One of my housemates asked me yesterday evening whether I’d heard about the Miami Marlins-Toronto Bluejays trade. I answered in the negative and he went on to give a summary explanation of what went down. In essence, I shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself I really don’t much care. It’s because I’ve been boycotting MLB for the better part of ten years now.
Understand, my MLB allegiance took its first hit with the Strike of ’94. Not only was Montreal on a roll that season, the Yankees were as well, and with the purity of the old playoff system, it was possible Montreal and New York would meet in the World Series. However, history now tells us that money and baseball politics had a larger voice in the matter.
Upon the Yankees successes in the mid and later 90′s, George Steinbrenner decided to tear apart the farm system which had made his team what it was, along with the usual free agent pickups, and traded away his prospects. Obviously this has not only had a direct influence on NY’s post-season failures during the 2000′s but has led to their current problem: an aged team.
Also, personally, I have been extremely critical of how Selig and the Congress have handled the Doping Problem in MLB. Selig for his nonchalanced, seeminly uncaring, I’ll-only-do-what-I-am-forced-to-do attitude. The Congress for having any say in major league sports in the first place. Chicks may dig the long ball, but doping is cheating, plain and simple. What happened to Baseball’s morality of the scandalous Blacksox era? Or its Aesop’s Fable-esque tale of Pete Rose? Why is it so hard to expel a player caught doping the first time?
Now take a look at an excellent article written by Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan. The issue which really yanks my chain now is found towards the end of the article:
The Marlins can claim the money comes from tourism-tax dollars. Truth is, Miami-Dade County moved general-use monies from property taxes to free up the tourist cash. This is the dirtiest secret of Selig’s two decades as commissioner: The “golden era” of which he so often brags came off the taxpayer’s teat.
Of the 21 stadiums built since Camden Yards started the boom in 1992, the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park is the only one privately funded. Baseball’s business plan depended on new stadiums with sweetheart deals filling the coffers of ownership groups lucky enough to leverage politicians or voters into signing off on them. Cities signed deal after dreadful deal, few worse than the Marlins’, who paid for less than 20 percent of the stadium, received a $35 million interest-free loan to help and used $2.5 million more of public money to fund seizures.
Everyone is involved in this scandal now. Therefore not only is the average fan bilked for more money for a ticket and stadium concessions, but the average citizen who pays taxes is on the hook. The question remains, if Baseball is so profitable, why don’t the owners pay for their own stadiums? Why not renovate rather than build new? Obviously where money is at play evil is lurking.
Perhaps this is just one more microcosm of the general state of American society. Both political spectrums are arguably more rigidly religious than ever before, one side vastly Christian and the other Humanist. But it appears that neither side has a sense of the general good, of right and wrong. That perhaps, Selig, as Commissioner should act not only for the well-being of Baseball, but for the average fan and taxpayer.
If it were left to me, I would take a harder line than Passan’s title conclusion. First, the trade should be annulled. Selig, Loria, and Samson should all be forfeited of their positions and perhaps have charges brought against them for misleading and cheating the taxpayer. Yes, if only we lived in a perfect world.
In any case, I will continue on as I have: listening to said housemate bring up baseball matters but not watching any of the games.