Don't listen when the owners cry poverty

0 Comments

More Peter Gammons.  This time, as is his wont, plainly yet eloquently states why we shouldn’t listen to any of the owners cry poverty this offseason:

As unpleasant as it may be, go back to the bleak midwinter of 1994-95, and the strike that canceled the World Series. Revenues at that time were in the $1.5 billion-$1.7 billion range. Owners were begging the players to accept some form of salary cap based on the players’ splitting 55 percent of revenue, claiming that at the time players were actually being paid more than 60 percent. At the recent meetings, players were told their share is now somewhere around 46 percent, so as record revenues held they shouldn’t listen to those owners who make it sound as if they’re facing foreclosure.

It’s one thing for a team to say “we’re not interested in pursuing free agent X because we don’t want to spend that much money.”  At least that’s true and, depending on where the team is on the success cycle, often defensible from a competitive point of view. It’s another thing altogether to say “we can’t pursue free agent X because we’re dead broke and the salaries are too high and baseball needs a salary cap, blah, blah, blah.” That’s just implausible, and such talk is aimed at winning a P.R. game as opposed to reflecting reality.

Even in these dark economic times, the owners are making much more money than they used to, and they’re keeping a much higher percentage of that money than they used to.  It’s all good and sporting to slag on the allegedly greedy players.  Why don’t people get more bent out of shape about the greedy owners?