

Doesn’t work like that. Emphasize your strengths, get the most of the audience you’re actually going to get. Baseball was doing great just a few years back. I don’t think it’s doing badly today.

I should add - hasn’t the NFL had a rule for years that playoff games aren’t allowed to begin until the last young fan is confirmed to be asleep? And yet it’s still on top.

What they want is a shorter game with more time for commercials. Sadly, that will kill the game faster than anything else. It has made football and basketball unwatchable.

The cat and mouse between a runner and pitcher is an important part of the game. Installing a clock would give the runner a huge advantage. So we’d need to go softball style, no leads or stealing. Also killing the game.

Castro wants out of MIA, do we take him back in exchange for Frazier ?

Let’s be honest though, the pitcher visits are unnecessary and annoying, even to hardcore fans. And it’s not a part of the game until the Major Leagues. It’s not in travel ball, high school, and even college.

Even limiting the amount of pitching changes will help. I was at a Giants game once where Bruce Brochy made THREE changes in ONE inning! You know what, if the pitcher is sucking or the matchup isn’t great, oh well. People love strategy- that is strategy! I only have xyz changes left, do I play the matchup or keep this guy in? Or this guy doesn’t have it today, do I make a change or concede the day and save the pen for tomorrow?

[38] Lol no

I was privy to some of the sports marketing research on “What would make non-fans become fans” in boxing, and every wag-the-dog suggestion that got implemented just was met with hostility from hardcore fans and indifference among casual/non-fans. We moved the needle on our first fight with a massive ad campaign, but failed to capitalize because that first impression was one shit fight, and another good one, but not the kind that was explosive and memorable like boxing at its best. It was the equivalent of a 2-0 tilt with one good pitcher and another one pitching credibly.

Remember when smoking bans were just coming into states? At least in NY at the time, a lot of the pro-ban people made the same argument. “I don’t go to bars because they’re too smoky. Once smoking is banned, I’ll go to bars more.” Except they didn’t. Because they weren’t bar people to begin with. They were just assholes with opinions.

Entrenched attitudes are very hard to overcome. There’s a ton of inertia involved. Football continues to be popular because football is already popular. Pace of play will not help increase baseball’s popularity, because the “baseball is boring” narrative is firmly in place. MLB would get far more bang for their buck paying off influencers to start tweeting about how great baseball is than fighting the union over a pitch clock.

I use this analogy all the time but: Is Jerry Lewis funny? If you don’t think he is, why? Is it because we’ve had decades of jokes about how Jerry Lewis isn’t funny, or you just don’t like his comedy? Because there are a LOT of people who never saw At War with the Army who’ll insist Jerry Lewis isn’t funny. But he was the biggest star on the planet for 10-20 years. And Jerry was taking crap movies for a little scratch at the end, when he should’ve been in the celebrated-legend phase of his career.

Shit is fickle, and inertia is a bitch.

I’m not a bar person but the restaurant industry did a lot of bitching about the smoking ban which now is a a success and thank Mo I no longer have to have a nice dinner with good company and smell some fat cat’s cigar. As for bars while they’re not doing more business I doubt very much they’re doing less business either.

[41] has reason to it, but [40] is right about this baseball argument.

And it’s not like baseball hasn’t been setting attendance records not that long ago, and it’s not as if it isn’t still expanding.

Hockey fights are good for business but nevertheless they’re stupid.  Baseball’s doing fine but the game’s are still too long and with minimal adjustments it could do better. Like SG I rarely watch a game from start to finish.  At least get rid of pitcher catcher conferences, if you don’t know what signs to use when a guy’s on 2B too effing bad.

[41] Specifics of the ban weren’t the point. The point was more that people who don’t like a thing,  opining on what would make them like a thing, are not at all a reliable source for what needs to change in a thing.

Do you think people who are indifferent-to-hostile to horse racing will start watching racing if magically, overnight, whatever their pet gripe is (breakdowns/corruption/doping/national governing body/etc.) were fixed? They won’t. (as we’ve seen, specifically, since the Triple Crown bugbear was slayed.) They’d get a brief rush of smug self-satisfaction, and move on to the next thing they can bitch about.

Want to shorten games ? 5 run Mercy rule after 8 innings. Boom !

46 Not the casual players but the bigger players might get more involved and they’re might be more of them if juicing could be eliminated.

Cheapens stats.

Just leave it alone. Same rules. Same baseball.

There is no problem to fix, except perhaps the length of commercial breaks. I don’t watch whole games because by the time they’re back on I’ve long been doing something else.

