BOB:  Marvin Miller passes away at 95

Marvin Miller dies at age 95

Longtime baseball union chief Marvin Miller passed away at the age of 95 yesterday. He was in charge of the MLBPA for 17 years and—not to diminish any of the other union heads—those were probably some of the more important years in baseball for the players.

Prior to Miller and into the 1970s, baseball players didn’t have much in the way of options and were basically locked into the whims of their current team. Just about everything that was put in place to help the players, including arbitration and free agency, came about during Miller’s tenure.

My opinion is that Miller should be in the Hall of Fame. Whether you love him or hate (and he does have his detractors), you can’t argue that he had a profound impact on the game. It’s just too bad he didn’t get the nod before he passed away.

Dodgers looking at blockbuster television deal

While things aren’t finalized yet, the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to sign the most lucrative television contract in history and it makes the $2 billion purchase price that the current ownership group paid for the team seem a little more reasonable. Fox is looking to pay the Dodgers between $6 billion and $7 billion over 25 years. That’s more than most teams make from all their revenue streams.

Whether this is good for baseball is still to be seen. This puts the Dodgers in the same league as some of the financial powerhouses like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox and creates a new major player when it comes to free agency. It also further widens the gap between the richer teams and the poorer, and while some of this money will go into the revenue-sharing pool, the Dodgers will still have enough television money left over to give them a bigger television deal than any other team.

Of course spending a bunch of money doesn’t necessarily mean crowding other teams from the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Rays have shown they can live on a modest budget but still succeed and the Yankees have only won one World Series since 2000. Still, it’s going to force the smaller market teams to look for inefficiencies (trying to stay away from the term “moneyball”) to succeed.

Giants’ World Series share a record

Full World Series shares for the San Francisco Giants came in at $377,003, the largest amount ever, breaking the previous record set by the 2006 Cardinals. The total player pool also set a record with $65.36 million, breaking the previous record of $59.1 million set in 2009. The record was achieved in part because of the new expanded playoff system with the two new Wild Card games added to the mix.

A full share for the Detroit Tigers, the World Series loses, came in at $284,275, up over $30,000 since the year before. The players’ pool includes 50 percent of the gate receipts from the Wild Card games and 60 percent from the first few games from the other series. In a nice feel-good story, the Oakland Athletics chose to donate one of their full shares to eight local charities.

Fiscal cliff talks could affect Hot Stove

Higher taxes are being discussed in Washington, D.C., and while we don’t know what that’s going to entail, it’s probably having an effect on contract negotiations. Players are trying to get as much of their money as they can in 2012 before rates go up. Other than that, it’s going to be tough to do much planning because nobody knows where tax rates are finally going to end up. Another thing that also can have an impact is state taxes. The top rate in California is 10.3 percent while in Florida there is no income tax.

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Miller gets in the Hall right after Curt Flood…just sayin’

Marc Schneider
Marc Schneider

Miller should be in the Hall but no one ever mentions the arbitrator (Dick Seitz I believe?) who actually made the ruling to give Andy Messersmith free agency.  I’m not saying he deserves to be in the Hall, but this was the decision that created free agency.  Curt Flood lost his case.  Miller was the one that forced the owners to set up arbitration.  So, yes, I think Miller should be in before Curt Flood.