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Volume 4, Number 4
April, 1999

View From the Cheap Seats Sports and A Free Market

by Dave Lind

Ok, faithful readers. It is currently 4:39 p.m. (EST) on a blustery Saturday afternoon and my editor (the anal-retentive Andrew C.M. Wallace) is endlessly pestering me to commit some words to paper to support this pathetic attempt at a web-magazine we call the Scroomtimes. Yes, we have been drinking. Yes, we have been smoking various tobacco-based products. And yes, there is a chance that some of them would be considered illegal if indulged in for other than medicinal purposes. That being said, let us proceed.

First, let me register my opinion that Bud (The Anti-Christ) Selig is beyond any question the WORST thing that has happened to organized baseball since the designated hitter rule. His latest brainstorm: allowing individual teams to sell advertising space on their uniforms.

Now do not misunderstand me, I have no problem whatsoever with the concept of a free market economy. In fact, I think it is a good thing. However, with the current state of economic affairs in professional baseball, it will prove onoy to make a bad situation worse.

Under the current system, because of the owners intransigent opposition to revenue sharing, the teams in large markets get to keep the lions' share of their revenue and thus can afford to outspend the smaller market teams by a wide margin, thus ensuring their continued dominance of the sport. Now, if you are a major corporation looking to spend a few gazillion dollars on advertising and you have the choice between a team you know will be on TV all the time and have a better-than-average chance of being in the postseason every year (New York, Atlanta, LA, etc) or, say, Pittsburgh, who will you be more willing to pay top dollar to see your Swoosh emblazoned upon?

So, two years from now, we'll turn our TV's on in late October to see the Nike New York Yankees face off against the Reebok Los Angeles Dodgers in the Microsoft World Series. Sony Mike Piazza, who is making only $75 million per season, will hit a game winning home run off of Reebok Pedro Martinez, who recently signed a record deal worth $230 million and a 30% share in Paramount. Season tickets will be worth $75 per inning and beer will sell for $250 per glass. Now, does anybody really want to see this? I thought not.

On a happier note, the Monday Night Football watching public has been mercifully rid of the scourge which we knew as Dan Dierdorf. Now if we can just get him to take Boomer with him and head off to Kosovo for the weekend

I have to urinate now. Be right back.


On to professional football. Every year the NFL draft features at least one player who somehow managed to slip far, far lower than he has any right to. Last year, it was Randy Moss who, because of his reputation for being a problem child, managed to slip past a third of the league before being snapped up by Minnesota. This year the Golden Mistake appears to be shaping up as none other than Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.

Williams, who is widely viewed as the finest running back prospect since Bo Jackson, has slipped all the way to the fourth pick in many mock drafts due to the apparent desire of certain teams to focus on the quarterback position. Tim Couch appears destined to head to Cleveland with the first pick while Philadelphia and Cincinnati are looking at Akili Smith and Daunte Culpepper respectively. Sad as it may seem, Mike Ditka seems to be the sole voice of reason as he has offered all of his draft picks in 1999 and half of them in 2000 to move up to take Williams. Indianapolis is said to be pondering the offer, but more likely will just trade Marshall Faulk and jump on the opportunity to draft Williams.

Let's see, Cleveland+Philadelphia+Cincinnati= ZERO Superbowl wins. I wonder why.

Oh, I see my contractually-obligated total of words has been reached, which means that nasty-old troll of an editor is now off my back for another month. Love to stick around and chat, but my buzz is really starting to wear off.

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