Sports Now Defined as GREED

The World Series, like most other professional sports as well as college sports, is now the victim of TV and all the money that drives it. This shows up most graphically in the time now required for a contest to be decided, excluding games with overtime periods. The first game of the current Series required three hours and 32 minutes and the second, three hours and 25 minutes. Another game required four hours.

Granted, there was a lot of scoring in the games but considering the possibilities of home runs and double plays (fast actions) these games were far too long. Each team scored one run in the first inning of game two, which lasted a full 30 minutes, though one of the runs was a home run effected in just seconds. If that factor had prevailed throughout the game, it would have required four hours and 30 minutes to finish, more than a half-day's work. This stuff will kill the sport.

It's unfair to compare this Series with that of 1956, in which Yankee pitcher Don Larson pitched a perfect game on 08 October, the only one in Series history. The Yanks beat Brooklyn (now LA Dodgers) 2-0 in that game, which lasted two hours and six minutes and featured only five hits by the “bums.” But it's worth remembering that there were no conferences by the umpires on-scene conferring electronically with those in New York, who settled all issues, the whole business eating up time.

In the games mentioned above, pitchers and batters strolled, spit, changed their minds or did nothing for periods of differing lengths. Pitchers stared and stared at catchers, shook off sign after sign and finally decided to throw the ball. Batters had to step out of the box and readjust their gloves, many with a stroll around the catcher and umpire, after every pitch. Batters didn't wear gloves in 1956. Fielders wear gloves, then and now. No conferences with New York arbiters took place in 1956 or for all but a few years since. Umpire-mistakes were just part of the game and evened out for the teams.

Ballplayers were adequately paid but not made filthy rich back in the day. Today, long-term mega-million-dollar contracts are handed out routinely and can amount to well over $20 million a year, guaranteed, with enough incentives to sweeten the pot even more. According to the Major League Players Association, the average wage now is $3.39 million per year, or $20,926 per game.

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer helped the Orioles sweep the LA Dodgers in 1966. His player-share of the series proceeds amounted to $11,683.40. His salary for the entire season was $7,500. The winning player-share of the 2013 World Series won by the Red Sox was $307,322.68. Red Sox pitcher John Lackey's salary was $15,950,000 to pitch in about 33 games. The St Louis player's loser-share was a paltry $228,300.17. Highest paid St. Louis player's salary for the year was outfielder Matt Holliday's $16,272,110 for 162 games, $103,000 per game.

The losing players in the league championship series also got well. The Detroit player's share was $129,278.22. The LA Dodger player-share was $108,037,06. The division player-shares averaged about $35,000, so getting into the playoffs means big bucks, win or lose. The fan can be sure of two things: the players are or will be mega-millionaires, depending on longevity, and the national anthem will be tortured unmercifully by the non-singers (celebrity or not) who attempt to sing it. It should be presented by recordings of actual singers.

Besides their salaries, the total amount to the players in the playoffs and World Series came to $62,683,966.80 in 2013. These figures were higher in 2012. For the period 2007-13, the total amounted to $402,940,679.50 or close to half-a-billion. Is it wonder, then, why umpire-conferences were/are held to see if the guy actually was safe at first or home? The thing that saved the umpires on-scene was the fact that the New York-based umps just looking at replays from various angles had the last word, doing away with managers arguing themselves blue in the face and kicking dirt on the umps' shoes before being tossed.

A bad call at third with two out could mean the difference in millions of dollars, so look for more delays. Innumerable replays and extended commercials are killing the NFL, too. But it's all about the money...sport is just as defiled as everything else that greed drives (think steroids and HGH, too), but it certainly will survive...at least until the public gets fed up.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark