Tag Archives: Baseball

Salary Cap Sports: Has it Worked?

The salary cap for professional sports has always been a hotly debated topic. Many of the people in favor of the salary cap have argued that it is a way of leveling the playing field for all competing teams and gives even the low budget, small market teams a chance at competing for a championship. Opponents of the salary cap think that it is a way for owners to keep money out of the hands of the players and keep it for themselves. Some of the questions I will explore in this article include: Has parity been affected due to the implementing or exclusion of a salary cap? What teams have benefited the most or the least from the cap situation? Should the cap be expanded or reduced? I will look at other aspects as well. Buckle up.

How This Began

This research began because of my interest in how the four major sports league in North America, as well as college football and basketball, and my curiosity in the variance of champions in those six sports. In order to get a data set, I had to set a parameter for where to start. I set this by looking at what point did the 4 major sports start to look the most like they do today. I determined this to be the merger of the NBA and ABA in 1976. I chose this because at this point, the Super bowl and NFL had been established for some time, the NHL was coming of age and becoming more like the game we watch today, and baseball was thriving. Basically, it’s the modern age of sports start point.

I first looked at the parity in each league. How often was a unique team winning the title? All leagues have around 20 teams at the start of the data set and have expanded tenfold since. I knew some would be low and some would be high percentages based on prior knowledge of champions. I simply divided the number champions in each respective league by the number of seasons. Here were the results:

  • NBA: 14 teams in 40 season = 35%
  • NHL: 16 teams in 39* seasons = 41%
  • NFL: 16 teams in 40 seasons = 40%
  • MLB: 21 teams in 39* seasons = 53%
  • CFB: 20 teams in 40 seasons = 50%
  • CBB: 19 teams in 40 seasons = 48%

* league with cancelled championship due to work stoppage

I was not surprised to find that the NBA had the least amount of variance. The Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, and Bulls have dominated the landscape in terms of titles since the merger. The next two lowest leagues in terms of title variance were the NFL and the NHL respectively. The NHL saw a huge increase in variance in the 90s as the NFL has seen little variance difference. The New England Patriots have won 5 Super bowls since 1976, the most of any team. that accounts for almost 20% of all the NFL titles. The Broncos, Steelers, 49ers, Redskins and Giants have all won at least 3 Super bowls in that same time span.

On the contrary, The MLB, and major college sports have seen the most variance since the NBA-ABA merger. This was a major surprise to me. These sports are notorious for top heavy, power teams or leagues with repeat champions in conference play. Because of these stats, I then went back into the spreadsheets to look at before and after for leagues with a salary cap in order to see if the variance in the NHL, NFL, and NBA have improved since the implementation of the cap. Here’s what the numbers looked like:

Before Cap

  • NBA: 6 teams from 1977-84 =  75%
  • NHL: 11 teams from 1977-2004= 40%
  • NFL: 7 teams from 1977-94 = 43%

After Cap

  • NBA: 10 teams from 1984 to present= 30%, -45%
  • NHL: 7 teams from 2005 to present = 53%, +13%
  • NFL: 14 teams from 1994 to present= 58 %, +15%

The NBA has clearly trended in the wrong direction since the implementation of the salary cap. I will grant them them small sample size of 8 years for the “before cap” data set but when we expand that out, the parity decreases. The Boston Celtics dominated the early landscape of the NBA. Parity did not exist in the NBA in the early days. The NHL and NFL are trending in the right direction. The NHL has a very young salary cap and it is arguably the most unforgiving one in all of sports. It has allowed teams who have never won a cup before (Carolina, Anaheim, LA) or teams who have not won in decades ( Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh) to be competitive with the likes of Detroit and Montreal. The NFL data is skewed because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, both generational, hall of fame NFL icons who have led the Patriots to an ungodly stat line since 2001. It will be interesting to see the NFL landscape after both or one of them retires. The NFL has trended to more parity even with these two legends leading the way so I expect it to increase as time goes on.

Why the Cap?

Based on the numbers, the cap is not a guarantee that parity will increase significantly. Why then, does the cap exist? The answer is the owners. A salary cap is, exactly what it sounds like, to a populist, a way to suppress wages. Without a strong players union, owners keep salary caps so they can not pay market value for a superstar. In baseball, with no cap Giancarlo  Stanton and David Price command contract upwards of $30 million a year because teams are not only paying for their on field services, but increased promotional revenue as a result of them being on their teams. Tom Brady, Sidney Crosby and Lebron James have their sports earning potential capped on their respective teams and, without question, would command similar salaries if the cap was taken out of those sports. For the owners, a cap makes the most business sense and it dupes the public into thinking the league is aiming for more parity.

It will be interesting to see where the trends go in the future. As of this writing on May 23, 2018, The NBA has only teams who have won before in their final four and the NHL has at least a 50% of having a first time winner with Vegas in the final.

Thanks for reading,

Foz

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Time to Complain about the BBWA Again

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There has been a hiatus on me complaining about baseball hall of fame voting the past two years. This is only because the last two years were no brainers that not even the most comatose BBWA writer could screw up. Guys like Griffey, Pedro, and Randy Johnson all got in and obviously all deserved their first ballot status. This years ballot was a little less obvious.

The “stars” going into the museum this year are Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, and Ivan Rodriguez. On the surface, this doesn’t look to glaring an issue. Pudge was an all time catcher who was the best defensive catcher not only of his generation, but of all time. The eyes told you that but the metrics do too. He has a career defensive WAR of 317. For those new to the stat, that means he accounted for 317 more wins because of his defense than the average catcher over the course of his career. Tim Raines has the second highest baserunning coefficient of all time behind Ricky Henderson. I’m a little too young to have watched Raines, but people tell me he’s the best leadoff hitter ever not named Ricky Henderson. And then Bagwell. Not much to say about him. He was a borderline hall of famer at best based on numbers and by watching him, he never did anything of consequence or drastically affected the game of baseball. He would be first ballot “Hall of Really Really Good” not first ballot hall of fame if it were up to me.

