Blog Comments

  1. nathanaakre's Avatar
    Great stuff Jim! Thank you for your level headedness. I'm actually very interested to see how our mix of young guys and rebounding (hopefully) vets do when real games start.
  2. stringer bell's Avatar
    Thanks for an evenhanded view of the 25 man roster. The two Jasons plus Hicks and Colabello didn't have much major league success in their last go-rounds, but as you stated, they took jobs from no one and Hicks and Colabello performed well in the spring.
  3. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
    There's Joe Nocera of the New York Times who regularly reports on (eviscerates is a more accurate and justified term) the latest NCAA shenanigans with respect to its labor forc-- er, I mean, its student athletes I will watch for it.
  4. Jim Crikket's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jimv2
    Jim, I'm not sure we really disagree--at least on that. I wasn't arguing that NCAA rules were or weren't fair--as we've both said, that's a different topic. I was only disagreeing with your comment that NCAA athletes are much worse off than minor leaguers. As they say in a courtroom, if you assert an argument on direct testimony, it's fair game for cross-examination.
    I agree, it was absolutely fair game and you're probably in the majority that would feel NCAA athletes have it better. Frankly, the NCAA issue is far more complex than the minor league issue with far more mitigating factors. At some point, I may take the time to lay out my arguments against the NCAA over at Knuckleballs, but it probably won't be any time soon. Baseball season is about to begin, after all!
  5. jimv2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket
    Thanks, all, for your comments on the article.

    jimv2, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the benefits of being an NCAA athlete. At the very least, that debate is better left for another place and time. The reference in this case was more of a way of wrapping up the article than any attempt to spark an in depth discussion of NCAA rules on this site.
    Jim, I'm not sure we really disagree--at least on that. I wasn't arguing that NCAA rules were or weren't fair--as we've both said, that's a different topic. I was only disagreeing with your comment that NCAA athletes are much worse off than minor leaguers. As they say in a courtroom, if you assert an argument on direct testimony, it's fair game for cross-examination.
  6. Outlier's Avatar
    Thanks for the great follow-up and additional information, Jim.
  7. Jim Crikket's Avatar
    Thanks, all, for your comments on the article.

    jimv2, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the benefits of being an NCAA athlete. At the very least, that debate is better left for another place and time. The reference in this case was more of a way of wrapping up the article than any attempt to spark an in depth discussion of NCAA rules on this site.

    johnny, when I was younger, I know I had jobs that required anywhere from half an hour to an hour drive before work started. In one case, I wasn't clocked in until the work began, in the other I got paid for the travel time. I don't know how the bus rides would be treated if players were subject to legal work rules, absent that being determined by collective bargaining, but obviously, players spend a lot of time on the road. I agree that the way MLB players and their union treat minor leaguers in the negotiating process is indefensible. They should be ashamed.

    Outlier, I believe the answer to your first question is, "yes." Actually, MLB teams don't have to worry about sharing "profits" of minor league teams because they get their cut off the top in the form of a percentage of gate receipts. So even if the minor league team loses money, the MLB team gets their cut.

    Affiliated minor league teams have various types of ownership. There's been a growing trend lately for MLB teams to own their own minor league teams (I think the Braves own almost all of theirs now, for example). Some are privately owned, like MLB teams are. A significant number, however, are community owned. Those teams aren't in business to make a profit. They hope to generate enough revenues to cover expenses and put some money in to capital improvements for their ballparks. Their primary purpose is to provide an entertainment venue for the community that hopefully is viewed as improving the local quality of life.

    Under the agreement between MLB and MiLB, all responsibilities for field personnel is in the hands of the MLB organization. I doubt the minor league team could supplement the players' salaries, even if they wanted to.

    The "raising pay doesn't make business sense" argument is not new, nor is it unique to baseball. The debate in Washington over raising the federal minimum wage generates the same comments. The argument made is that raising minimum wage levels would cause some business owners to decide they can't make enough money to keep the doors open. That's undoubtedly true, but not the real point. The question is, at what point is it better for the greater good to have higher wages for those who do have jobs, even if it means some lose their jobs because a few low margin businesses close down?

    I don't think raising minor league pay would cause any MLB organization even a little bit of heartburn. But if it does, maybe MLB would decide it doesn't need as many levels of minor league ball. It's possible, though I would argue uneccessary, that teams would decide to reduce their number of minor league affiliations during the next round of MLB/MiLB contract negotiations in order to help offset the higher minor league pay. Maybe some communities would lose their minor league teams. But I doubt it.

