Thursday, February 24, 2011

The New Big Stein Fails Language

"Socialism is never the answer."

So says Hank Stein-brenner in discussing the horrific problem that is $130 million in revenue sharing and luxury tax programs that his Yankees' have to pay for the drawback of having to deal with "teams in minor markets." (One wonders, on some level, what Big Stein Junior knows of economic theory, since he's never had to work a day in his life, being the scion of a wealthy convicted felon and megalomaniac. But let's just let that go.)

And, well, he's right. It's wrong that baseball gets criticized every day and twice on Sunday for the fact that a third of the teams are DOA on Opening Day... just as it's wrong that there are only a handful of teams that are willing and able to get to the point of playing for top-tier talent. The idea that only about a half-dozen teams are realistic options for the best hitter in baseball is, well, crazy.

But, um, Hank? It's not socialism.

You see, socialism is actually a lot closer to what, say, the NFL is. You know the NFL? That artificially neutral market, where Green Bay and Pittsburgh just played for the championship in a game that set ratings records, despite the local media for both teams not even being the biggest in their also-ran population states?

That's socialism. With a nice side order of monopoly.

Baseball, on the other hand, is like a a poker table where half of the players come with bags and bags of money, and others are coming with the spare change contents of their sofas. The big money guys have to pay bigger blinds and antes, but if the little fish actually take down a pot or two, it's taken off the table, because the short stacks still have to buy gas to get home, and groceries and maybe a prescription medication or two. So they might win a few hands, but they aren't going home with money. Or, at least, they won't unless the big stacks start playing the dumbest game of poker you ever did see.

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