CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Doug Pappas 

Search Articles by Doug Pappas

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives

12-09

comment icon

0

The CBA on Steroids
by
Doug Pappas

05-17

comment icon

0

Ticket Price Survey
by
Doug Pappas

05-11

comment icon

0

Ticket Price Survey
by
Doug Pappas

05-06

comment icon

0

Ticket Price Survey
by
Doug Pappas

04-30

comment icon

0

Ticket Price Survey
by
Doug Pappas

04-27

comment icon

0

Ticket Price Survey
by
Doug Pappas

04-21

comment icon

0

Fixing The Fan Cost Index
by
Doug Pappas

04-12

comment icon

0

Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins
by
Doug Pappas

04-06

comment icon

0

Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins
by
Doug Pappas

04-01

comment icon

0

Yankees' Stadium Dilemma
by
Doug Pappas

03-16

comment icon

0

Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins
by
Doug Pappas

03-09

comment icon

0

Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins
by
Doug Pappas

12-19

comment icon

0

The A-Rod Negotiations
by
Doug Pappas

11-21

comment icon

0

The Danys Baez Situation
by
Doug Pappas

10-06

comment icon

0

Marginal Dollars Per Win, 2003
by
Doug Pappas

09-29

comment icon

0

Predicting the Playoffs
by
Doug Pappas

07-17

comment icon

0

On the Mendoza Line
by
Doug Pappas

06-11

comment icon

0

The New CBA, Part II
by
Doug Pappas

06-03

comment icon

0

The New CBA, Part I
by
Doug Pappas

05-09

comment icon

0

The New CBA
by
Doug Pappas

04-25

comment icon

0

Bye Bye, Bud?
by
Doug Pappas

04-01

comment icon

0

Selig Yes, Zimbalist No
by
Doug Pappas

03-31

comment icon

0

As Seen In The New York Times Magazine
by
Doug Pappas

03-21

comment icon

0

Cognitive Dissonance
by
Doug Pappas

03-11

comment icon

0

Surveying the Authors
by
Doug Pappas

03-04

comment icon

0

Surveying the Authors
by
Doug Pappas

02-19

comment icon

0

Prospectus Feature: Where Does the Money Go?: Taking a Look at Major League Payrolls
by
Doug Pappas

01-22

comment icon

0

Prospectus Feature: The Midsummer Classic: Making it More Than Just an Exhibition Game
by
Doug Pappas

12-20

comment icon

0

Franchise Location
by
Doug Pappas

08-16

comment icon

0

Bridging the Gap
by
Doug Pappas

07-10

comment icon

0

DuPuy Disinforms
by
Doug Pappas

07-10

comment icon

0

DuPuy Disinforms
by
Doug Pappas

04-26

comment icon

0

Friday Afternoon with Bud
by
Doug Pappas

04-26

comment icon

0

Friday Afternoon with Bud
by
Doug Pappas

04-03

comment icon

0

Prospectus Feature: The Numbers (Part Eight): MLB vs. Forbes
by
Doug Pappas

04-03

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part Eight)
by
Doug Pappas

03-20

comment icon

0

March Madness
by
Doug Pappas

03-20

comment icon

0

March Madness
by
Doug Pappas

03-13

comment icon

0

Prospectus Feature: The Numbers (Part Seven): Interest-ing
by
Doug Pappas

03-13

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part Seven)
by
Doug Pappas

02-04

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part Six)
by
Doug Pappas

01-24

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part Five)
by
Doug Pappas

01-12

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part Four)
by
Doug Pappas

12-20

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part Three)
by
Doug Pappas

12-12

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part Two)
by
Doug Pappas

12-07

comment icon

0

The Numbers (Part One)
by
Doug Pappas

<< Previous Author Entries Next Author Entries >>

December 19, 2003 12:00 am

The A-Rod Negotiations

0

Doug Pappas

Rather than just adding another thousand-or-so words to the million which have been written this week about Alex Rodriguez' negotiations with the Boston Red Sox, the Texas Rangers, the MLBPA, Scott Boras, Bud Selig, and a bunch of angry Red Sox fans, I'll focus on a few specific issues which often seem to be misunderstood.

Why is the MLBPA involved?

To protect its rights under the CBA. Under the CBA, the union negotiates virtually all terms and conditions of employment on behalf of the players. Individual players may only negotiate (1) a salary above the minimum, and (2) special terms which actually or potentially provide additional benefits to the player. Any term inconsistent with these provisions is void even if the club and player agree to it, unless the MLBPA approves the term. Here are the key provisions of the CBA:

Read the full article...

