Tag Archives: MLB

No Contest: Unfair Advantages In Professional Sports

Kyle Tooley

A very common expression in my household when I was growing up was, “life isn’t fair.”  Usually the context involved eating dessert before dinner or staying up late to watch the end of the Sunday Night Football game.  And it is true; life isn’t fair because of the many things in our life that we cannot control.  However, in a professional sports league, shouldn’t the game be set up to create as much of a competitive equilibrium as possible?  Because if not, we might as well take the NBA and cut the number of teams from 30 to 10 and just let the ten teams that would always be relevant duke it out for rings each year.

The New York Knicks landed Patrick Ewing thanks to the NBA Draft Lottery
The New York Knicks landed Patrick Ewing thanks to the NBA Draft Lottery in 1985

The MLB and the NBA have a flawed system when it comes to creating top to bottom competition.  The biggest ways we see the flaws in creating competition are the MLB’s lack of salary cap and the NBA’s lottery draft.  The salary cap-less MLB is more of a crime against small-market teams, but it still does not help create a balance when the best teams can sign even better free agents with no regard to money.  The lottery draft in the NBA is honestly one of the biggest jokes in professional sports and has completely altered the landscape of the NBA ever since its introduction in 1985.  In that draft, The New York Knicks, who did not have the worst record in the league, secured the first pick and were able to land a pretty good player.  Patrick Ewing, to be exact.  If there was no lottery system, Ewing would have been a Pacer and there is no certainty on how that acquisition could have changed the future of the league.  Looking back on that 1985 draft, I’m rather certain that the Pacers would have traded their pick that they ended up making for future Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.  The Pacers drafted Wayman Tisdale.  Sure, he was a 12-year veteran, but this is Patrick Ewing we’re talking about.

On top of mixing up the draft orders in every single draft since 1985, the lottery system has also come under scrutiny for playing favorites to bigger name teams.  Is it just a coincidence that Derrick Rose was born and raised in Chicago or LeBron James is from Cleveland? Well, I guess the jury is still out.  All I’m saying is that LeBron could’ve been drafted by Denver and Derrick Rose could be in Miami while Blake Griffin could be enjoying his afternoons in downtown Sacramento or Anthony Davis could be in Charlotte, making life a bit easier on ol’ Michael Jordan.  The scenery of NBA draftees is always going to be in flux and unpredictable until the NBA can adapt a reverse-order draft like every other major sports league.

Chase Headley singed with the Yankees because they could offer him the most money
Chase Headley singed with the Yankees because they could offer him the most money

Baseball is as simple as this: if there was no salary cap involved, do you think a free agent from this past offseason such as Chase Headley would rather play for a team that finished this past season sitting on their couches in October or a team that just won the World Series? Well, he picked the Yankees.  Why? Because they have more money to spend than any other team, bottom line.  With a salary cap, that would not be the case, as teams from around the league would have identical budgets to spend on a former Silver Slugger such as Headley.  Yes, New York is an attractive place to live, just ask Carmelo.  But, can anyone truly say that San Francisco isn’t?

Any given year, a new NFL team can rise to the top thanks to their salary cap and draft rules
Any given year, a new NFL team can rise to the top thanks to their salary cap and draft rules

The solution: the NBA and the MLB need to adapt their policies on drafting and salary cap management to that of the NFL.  Have a reverse-order draft and create a hard cap with essentially no loopholes.  In doing this, the NFL has created a very balanced system that sees their franchises go in and out of so-called “rebuilding processes” almost seamlessly.  We joke that the NFL is somewhat of a mockery because it is so hard to predict which teams will be good each and every year.  But isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want a league where there aren’t teams that are never good and some teams that make the playoffs year in and year out?  Sure, savvy front offices’ are always going to help a team’s chances at success, but you’re lying to yourself if you think that free-agent budgets and drafting don’t have to do with 95% of a team’s success.  The Yankees would not be what we think of the Yankees today and the NBA draft would not be a complete and utter mockery.

It’s a shame to see the leagues that we watch year in and year out tear down the competitive balance of the game that makes the season that much more interesting.  Change is needed in the MLB and NBA, and if you don’t believe me, just take a gander at the Sacramento Kings’ last few draft picks or how many big free agents the A’s have been able to land over the past few off-seasons.

Financially Smart Move For The Cubs?

The Chicago Cubs have always been a big market team.  They also however have been reluctant to spend their money on new signings.  For the first time in a long time, the Cubs dropped some money on signing Jon Lester to a 6-year, $155M contract and the cheers from Wrigleyville could be heard across the world.  While Jon Lester is one of the best pitchers in baseball today, does the signing make much sense financially for the Cubs?  Just ask the Yankees how their big money, long term contracts are panning out. Continue reading Financially Smart Move For The Cubs?

