(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Where the NBA is Better than Major League Baseball

The NBA doesn't let rookies and agents become bigger than the league. Now perhaps that's because the NBA and its teams have a better deal with its players' union than Major League Baseball does, but I question that because why should the MLBPA allow players who have yet to step onto the field make more than seasoned veterans -- by an absurd margin in the case of the very top draft picks?

It makes about as much sense as mandating that the league whose team wins the All-Star Game earns its champion home-field advantage for the World Series.

Or less.

Read this article about the Nationals (I would have preceded the team with the term "hapless", but that would have been redundant), their first-round pick Stephen Strasburg, the futility they are experiencing in signing him (and their missed opportunity from last season, when they failed to sign their first-round pick, and he again became a first-round pick, and, somewhat inexplicably, that guy still remains unsigned too). The agent in question -- Scott Boras.

I'm no huge fan of Boras, but he's aggressively representing his clients, who, presumably, are acting of their own free will, know what they want and are prepared to be in limbo (to a point) if they do not sign. It's the system that exists that permits Boras and his clients to hold weak teams hostage. That system, if not fixed, could contribute to the perpetuation of those teams' weaknesses.

So now MLB has a 24-hour or so watch to see if Strasburg signs (and if other high picks will sign). It's one thing to see the drama play out for an eighth-rounder who is weighing a scholarship from LSU, Texas or Stanford, but it's another to watch it play out for a player who is described as a "once in a generation" talent.

But Stephen Strasburg should weigh his options carefully. Most people forget who David Clyde was, and J.D. Drew, one of the last famous holdouts, is not a future Hall of Famer (even if he's a solid Major Leaguer). Let the talent beware.


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