46 No doubt people are resistant to change and accepting of the status quo.  I didn’t care much about the smoking bans even though I never smoked now if I even pass someone on the street smoking I hold my breath.  How resistant were hockey fans to the use of helmets even for the goalie.

After Jacques Plante was hit in the face ““Jacques came back to the bench and told Toe, ‘I’m ready to go back in but I have to wear my mask,’” Beliveau said. “He (Plante) had worn it in practice but Toe never liked the mask until this incident in New York.”
“When he came out with the mask, you could feel and hear the buzz of the crowd,” Fisher recalled.
The Canadiens went on to win, 3-1.
“Before the next game,” Fisher said, “Toe Blake said to me, ‘He’s not going to wear the mask’ and Plante said to me, ‘If I don’t wear the mask, I’m not playing.’ That was Jacques Plante.””

[30] There are rules that say when a batter cannot step out of the box, so it does not happen after every pitch IIRC.  I don’t notice it that much because I don’t care.  There are some pitchers who take a very long time between every pitch, this certainly adds to the time of the game.

IMHO, having balls & strikes called electronically would speed up the game.  There are plenty of umpires who are not very good at seeing the strike zone, and there are plenty who always give “veteran” batters (read: more years in than the pitcher) the benefit of the doubt on strike two if there is a close pitch.  Too many “high strikes” are called balls.  A real 100% reliable and accurate strike zone would save a lot of time.

[30] There are rules that say when a batter cannot step out of the box, so it does not happen after every pitch IIRC.  I don’t notice it that much because I don’t care.  There are some pitchers who take a very long time between every pitch, this certainly adds to the time of the game.

IMHO, having balls & strikes called electronically would speed up the game.  There are plenty of umpires who are not very good at seeing the strike zone, and there are plenty who always give “veteran” batters (read: more years in than the pitcher) the benefit of the doubt on strike two if there is a close pitch.  Too many “high strikes” are called balls.  A real 100% reliable and accurate strike zone would save a lot of time.

[51, 52] The rules about batters box are certainly not enforced, this is an easy fix and gives Buck something to bloviate about.

Also agree about robot umpires. A lot of extra time comes from pitchers or batters especially disagreeing with the call and stepping out as a display of silent insolance.

[49] I was using the technique of illustrating absurdity with absurdity. I agree this isn’t how the problem should be fixed, if it even is a problem.

As far as the viewing preferences of the millenials, bah ! I says. Bah !! Bunch of hypo-allergic slackers waiting for their participant trophies, sitting on their parents couches and waiting for them to come out with glutenfree hot pockets and non-gmo sunny-d. Bad eggs, all of them. Let them watch soccer.

MLBTR says Yankees discussing Moustakas. I’m fine with that, as long as the discussion was concluded by whoever brought the topic up being thrown out of the office into the street by collar and belt.

As FanGraphs’ Craig Edwards pointed out Friday, the majors’ cumulative payroll is almost sure to stagnate or decrease compared to 2017, even though all 30 owners received a $50MM payout this year from MLB’s sale of BAMTech to Disney. To this point of the offseason, only two of MLBTR’s top 10 free agents – the Brewers’ Lorenzo Cain (five years, $80MM) and the Rockies’ Wade Davis (three years, $52MM) – have found teams. Of MLBTR’s pre-offseason top 50 free agents, nearly half are currently unsigned, which is staggering given that the market opened three months ago and spring training is only a few weeks away.

[55] There was a tweet I read earlier pointing out that the average rookie now is 24.5 compared to 22 in the 70s.

So the average player is hitting FA after 30, when teams are less and less willing to actually pay them. IMO, this is in no small part, changing the MiL control of players to 6 years from 5. But in general, the MLBPA has given away way too much for little in return over the last few CBAs.

With the CBA active for another few years, it feels like this is going to get really ugly, even if the market is being suppressed by the ridiculous upcoming 2018/19 and 2019/20 FA classes.

Deadspin-This morning, agent Brodie Van Wagenen released a very ominous statement, reading in part:

“There is a rising tide among players for radical change. A fight is brewing. And it may begin with one, maybe two, and perhaps 1,200 willing to follow. A boycott of Spring Training may be a starting point, if behavior doesn’t change.

Players don’t receive their paychecks until the second week of April. Fine them? OK, for how much? Sue them? OK, they’ll see you in court two years from now. At what expense?”

