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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Baseball Salaries - 1562 words
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AbstractThis paper addresses the issue of the extreme increases in salaries of major league baseball players. It looks at the effects of these increases on all areas of the game, from competitiveness, to fan appeal, to financial issues. It also looks at the different perspectives of all involved, including the owners, players, and the fans. Also shown in the paper are the possible solutions to the problem of baseball salaries, along with some of the possible negative outcomes in the future if nothing is doneBaseball's Skyrocketing SalariesIt can no longer be said that baseball is just a game. Actually, it has been many years since that statement could be considered true. Only recently, however, did the entire nation, not just sports fans realize the extent to which this fact is true.
Athletes, for the most part, have always been paid better than the average American; but now, with Alex Rodriguez's new contract, he is truthfully worth just as much as the entire franchise that he plays for. Baseball salaries have skyrocketed out of control, and something must be done before the integrity of the game, and eventually, the game itself is destroyed. There are many reasons why this will happen, and this claim will be supported by the viewpoints of all involved, players, owners, and fans. Many of the cold, hard facts related to this salary increase will be shown, along with exactly what has caused this exponential increase in pay. While the outcry against the outrageous contracts that the players receive only recently become national news, the anger towards the players for this dates back to the beginning of the game
However, since the creation of free agency in 1976, the increase in pay has become out of control. In order to see this, one only has to look at the first two years of free agency, where salaries doubled (Bodley, 2000, par. 17). Additionally, the average salary is currently forty times higher than it was in 1976 (Fisher & Heller, 2001, par. 4).
Baseball was the first sport to have free agency, and as it currently stands, the last to control it. All other major sports, basketball, football, and hockey, have plans in place in order to keep a check on salaries. As a result, they are not facing the crisis that Major League Baseball will soon have to deal with. These sports all have a form of a salary cap or some revenue sharing between the small and large market teams. Baseball's one attempt at this, a luxury tax for teams with high payrolls, has done nothing to curb the extreme growth of salaries. It is also interesting to examine the roots of free agency, which in the beginning was a good idea.
In December 1975, Peter Seitz, at the time baseball's arbitrator supported a grievance that two players had filed (Chass, 2000, par. 4). He ruled that when a player's contract to a team expired, the player was free to choose from all interested teams. In theory, this is a good idea that is fair for players. They weren't property of their original teams after contracts expired and were free to pursue other options, just as in the same way a businessman could look for a new job. However, there was no system in place to stop a bidding war between teams if the money was available.
It also failed to take in to account the human ego. If a player sees a person with similar statistics getting paid more, then that player will demand the same amount of money, and this cycle continues endlessly. Salary arbitration is another cause of the salary inflation, which on average has resulted in a 100% increase of the average salary in recent years (Chass, 2001, par. 18). In short, salary arbitration occurs when a player and a team renegotiate the contract with a neutral third party officiating. If a player has a good season, and feels that he is getting underpaid, he can file for arbitration.
Players win most of these cases, all they have to do is find someone with comparable statistics who is getting paid more, and the arbitrator in most cases will rule in his favor.As it stands, teams in large markets, such as New York or Los Angeles have an extreme advantage over teams in small markets, such as Kansas City or Pittsburgh. An example of this can be seen in the 1997 season where the teams with the five highest payrolls all made the playoffs. In that season, the Florida Marlins were one of those teams; and after that season, the owner, Wayne Huizinga, sold off all of his high priced players because he couldn't afford it (Fuhr, 1999, par. 13). Essentially, in baseball, as in the rest of the world, "you get what you pay for." Teams that can't afford high priced talent will, year in and year out finish at the bottom of the standings.
As things stand now, the fifteen smallest market teams should just become farm clubs for the rest of the league. As soon as a player has a big season, he is demanding outrageous money, which his team can't afford to pay, so the player goes to a team that is willing and able to pay what he is asking.While salaries have been high for quite some time, the recent spending is just downright ridiculous. Alex Rodriguez, now of the Texas Rangers recently signed a ten year, $250 million contract (Feinstein, 2000, par. 3). What is sad about this fact is that just two years ago, the entire Rangers franchise was sold for about the same amount.
When a single player is getting paid as much as the entire team is worth on the open market, it is fairly obvious that something is seriously wrong. Further supporting that fact, there were two teams in 2000 that paid their entire team less than what Alex Rodriguez will make by himself this year. The recent spending spree stems from three events: 72.7 million paying fans last season, a new $2.5 billion TV contract, and income from Major League Baseball's new website (Fisher & Heller, 2001, par. 9). While these events show that baseball is a thriving industry, a closer look shows that this may not be the case.
Most of the spending is being done by a few teams, so not everyone is benefiting. There are several perspectives on the current situation in baseball, the first shown is that of the owners. While owners continue to complain about the high priced players, they contradict themselves by turning around and giving the outrageous paycheck to their players. Representatives of small market teams, such as Kansas City's Herk Robinson, feel trapped. "I can't see anything beneficial about these signings at all, and the industry as a whole can't support them. There's no doubt that it will deflate the fans here a bit, and make it harder for us to keep our guys!" in Fisher and Heller (2001, par.
5). As a whole, the game is more than $2 billion in debt (Fisher and Heller, 2001, par. 1). Even though attendance as a whole increased, 15 out of the 30 teams showed a decrease in attendance in the 2000 season. This can be attributed to the huge competitive imbalance.
Even the Texas Rangers, who signed Rodriguez, lost money between 1995 and 1999 (Fisher and Heller, 2001, par. 14). With the current collective bargaining agreement expiring this year, the owners do not have history on their side. There have been eight strikes since 1972, and each time, the owners have come out on the losing end, giving a little more power to the players union (Feinstein, 2000, par. 5).
During the last strike, the players union repeatedly rejected a salary cap, until the owners finally gave in to end the strike. Next is the players' perspective. In looking at this the first point to make is: who in their right mind would reject $250 million dollars if it was being offered? The answer is: Nobody. The owners are so caught up in competing for the title, that they will shell out every penny of available cash they have in order to compete (Saraceno, 2000, par. 20).
The trouble lies in the fact that some owners just happen to have a lot more cash to give out. The players union is the single most powerful force in baseball. It doesn't matter what the owners say, need players in order to put a product on the field. Players union head Donald Fehr says there is no chance of a salary cap, and with the past record in labor disputes stated earlier, there is no reason to doubt him. While players may be portrayed as greedy, there are some that agree that a plan needs to be put in place.
"The players have to be willing to sit down and work out something that will work for everyone," Brian Giles of the Pittsburgh Pirates said in Blum (1999, par. 9). It is hard for players that happen to be on a smaller market team, such as Giles. It is not easy to get motivated to play when you know that there is no chance of competing, because other teams simply have more money. As a player, one is powerless in this situation.
It all boils down to choosing between individual and team. Players must decide if making the most money possible is top priority or if being able to have a competitively balanced league is. Another factor on the players' side that needs to be addressed is that of sports agents. Sco ...
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