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Ruminations from the Hot Stove League

Bill Shaikin provides a nice discussion of baseball's "cash tree" in the LA Times. Among many interesting observations:

--"Today is the first day free agents can sign with a new team. In the days and weeks to come, some player will sign a contract that appears so outrageous fans will shake their heads in amazement."

--"Baseball is awash in revenue, and you don't have to take Scott Boras' word for it. "

--Boras' word on revenues: " 'There's been a strong demand for corporate and premium seating .... -- 70% of the revenue comes from 30% of the seating.' "

--"Revenues from traditional tickets and local broadcast rights have more than tripled since 1994. And, with the value of sports programming rising to national advertisers struggling to reach mass audiences amid the proliferation of cable and satellite channels, national broadcast rights have soared from $52 million to $935 million."

Billy Beane on the international market: " '"There are millions -- possibly billions -- of people on the other side of the world that have yet to pick their favorite team. They're going to be able to pull up their cellphone some day and watch the Oakland A's from Hong Kong.' "

I prefer big screen TV's for viewing sports, but Beane has a point. The oriental audiences for games involving Dice-K and Ichiro (20 million), and the NBA's Yao and Yi show (200 million) are staggering.

Also in the Times, Thomas Bonk reports on the PGA's new drug testing plan. Beta blockers are banned, so it will be interesting to examine the putting statistics next season. Could we see a return of the yips?