    If the great minds of the game believed today that they could find and develop enough talent to field a competitive MLB team consistently even with 20% fewer players in their organization, they'd do it.
    Updated 02-25-2014 at 09:18 AM by Jim Crikket
  8. Outlier's Avatar
    While I don't necessarily disagree, and my thoughts since first hearing about the suit have been along the same lines, my mind has come up with a few possible arguments to the other side. I'm sure others have more knowledge than I, but here they are?
    Do MLB organizations profit from minor league teams and games? My assumption is no, not directly. Obviously, these minor league teams are their farm systems from which they hope to garner major league talent, but do they make any profit from these players while they are in the minors? I assume any profits gained go to those minor league organizations, so shouldn’t they be at least as responsible for their players’ compensation? Why would an organization that profits nothing be expected to pay higher wages to players who will never benefit them at all. And don’t forget, if they believe that player may, possibly, have a chance to benefit them in the future they receive signing bonuses.
    Looking solely at the issue from the perspective that this is a business, increased pay from MLB teams may not make a lot of sense. Should they all get bonuses when they first sign? Perhaps, but continuing pay (or an increase in the current pay)? If the games were better attended, if ticket prices were increased, if the minor league organizations made more profits, perhaps players should be paid from them. But if minor leagues make very little money, shouldn’t the players? Granted, I don’t know what the minor league organizations take in, but if the margins are slim, then is that reason the players pay is so low? And, if the margins aren’t slim, then perhaps those organizations need to compensate those players one way or another.
  9. johnnydakota's Avatar
    How about adding in the hours of bus riding?let alone the hours training and practicing.
    I agree the big leaques need to look out for those coming up, If they truely are a union , we take care of our young blood....so why not pay lower levels 20,000 and upper level 30-36 million for there work?,after all baseball is an industry that generates over 10 billion annually
  10. jimv2's Avatar
    Leaving aside the question of fairness of NCAA rules--as you said, that's a rant for another day--I don't think you are fairly comparing NCAA and minor league comp. NCAA scholarship athletes get room and board. The room's not fancy, the board is. They typically don't NEED to pay for transportation, while minor league players need a car--or at least access to one-- and often have to pay their own room and board. (At least they did back in the old days. I haven't heard about teams providing full board for minor leaguers, but am not that close to it any more.) College campuses often provide virtually free entertainment of sorts to students, minor leaguers don't get that. ANd of course there's the value of the education. Lastly, scholarship athletes are allowed to work certain other jobs to make ends meet, but it's almost as hard to find time for that during the school year as it is for minor leaguers to find time to work another job during the season.

    I think the minor leaguers, especially the low level ones, have it financially tougher than the scholarship athletes.

    Your union comments are interesting. Eventually the power of the union is based on the ability to strike (or in the public sector, to get out the vote.) I just can't imagine minor league ball players getting together and refusing to play.
  11. Willihammer's Avatar
    The most disappointing thing from my point of view is that the Commissioner's office seems to have lost sight of the end game - to eliminate PED use in baseball.

    They never even got a positive test from Rodriguez - the drugs are too sophisticated. Trying to clean up baseball player by player through testing seems pretty foolish at this point.

    But they did have a supplier in their grasp (Bosch). They should have brought down the hammer and made an example of him, to others in the sports medicine field. All this with Rodriguez is just a sideshow and won't solve anything in the long-term.
    Updated 01-13-2014 at 09:08 PM by Willihammer
  12. beckmt's Avatar
    I think for pitchers, it is tough. For writers who have never seen the player, I would guess a number do not do the research. Factor in the ballparks they played in, if a number of runs where given up when they were pitching in blowouts and just getting the game over(etc), how they pitched in big games. These are some the underlying factors that many writers do not take into consideration.
  13. Jim Crikket's Avatar
    Thry, I responded to your comment in the other thread before I saw it here. Sorry. In summary, I don't think the Deadspin experience can be counted on to be a reflection of a full-blown public vote and I don't see a problem with continuing to entrust professional journalists with the voting privileges if there's a bit of tweaking with voting privileges and rules.

