Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball

Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball

by Bob Costas

From his perspective as a journalist and a true fan, Bob Costas, NBC's award-winning broadcaster, shares his unflinching views on the forces that are diminishing the appeal of major league baseball and proposes realistic changes that can be made to protect and promote the game's best interests.In this cogent--and provocative--book, Costas examines the growing financial disparities that have resulted in nearly two-thirds of the teams in major league baseball having virtually no chance of contending for the World Series.

He argues that those who run baseball have missed the crucial difference between mere change and real progress.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Sports
  • Rating: 3.63
  • Pages: 220
  • Publish Date: April 3rd 2001 by Broadway Books
  • Isbn10: 0767904664
  • Isbn13: 9780767904667

What People Think about "Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball"

Bob Costas, one of the smartest sports commentators of his time, makes his argument for revenue sharing in baseball and for the elimination of the wild-card from post-season consideration. He also proposes that teams have a minimum player salary budget to ensure that greedy small market owners do not pocket the extra cash. Bob Costas - from ABC News He is opposed to radical realignment, claiming that baseball is linked to its history like no other sport, and mixing and matching national and american league teams would be the wrong thing to do. He claims that the wild card, instead of enhancing the end-of-season races, in fact eliminates them, since what might once have been meaningful games are frequently reduced to exhibitions played by teams who both know they will be in post-season. He proposes instead that there be simple division winners, and no wild card. I confess that I am less concerned for the small market teams than Costas.

We would go to games once in a while, and he played on a league team for his work, and I would go to those games... I can't afford to take my family to a Giants game very often, and the game loses it appeal on tv because as the book/movie Moneyball rightfully addressed, teams with more money, win, more so then in any other sport.

The 2001 book has some parts which are dated, but many of Fair Play's points remain relevant today. MLB fans, from New York to Kansas City, want their teams to have the opportunity to compete consistently for the playoffs. However, it is the opportunity for teams to consistently compete which lies at the heart of Fair Play. --Salary Cap and Floor - Tied to the revenue sharing and based on a formula, all MLB teams cannot spend beyond a certain point and must spend a minimum amount. Today, big-market teams are generally the only ones competing for the elite foreign players. Readers might correctly point out that some small market teams have been able to compete, some even consistently so, for the playoffs. Others may believe that baseball is a business, should be subject to free market competition, and that Fair Play's recommendations smack of socialism.

Costas argues that with the MLB economic structure as it exists (as of 2000), there are some teams that simply have no chance of competing for the end-of-the-season prize. Of course, his book having been published in 2000, it is clearly outdated in some aspects, and I'm sure the economic structure has been through some changes since then, but for the most part each season still confirms this pitiful imbalance in competitive opportunity.

If you consider baseball to be an administrative/business model mess but still love the game, this is the book for you.

An interesting read, particularly in retrospect, since the book's premise is "here's what baseball should do entering its next labor negotiations." Many of the suggestions are prescient, but the arguments for some are belabored. And here is the thing most interesting to me: to read someone's perspective prior to adoption of his points makes one wonder to what extent this book impacted today's game.

The only reason I finished was that I am cheating and putting it on my Book Riot 2016 Reading Challenge list.