Top 5 Beards In The MLB: 2014 Edition

It’s that time of year again. It gets darker sooner, the air is chillier and brisk, and baseball playoff beards spring up anew.  While the World Series may be over and the San Francisco Giants players are living up another championship title, it’s time to look back at this year’s great beards. Continue reading Top 5 Beards In The MLB: 2014 Edition

Top 5 Worst (Or Best?) Haircuts In Recent Sports Memory

In today’s world, sporting figures are sometimes viewed in a way similar to gods.  But it’s always comforting to know that they are in fact human and have the capability (or lack of common sense) to rock a pretty brutal head of hair. Continue reading Top 5 Worst (Or Best?) Haircuts In Recent Sports Memory

Instant Replay Is Killing The Game We Love

MLB-Instant-Replay-May-Need-a-Second-Look1

If you were to ask any person on the street what they thought was wrong with the game of baseball, the majority of people would say that it is too slow.  In a minutes of action sense, baseball is second to last only narrowly beating out football.  Football however is loved for how intense that little amount of action is while baseball on the other hand is slow, monotonous, and boring.  With the introduction of instant replay to baseball, the game has slowed down even more and it is also taking out one of the best parts of sports in general: the controversy and debates.

There can be a solid case made for instant replay from both sides of the argument.  On the side that is for instant replay, it makes sense that fans and players would want a way to correct huge glaring mistakes made by the umps.  A couple obvious cases would be when umpire Jim Joyce famously called the runner safe at first to ruin Armando Galarraga’s perfect game in 2010.  Another would be when Todd Helton completely fooled umpire Tim Welke into one of the worst calls ever seen.  With instant replay, these calls would be all but extinct because they would be corrected and umps would have a backup to any calls they were not sure of.  This sounds all great and dandy, but it takes away the debates and controversy that all sports produce and it slows the game down even further.

For obvious reasons, having the game of baseball slow down even more would hurt their television ratings and a new generation of fans would struggle to get hooked.  But instant replay takes away the controversy and has the ability to turn the game into a robotic state.  Fans of every sport love to discuss any ludicrous calls made from the night before or any calls missed.  They may dislike when their team is cheated out of a call but the fans also realize that for every call blown against their team, a call is blown against the opposing team as well.  The calls always even out and the games always have the addictive air of uncertainty and mystery about what each game will bring.  With instant replay fans can still expect some missed calls, but these calls will be miniscule and much less frequent.  With the exception of what all the players bring to the table, the game has become more predictable and it is hurting America’s favorite pastime.

With instant replay now implemented in baseball, basketball, and football, there is now a need to perfect this technology.  There is a huge upside to the instant replay technology because the outcomes of games should be left up to the players and not a poor call by a referee or ump.  If not handled properly however, instant replay has the ability to ruin these sports and turn them into a robotic game with no uncertainty or controversy.  With everything predictable, instant replay could kill all the games we know and love.

MLB Predictions By Division

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Miguel-Cabrera-Large-6

East

  1. Boston Red Sox             GB: –
  2. New York Yankees        GB: 2
  3. Tampa Bay Rays            GB: 5
  4. Baltimore Orioles          GB: 10
  5. Toronto Blue Jays         GB: 20

Central

  1. Detroit Tigers                  GB: –
  2. Cleveland Indians          GB: 3
  3. Chicago White Sox         GB: 12
  4. Kansas City Royals         GB: 22
  5. Minnesota Twins            GB: 30

West

  1. Texas Rangers                 GB: –
  2. Oakland Athletics           GB: 1
  3. Los Angeles Angels        GB: 3
  4. Seattle Mariners             GB: 7
  5. Houston Astros               GB: 25

NATIONAL LEAGUE

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East

  1. Washington Nationals   GB: –
  2. Atlanta Braves                 GB: 1
  3. Philadelphia Phillies      GB: 15
  4. New York Mets                GB: 23
  5. Miami Marlins                 GB: 30

Central

  1. St. Louis Cardinals         GB: –
  2. Cincinnati Reds              GB: 1
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates          GB: 2
  4. Chicago Cubs                   GB: 13
  5. Milwaukee Brewers        GB: 21

West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers      GB: –
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks  GB: 9
  3. San Francisco Giants      GB: 11
  4. Colorado Rockies             GB:14
  5. San Diego Padres             GB:19