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Diamonds Are Forever

The Business of Baseball

Edited by Paul Sommers
diamonds

As every American knows, our nation’s favorite pastime is also big business. The last fifteen years have been exceptionally good to the business of baseball-with the growth in fan attendance, the spread of cable television, the burgeoning interest in cards and other baseball memorabilia, the historical appreciation of franchise values, the emergence of a powerful players’ union, and average salaries that are almost twenty times their pre-1976 levels. Yet at this time of prosperity, major economic issues trouble the sport: the threat of franchise relocation, the continual flash points in collective bargaining, the growing commercialization of the game, the club owners’ collusive response to free agency, lingering concerns of race discrimination, and the arguably tenuous link between player pay and performance. This fascinating book examines these and other major issues and assesses their probable impact on the business of baseball. Contributors begin by examining the effect of the reserve clause on competitive league balance. They then investigate whether prior experience with the salary arbitration process affects player demands in subsequent settlements and compare salary differences between ineligible and arbitration-eligible players. They consider the role of the baseball fan as contributor to team winning, as season ticket purchase, and as card-collecting hobbyist. Diamonds Are Forever also looks at the link between player pay and performance. The authors question whether such high salaries are actually earned by players or are instead awarded by owners eager to have “the winning team.” They also discuss the growth in unequal distribution of salaries among players. In the last section, the authors look at racial discrimination in baseball and the influence of a team’s racial composition on salaries. From Babe Ruth to Nolan Ryan, Doubleday to Skydome, baseball cards to Homer Hankies, the nation has been enthralled for decades with the business of baseball. Although the authors look to the future and consider changes that might occur in this profitable pastime, they assure that diamonds are forever.

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