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June 28, 2002

Analyze This

Starting Over

I may be the only person in America cheering for a long, protracted labor battle that brings baseball to its knees.

I may be the only person in America cheering for a long, protracted labor battle that brings baseball to its knees. I think the best thing that could happen to baseball would be for it to face death, to look into the void and see the monster that the industry has become. There's no chance the owners are going to come to their senses and suddenly become honest, or open, or look towards meaningful long-term solutions that would benefit everyone.

Baseball is fat, hugely fat. Since the last strike, non-payroll expenses have risen at a higher rate than salaries have. Owners regularly extort stadiums out of their hosts. Many franchises are run by inept collections of morons who wouldn't be able to make a living standing on a street corner grinding an organ, with a uniformed monkey collecting change.

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April 2, 2002

Analyze This

Light Breaks Through

Overnight, the Royals have gone from a franchise that was one transaction away from official joke status to a team that is slowly, haltingly--but finally--headed in the right direction.

Everything has changed. Pessimism has turned to optimism. Dread has been replaced by hope. Overnight, the Royals have gone from a franchise that was one transaction away from official joke status to a team that is slowly, haltingly--but finally--headed in the right direction.

Mike Sweeney is not, by himself, going to save this franchise. Locking him up for five more years no more guarantees a turnaround than having him on the team the past five years prevented the Royals from perennial last-place finishes. But for the first time in years, the Royals have a foundation. They have a face. They can point to Mike Sweeney and say, "our best player has bought into our future." They did it for far less than anyone thought. Instead of the $12-$15 million a season that everyone figured it would take to land Sweeney, the Royals got his John Hancock for five years, $55 million, or what we Wichitans like to call "Darren Dreifort money."

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