    Paul, I didn't realize that. I'm glad. I just recall reading about some electronic media folks being rejected for BBWAA membership last year and assumed (which I should not do) that the doors had not been thrown very widely open. I don't have a problem with the 10 year wait. When you consider a player has to be retired 5 years to get on the ballot, the 10 year wait simply assures that any voter would have been covering the game during at least the last 5 years of the career for players that are added to the ballot. That's not perfect, but it's reasonable IMO.
  14. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
    The BBWAA is adding electronic media writers, but it's going to be another decade before we see any number of those guys voting for the HOF. Be patient. The BBWAA is getting smarter, it's just going slow.
  15. Thrylos's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Jim Crikket

    I think fan voting is a lousy idea.
    .
    .
    .
    .

    I would not include independent, self-employed electronic media among eligible those eligible to vote. The common blogger shouldn't have a vote no matter how long s/he has been blogging. I don't think it's unreasonable to require that an employer of some kind feels your work covering baseball is of sufficient value to pay you to do it on a regular basis in order to be considered for voting privileges.
    Couple of interesting facts against those 2 points:

    a. The Fans vote (the Deadspin vote) with the 75% cut off, would have gotten who the writers got in plus Biggio and Piazza. Not Mattingly, not Gagne. I'd argue that there are a lot of people who wonder why Biggio and Piazza were not elected today

    b. We all know the BBWAA. There is a little group called the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance; full disclosure: I am part of it) of independent baseball bloggers who every year they vote for the HOF. Here is this year's vote (with a bit of info about previous votes.) Guess what? They voted in exactly who the writers voted in.

    That 75% cut-off is very powerful and it is a good check and balance...
  16. nicksaviking's Avatar
    I have to say that I'm getting tired of people who want to see the steroid users inducted calling those that won't vote for them "The Morality Police."

    That's BS. I could buy an arguement around not basing a vote on what a player does off the field, but if you are actively cheating on the field and manipulating the record books for a huge payday voters should have every right to take that into consideration. They cheated, they knew they were cheating and they knew omission from the HOF would almost surely be one of the consequences of getting caught. They made the choice to risk their HOF induction when they took the PEDs. They didn't give a damn about the game then, why should voters be required to give them a pass now?

    It's not morality, it's enforcing the expected (even if unwritten) consequences of the actions taken by these individuals.
    Updated 12-30-2013 at 04:09 PM by nicksaviking
  17. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
    I love what Morris did for the Twins.

    That doesn't change the fact, though, that if Morris gets in he will be the pitcher with the highest ERA in the Hall of Fame.

    That will probably keep him out.
  18. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
    Love the candor.. I don't know that I'd call speed a PED in the same way a steroid is, but maybe so in other ways. I'm also on board with leaving the 90s era juicers out of the HOF completely if that's how it plays out. But there absolutely needs to be a place in the hall for Morris!
  19. AScheib50's Avatar
    As a kid growing up in Chicago watching a lot of White Sox games in Frank Thomas' hay day, I feel like hes got to get in. He was an absolute beast. I struggle with the PED guys. I have a weird outlook. To me Barry Bonds was a top 5 player before he ballooned up. But to me guys like Sosa and Palmeiro probably would have been nobodys without PEDs. So I find myself leaning more towards favoring Bonds even though he was easily the most unlikable player of the generation. I'm still on the fence whether or not I would vote for any of them, but if I voted for any PED user it'd be Bonds...mostly based on his seasons in Pittsburgh.
  20. Jim H's Avatar
    I think the idea of Terry Ryan changing his stripes is silly. He has gotten to where he is by being what he is and that isn't going to change. Signing Drew isn't out of the realm of possibility but it would have to be on Ryan's terms. Which would likely be a short term contract. Drew isn't enough better than Florimon to justify the likely cost coupled with the loss of a draft pick plus the resulting lack of flexibility that might result.

    Morales is interesting but I don't see it happening. It looks to me that Ryan is trying to manuever his roster so that Willingham becomes the full time DH and that there will be a couple of real defenders in the outfield everyday. Morales doesn't help that plan.(If that is the plan) The difficultity of course is that nobody knows if Hicks can hit enough to be a full time outfielder or when Buxton will actually arrive. Or for that matter whether Arcia can be acceptable in RF, whether Plouffe could hold down LF when Sano arrives, or Rosario could. Most everybody else on the roster look like backups, bit players or perhaps some sort of situational/platoon guys.
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