November 21, 2003 12:00 am

The Danys Baez Situation

0

Doug Pappas

The Cleveland Indians think they have found a loophole in the CBA which will allow them to reserve Danys Baez while still cutting his salary by more than the maximum percentage allowed by the CBA. In November 1999, the Indians signed Baez, a Cuban defector, to a four-year, $14.5 million contract covering the 2000-03 seasons, with an option for 2004. International players like Baez are anomalies in MLB's salary structure, earning free agent money from their first day of major league service Through the 2003 season Baez has only two years and 102 days of major league service time, not even enough to qualify him for salary arbitration, yet he was paid $5,125,000 in 2003. On November 15, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Indians were buying out Baez' 2004 option for $500,000. This left Baez in the same position as any other unsigned player with his seniority--except for his salary. Because the CBA forbids clubs from cutting the salary of a player under reserve by more than 20%, the Indians appeared to have the choice of offering Baez a 2004 contract for at least $4.1 million or non-tendering him.

In November 1999, the Indians signed Baez, a Cuban defector, to a four-year, $14.5 million contract covering the 2000-03 seasons, with an option for 2004. International players like Baez are anomalies in MLB's salary structure, earning free agent money from their first day of major league service Through the 2003 season Baez has only two years and 102 days of major league service time, not even enough to qualify him for salary arbitration, yet he was paid $5,125,000 in 2003.

On November 15, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Indians were buying out Baez' 2004 option for $500,000. This left Baez in the same position as any other unsigned player with his seniority--except for his salary. Because the CBA forbids clubs from cutting the salary of a player under reserve by more than 20%, the Indians appeared to have the choice of offering Baez a 2004 contract for at least $4.1 million or non-tendering him.

Read the full article...

As I've previously written, a good way to judge the efficiency of a team's front office is to compare the amount it spends on players to the number of wins it registers beyond that which could be attained by fielding a replacement-level club on which everyone earned the major league minimum salary. To compute this, I've assumed that a replacement-level club would play .300 ball, which translates to 48.6 wins in a 162-game season. A club's "marginal wins" thus equals ((winning percentage -.300) x 162). For marginal payroll, the baseline assumes a 25-man active roster and three-man DL with everyone earning the major league minimum of $300,000, which would produce a payroll of $8,400,000. As several people have reminded me, the 2003 Tigers broke the formula. Their 43-119 record is worse than I had thought possible--the first team in 40 years to finish with a sub-.300 winning percentage. How bad were the Tigers? Compare them to the last two clubs to lose as many as 110 games: the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres, who both finished 52-110 (.321) in their inaugural season of 1969.

To compute this, I've assumed that a replacement-level club would play .300 ball, which translates to 48.6 wins in a 162-game season. A club's "marginal wins" thus equals ((winning percentage -.300) x 162). For marginal payroll, the baseline assumes a 25-man active roster and three-man DL with everyone earning the major league minimum of $300,000, which would produce a payroll of $8,400,000.

As several people have reminded me, the 2003 Tigers broke the formula. Their 43-119 record is worse than I had thought possible--the first team in 40 years to finish with a sub-.300 winning percentage. How bad were the Tigers? Compare them to the last two clubs to lose as many as 110 games: the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres, who both finished 52-110 (.321) in their inaugural season of 1969.

Read the full article...

September 29, 2003 12:00 am

Predicting the Playoffs

0

Doug Pappas

After the 2003 regular season ended, the time before the divisional series was filled by "experts" forecasting the outcome of the four divisional series. This phenomenon will be repeated before the League Championship Series, and again before the World Series. These same pundits will look back after each series to pat themselves on the back, make excuses or explain how they went wrong. They believe, or at least pretend, that postseason results can be accurately predicted. Others believe that the postseason is essentially a crapshoot, that any club can win a succession of short series among eight clubs which all finished within 10-15 games of one another during the regular season. This group includes Billy Beane, quoted in Moneyball as saying: "My s*** doesn't work in the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is f****** luck." Those in the first group have criticized Beane's Oakland A's and Bobby Cox's Atlanta Braves as teams that "can't win the big ones"; those in the second think "clutch postseason performance" is as real as "clutch hitting," or the Easter Bunny. Who's right? Let's look at the past century of postseason play. Since 1903, there have been exactly 200 postseason championship series of best-of-five or longer. This includes 94 best-of-seven World Series, four best-of-nine World Series (1903, 1919-21), 34 best-of-seven League Championship Series (LCS), 32 best-of-five LCS, 32 best-of-five divisional series, and four best-of-five divisional playoff series following the 1981 strike-induced split season. That's a sizable data set.

