It’s really interesting because everybody is saying “oh this Prince Fielder deal…for $200 million dollars, it’s terrible, it’s bad for baseball!” I think it’s good for baseball; it’s good for everybody because rich people know before the rest of us on when the economy is turning. If you’re spending $250 million in Detroit for one baseball player, the billionaires know something that the rest of us don’t know.
Listen; there’s two ways to look at it. Drew Sharpe works for the Detroit Free Press and thinks it’s horrible, he works in Detroit and he just thinks it’s a terrible deal. When interviewed on The Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN last week he said “logically, this deal makes not one damn bit of sense to the Detroit Tigers long-term! It really doesn’t. Basically what you’re saying is that you’re paying Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder – two guys who basically are the same players, offensively and unfortunately defensively, close to $45 million dollars annually. For people to think that you can just move Miguel Cabrera to 3rd base – they tried that already…no way, it was a disaster! They tried him in left field and that was a disaster as well.”
Logically? Its pro sports!!! There is no logic because you’re paying a guy $214 million to field a couple of ground balls and bat 3 or 4 times a night, who cares! In the American League, you can send Pujols to the Angels and Fielder to the Tigers…it makes sense! So what? The last 3 years of this deal, put him at DH, he hits 21 home runs, he’s 36 and will play like 119 games…it works in the American League, and this is why I’m a big fan of the DH spot.
I can take my family to watch who? Bronson Arroyo hit? Dan Haran or Cliff Lee hit? Or I can get Pujols and Fielder to hit – perhaps their outta their prime but you think my future son and daughter will care? Nobody wants to watch pitchers hit. You know what the DH spot has become? It’s the “early bird” special for old baseball sluggers. You don’t’ get it, I don’t get it but it’s a unique group of old people and businesses cater to them. The DH is the “early bird” special…it’s great! Yeah it perhaps sounds ridiculous because it’s a lot of money but you know what – and don’t forget this.
These regional cable television companies make a fortune. The New York Yankees got a 6 to 7 year head start on everybody – the brainchild of George Steinbrenner back in 2001/2002. He started the YES Network and he gets it going. So he gets a head start on everybody and guess what? Everybody else now figured it out and they’re catching up as well. Did you see what Arte Moreno got from Fox Sports out West? That’s why he’s signing Albert Pujols! Did you see what the Tigers just signed with Fox Sports Network in Detroit? A billion dollars over a decade!
The bottom line is that the Yankees had a 6 to 7 year head start on all these cable dollars but everybody is catching up now. The shift in baseball, especially in the American League, is obvious! It’s moving away from Boston and New York. The power in baseball is all spread out in baseball, especially in the American League. Detroit, like have you looked at Detroit’s lineup this morning? Holy God! And it’s younger than the Yankees. Victor Martinez is hurt and set to miss the entire season…have you still seen their lineup? Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Delmon Young, Avila, Brandon Inge, Brandon Bosh…there are no pitchers hitting in that lineup. Have you seen Texas lineup? Kinsler, Anders, Hamilton, Young, Beltre, Cruz, Murphy, Napoli.
I’m telling you, there is a big power shift in baseball – and I’ve got news for you if you’re a Yankee fan. The days of you getting those big cable dollars and throwing gigantic money at people…you’re not the only ones doing it anymore. By the way, Texas and Detroit were both better than the Yankees at the end of last year anyways. I’m not banging on the Yankees because they’ll still pay their money and make their money, but there is certainly a power shift in baseball. Detroit was like 3rd in baseball in runs, 4th in batting average, 4th in on-base percentage and now they add Prince Fielder. Remember this too, the Rangers get a steady diet of the Mariners and the A’s and by next year my beloved Astros. Those are 3 triple A baseball teams The Yankees have to play the Red Sox’s and the Rays – and the Blue Jays if they become competitive. The Tigers get a steady diet on Kansas City pitching and Cleveland pitching and Minnesota’s starting pitching. Detroit dominated their division last year…and now it’s going to get worse!
So you can look at it like Drew Sharpe and say “this doesn’t make any sense” I think it makes some sense in the American League – it’s the “early bird” special. You bring in all these old sluggers in their last 3 years and though you’re not making any money on them, but I’ve got news for you, you’ll still be selling Prince Fielder jerseys, kids will still want to go watch him jack 450ft home runs. Daniel Schlereth, son of Mark Schlereth was on his dad’s show and said that on paper, Detroit is now absurd saying “All I think you do is ask anybody in the American League and they’ll probably tell you that it’s an absolute nightmare as of right now, they’re [Detroit’s] line up. But we don’t want to say anything serious just yet because we don’t want to be stupid and claim any titles just yet that we don’t have, like some people. But on paper, this team looks like the team to beat.”
So what’s bad about it? It’s good for people in Detroit, the power shift in baseball for so long has always been between the Yankees and Red Sox’s and now it’s finally moving into the mid-west where you’ve got teams like St. Louis winning a World Series, Detroit is big money, Dallas is essentially in the time zone of the mid-west so the Rangers are good. You could argue that the 3 best teams in baseball right now are Texas, Detroit and St. Louis. Your moving west – outside of the northeast, your spending money, I think this is absolutely great for baseball.
It’s funny though, but everybody always bangs – and there is some racial coding with this but everybody always bangs on the NBA “boo, players only want to go to certain cities” yeah, there is about 9 dog franchises in the NBA. But at least NBA players go for titles and not just money. Do you know how many dog franchises there are in baseball? There are about 9! 6 of them in the American League and 3 in the National League…you know, the Kansas City’s, the Baltimore’s, the Pittsburgh’s…they just can’t compete! So we just don’t like NBA players having a choice yet we don’t have a problem with baseball players having a choice… yet we know that they truly just leave for money! At least NBA guys leave for money and titles. Lebron took less money, Melo took less money…they want titles! They might not get them, but they want them. So I don’t think it’s bad for baseball at all, I really don’t.
When the NBA was the most popular – during the Michael Jordan era, there were 7 dogs in the NBA. Remember, TV money is what makes sports! The Detroit Tigers are not paying Prince Fielder this kind of money because of what they make from the vendors. They didn’t raise hot dog prices by 75 cents. They are making this off television. Guess what? Networks like ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS are not beholding to anything other than putting 7 teams on a year. You never saw the Vancouver Grizzlies when Michael Jordan was hot. They had 7 teams: the Rockets, Knicks, Pacers, Bulls, Jazz…those were the types of teams they’d put on the air.
Right now you’ve got about 8-10 teams in Major League Baseball that are a great watch! That’s all you need. Doesn’t matter that the SEC’s school’s like Mississippi and such are no good….nobody cares! If Alabama is good, if LSU is good and if Florida is good…then the SEC is good. It doesn’t matter what the bottom of the sport does because TV networks are not beholding to broadcast anything other than the top teams in the league – that’s where all the money is now, it’s all from television. It doesn’t matter about the bad teams in the English Premier League because if Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool are all interesting, then the EPL is interesting…that’s all that matters!
Sorry for ranting for almost 10 minutes here on this – its football season and I’m ranting baseball! But you know what; the top of baseball is healthy. Go online today and look at Texas, New York, Boston, and St. Louis…all these great baseball cities. You don’t have a bad stick in those line-ups at all – other than the Cardinals having Carpenter hit every 4th day. This is absolutely great for baseball!