[56] - It is odd because the union was so overpowered for so long, but I guess when you start treating it as a place for token jobs for former players this is what happens.

I think it’s about personality. MLB players slowly got more anti-union and stopped fighting, because they all thought, “Eh, we’re all making enough money.”

The players of the 1970s and 1980s would never accept this shit.

Okay, responding to a number of things in this thread…

1.  Shortening games in itself won’t necessarily make the game more accessible to the casual fan, in my opinion, it’s *how* the games are shortened.  I think the pitcher-catcher conferences are widely despised by everyone but especially by the casual fan, and, of course, are a baldfaced tactic to throw off the batter or give a RP more time to warm.  One catcher visit per batter, maybe?

1A.  Pitchers stepping off and throwing to first can be annoying, but it would help if announcers played this up as a cat and mouse game, drama!  Fans booing this doesn’t help though.  Trouble is it’s kind of a way to delay the game that you can’t legislate against.

2.  Sick and tired of batters stepping out.  I LOATHED Knoblauch and his stupid glove readjustment.  Don’t give a fuck about batters and their rhythm.  Go up ready to hit.  See the ball hit the ball.  The pitcher is tough to adjust to?  That’s baseball asshole. Somewhere in hell, Knoblauch is endlessly readjusting gloves of MOLTEN LAVA. 

Note: Chuck Knoblauch is probably still alive, but still, I think I have the gist of this right.

3.  If you wear protective gear on your arm and get hit on it, you’re out.  Let pitchers back up hitters, while providing a way for hitters to stay safe.  Now that I’m thinking about it this wouldn’t necessarily speed up games but is more of a personal hobbyhorse.

4.  Walk-up music.  Must always be German Industrial Metal to encourage batters to get to the plate as fast as possible.

I think I’ve pretty much solved baseball, curious to know what you all think as long as you agree with me.

[58] When was the union overpowered?

Yeah, I wouldn’t “overpowered” either, but they were obviously much stronger than they are now.

One conference per pitcher, maybe, and or 2 or 3 per game limit.  Get your shit worked out before the game.

I have no problem with the length of games. The commercials between every inning and pitching change are the main time-waster, but whatever.

If they really want to make it more exciting for the fan, they should utilize modern technology in a way that hasn’t been discussed yet, I believe.

Have multiple audio streams. Choosing between listening to Michael Kay and John Sterling is the single greatest impediment to my enjoyment of watching baseball. Why not have 5 audio streams?  There could be traditional/sabermetric/comedy/kids focused streams to choose from.

The other major thing stopping me from watching is the start time. I go to bed at a reasonable hour. Baseball has decided baseball isn’t for me. I realize I’m in the minority on this one, but that’s a major roadblock to my viewership.

Best idea for making the game more watchable:

Hit a grand slam, Buck loses a finger.

[60] I’m actually kinda surprised BEIßBALL ANGRIFF! isn’t already a Rammstein song.

If the union’s goal was to get a larger piece of the pie with each CBA, did they think that would go on forever? So they’d eventually have 105% of the pie, then 110%, then 120%?

Also, why is it obvious that there’s something wrong with what’s going on? Hard to kill the teams for long-term big-dollar contracts and then be shocked and appalled when they stop giving them. WE would have stopped giving them! It’s not collusion to eventually learn from the results of numerous bad decisions.

Are there twenty-seven-year-old stars available now not getting, say, five- or six-year big-money contracts?

Every team in baseball got a $50 million payout this offseason, yet salaries are going to go down for the first time in, what, a decade?

Salaries going down while revenue is skyrocketing is not sonething that any competent union would accept.

Now, you could argue that the union’s own incompetence put them here, and that’s fair enough, but the owners are also fucking themselves in the long term by not just continuing to pay the players well under the share of revenues that other leagues pay their players.

Think of how douchey this is - MLB is well behind other leagues in terms of percentage of revenue paid to players and the players were FINE with that! The owners had a great setup, but now they want to pay even LESS. They are cutting their nose to spite their face.

They’re not stockholders; their stake isn’t supposed to track the company’s valuations.

Teams have been getting killed with these contracts for years. The union can’t oblige them to exhibit stupidity in direct proportion to income.

They don’t have to be happy about it, but the owners’ behavior is *demonstrably* consistent with simple rational decision-making. When you get top-tier free agents who won’t be 34 or older at the back end of the deal, and they don’t get years/money, that’ll be a different story.

