We’re in the Middle of football season now and the Middle of MLB playoffs, but the NBA is nowhere. The start of the season is now officially delayed due to foundering contract negotiations. I’m less of an NBA junkie than an NFL junkie, but I’m guessing that—as in most cases—how to divvy up the pie is the big issue. Not that anyone is asking me, but if they did, I’m guessing I would say that I think the players and staff aren’t getting enough, the owners get too much and ticket prices should be lower. But I’m like that.
According to the WaPo, one of the “not exactly monetary” issues is a competitiveness-defeating salary system. Apparently, the NBA does have salary caps for players, like the NFL, but Teams can go over the cap in exchange for paying a penalty. Essentially, funneling more money to “the NBA” in exchange for defeating the salary cap. Some claim this had lead to domination of the League by a few wealthier teams who can buy up the best players, which makes the game boring and makes it hard for other teams to maintain fan interest.
Which gets me to why I am paying attention to baseball for the first time since the 1980s (the last time the Brew Crew had a shot at something) and follow the NFL every year. Basically, in the MLB, one rich team (read: the Yankees) can buy up all the best players, maybe not even play them much, and get to the playoffs and World Series, like, every year. Which Yankees fans describe as “great.” Uh, as in, “great” the way beating a ten year old kid with a sprained ankle at a footrace is “great”? In the epic divides of two kinds of people—cat people and dog people, night people and morning people, garbage under the sink and garbage out on the floor people—there are people who think winning always rocks no matter the circumstances, and people who think winning only counts when it was really a competition. I’m the latter. (So, when people ask me why I’m not moving to New York, here’s another reason.)
The thing about baseball is, it is depressing. It is depressing to pay $20 to get into a ball game and sit in an eighty percent (or even fifty or thirty percent) empty stadium and watch players play for themselves and (hopefully) people sitting near a TV somewhere else. Who wants to pay money to watch an institution die before your eyes?
I guess if you like winning for winning’s sake, you probably don’t care that everyone else is slowly picking up their toys and sliding away. Maybe you’re not even noticing, because you’re focused on winning, your last victory and the next one. So what wakes you up? Someone with leverage like the Players’ Union? A bunch of fed up protesters sitting on Wall Street and Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue? When things get so imbalanced that there is no one left to buy the stuff you’re marketing?
I’d like to see the NBA season get going, but I’d rather have the whole season canceled if it can get the League to a place where the game is interesting and competitive on the court, rather than the Payroll Department. But then again, I’m a Packer Backer, not a Yankees fan.