Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Profile: Marvin Miller


I love baseball, but there are things I really hate about my favorite sport and this is one of them. Fans in particular (through the media which is fed this propaganda by the owners and the commissioner who, remember, was an owner himself) have what I can only describe nicely as an ill-informed opinion on these things: namely that players are overpaid through free agency, thus ruining the "good ol' days" of baseball.

The good ol' days being when the owners made millions and the players struggled to get by.

I've never understood the public's overall opinion on this that somehow the owners deserve every penny they can get and the players don't. Are we paying to see George Steinbrenner or Derek Jeter? Just because it's a game and it's a job we'd all love to have doesn't mean that players don't deserve fair compensation for playing it, right?

Anyway, I could go on forever about this, but it's not a sports column. Suffice to say that even if you are one of those people that believes free agency ruined baseball (and I'd like to see you try to live your own life the way the players were forced to, if you do) then you STILL can't argue Miller's impact on the game.

He should be in the Hall of Fame. He should be honored while he's still alive. It's a farce. And it makes me really hate something that I don't enjoy hating.


  1. While owners have always been rich and greedy, players salaries since free agency began have increased way beyond inflation and are at a point now where to pay for them tickets and concessions are so high that a normal family of 4 can't go to a ballgame anymore (believe me, I'm one of them).

    Yes, Marvin Miller deserves a Jew or not Jew profile and yes, I even think because the reserve clause was so monopolisitically restrictive even a special slot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but to totally agree with today's player salaries.....that ruined your profile for me.

    A good comparison is how unions were good for the car companies and had a reason to form and still have a purpose of some sort but now the abuse is so in the other direction that without government help there would be no American car industry anymore because of too much power on the union side. This doesn't mean Samuel Gompers (future J or not J profile?) etc. doesn't deserve their rightful recognition but at the same time doesn't justify today's situation either.

  2. I understand that this is the common view, however you are ill informed as to the economics of baseball. Ticket/concessions (t/c) prices aren't high because of player salaries. Rather, player salaries reflect earnings and the majority of those earnings come from TV deals, not t/c prices. That's why teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Dodgers have the ability to spend more than, say, the Royals or Pirates (it's also why football has the perception of balance. The TV deal is league-wide rather than team-by-team).

    T/c prices, on the other hand, are not tied to player salaries at all, but are instead a function of the market. Simply put, t/c prices are high because fans (and, increasingly, corporations) are willing to pay those prices. Teams charge the upper end of what people are willing to pay--that's it. If tomorrow, Bud Selig announced that all players would earn a flat salary of $30,000/year, t/c prices would stay exactly the same. If tomorrow, everyone canceled their season ticket plans--prices would suddenly drop (as they did in both NuYankee and Citi Field last year).

    I am sorry to hear that you and your family are unable to afford to attend a game. Baseball is still the cheapest of the big four (NFL, NBA, NHL being the others) and I know that many teams offer cheaper tickets and allow you to bring your own food. But still, live sports is becoming further and further out of reach for the everyday fan and I do think that is a mistake on their part.

  3. I think if he would have shaved off that villain-esque mustache he'd be in the Hall of Fame right now. You can't pull that mustache off when you already have the evil eyebrows... just saying.

  4. OK so it's TV money, so now all games are on pay TV and if you're poor you can't see them either (not my case nor probably that of the person who posted about going to a game, but a point nonetheless). Granted, you are right that baseball is the cheapest of the 4 major sports to attend a game.

    Again, yes, players deserve a share of the pie just like actors and actresses do and as such I expect high salaries, but $10-20 million/year? No. If it were a "level playing field" I think it would be more like $1 million/year, still disgustingly high to the view of the "common man", but makes sense in the scheme of things.