You can’t make them sign dumb contracts; if you want a bigger piece of the pie, the place to get it is by negotiating better deals for the least-paid major leaguers, not continuing to push the top salaries. You CAN force them to fill their rosters; up the minimum and you’ll have more.

Again, they’re paying much lower percentages of revenue on salary than other leagues and the players were moronically okay with it, but then they decided to pay even less, thus creating labor unrest where there was none.

It is idiotic.

What contracts do you think the teams should be signing, that they’re idiotic for not signing? I bet we’d agree with the teams on almost every long-term, high-dollar deal.

If the teams had to pay the league-minimum players more, they would just do it and this wouldn’t be a problem.

Just simply give out the same contracts they gave out last year and the year before and the year before and the year before and the year before and the year before and the year before and the year before, etc.

The contracts that they were giving out while they were all taking in record levels of revenue and players were obliviously letting them pay them less of a cut of that revenue than what other leagues were cutting their players in on.

The owners had a brilliant setup and they’re fucking it up by not simply doing normal contracts.

Half of the league’s free agents are unsigned.

The funny thing is - THAT would actually require collusion; for the teams as a colletive, it makes sense. For a given team, though not signing the kind of contract proven to be stupid doesn’t make sense. They’re looking for COMPETITIVE advantages (over other teams).

Team control has to be cut from six years to four. If the owners no longer want to spend on big free agency (rational) than they can kiss team friendly extensions goodbye. And how much more valuable will free agents be two years younger? You’ll see 12 year deals for elite guys. Of course this will cause a labor war down the road, but the flaws of the current system have become apparent.

It’s hard to be passionate about millionaires vs billionaires, but I don’t believe the owners at all.  Every single team could afford a 200 million dollar payroll.  Not that they all should, but I just don’t believe the owners who cry poverty.  Let them open their books—all of them, not just the one silo labeled “baseball team operations.”  ESPECIALLY when they build a stadium with even one dime of taxpayer money.

I’m sure they could. But given the “even one dime of taxpayer money” line, shouldn’t the argument be not “every single team could afford a 200 million dollar payroll,” but “every single team could afford to sell $40 premium seats and $10 dollar cheap seats” so their fans, who pay that dime, can actually afford to see the games?

Piece of the pie, ha. Both players and owners already all have way too much of our pie.

[77]  That would also be nice, but I don’t think there’s a legislative or collective-bargaining avenue to lower ticket prices.

No contracts of more than 5-years, no no-trade clauses.

(65) agree. Games used to end 9:15-9:30 and now 10 if your lucky. Postseason more like 11. Extra inning post season? Who knows. Derek Jeters Mr November HR was obviously after mid night. That’s crazy for people who need to work the next day.

Start earlier, pitch clock, fewer mound visits. The real fans will enjoy it more and maybe some non watchers will watch. Adding base runners in extra innings? That will chase fans away.

And, I happen to think will not shorten games. Because when you are forcing teams to play for one run they will…making it likely they each score one run and move on to the next inning.

Every single team could afford a 200 million dollar payroll. 

While obviously I believe that’s roughly the case, as well (making the teams like the Yankees and Dodgers, who could easily carry $300 million+ payrolls having sub-$200 million payrolls to avoid $10 million in tax even more annoying), what makes the owners’ actions even worse here is that all they need to do to shut the players up and avoid a strike is to just give out normal contracts. Not bigger than normal, just normal. And it would make this all go away and we could avoid another brutal work stoppage.

They’re dealing with a stupid ass players union. All they had to do was not blatantly fuck with them and everything would be cool. So what do they do? Blatantly fuck with them.

I’m with Ugly. These so called “normal” contracts are proven failures and proven stupid. Other approaches are more likely to produce more, for less, and not damage the team long term the way “normal” would.

I do absolutely believe there should be a payroll floor, at least if a team wants to receive revenue shares. If they aren’t participating fully in making the game better, they shouldn’t benefit fully.

Maybe what is needed is not only shorter team control of young players, but a cap on the length of contracts. I don’t think teams are balking at AAV, but just at length of contracts being sought.

In the end, the market will function. A team will want one of these players bad enough. Or a player will decide to play for fewer years.

By the way, Ben Francisco recently started a working group on interfaith dialogue around transgender issues.  And people say the offseason has ben boring!

[82]  The trouble with all of this is, of course, that baseball isn’t a true free market.  Few markets are, but I guarantee you none of us work in similar situations.  I’m not going to bore everyone with a recitation of how baseball recruits, hires, and pays its workers, we all know that.

