San Diego Padre owner John Moores said yesterday that he is prepared to remain out of business for a year if there is a players' strike in order to get the kind of deal that the owners need. He offered to make that year this one and to make it retroactive to April 1st so that he can forget his team's wretched season.
He claims that other teams feel the same way, "I'd say 8 or 10, off the top of my head." Of course, you have to remember that this employs Ken Caminiti-steroid math so there is a plus/minus of 200 teams.
Moores expressed his concern for the common man by saying, "I'm not going to be a part of a crazy system where we have to keep raising ticket prices." Andrew Zimbalist in Baseball and Billions demonstrated that ticket prices are set to maximize profits, to find the best combination of high ticket price and high attendance. Therefore, the average ticket price during the free agent era has actually gone done when compared to 1950 ticket prices when inflation is taken into account. Actually what cause the greatest increase in ticket price are new stadiums. Owners believing that a new stadium is enough of an attraction in and of itself to command a higher fare have increased ticket prices: According to CNN, when the Pirates moved into a new stadium in 2001 the "average ticket price soared 82 percent to $21.48 from $11.80" the previous year and the Milwaukee Brewers also the recipient of a new stadium in 2001 "raised prices by more than half to an average of $18.12 from an average of $11.72." Now those teams are complaining of decreased attendance in the new stadium's second year. What do they expect when the gouge the locals as soon as they open the gate? CNN also reports as far as 2001 ticket prices are concerened "that baseball still is the lowest-price option among major sports." So much for playing to the gallery.
Moore is a member of a cadre of owners referred to as "hawks". Their influence over the commissioner is apparent by the degree to which he is prepared to deny their existence: "It's as wrong as wrong can be. There were no conference calls. There are people with all kinds of different views. Has there been any discussion by this so-called hawkish group? It's wrong; it's a bogus issue. There isn't a hawkish group putting pressure on me. I'm the one who knows who I talk to. I haven't talked to anyone." Methink he dost remind of the Martin Short chracter on SNL who has a meltdown while being interviewed by Mike Wallace saying, "Don't you think I know that? It's my business to know that." It's also reassuring to hear that Selig is not talking to any of the owners but just woking completely on his own as he maintains.
Meanwhile, the Yankees, who could lose a potential $100 million over the next four years if the proposed owners' plan is implemented, are contemplating legal action in the form of "a lawsuit they would bring against the commissioner and baseball if they consider the results of negotiations too financially onerous." The Yankees are joined by a group of wealthier and higher-salaried teams in opposing the commissioner's plan.
Of course, Bud Selig has continually maintained that some teams would go out of business if the system is not changed. He has yet to weigh in on how many teams would go under if there were a year-long strike. Evidently, San Diego has deep enough pockets to withstand the down time. Given that San Diego has always been termed a small-market team, it gives one pause to consider how many other teams have similarly well-line wallets. Which makes one wonder how much credence can be attributed to Selig's doom-and-gloom contentions or to the rest of his bluster for that matter.