Post Classifieds

A Better Model for Baseball

By Zac Schon
On February 21, 2011

Over the years I have looked over the schedule for the Cubs and often rejoiced when the Cubs would play the Pirates and the Astros right after each other. This little breather allowed a team that is often in a state of collapse to get their bearings on a set of punching bags. I would often take the time to laugh at the fans from either Pittsburgh or Houston, who showed up at Wrigley only to watch their team be sacrificed much like Christians to the lions in early Roman days.

 It often made me wonder how a franchise maintains a fan base when they don't tease their fans with delusions of post season berth like the Cubs? Cheap tickets? Family outings? As my friend has told me, Safeco Field in Seattle is pretty much a place for suits to chat business, and families to take their children to a safe, quiet place (think opposite of Fenway) which takes away from any sort of fun element in watching a game. So, what draws people to these .500 and under teams?

 I thought maybe it was boredom? What's there to do in places like Cincinnati or Pittsburgh? Nothing. What is there to do in Diamondback territory? Not sure, probably not as much as in places like Los Angeles or New York (homes to teams that actually win). So with so little to do in these areas and such garbage teams, the joke "Why do these teams actually get to play with the big boys if they can't even perform with them?" automatically comes up.

 There are many "answers" per se, but the best would be a restructuring of teams, to something that happens in the Premier League. I understand that even bringing up English soccer is enough to get people yelling "commie" or "fruit" at me. But before people spout off in hate on something they don't even get, let me explain myself.

 The Premier League sends its bottom three teams back to the lower league. That would mean the Mariners, the Diamondbacks, and the Pirates would become minor league teams and the top three minor league teams would get a shot at playing in the big leagues. I know this causes people to automatically yell that these minor league teams are property of big teams so it wouldn't make sense to let's say, kick out the Pirates, but put in the Scranton-Barre Yankees (Yankees' AAA affiliate.) This is true, that's why this would need a lot of restructuring.  So why would this even be worth it since it would cause so much trouble in the restructuring process? Competition, of course.

 As the season winds down and teams understand that they're not going to go post-season, they sell off top players to the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, and a few other organizations that have the money and drive to get to a Division Series. Why should good players get unloaded to a well-run organization to save the owner money and leave ticket holders with two pieces of worthless paper? Why should a team go to the Division Series because one owner wanted to cut his losses and put a minor league team on the field?

 It's really a garbage tactic and a betrayal of trust to the fans. The best way to combat this is to make the owner fight for his advertising, media, and concession stand money by having the prospect of having his team become a minor league team. This would mean they're not viewed on TV and advertisers would pay less if at all to be associated with the team. Merchandise would not sell, as no one cares about the minors. Basically this would be a worst case scenario for any owner.

 What would this bring to the fans? Remember all those Sox fans that got Ken Griffey Jr. and Manny Ramirez jerseys at the end of the seasons in the past couple years? They wouldn't have bought them as these short stays wouldn't have happened. The Mariners and Dodgers would've kept these high priced sluggers for themselves. The teams that were originally good would've gone all the way. The teams that were horrible, however, would've still given them hell along the way instead of trying out some other prospect. Division champs would not have been made on an easy schedule of teams trading away their entire future on a couple of bad prospects. This model would be a great refreshment for fans who are sick of watching six teams constantly win the World Series and hate seeing their favorite garbage team cut their losses after 60 games into the season.

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