Tag Archive: World Series


For a dwindling number of aging Baby Boomers, the announcement of pitchers and catchers reporting to training camps next week is a harbinger of spring.

Everyone else knows better, particularly those with advanced interests: Football replaced baseball as the nation’s pastime decades ago.

Almost DailyBrett used to be a baseball fan, now he doesn’t care about the World Series, much less spring training and the interminable season that follows.

Many complain about income inequality. There is no part of US society that is more inequitable than … baseball.

Some celebrated Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” about General Manager Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics trying to compete in an unfair game.

Now the game is just unfair, and still boring and desultory. Where are the socialist justice warriors when you need them?

Everyone in Washington D.C. has been on pins and needles. Impeachment? No Stephen Strasburg’s salary.

The Nationals’ pitcher turned down the remainder of his $100 million over four years contract. The club ponied up $245 million for the next seven years.

Instead of $25 million per year to throw a baseball, Strasburg will receive $35 million per year to throw a baseball.

Best of all, he will stay in DC. Whew … that was close!

MLB Payrolls Bigger Than Entire Country Budgets?

Almost DailyBrett has never been a fan of socialism. Having said that, a reasonably controlled market (e.g., salary caps) has worked extremely well for NFL and NHL competition. In stunning contrast, the unfettered baseball free agent market has resulted in usually the same low-payroll teams being completely out of the running by June, virtually each-and-every year.

Let’s compare the budgets of sovereign countries in comparison to the baseball team payrolls for … 25 players.

Samoa in the South Pacific provides essential services for its 196,000 citizens with an annual budget of $233 billion. The New York Yankees put food on the table for its 25 studs with $217 million ($8.68 million per player).

Caribbean islands St. Kitts and Nevis serves its 55,345 residents with $233 billion. The sign-stealing cheating Houston Astros allocate $206 million for its 25 heroes ($8.24 million each).

Gambia in West Africa maintains a $230 million budget for its 2.10 million citizens. Conversely, the Boston Red Sox make do with $200 million for its family of 25 ($8.00 million per player).

The average salary for MLB’s 988 players, who mostly stand around for hours in the infield and outfield, is down two consecutive years. In 2019, the average was $4.051 million (1.1 percent less), 2018, $4.095 million, and 2017, $4.097 million.

Should we hold bake sales for these starving players?

Black and Gold Futility Beside the Monongahela

Considering that your author was born in Western Pennsylvania, he has a soft spot in his heart for the black and gold of the Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB, five World Series titles), the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL, six Super Bowls) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL, five Stanley Cups).

Pittsburgh with its 301,000 residents and 2.36 million in the metropolitan area is considered a small-market sports city. The differentiator for the three teams is the Steelers and Penquins compete under the terms of respective NFL and NHL salary caps. The Pirates ($41 million, $1.64 per player average) fend for themselves in an unfair sport dominated by the most militant of unions (e.g., MLBPA) and greedy sports agents (e.g., Scott Boras for Stephen Strasburg).

Consider that the Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 2017. The Steelers hoisted their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2009.

The We Are Family Pirates last won the World Series 40 years ago in 1979 (Carter was president). Since that time. the Pirates have been a non-factor because they simply cannot compete against the big market teams. Will 2020 be any different? Don’t think so.

For a Pirates fan, the obvious question comes immediately to mind: ‘Why bother with baseball?’ Why bother, indeed.

Some have suggested that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. What? Literally hundreds of humans past and present, alive and deceased have hit major league pitching.

How many can carry the ball from the five-yard line (red zone) in an NFL game? How many can hold LeBron to 40 points in an NBA game? How many can stop a Alexander Olevchkin slap shot in an NHL contest?

Let’s face it, baseball is an increasingly unfair and fraudulent (i.e., steroid kings, stolen signs) game, which at best represents America’s sporting past (i.e., Barry Bonds, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson). Traditionalists may still get their collective knickers in a twist in February, but the younger ask the more salient question:

When do college football training camps open?

https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll/

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28320193/stephen-strasburg-returns-nationals-hopes-never-leaves

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28341983/average-mlb-salary-drops-second-straight-year

2020 Spring Training Reporting Dates

To the author of Almost DailyBrett, hockey has become a spring/summer sport.

LOS ANGELES, CA JUNE 11, 2012 -- Center Brad Richardson kisses the cup after the  Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. ( Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES, CA JUNE 11, 2012 — Center Brad Richardson kisses the cup after the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. ( Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Forget the frozen pond.

Forget the Montreal Wanderers.

Forget the Toronto Arenas, winners of the first Stanley Cup in 1918.

Today there is the Winter Classic, a made for television event that over-glorifies just another regular season game, usually staged in a freezing football/baseball stadium at strategic times during the short-day/long-night winter months.

