Contraction is a great idea. Next to reinstating the reserve clause, prohibiting artificial turf and banning Barry Boo-Hoo Bonds, it would be the best thing for the Game.
Only one problem, Butt Selig and company have the wrong teams marked for elimination. Instead of wiping out the financially prudent franchises, Baseball should eliminate the franchises that are to blame for the problem: the Dodgers, Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers.
These are the teams that have spent with reckless disregard for the health of the game. These are the teams that have brought fiscal insanity to the game. They should be the ones punished. Not the Expos and Twins or Devil Rays and Marlins.
In the baseball world according to commissioner Bud Selig, "there no longer exists hope and faith for the fans of more than half our 30 clubs" each season. But why is this? It is because some teams continually take the talent that others have developed. Not just players but front office staff.
This past winter, the Oakland Athletics granted the Texas Rangers permission to interview Grady Fuson for their general manager position. The Athletics granted their permission because they didn’t want to stand in the way of one of their personnel getting a shot at being a GM. Even if it meant losing Fuson to a division rival, it was the right thing to do for a loyal employee. The Rangers were so impressed with Fuson that they hired him, not for the GM position but for Assistant GM. Only one problem, the A’s hadn’t granted permission for them to interview him for the assistant GM position.
The A’s we’re burned for doing the right thing. Surely the commissioner would rectify the situation. He couldn’t force Fuson to return to the A’s. He wouldn’t be happy there anymore. Surely Selig would grant the A’s demand of a Rangers top prospect as just compensation. It only made sense, the Rangers stole a valuable asset from the A’s, the commissioner would force the Rangers to pay with the loss of a valuable asset.
Nope. Butt Selig ordered that the Rangers pay the A’s $300,000. That ought to teach the Rangers to violate the unwritten rules of the game and that ought to also make the A’s whole. $300,000 clams. $300,000 is less than the Rangers pay Alex Rodriguez every 5 days. Oh yeah, that will punish the rangers. Tom Hicks keeps that much money under his couch cushion. Selig sent a message all right. And baseball’s fans get it loud and clear.
Every year the fiscally irresponsible Yankees throw buckets of money at whatever premium free agents they can find. When other teams complain, Yankee fans demonstrate their collective ignorance by stating, "that’s the way it is, too bad." Do you think they would offer the same intellectually empty response if Baseball decided to contract the Yankees? Hardly. Suddenly, "that’s the way it is" wouldn’t be sufficient. Yankee fans would become reasoned, and articulate (OK, this requires suspending reality). Well, reasoned at least. They would offer in depth, logical reasons why the Yankees shouldn’t be contracted. Well, reasons at least. The bottom line is they wouldn’t smugly state, "duh, that’s the way it is."
The next time some disingenuous Yankees fan lays the "money doesn’t buy championships" argument on you, invite him to participate in your fantasy league. Tell him he has to put in the $1,000 entry fee in cash. Then tell him that since he believes "money doesn’t buy championships," you’re sure he won’t mind that the player distribution is based on an open auction. And, since he really and truly believes "money doesn’t buy championships," he won’t see any fault in being limited to one-tenth the money you have to spend at the player auction. "Heck," he’ll confidently declare, "money doesn’t matter, it’s how you spend it." Then, he’ll see no problem with the fact that in mid-season his best players will be declared free agents. He won’t be discouraged by the fact that you will bid more on his soon-to-be-formerly-best-player than he has to spend on his entire roster. You will bid $25 million while all he can afford is a senior bus pass and three tacos. "This is indeed a balanced and fair system," he will declare, adding, "I see no reason for my dear friend Butt Selig to take any action that might be argued as being in the best interests of baseball."
Arguments for and against eliminating each franchise.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
They made us look at Jane "Hanoi" Fonda every post season for a decade. They stole Greg Maddux from the Cubs who really, really, really needed him. Contract them.
Despite being around for the entire 20th century (actually before that but the game was too different to count), they managed to win only one world series (1980). Still, they gave us Grover Cleveland Alexander and Mike Schmidt. Let them live.
New York Muts
Steinbrenner doesn’t like them, so we say keep them. Let them live.
Butt Selig wants to dump them. Sounds like a great reason to keep them. Let them live.
Who cares. Really, who cares? Contract them.
NATIONAL LEAGUE MIDDLE
As if they ever hurt anyone. Let them live.
St. Louis Cardinals
A classy franchise that thrives in a middle-revenue market. Let them live.
Remember they used to play the first game every year? Ah yes, tradition. Thanks Butt Selig. Let them live.
Ugliest uniforms ever and Nolan Ryan. Let them live.
A fun team to watch and they had the good sense to allow Boo-hoo Bonds to leave. Let them live.
This is Butt’s team, right? CONTRACT THEM NOW AND CAUSE THEM PAIN!
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
San Diego Padres
John Kruk started here. Tony Gwynn. Let them live.
Cool stadium. Don’t spend like the Yankees even though they could. Let them live.
San Francisco Giants
Barry Boo-Hoo Bonds. CONTRACT THEM NOW.
Los Angeles Dodgers
They spend beyond belief and still lose. They have no soul. Contract them.
Bought the World Series. Almost as bad as the Yankees. Kill the franchise while it is young, before it gets too strong and eats your children. Contract them.
AMERICAN LEAGUE LEAST
It would allow baseball to get rid of Peter Angelos. They were dumb enough to sign Albert Joey Belle. Saving grace is that they held on to Cal Ripken. But then, Ripken is gone and Angelos remains. Contract them.
Boston Red Sox
Contracting them would end a lot of suffering, like a mercy killing. Still, this is where Ted Williams played. Let them live.
New York Yankees
The root of all evil in Baseball. To speak their name is to sin. They steal everybody else’s talent. They are, GASP!, worse for Baseball than Butt Selig! Contract them and then immediately burn their greed stained uniforms in a pit a thousand miles deep.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
As harmful as Slurpees. Just the right speed for Ben Grieve. Contracting them would be like clubbing a baby seal. Let them live.
Toronto Blue Jays
Stuck in the last of the super domes. Burn down the building but let the team play. Let them live.
AMERICAN LEAGUE MIDDLE
Chicago White Sox
They once wore short pants. Ha ha ha ha. Let them live.
For all their failure. They are the model for success of the honest teams. Develop good young talent and then sign the players to long-trem (relative term) deals. Let them live.
Contract them and Ty Cobb’s ghost haunts you forever. Let them live.
Kansas City Royals
They would have had a lot of success if the free-spenders hadn’t stole players and forced the Royals to trade stars to contenders on the eve of free agancy. Let them live long and prosper.
Out of respect for The Big Train, let them live.
AMERICAN LEAGUE BEST
Everybody needs somebody to laugh at. Thirty years from now they will be the American League’s version of the loveable loser Cubs. Let them live.
They develop talent. They win despite low revenues. Butt Selig wants them gone so badly that his eyes twitch. Let them live.
They gave Seattle baseball after Butt Selig took it away (remember he bought and then moved the Pilots to Milwaukee). Let them live.
The Yankees of the West. They spend without thought. They will kill the Game if it does not kill them first. Contract them. Quickly. Very quickly.