The biggest issue is the people voting. Most of them use this ballot every year to stand on their soapboxes and preach about integrity and playing the game the right way and all that nonsense instead of celebrating the greatness that deserves to be recognized. It is multiplied by a thousand this year because of the hypocrisy of the voters.

This year. The BBWA voted in Bagwell and Rodriguez, both of whom have obvious links to PED use in baseball. Bagwell was on the same thing that McGwire was (which was not outlawed by the MLB at the time). Rodriguez was in the same locker room as notorious PED users Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco. The links are obvious yet the BBWA gets to pick and choose who cheated and who didn’t? If the BBWA wants to take a stance, take a stance. Too many people vote for guys like Bagwell but then leave off Bonds, Clemens and Manny? It’s embarrassing.

The BBWA can take all the stances they want one way or the other. Just don’t tell me you have no time for PED users and then vote in the ones that you like. Bonds, Clemens and Manny were  thousand times the player than Bagwell was. Just vote for the best players! it’s about baseball, not stuffy baseball writers preaching about integrity.

Twitter: @fozberry64

 

Buchholz Pitched Bad Because he was Hot and Tired From Running to 1st Base

First, I have always been a fan of Buchholz. The guy came up with a mean heater and a devastating 12-6 curve. Yeah yeah the no hitter was cool but let’s look at just last season when he was DOMINANT to start the year, went on the DL then came back and was dominant again, helping the sox win the World Series. Tough to hate a guy like that who always gets hurt but when healthy is as good at his position as anyone else.

This year he has been not even a shadow of that. He has pitched extremely poor when he is not supposed to be battling any injury. Yesterday he walked 8 batters in 3 innings and gave up all 6 ATL runs. What was his excuse? He was hot and tired from running 90ft to first base after a pretty sweet hit. This comment coming from a guy who looks like a gentile gust of wind could make him fall off the mound. You hear Bartolo Colon blame poor pitching on being tired from running to first? Of course not and you know Colon is taking a few years off his life every time he trots down the line.

The worst part about this is that his speed is billed as being amazing. He regularly beat Ellsbury in races when Ellsbury was here. I always wished the sox would use Buchholz as a runner but I guess we have the reason. Guy can’t jog 90ft without it ruining his command.

Get off my team Buchholz. This type of mental/physical weakness has no room in Boston.

Foz

Why is Everyone Hating on Steven Drew?

Today, the Sox signed Steven Drew for the Remainder of this year. Social media promptly exploded with everyone bashing the Sox for signing him. What for? It’s borderline barbaric the hate for this guy. He is such a low risk signing for the Sox. Is he supposed to come in and play 100 games at short and hit .325 with 10 dingers for the remainder of the season? Absolutely not. In case everyone hasn’t noticed, the Sox bottom of the lineup is atrocious. The sox just aren’t hitting anything in general. Middlebrooks is on the DL for what seems like the millionth time in his short career. Bogaerts is still just a boy who has 3 whole months of big league ball under his belt. The fill ins at third for Middlebrooks at third have been far from efficient even though Brock Holt has a top 10 baseball name. Holt has gotten on base 0 times in the last 7 days. Herrera is hitting below the mendoza line. Drew can come in, play every few days, play a decent short and add an average bat to a very below average lineup. Seems like ages ago he was hitting huge home runs in the World Series, never mind it was only 7 months ago. No reason to hate this. Low risk signing for a team that clearly needs some fresh  recycled air.  

Age old Question: Why Do Baseball Players get Injured in the Stupidest Ways?

This has been something that has been bothering me for a long time. Baseball players always get injuries in the most bizarre ways and I have no idea why. I understand they are the least athletic athletes of the four major sports (looking at you Bartolo Colon), but they get injured doing everyday things that common men and athletes do alike. Here are some of the worst.

This year, Matt Cain missed starts because he cut his hand while making his daughter a sandwich. He did it when the knife fell and he went to catch it. Obviously he succeeded in catching it which is cool but it’s so typical that he had to miss games for something like that. 

Joel Zumaya went on the DL years ago after he got blisters playing Guitar Hero. This is outrageous seeing as I easily have logged more hours of Guitar Hero than a major league closer. No blisters here! 

Sammy Sosa strained his back sneezing. This was very famous when it happened. Sneezing is something very violent and is quite possibly the most violent thing the body does. Something you do every day though. Can’t have DL stints because of sneezing. 

Those are my three favorite. If you want to see more click here

 

 

John Lackey is so Confusing

John Lackey went out last night an pitched great again. He has been a rock solid 3/4 starter since the beginning of last season when he came off Tommy John Surgery and Chicken and Beer gate the previous two years. The body of work speaks for itself the last two years. 3.5 era and 7Ks per 9 innings is competitive if not better than the rest of teams’ 4th starter from last year. Started 29 games too. Already has 4 wins this year and is looking to be on pace to have better numbers. He’s only gotten better with age. He’s 35 years old and before his Tommy John, he had a 6 ERA during that horrendous 2012 season and was one of the cronies that ran Francona out of town. 

Credit has to be given to Farrell for restoring order in this clubhouse and fixing our pitching staff. He took guys with talent like Lackey and Lester, fixed their mechanics and we ended up with a World Series ring. Lackey’s performance in the clinching game last year was the stuff of myths. That’s why I’m so confused. I was expecting him to come out this April and have nothing but a 7 ERA and baserunners everywhere. That is not the case. I will never ever trust Lackey but I’d be lying if is said since the beginning of 2013, he is probably the biggest surprise on the entire team.