Others believe that the postseason is essentially a crapshoot, that any club can win a succession of short series among eight clubs which all finished within 10-15 games of one another during the regular season. This group includes Billy Beane, quoted in Moneyball as saying: "My s*** doesn't work in the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is f****** luck." Those in the first group have criticized Beane's Oakland A's and Bobby Cox's Atlanta Braves as teams that "can't win the big ones"; those in the second think "clutch postseason performance" is as real as "clutch hitting," or the Easter Bunny.

Who's right? Let's look at the past century of postseason play. Since 1903, there have been exactly 200 postseason championship series of best-of-five or longer. This includes 94 best-of-seven World Series, four best-of-nine World Series (1903, 1919-21), 34 best-of-seven League Championship Series (LCS), 32 best-of-five LCS, 32 best-of-five divisional series, and four best-of-five divisional playoff series following the 1981 strike-induced split season. That's a sizable data set.

Read the full article...

July 17, 2003 12:00 am

On the Mendoza Line

0

Doug Pappas

This column isn't about Bud. It's about Tuesday's USA Today feature, What's the Problem with Baseball?" and its companion, "Ten Ways to Improve Baseball." In the same week that USA Today won praise from Time for its journalism, it published a pair of articles which would embarrass a small-town weekly. These articles were built around the results of a Gallup Poll conducted from June 27-29. The complete results of this survey, with historical data for context, are available from the Gallup Web site. Comparing USA Today's breathless hyping of baseball's "problems" to the actual data shows how authors Peter Barzilai and John Follaco selectively reported the results that supported their conclusion.

That's so 2002. Haven't they heard? In interviews, and his annual online chat, the Commissioner has made clear that baseball is back, bigger and better than ever. All its problems are receding, thanks to none other than Allan H. Selig and the visionary Collective Bargaining Agreement he negotiated last summer. Listen to Bud for a few minutes and you start to believe that if only baseball could spare him for a few months, he could bring peace to the Middle East, create a stable, multi-party democracy in Iraq, and swoop down to pick up Osama Bin Laden on his way back for the World Series.

But I digress. This column isn't about Bud. It's about Tuesday's USA Today feature, What's the Problem with Baseball?" and its companion, "Ten Ways to Improve Baseball." In the same week that USA Today won praise from Time for its journalism, it published a pair of articles which would embarrass a small-town weekly.

Read the full article...

June 11, 2003 12:00 am

The New CBA, Part II

0

Doug Pappas

Continuing his series on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Doug Pappas looks at the ins and outs of MLB scheduling.

Article V: Scheduling

While many provisions of the CBA have no analogue in non-sports labor negotiations, Article V, which deals with the major league schedule, is a set of work rules the UAW or Teamsters can relate to. Schedule-related provisions have been in each CBA since the first.

Read the full article...

June 3, 2003 12:00 am

The New CBA, Part I

0

Doug Pappas

Doug Pappas starts his series on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement today with a look at Articles I-IV. Over the next few weeks he'll explore some of the key clauses in the CBA as well as some of the most important changes made in this latest edition.

The new collective bargaining agreement between the 30 clubs comprising Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association is the ninth in a series which began in 1968. Although the MLBPA was officially organized in 1956, it didn't function as a union for another decade, until Marvin Miller was hired to serve as its full-time executive director in 1966. Judge Robert Cannon, the players' advisor before Miller, got along so well with the owners that he was a serious candidate for Commissioner when Ford Frick retired. Under Cannon, the MLBPA was even funded by the owners, using money from the players' pension fund, in flagrant violation of federal labor law.

One of Miller's first tasks was to formalize the relationships between the owners and the MLBPA, and the terms and conditions of players' employment by the clubs, in a collective bargaining agreement. The first Basic Agreement, as MLB's CBAs have always been officially called, with its provisions retroactive to January 1. As a sign of where the parties stood before the first CBA, one of its provisions eliminated the $30 deposit on their uniforms the players had previously had to pay. Since then, all subsequent CBAs have built on the outline of this original document, rewriting articles to reflect new terms and adding new matters to the end of the document.

Read the full article...

May 9, 2003 12:00 am

The New CBA

0

Doug Pappas

Although the owners and players shook hands on a new collective bargaining agreement last August 30, the final version of the CBA was not published until this week. The eight-month delay becomes easier to understand when one looks at the document. The table of contents alone runs 11 pages; counting the attachments, the CBA itself is 223 pages long. Over the next few months I'll be writing a series of articles about the new CBA. These articles will walk through the document from beginning to end, translating the key points from legalese to English and discussing them in the context of past agreements.

Over the next few months I'll be writing a series of articles about the new CBA. These articles will walk through the document from beginning to end, translating the key points from legalese to English and discussing them in the context of past agreements.

