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After any article in which I include a toss-off reference to politics, like calling our president "President-by-court-order," I get a lot of email that says, essentially, that I shouldn't talk about politics. For those of you in this group, I'm going to get to baseball here in about four paragraphs. Baseball is steeped in politics. The issues of tax burden and allocation: is it right to build a stadium for a team, and what good (if any) does it for the city? Labor relations and the roles of unions in the modern economy.

After any article in which I include a toss-off reference to politics, like calling our president "President-by-court-order," I get a lot of email that says, essentially, that I shouldn't talk about politics. For those of you in this group, I'm going to get to baseball here in about four paragraphs.

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October 14, 2002 8:57 pm

The Winner's Curse

0

Gary Huckabay

The Winner's Curse is a term borrowed from the oil industry. It stems from the system of auctions of oil rights to parcels of land. (It may have earlier origins than that, but if so, I'm not aware of them.)

One of the real dangers about presenting any sort of information to any audience for a long period of time is the "context gap". The context gap is what happens when someone presenting material makes bad assumptions about the information that the audience already has. The strangest example of this I've ever seen was at a previous workplace of mine, where a bunch of meeting attendees learned about the details of their severance package before they were notified they were terminated. (Fun with scheduling.) Anyway, on a much less serious note--I received this email from one of the participants at the most recent Concord Pizza Feed:

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In 1994, I never did believe there was going to be a strike. I was wrong, of course, and in the process of being wrong learned a lot about labor relations, economics, and how those things apply to baseball.

In 1994, I never did believe there was going to be a strike. It was inconceivable to me that such an amazing season could be interrupted, or that the World Series could go unplayed. That was the kind of thing that happened in the formative days of baseball, certainly not something to worry about in the latter part of the 20th century.

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It's not much of a secret that we're strongly pro-player in baseball's labor disputes--a quick look at the contents of the Baseball Prospectus Baseball Labor and Economics page will tell you that. Some of us are more interested in the business side of things than others, but we've discussed these issues amongst ourselves and we're pretty much all on the same side of the fence.

--DH

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It's not much of a secret that we're strongly pro-player in baseball's labor disputes--a quick look at the contents of the Baseball Prospectus Baseball Labor and Economics page will tell you that. Some of us are more interested in the business side of things than others, but we've discussed these issues amongst ourselves and we're pretty much all on the same side of the fence. Unlike some of my partners in crime here at BP, I won't froth about labor issues without some serious provocation. While I believe the owners lie about their financial situation with reckless abandon and wield the relocation/contraction stick with all the subtlety of "The West Wing," I can't get too righteously indignant about it.

--DH

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A few months back, I was a guest on a radio program, and the topic of conversation was "the problem of baseball economics." This topic quite naturally came about because the evil Alex Rodriguez had decided to sign a mammoth contract to spend the next decade in Arlington, Tex. Terms like "competitive imbalance" and "small market" were used quite liberally by the host and the callers. I've always thought of terms like those being in the same category as other imaginary goblins used to frighten children, like The Bogeyman, Misshapen Wolves Who Hunger For Children Who Don't Eat Lima Beans, and Renny Harlin.

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It's the Management, Stupid

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