Are Buck and McCarver really rooting for anyone?

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Believe it or not — and my psychiatrist clearly does not believe it — I read every comment posted to this blog.  And based upon reading every comment posted to this blog, I have learned two things:

1. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are rooting for the Phillies; and

2. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are rooting for the Yankees.

Really, the passion with which many of you believe that those knuckleheads are rooting for the other team is incredible.  It’s rendered even more incredible in light of the fact that so many of the same people who think that Buck and McCarver root also say that they don’t know what they’re talking about. In an ideal world, the statements “McCarver knows nothing!” and “McCarver roots for the other guys” would represent complementary concepts that shouldn’t bother anyone (after all, if they guy truly is a moron, and truly is rooting for the other team, doesn’t that bode well for your team?)  But the former notion seems to make the latter notion all the more intolerable for many of you.

Personally, I don’t think that either of those guys root for anything other than high ratings and a long series.  In this, they are no different than so many of their predecessors, including Bob Costas, Tony Kubek, and Joe Garagiola, all of whom have been accused of postseason bias over the years (they’re also all NBC guys . . . hmmmmm), erroneously so in my view. But still the perception persists, and I really want to know why.

Those of you who think that the broadcasters are in the bag for the other team: why do you think so? Give us examples of alleged bias in the comments.  It’s an off day and we don’t have to listen to them bleat, so let’s talk about their bleatings a bit, shall we?

UPDATEThis post on the excellent Fack Youk! blog is a week old, but it’s a much more thorough handling of the subject.

Must-Click Link: Do the players even care about money anymore?

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Yesterday I wrote about how the union has come to find itself in the extraordinarily weak position it’s in. The upshot: their leadership and their membership, happily wealthy by virtue of gains realized in the 1970s-1990s, has chosen to focus on small, day-to-day, quality of life issues rather than big-picture financial issues. As a result, ownership has cleaned their clock in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the union is to ever get back the considerable amount of ground it has lost over the past 15 years, it’ll require a ton of hard work and perhaps drastic measures.

A few hours later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped an absolute must-read that expands on that topic. Through weeks of interviews with league officials, agents and players, he explains why the free agent market is as bad as it is for players right now and why so many of them and so many fans seem not to understand just how bad a spot the players are in, business wise.

Passan keys on the media’s credulousness regarding teams’ stated rationales for not spending in free agency. About how, with even a little bit of scrutiny, the “[Team] wants to get below the luxury tax” argument makes no sense. About how the claim that this is a weak free agent class, however true that may be, does not explain why so few players are being signed.  About how so few teams seem interested in actually competing and how fans, somehow, seem totally OK with it.

Passan makes a compelling argument, backed by multiple sources, that, even if there is a lot of money flowing around, the fundamental financial model of the game is broken. The young players are the most valuable but are paid pennies while players with 6-10 years service time are the least valuable yet are the ones, theoretically anyway, positioned to make the most money. The owners have figured it out. The union has dropped the ball as it has worried about, well, whatever the heck it is worried about. The killer passage on all of this is damning in this regard:

During the negotiations leading to the 2016 basic agreement that governs baseball, officials at MLB left bargaining stupefied almost on a daily basis. Something had changed at the MLBPA, and the league couldn’t help but beam at its good fortune: The core principle that for decades guided the union no longer seemed a priority.

“It was like they didn’t care about money anymore,” one league official said.

Personally, I don’t believe that they don’t care about money anymore. I think the union has simply dropped the ball on educating its membership about the business structure of the game and the stakes involved with any given rule in the CBA. I think that they either so not understand the financial implications of that to which they have agreed or are indifferent to them because they do not understand their scope and long term impact.

It’s a union’s job to educate its membership about the big issues that may escape any one member’s notice — like the long term effects of a decision about the luxury tax or amateur and international salary caps — and convince them that it’s worth fighting for. Does the MLBPA do that? Does it even try? If it hasn’t tried for the past couple of cycles and it suddenly starts to now, will there be a player civil war, with some not caring to jeopardize their short term well-being for the long term gain of the players who follow them?

If you care at all about the business and financial aspects of the game, Passan’s article is essential.