Really, can you think of anything in baseball with more storylines? Anything that would cause more debates or grandstanding press conferences?
It’d be a blogger’s dream and covering the saga and answering its myriad questions would probably require its own blog. Where would the team play? Would it be a transplanted franchise or an expansion outfit? What would its stadium look like? Who would pay for it? Who would become fans of this new team? What would it be called? What would the uniforms look like?
Oh yeah, how would the Yankees and Mets respond?
I bring all of this up because Tim Marchman of Sports Illustrated broached the subject in his latest column and suggests that adding a third team could be a market-robbing method of reigning in the Yankees and their spending.
“(Adding a third team) would bring the town’s population:team ratio down to the level of Los Angeles or Philadelphia, and with the same number of people and dollars chasing more baseball, would quite likely bring Yankee spending down a hair without doing anything punitive or unfair.”
Marchman, of course, notes that baseball’s territorial rights rules would provide a major roadblock and he’s right. If Baltimore’s Peter Angelos can hold off baseball’s return to Washington for over a decade, could you imagine what the Steinbrenners could do with the power of baseball’s flagship franchise? Still, Craig Calcaterra notes that the owners themselves could nix the territory rules themselves, which would be an easier route than instituting a salary cap, which would involve a bigger collective bargaining fight.
The takes of both writers summon warm points of speculation for a cold winter week, but I have to say that I find faults with each viewpoint.
When it comes to Marchman’s fracturing of New York, the Mets would be at much more risk of losing market share than the Yankees, who have built a luxury brand that many people equate with status. I suppose there’s a point to be made about the Yankees pricing many fans out of their new stadium, but to borrow a page from noted thinker Kanye West, never underestimate the power of people who can’t afford a car but name their daughter Alexis.
(In other words, there are plenty of people who will still watch on TV and buy jerseys, t-shirts and hats, even if they have no designs on stepping inside the new Yankee Stadium. Here’s betting the third team would be more of a landing spot for disgruntled Mets fans.)
As for Calcaterra’s thinking that owners approving a third team would be a relatively lesser path of resistance, I’m not exactly sure that I agree. There seems to be a code of honor among baseball’s owners and I’m sure that not screwing with your neighbor’s golden goose is among that code’s top guidelines. A few of the cash-strapped owners would probably love to get their hands on their share of a big franchise fee, but I don’t think there would be enough votes to sell out a few of their own. Those rich folks stick together.
For the last two years we’ve been hearing about how Boston has one of the top farms in baseball. Seven players in the top 100, a top ten in Clay Buchholz, on and on wherein “the only farm that measured up was Tampa”.
Well here we are heading into 2010. Buchholz is a major question mark as he was wholly ineffective against teams with a .450 record or better, Daniel Bard is synonymous with 100 MPH going in, 150 MPH going out. The only player in the last two years to develop into a reliable player is fantasy stud/mediocre outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
Well today baseballamerica has come out with it’s list of Boston’s top 10 minor league players and the farm looks like it was devastated by mad cow disease.
“Frontlining” the list is Ryan Westmoreland. Drafted in the 5th round in 2008, Ryan played in rookie ball last year and projected to strike out 115 times over 500 AB. Mind you this is rookie ball where 1 in 5 pitchers can throw a curveball. Assuming he can continue to progress and figures out the zone though, by 2013, the kid may have his cup of joe in the majors where his real learning curve will begin.
Number 2 is Casey Kelly. Kelly was the top pick in 08 and had nice numbers, but in A ball he struck out a pedestrian 7 per 9 has less than overpowering heat (obviously) and cant throw a curveball for strikes. He has “number 4 starter” written all over him, and Boston is eagerly awaiting his arrival. In 2012.
3. Josh Reddick- .277 BA in AA. .169 BA in AAA. .127 in the majors. Strikes out every 4 AB which is the result from being antsy at the plate. No word on whether overeager Josh Reddick changed his name from Josh Blueballs.
4. Lars Anderson. .233 in AA= the Great White Hope. On the plus side though his raw power is frightening. .345 SLG, 9 HR. He’s starting to get a little long in the tooth.
Where are all the studs coming out of Boston’s farm? Gammons and Callis RRRRRAVED about this farm for the last couple of years. What happened? They were so good! So deep!
Gammons finally gave up the charade and went on NESN’s (the Red Sox cable network) payroll. Can Callis be far behind? Does anybody still buy their ridiculous evaluations of the emperor’s clothing?
I’m thinking that Theo should dump off the top 5 prospects on their list with Jacoby and Bard for Adrian Gonzalez. In a year, we’ll hear the “experts” rave about how Junichi Tazawa is the next Tim Lincecum and Jose Iglesias compares favorably to Derek Jeter at the same age.
The best business strategy is to sell the goods BEFORE they turn up lame.