The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Some people got to have it

So I’ve been reading this weighty tome lately, part one of which provides a trivia-oriented history of professional baseball. Interesting stuff. When James gets to the nineties, he begins bemoaning the unbalanced salaries (while simultaneously mentioning that the field of competition was more balanced than it ever had been), and I’m all, oh shit, here goes Bill fucking James with the salary cap bullshit.

And then Bill James slaps me upside the head for doubting him. Because he actually pretty much rejects the bizarre revenue-sharing and salary-cap fantasies that plague baseball discourse these days. Bill’s idea has to do with the TV royalties, and, well, it’s not insane. Actually it kind of makes a lot of sense. The idea is basically this: if the Yankees play the Twins at Yankee Stadium, the game will be broadcast locally in the New York area. According to the current TV structure, 100% of this revenue goes to the Yankees. Bill’s proposal is simple: the Twins should get half of it.

It makes sense, and it’s non-egregious. The current system is a relic from the days when local TV royalties accounted for exactly nothing and nobody cared about them, and updating it to be more in line with the way everything else in the world works isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Obviously, both Bill and I are aware that, in the real world, it would be a bit more complicated than this example, since there are more than two teams out there; for fuck’s sake, these people have accountants. They can handle it.

I dunno; any thoughts? It seems like it’s a sensible way to smooth things out a little. It’s not a draconian success penalty like revenue-sharing (and doesn’t lead to bullshit like the Marlins are dealing with right now, where the rich teams and, of course, the MLBPA are complaining that they don’t spend their handout money appropriately), and it’s not as destructive nor as impossible as a salary cap.

January 19th, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | 2 comments


  1. Isn’t that basically revenue sharing? Forcing the Yankees to share half of the revenue from the TV station they own with other teams?

    Comment by Dave | 20 January 2010

  2. They wouldn’t have to share the revenue from the station per se. Every program they show on YES is utterly theirs to do with as they please. The only difference would be actual game broadcasts, which would be split between the Yankees and whichever team they’re playing. And the other teams also split television royalties in the same way — so if the White Sox host the Mariners, the Mariners get half the TV royalties. My understanding is that the gate is already handled this way; this would just be applying the same principle to television.

    Comment by Darien | 21 January 2010

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