Monday, August 26, 2002

Why free market and competition is a lie in baseball

If you saw my last post and started to open up your piehole about free markets, laizze faire capitalism, competition makes the best blah blah blah (insert rhetoric here), please do me this favor:

Put your index fingers on you top eyelids, and your thumb on your bottom eyelids. Pry them open. You should see complete darkness. There is a very good reason for this;

Your entire head is up your ass. Do your best to pluck it out without hurting yourself too much.

Now that you are actually seeing things for the way they truly are in the real world, please take note of the following;

In a free market anyone could start a business anytime they'd like. That means of baseball was actually anywhere near the free market and you decided tomorrow that you wanted to start a MLB team, and had the 400 mil to drop on a franchise, you could. Thats what a free market is. So if you wanted to start a new ballclub in say, Washintgon DC, or even add yet another club to the NYC market you'd be able to do so.

If you know anything about professional sports, it will be a cold day in hell before either of those things happen, especially in MLB.

If you want a team you need to (a)buy an exisitng one and get approval from the owners, or (b) start a new one and pay the league the franchise fee, and that's after the entire process of being accepted by the league. It doesn't happen all that often either.

The NFL and all other leagues are all in business together. They succeed with inter-team competition. Baseball is failing because of the lack of co-operation and profit sharing. Baseball may have a little more"capitalist" structure, as compared to the enforced parity of the NFL, but ask yourself this - Why doesn't Washington D.C. have a team?

There used to be a team called the Washington Senators, who eventually moved to become the Texas Rangers. Why isn't there a team in DC anymore? It's a huge untapped market, an owner would be a fool not to try to move a currently failing team there (i.e. Motreal Expos). Actually there is a perfectly good reason for it: The owner of the Baltimore Orioles does not want a team in DC, because he's afraid that there will be competition with his own sucky team, and it will take away people currently live in DC and have no choice but to go to Baltimore if they want to see MLB. That's anti competitive and therefore anti-capitalist.....

Why are there are only two teams in New York? The NYC area has three hockey teams for goodness sake! Jersey I bet, given the opportunity, could get their own team and succeed in it's own right. There is a reason no one in their right mind would even attempt it. Steinbrenner & Doubleday (Mets) would put a stop to any additional baseball in NY. That's anti competitive and anti capitalist.

In the real world this might be called collusion, or some other economic term that I'm not familiar with cuz I aint no economics major. But in the fanasy land of professional sports it's called Major League Baseball.

There are only 6-8 teams that can afford top marquee players with the Yankees being at the top. Their business though relies on opposing teams coming in to their stadium tp perform. The sports leagues limit competition (teams) and they share some profits, specifically national television money etc. That's clearly more akin to socialism. Real capitalism does not work that way.

In reality there aren't just 30 law firms, or thirty hot dog stands or 30 of anything. Anyone can start any of these business anywhere, within reason anyway. Some fail, some succeed, but they all decide their own fate. There isn't some big organization saying you need to drop 400 mil to start a lawfirm, and that organization does not tell you "you can't locate in DC or LA, you need to start one in say Charlotte or Portland because all the other lawyers have control over the areas." That's even if you think you can provide a better product compared to the one in say Chicago, or anywhere else they have a lawfirm. So don't even start with the free market bs, cause it aint flying here. Not one of the leagues even comes close to a a free market, and the one that has the most socialist business practices is the most successful (see the NFL). I'm not saying Karl Marx would have approved of everything the NFL does, just that it shares and has a high level of competition, unless your team is the Cincinnati Bengals.

While most people in NY may be happy to see crappy teams get walloped by their beloved Yankees, the overall health of baseball suffers, and that health will eventually hurt the Yankees, at least indirectly in baseball's national television contracts (clearly that has not come to pass yet, being that they are making a mint on their own personal cable station).

And please lets not forget that MLB has monopoly exceptions granted by The U.S. government. Stick that in you pipe and smoke it.


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