It’s unlikely that MLB is operating in dark corners, scheming to hold down prices. Instead, baseball franchises have long used their size and market power to formally depress competition and drive down labor costs out in the open.
Why all the incentives are aligned in favor of contracts like the Astros’ new first baseman’s, and how that could change.
Ben and Sam talk about the idea that trying to win is costing teams money, then discuss what the industry says about this week’s transaction activity.
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.
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.)
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.
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.