Baseball, once the acknowledged “National Pastime,” continues to decline in television ratings, attendance, and influence. As a baseball fan, I am told by sports commentators like Bob Costas that I should be angry at the players who “cheated” the game by using steroids. These self-styled “baseball traditionalist” say that steroids and human growth hormones hurt the integrity of the game, contributing ultimately to competitive imbalance and a decline of interest in the game.
Personally, I think the late George Steinbrenner and the Yankees have done more harm to the game of baseball and the integrity of the game than Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmiero ever could.
The game of baseball is worse in 2011 than in 1991 because the current rules of baseball financing allow teams like the Yankees to begin each year with a decidedly unfair advantage over teams like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Oakland…. At best, the Yankees begin each year truly competing against only one other team, the Red Sox.
Each year in the NFL, all teams (with the exception of the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns) have an equal chance of being in the Super Bowl. That is one of the reasons that football has become the most popular sport in the United States. The basis for football’s balance and success is rooted in its revenue sharing.
It is time for baseball to take a few lessons from the NFL and fix itself before it is too late. Below is my four-step solution for fixing baseball and returning competitive balance and integrity to the game.
- All local and national television and radio revenue for all baseball teams should go into one pot to be divided equally between all teams
- All stadium revenue (tickets, suites, seat licenses, advertising…) for all baseball teams should go into one pot to be divided equally between all teams
- All licensed apparel sales for all baseball teams should go into one pot to be divided equally between all teams
- George Steinbrenner’s name should be stricken from all baseball reference books and baseball histories and all Yankee victories since 1991 shall have an asterisk placed next to them acknowledging their dubious nature
This simple plan would restore overnight competitive balance to baseball, integrity to the game, and once and for all get Yankee fans to sit down and shut-the-hell-up. What, I ask you, could make the world a better place than that?