Winning matters and stars matter! One of the strangest things about baseball – nobody ever talks about athleticism. If I was the commissioner of baseball tomorrow, forget about tweaking the game, the game is fine! Learn how to promote it! I’ve never seen a commerical that talks about athleticism, nobody – aside from stat nerds and sabermetricians (and I’m numbered among you) cares about WHIP, OPS, DMV…nobody cares! People go to games to be entertained, even in the intellectual hubs like Washington D.C. When did they last sell out games? When Stephen Strasburg pitched! Stars win! It’s why people care about the Clippers – Blake Griffin.
So winning does matter right? It maybe doesn’t matter to the commissioner but the commissioner works for the owners. If I’m an owner, fans aren’t stupid; if you are not totally committed the fans will bail on you fast. Now Fay Vincent said this week in The Herd on ESPN radio that Mark Cuban is a problem for the NBA saying “I think it’s more important for an owner to be a gentlemen and play by the rules, respect the authorities and do what’s good for the sport, then it is to manage his franchise into total success. The small things make a difference and George Steinbrenner was a real problem in baseball and I think Mark Cuban is a real problem in basketball.”
It should be noted, George Steinbrenner, you could argue, who bought the team from CBS for $10 million – now it’s a billion dollar entity, was a rule breaker from Day 1. Some of that jettisoned him from the sport, but he was also a guy who really created – remember, when he bought the Yankees, his first thing was “New York is a star city, we’ve got Broadway and Wall Street…we are going to get stars!” and he really created that. Give Steinbrenner credit for that, he wasn’t a bad owner; he has a lot of rings. How many do they have across town? Not as many
So stars sell, pushing the envelope sells – basically Fay Vincent is saying, if you’re a commissioner all I want is owners that play by the rules – you’re not going to get 30 billionaires and all of them have the personality of an annuities salesmen, it doesn’t work that way anymore! The money is so large – you’re getting technology guys and Hollywood guys, Red Sox’s are owned by a Hollywood guy. Media guys, Oil guys, energy money – those guys at their core are Maverick guys, there outta the box guys!
The one thing Fay Vincent said – winning isn’t everything, Have you ever heard a commercial say “come out and see the Royals, we may not win but our people say please and thank you, were gentlemen” fans don’t care about that! The one thing Fay Vincent said, which I agree with – and it’s not a terrible idea, it will never happen though but it deserves at least a comment, his whole thought on MLB re-alignment.
“I think tinkering with the alignment is fine if what you’re trying to do is bring better competitive days to baseball and more competition. If you want to do it right, of course what you do is put the Yankee’s, Red Sox’s, Met’s and Phillies all in one division in the East and put maybe Baltimore and Washington in there with them. It makes sense because you would have great television ratings and that many more games among teams that are competitive and you would capture the East coast eye and do the same thing on the West coast.”
I think he’s brilliant there – it’ll never happen, but let me tell you something. The NFL and NBA are national sports, MLB is becoming more and more regional where basically, outside of the Yankee’s, don’t care about any team outside of your state region. To me, you could have 6 or 7 different divisions, I thought about it this morning – took me 2 minutes. You could have the “Straight Cash Homie” division, which would be the power Northeast division: Yankee’s, Met’s, Red Sox’s and Phillies. Then have the “Step Brother” division, the deluded 2nd division in the Northeast: Orioles, Nat’s, Pirates, Blue Jays, and Indians. Then have the “Fiscal Sound” Midwest Division: Cardinals, Royals, Reds, Brewers and Twins. Then have the “Big Spending” Midwest division: Cubs, White Sox’s, Tiger’s and Rangers. Have the “Surf” division: Padres, Giants Dodgers and Angels. Have a “The Rest of The West” division: Mariners, Diamondbacks, Rockies and A’s. Then have the “Heat and Humidity” division: Rays, Marlins, Astros and Braves – which would be the worst road trip in the bigs! thoughts?