The story goes (I think I read it in “Lords of the Realm”) that Charlie Finley wanted only one year contracts, every player a free agent every year.  The rest of the owners were terrified.

These so called “normal” contracts are proven failures and proven stupid. Other approaches are more likely to produce more, for less, and not damage the team long term the way “normal” would.

They’ve been “failing” their way to record revenues and profits going this route.

So long as they just keep salaries from dropping, they can continue to control players for relatively little for their first four seasons (and then still pretty cheaply for the first six) and pocket 95% of all increased revenue for themselves.

Instead, they’re going to force a work stoppage over that 5%, like assholes.

So which team takes the fall and pays the contract it doesn’t want (plus luxury tax, presumably) to protect their fellows from the fallout?
Unless they all collude and agree to kick in…

How about kicking some of that 50 million to minor league salaries?

[86] A team that is close to competing that could really use a free agent. The sort of team that normally spends money, but isn’t this year for some completely random, not at all collusuve, reason.

A Minnesota, a St. Louis, a Cleveland, etc.

Hell, Milwaukee just actually spent some money but could clearly add a bunch more salary. They’re not even at $100 million!

How about kicking some of that 50 million to minor league salaries?

Oh, sure, perfect world they wouldn’t be total pricks to minor leaguers, but that’s what is so dumb here, they can continue to be pricks, but they want to be even bigger pricks than normal, even as they drive an otherwise oblivious players association to striking.

Think about how abnormal it is for Minnesota to make the playoffs, have a shitty rotation, have had success with the last expensive starter they signed (Ervin Santana) and yet not go out and sign one of the top starters out there. They’re also under $100 million in payroll!!

@30..YES it’s the commercials.

(68 et al)

Wow, you really don’t like the player’s union, huh?

I don’t think any of my points lead there, JM. I don’t particularly adore the union, I suppose, but I certainly don’t like the owners more.
All I mean here is:
1.) it’s not the 1930s; squabbles between the MLB players and the owners are no longer issues of terrible injustice, just business. Shouldn’t matter much to us. But if I were a player, then of course I’d rather have more than less.
2.) worrying almost exclusively about the headline contracts of the A-Rods of the world has left them in a situation where their best achievements depend on continued (and unenforceable) team stupidity. If they’d worked more to raise minimums and other protections, teams wouldn’t be able to pay less by eventually - eventually! learning from one kind of repeated bad decision.
3.) the fan base and the MiL players are the have-nots in the current situation.

Sooner or later one of the lesser FA is gonna get wise and instead of trying to ride the megacontract coat tails of the top stars, make the case that the contract they’re looking for would be cheaper and shorter while delivering nearly the same performance and less risk. By undercutting the big starts they still get a bigpayday and get landed. The stars’ price will come down to earth and things will have been corrected.

Except, Brian will counter, the overall share of the pie the players have still goes down from a current lower-than-average-for-a-major-sport level.

It’s not that Brian’s wrong, he’s surely right; it’s just that it’s hard for us to be amazed at teams no longer making the kinds of deals we consistently killed.

And it’s hard to imagine a team saying: I know this is a dumb contract, but I’m going to sign it and put my team at a competitive disadvantage so that we don’t all get burned in a conflict with the players. The owners just don’t seem like “take one for the team” types.

Aaron Judge is going to make about 1/20th of what he’s “worth”.  By the time he hits free agency, he won’t get paid what he’s worth since he’ll be too old and another player will be playing for peanuts.

The system is broken.

(93)  Agreed on all points. I would just add that the difference in wealth between the players and the owners is greater than the difference in wealth between you or I and the average player. Pretending they are all equally to blame for the current mess (not that you necessarily were) is wrong. Pretending there is no problem is also wrong.

Ticket prices fans can’t afford are a problem.
MiL player conditions are often a problem.
But the wealth disparity between who buy teams and people who play for them? Who set the rule that there shouldn’t be a disparity? I can see the argument for reigning in wealth disparity in the Western world in general - in which case MLB players should be among the last of the last in the complaining line - but there’s no baseball-specific principle that says that baseball players, collectively, are “supposed” to be as rich as people who buy teams. It doesn’t follow from the argument for righting the obvious injustice of the de facto indentured servitude of the pre-union players.

Re: length of games… Its pace of play that matters. To that end, batters stepping out and pitchers steppinf off, and especially mound visits are prime targets.  Not sure how I feel about restricting pitching changes…

(98) So I take it I can include you as a comrade in the effort to take down global capitalism!

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