Sunday, October 26, 2003

That guy dancing in the street -- isn't that Marlin Fitzwater, former White House Press Secretary?

Congratulations to the Florida Marlins on winning the World Series. For the second year in a row, the team I was rooting for was defeated by a team I don't mind seeing win. You know the baseball gods are smiling upon you when your starting pitcher not only nails down the series with a complete-game shutout, but makes the final put-out himself when he fields a slow grounder up the first baseline.

Something that confuses me slightly about the outcome this year is how it reflects baseball's economics. I've long believed that baseball desperately needs to institute some real form of revenue sharing and probably a salary cap system, similar to the one the NFL has in place, which would level the playing field for the small-market teams like my own Pirates. But, the Marlins' title, as well as the recent competitive teams fielded by Oakland, Minnesota, Kansas City, and so on seem to demonstrate that small-market teams can compete. What they can't do is field a juggernaut like the Yankees or Braves; but they can make up for that with good scouting, competent player development, and proper management of the farm system. That's why the Marlins have been able to bounce back from losing something like 105 games in 1998 (one year after their first title and the fire-sale that they held the day after they won it), and that's why my Pirates are now entering their third rebuilding phase since 1992 (their last postseason appearance), even though they haven't had a winning season since that same 1992 season. I still think that baseball needs to get better revenue sharing in place, but this pretty much proves that bad franchises can't blame it all on economics.

I wonder if Cubs fans watched the Yankees' lackluster play in this Series and are now thinking, "My God, our boys coulda taken these guys...."

Finally, two small complaints to the FOX television people: when a team records the final out in a World Series victory, show the entire pile-up of celebrating players on the mound, will you? Last night's coverage cut to the glum faces on the Yankees' bench way too soon. I know, you have to show them, but let the celebration be seen first. Then you can show the losing team wondering what might have been. And the other complaint is more general about TV sports: does every large sporting event have to serve double duty as a promotion for that network's TV shows? I mean, I love That 70s Show, but do I really gotta see the cast shivering in the Yankee Stadium stands? Yeesh.

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