Winter of Discontent

I ran across this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In it, the Pittsburgh Pirates owner and the San Diego Padres owners take shots at the spending of clubs during the offseason.

Pittsburgh owner Kevin McClatchy and San Diego’s John Moores both spoke out about the remaining huge gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” despite gains made in the current labor agreement in revenue sharing as well as a luxury tax on the highest payrolls.

“Some clubs have been unbelievably irresponsible,” Moores told the San Diego Times-Union. “This is no way to run a railroad.”

Moores is concerned that small-market teams will be forced to increase ticket prices continually to try to boost revenue in an effort to keep up with big-market clubs.

“My father would not have been able to afford anything more than sitting on the grass at (San Diego’s) Petco Park,” said Moores. “The fan is a real concern.”

I posted here about why high salaries don’t drive high ticket prices. Here are a couple more quotes regarding the next round of labor negotiations that will be occurring soon:

“We’re going to have to get a system in place in baseball with some constraints (on player salaries),” said McClatchy, who stopped short of calling for a salary cap – something the union has gone to war against in the past.

“Some of the contracts that have been handed out this winter to free agents have been ridiculous.”

Some folks construed the comments by Moores and McClatchy as firing shots across the union’s bow, in essence warning that they will take a tougher stance in the ’06 negotiations. Selig said he disagreed with that interpretation.

“I don’t think so,” said Selig. “I’ve talked to all of them. I understand their frustrations. But one thing I don’t worry about anymore is discord (among owners).

They may not have been “firing shots across the union’s bow” (or they may have been), but might they have been firing shots across Selig’s bow?

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Author: Phil Miller

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