Favorite Candidate of the Day
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By jank - Last updated: Thursday, August 7, 2003 - Save & Share - 2 Comments

“Peter Ueberroth”:http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/6481631.htm , ex-commissioner of MLB. With all due respect to Gary Coleman, Ueberroth actually has the chops to be a decent governor. Set up a solid organization that even Bud Selig has had problems destroying. “Page 2”:http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/lies.html doesn’t like him much (Item 10), but they’ve always been for labor.

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2 Responses to “Favorite Candidate of the Day”

Comment from etrigan
Time August 8, 2003 at 10:55 am

I am intrigued. As our resident sports and conservative politics guru, I’d love to see some instant punditry on this guy.

Comment from jank
Time August 8, 2003 at 3:03 pm

I’ve moved past Uberroth as my COTD (candidate of the day) today. I’m jumping on the ‘Draft Steve Martin’ bandwagon, mostly out of respect for movies such as ‘Roxanne’, ‘LA Story’ (Which didn’t look like it took place in any part of Louisiana I’ve ever seen) – about everything he’s been in up until the last 5 years or so.

Honestly, I don’t know a whole lot about Uberroth. I do know that there were fewer folks griping about the Commish when it was old Pete than gripe about Bud Selig.

Uberroth was a conservative in the traditional sense of the word, as in opposed to change for change’s sake. No talk about mucking with the All Star game, no silly interleague play to throw off standings. Baseball was enough.

In the interest of full disclosure, he was convicted of collusion with the 26 (at the time) owners for conspiring to keep players wages low(er). Although why courts can’t find the Player’s Union as colluding to artifically inflate wages, I don’t know.

But when he took up residence in the commissioner’s office, 21 of 26 teams were reporting annual losses. After leaving, all 26 teams reported profits. He dealt with somewhat squalid conditions at ballparks, and sealed the first gargantuan TV deals of any professional sports.

I’d probably vote for him based on the above – he took action on things which were necessary, and left alone things which were working fine. Despite the collusion issue, only losing 1 day in 4 years to player’s strikes is a great record in the modern era, which gives me the impression that the Players’ Union couldn’t have been too unhappy with him.

There’s also his record as the president of the 1984 LA Olympics. Well run on a huge scale, successful in spite of the USSR’s boycott (and McD’s meltdown in their promotion – how many free Big Macs did you eat that summer?). The Olympic Committee ended up with a couple hundred million in surplus that they plowed back into sports development programs around the country.

NB- With regard to the Players/Owners ongoing feud in Baseball: Having worked some really crappy, low paying jobs in my life, I’m probably more sympathetic to the general idea of labor unions than I ought to be as a conservative. Not to the point of supporting this silly ‘Living Minimum Wage’ BS (Why do we need to pay teenagers flipping burgers enough to make it on their own?); but sympathetic towards folks in skilled, lower paying jobs. Mechanics, welders, that sort of thing. Out-of-work folks with MFA’s and the like? Dude, where was your job market survey when you were deciding what to do with your life? (Again, coming from one who’s more than happy to pay for entertainment I enjoy, and does support local theater and music)

Anyhoo – I tend to side with the owners in MLB. The League Minimum salary is more than I will probably ever make in a year, and the price for even moderately productive players is $3-6 million a year. For playing freaking baseball. I don’t begrudge the players one cent that they negotiate: it’s a free market, and the owners (if they’re acting as decent businessfolk, which most of them are) won’t pay more than they can recoup.

But the owners are throwing up their own capital to buy and support the teams. Risk is what generates reward, as any first year business student can tell you. Without the owners to bankroll the team, the players wouldn’t be able to negotiate huge salaries in the first place. If the possibility of a decent return on an investment in a sports team didn’t exist, most of these folks would find other parts of the economy into which to plow their money.

The one argument which I will cotton on this subject is the issue of Taxpayer-funded ballparks and stadiums. IMO, this was a subsidy that we never, ever should have even considered. If you’re looking for a government program that truly benefits only the rich at the expense of the poor, this is it.

Most of these lovely structures are funded by sales taxes, which are one of the most regressive forms of tax there is (Only tax worse are vice taxes, such as liquor and cigarettes. Talk about sucking money out of the poor’s pockets…). With the average ticket price for professional sports sitting somewhere north of ~$20 (Very rough number, could be anywhere from $15-30, but I don’t feel like looking right now), going and catching a game isn’t a reality for folks enjoying the Earned Income Tax Credit. Nachos and beer at the game are out for sure.

Much like my take on welfare and other social programs, the Owners need to realize that once you’ve taken the People’s Tax Dollars, there’s a debt that’s owed back to the People. Increased ticket and concession prices aren’t the payback. The owners should lose some amount of control to the communities that bankrolled their places of business. But that’s a starting point for another post…

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