And every four years, the NHL shuts down for two weeks to permit its players to represent their respective countries in the Winter Olympics (e.g., Sochi 2014), and hopefully for the 2018 games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Both the Winter Classic and the Winter Olympics represent public relations victories for a league presided over by villain commissioner Gary Bettman, who seemingly was separated at birth from always fun-and-happy Harry Reid.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York.  The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York. The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The league most likely will never completely overcome the tarnish associated with the 2004-2005 lockout season, when no hockey was played and no Stanley Cup was awarded.

And yet the league now has three 10-figure franchises (i.e., Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens) and a reasonable $71 million salary cap for the 2015-2016 season. The average team is worth a respectable $490 million and only one-third are actually losing money, but you can be assured there always will be rich people who want to buy these teams.

Just as important, the NHL does a better job in staging its playoffs than any other professional sports league on the North America continent. The Stanley Cup finals begin this Wednesday, June 3 with the Chicago Black Hawks playing the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In a sense the Stanley Cup is the strength and the weakness of the No. 4 sport both north and south of the longest undefended border in the world. The NHL’s playoffs mean everything/the regular season virtually nothing.

Just ask the New York Rangers, the latest President’s Cup winners (regular season best record) to watch the Stanley Cup finals on HDTV.

Has anyone actually seen the President’s Cup?

The World Series vs. The Stanley Cup

Baseball, which used to be our national pastime until it was systematically usurped by college football in the late 20th Century, celebrates its so-called Fall Classic, the World Series, in which 30 teams from only two of the world’s nations are invited to participate (29 from the USA and one from Canada). Seriously, how can anybody call this overhyped best-of-seven, a “World Series.” Give us a break.

In contrast, football (UK), fussball (Germany) or futbol (Spain and Latin America) holds its real World Cup every four years, which is financed through a series of bribes, kickbacks and money laundering schemes from sheiks and oligarchs located in exotic locations (e.g., Russia, Qatar) spread across the shady corners of the planet. There are 32 teams from (gasp) 32 nations that are permitted to participate in a month-long tournament in which all the profits are sent to FIFA in Switzerland and its supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, … oops, Entschuldigung Sie, Sepp Blatter.

The NHL refreshingly does NOT declare that its champion is indeed the world champion. After all, only 23 USA teams and seven Canadien teams are eligible to play, so the NHL spares us the fallacy that its champion is a global Wunder.

Hoisting the cup is good enough.

Here are the reasons why the Stanley Cup is by far the best post-season in North American professional sports:handshakeline

  • There is a true salary cap in the NHL, which means that any of the 16 teams, which qualify for the playoffs, has a chance to win. The Los Angeles Kings were the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference in 2012 and rode a hot goaltender, Jonathan Quick, through a gauntlet of four-rounds without home ice to win the cup.
  • HDTV has been a Godsend to the NHL. Hockey with its small whizzing disc of vulcanized frozen rubber is not easy to follow on standard-definition television. And yet Emmy winner announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick and his mates are as good as any in capturing the excitement and raw force of ice hockey, and the game is much easier to watch on high definition.
  • A Canadien team has not won the cup since 1993 and that obviously is the case once again this year. Even though Canada invented the sport, it is not longer just a Canadien game. Hockey in many ways has become an American game. The NHL is considering its next round of expansion, and rumors are pointing to Las Vegas and Seattle, not Moose Jaw or Kamloops
  • When someone is checked into the boards, slashed, hooked, held, elbowed, cross-checked, interfered etc., the referees do not award free-throws (how wimpy). Nope the offender is sent to the penalty box, and a two-minute or longer power play unit takes on the penalty killers. Special teams all the way, baby.
  • A team going down three games to none in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is most likely toast, but not in every case. There are four NHL teams that have accomplished this feat of coming back from three down, the last being the Los Angeles Kings against the San Jose (cough, choke) Sharks in 2014. This feat has only been accomplished once in beisboll and never in the NBA.
  • The ceremonial handshake at the end of each series is more than just for show. These are real warriors who skate, check, scratch and claw … not including firing the puck … around the ice for as many as seven games, only to respect each other when all is said and done.
  • And then there is the cup. The winners get to skate the Stanley Cup, the Holy Grail of hockey. No sport does pageantry better than the NHL. Bettman is greeted with boos when he emerges to present the Conn Smythe to the playoffs’ best player, and then the cup to the champions. When the booing/cheering is over, each-and-every player will have his name inscribed on the 35-pound trophy, and a special day when the cup comes to his hometown regardless of where or how far.

Now that is something truly special to tell a granddaughter or son, sitting on your knee.

.http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?page=cupchamps11

http://www.forbes.com/nhl-valuations/list/

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/nhl-richest-teams-forbes-toronto-maple-leafs-montreal-canadiens-new-york-rangers-1-billion/

http://www.detroithockey.net/nhl/timeline.php

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/12929596/commissioner-gary-bettman-expects-nhl-salary-cap-climb-71-million-2015-16

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Bettman

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Cup

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Emrick

http://www.puckreport.com/2009/04/nhl-playoff-comebacks-trailing-3-0.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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