Not quite yet, though. I'll be on vacation next week, with two transcontinental flights, two Pizza Feeds, three national parks, my first visit to Pac Bell Park, quality time with several friends from college, and at least 2,000 miles of driving to occupy me as I generate content for the other side of my Web site. For now I'll summarize three things I learned from a first pass through the CBA.

Read the full article...

April 25, 2003 12:00 am

Bye Bye, Bud?

0

Doug Pappas

Yesterday, Commissioner Bud Selig announced his intention to retire when his current five-year term expires on December 31, 2006. I'll believe it when I see it. Selig claims never to have wanted the Commissionership. Less than a month after becoming Acting Commissioner on September 9, 1992--after leading the insurgency which forced his predecessor Fay Vincent to resign in midterm--Selig told Hal Bodley of USA Today that he planned to remain in office "two to four months." In December 1992, he assured Claire Smith of the New York Times that he had "zero interest in the job."

Selig claims never to have wanted the Commissionership. Less than a month after becoming Acting Commissioner on September 9, 1992--after leading the insurgency which forced his predecessor Fay Vincent to resign in midterm--Selig told Hal Bodley of USA Today that he planned to remain in office "two to four months." In December 1992, he assured Claire Smith of the New York Times that he had "zero interest in the job."

Another baseball insider was very interested in the job: the managing partner of the Texas Rangers, one George W. Bush. As Fay Vincent relates in his autobiography, Bush called him several months after his ouster to say, "Selig tells me that he would love to have me be commissioner and he tells me that he can deliver it." Vincent responded that he thought Selig wanted the job for himself. Months passed. Selig continued stringing Bush along--"he told me that I'm still his man but that it will take some time to work out." Finally Bush had to choose between running for Governor of Texas or waiting for Selig to deliver on his promise. As Vincent told the Miami Herald earlier this year, "If it hadn't have been for Bud Selig, George W. Bush wouldn't be President of the United States."

Read the full article...

April 1, 2003 12:00 am

Selig Yes, Zimbalist No

0

Doug Pappas

Doug Pappas takes Andrew Zimbalist to task for his latest ill-informed sputtering on baseball, and praises Commissioner Bud Selig's efforts to save the game.

In May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy, Andrew Zimbalist repeats many of the mistakes found in his earlier Baseball and Billions. Zimbalist "analyzes," "interprets" and "adjusts" the facts until they conform to his preconceived world view. This time he goes further, advocating a series of "reforms" which, if implemented, would surely lead to the destruction of Major League Baseball as we know it.

For example, Zimbalist suggests that MLB's restrictions on the number and location of franchises, its ability to veto prospective owners, its limits on clubs' ability to broadcast and cablecast their games outside of their own markets, its control of players through the amateur draft and reserve rule, and its favored tax treatment may constitute "abuses." But where is the abuse? If MLB were truly the greedy monopolist depicted by Zimbalist, where are all the monopoly profits?

Read the full article...

Last year, I introduced a new measure of a team's efficiency: marginal dollars per marginal win. An article by Michael Lewis in the March 30 New York Times Magazine excerpted from his forthcoming Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, used my analysis to illustrate how Oakland gets so much more performance than other teams out of its low payroll.

Lewis wrote:

Read the full article...

March 21, 2003 12:00 am

Cognitive Dissonance

0

Doug Pappas

Commissioner Bud Selig recently extolled Major League Baseball's place in the daily lives of millions of fans. This public affection for the game came just a day after the public finally learned the extent of MLB's cold-blooded plot to take the game away from many of those fans. Last spring, MLB settled its lawsuit with the Minnesota Twins' landlord within days after being ordered to produce sensitive internal documents relating to contraction. Some of these documents have now been leaked to the press. As this Newsday article, and others like it, show, just months after MLB's hand-picked Blue Ribbon Economic Panel had concluded that contraction was unnecessary, high-ranking MLB executives had begun a yearlong process of identifying which teams should be killed.

Last spring, MLB settled its lawsuit with the Minnesota Twins' landlord within days after being ordered to produce sensitive internal documents relating to contraction. Some of these documents have now been leaked to the press. As this Newsday article, and others like it, show, just months after MLB's hand-picked Blue Ribbon Economic Panel had concluded that contraction was unnecessary, high-ranking MLB executives had begun a yearlong process of identifying which teams should be killed.

MLB originally identified eighteen teams as potential contraction candidates. By December 11, 2000, the list was down to eight clubs: Anaheim, Arizona, Florida, Kansas City, Minnesota, Montreal, San Diego and Tampa Bay. That day MLB received a 12-page memo from its attorneys summarizing the stadium leases, broadcast rights contracts and other key issues for each of these clubs.

Read the full article...

<< Previous Author Entries Next Author Entries >>