Forbes SportsMoney calls it the big problem Baseball’s “nasty problem that’s hard to fix.”
The cool relationship between the league and Players Association made icier by Teams seen as tanking and Free Agents piling up like fireplace logs. Stacked away throughout Winter and now just sitting there rotting in the Spring.
Forbes’ Maury Brown is one of Sports Media’s best when it comes to cutting through the daily clutter of Media Moshpit noise and pulling out nuggets others aren’t paying attention to.
Is this one of those times?
Is everyone so busy chopping at the trees there’s a great big old forest of problems for Baseball that’s being ignored? Is there a “nasty problem?”
I can think of one. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred set an aggressive revenue target for MLB. It’s been missing it. And whether there’s a large systemic problem or not, there’s certainly solid reason to say Baseball Owners aren’t taking that Call to Revenue Arms seriously.
And it’s not a clarion to simply be ignored. Roger Goodell did the same thing and not many paid attention. But there’s a reason these League Commissioners are pressing for big revenue growth and that reason isn’t greed.
It’s Soccer. And it’s Cricket. And it’s even Rugby.
It’s Global Sports.
It’s what has happened to every major Industry in America. On steroids.
Look at the emblems on the front of cars. Look at the logo on whatever device you’re reading this on. Is it an American Company? Chances are the answer is no.
Did anyone really believe that Sports was going to be immune? Is that what they’ve been telling you on FOX Sports? Oh yeah, right. FOX, Australian, Rupert Murdoch’s Network.
Until he becomes the largest individual Shareholder of Disney too.
So yes, I do see one underlying problem with MLB. Since 1999, International has been a huge priority. But now that Global Sports are beginning to become a reality that impacts all Sports, are MLB Owners ignoring their Commissioner’s call to be ready? To be armed with annual revenues large enough to fight back when Sports with billions of Fans already start getting really good at turning that into money.
Because they will. And then what?
Does Baseball have a problem here at home that threatens it? I don’t know. But I do know that the response by the MLBPA was to stage a couple showcase Games for Free Agents.
Against a Team from Japan.