Friday, November 25, 2011

Backslappers at MLB news conference and all with a straight face too-Kovacevic

'Delusional and deceitful' reactions of backslappers at MLB news conference about new agreement. "There was an awful lot of backslapping going on Tuesday at Major League Baseball's news conference in Manhattan over a new five-year collective bargaining agreement. I'll have to presume Yankee Stadium was booked.

Twenty-one years of labor peace, the suits crowed.

"A really proud day," commissioner Bud Selig called it.

"A good day for baseball," union chief Mike Weiner followed. "It's an agreement that will benefit larger-market clubs, smaller-market clubs and all clubs in between."

They kept straight faces, too.

Which makes their reactions delusional, deceitful and all fallacies in between.

There are some good initiatives: The HGH testing will be a first. Minimum wage goes up by $66,000. No more easy-shattering maple bats.

Closing the economic chasm between haves and have-nots in the only North American professional sport still without a salary cap?...

The defining component of this agreement is a new "luxury tax" to be applied to teams that spend too much on the amateur draft. Any team exceeding the slot recommendation for a pick must pay a tax. Any team that exceeds its allotted draft total, set by inverse order of the previous year's standings, must pay a 100 percent tax.

So, if the Pirates were to spend $17 million in 2012, as they did this June, and their ceiling were set at $9 million,

  • they'd actually have to pay $25 million.

You know, for the "luxury."

No team spent more over the past four drafts than the Pirates' $48 million. That included franchise-record bonuses for Pedro Alvarez ($6.35 million), Jameson Taillon ($6.5 million) and Gerrit Cole ($8 million). They went after elite talent in the most realistic but also most aggressive manner....

Turns out that approach upset the Yankees, Boston Red Sox and other big spenders accustomed to getting the talent they seek at every turn. In particular, the Red Sox were vocal sore losers in June after allowing college-bound outfielder Josh Bell to fall to the second round, only to see the Pirates shrewdly take Bell, offer him a whopping $5 million to forgo college, then sign him.

Funny, but I don't remember anyone crying foul about the Red Sox signing first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a seven-year, $154 million contract last year while the Pirates ponied up for Lyle Overbay.

Here's how it works in the myopic world of baseball: The Yankees' massive local TV and stadium revenues and $200 million payroll mesmerize MLB and the union. Even the agents are that way, all of them dreaming of getting their clients to the Bronx someday....

This pact makes no change to revenue sharing and only a nominal adjustment to a luxury tax that doesn't trickle down to the Pirates, anyway. It goes into a general development pool."...

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