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Baseball's Huckster

Baseball's Huckster

Baseball's Huckster

He was once a used car salesman...then team owner, turned baseball boss.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's been a master salesman generating revenue and securing top dollars for franchises. Even franchises in the less attractive markets of Florida, Arizona, Seattle, San Diego to name a handful.

When Selig was named Commissioner in 1992, baseball's revenue was $1.2 billion. For 2010-2011 seasons it's increased five-fold to $70 billion. Based on those figures alone, it's no surprise owners are happy with his work.

Under Bud Selig's leadership baseball's changed dramatically. Here's some changes.

  • Realigned teams into 3 divisions per league - introduced playoff wild-card teams (1994)
  • Interleague Play - (1997)
  • Added two ML franchises - Arizona Diamondbacks - Tampa Bay (1998)
  • Transfer of Montreal Expos franchise to Washington,D.C (Washington Nationals - 2004)
  • Adopted stricter drug testing - (2005)
  • Introduced World Baseball Classic - (2006)
  • Introduced instant replay used by umpire crews to review disputed home runs - (2008)

Under Selig's leadership 20 new baseball stadiums have been built. Most built with tax-payers dollars. In fact, prior to 1953 only one major league park was built with tax-payers money, Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. Since then 82% of the 20 new MLB stadiums have been built by tax-payers. Bud Selig's been a "master" at conning local politicians into using tax-payers money to build new stadiums. His latest victims, politicians, tax-payers of Miami. The Marlins spent millions signing "A" list free agents while claiming they were financially poor. "BROKE" Several days ago they shed $38 millions from their payroll by shipping star infielder Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers.
Trades have always been a major part of baseball's strategy. But I believe its taken an entirely new direction. I've believed for several years now that trades are not being made between one GM to another. I believe trades today are "league approved" and "league financed." Player trades used to off-set franchise short-comings. Being used to shore up sagging attendance in markets losing fans. Trades being used to generate larger fan reaction, interest. Sure clubs want a trade to help their roster. "BUT,"I believe its not the number one consideration today. They trade today based on what's best for the "franchise." Tell me how a team like the Los Angels Angels can give a 10 year $254 million dollar contract to a 31 year old Albert Pujols? How the Angels can give a five year deal for $77.5 million to pitcher C.J.Wilson? Pujols deal calls for a full no-trade clause. To add some perspective to the Pujols signing, Angel owner Artie Moreno bought the franchise in 2003 for "$184 million." You really want me to believe "one player" is more valuable than an entire franchise?

Tell me how a franchise like Detroit can come up with $214 million to pay Milwaukee (Selig's old team) for Prince Fielder? Sure it's home-coming for Fielder since his Dad was a major star for the Tigers, but how valuable is sentimentality? I believe players are being traded, offered large sums as free-agents, not by individual clubs any more but backed by MLB owners as a group. In simple terms I believe its MLB, Commissioner Bud Selig, orchestrating today's trades. Player moves that keep franchises interesting, keeps fans buying tickets. Trades that benefit "BASEBALL" first and foremost. Not any one team.
Bud Selig's learned it's much easier selling baseball than used cars. The games glamor has blinded politicians nation-wide and they vote to build new stadiums with tax-payers money under threat of, "don't build-it, and we'll leave town."

MLB as a "group" are moving players from team to team to keep baseball interesting. I'll tell you whats funny. The old Negro League of the 1930's used the very same marketing ploy to keep their fans buying tickets. At one time or another the great Negro league legendary pitcher Satchel Paige pitched for every Negro League team. When a club needed to sell tickets, needed a "sell out" crowd ,they called in "Satch" to pitch. It was a "League" decision. Gate receipts for that game could keep them operating for several weeks. "Satch" received a percentage of the gate. Not different from MLB revenue sharing plan of today.
Bud Selig - "Baseball's Huckster"" dusted off an old idea that continues to work today...

Larry Upton
"Upton on Sports"-source:usatoday/yahoosports/espn/

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By Larry Upton
Monday, 30 Jul 2012

 

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Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers

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