Believe It or Not, Baseball Offers Frugal Lessons

Sport re-evaluates its pay structure
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2009 8:38 PM CDT
Believe It or Not, Baseball Offers Frugal Lessons
In this Sept. 17, 2008 file photo Chicago White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera throws to first to make an out in an MLB baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

(Newser) – Looking at baseball, you’d think the country wasn’t in a recession—clubs are charging exorbitant ticket prices and shelling out tens of millions of dollars on top free agents. Will the bubble ever collapse? Probably not, writes Nate Silver for Esquire. MLB is, after all, a legally protected monopoly. But more importantly, the sport already has taken steps to add a dose of reality its out-of-control pay structure.

Blue-chip free agents like CC Sabathia will always command princely sums—their skills are rare. But baseball has cut contracts on its “upper-middle class.” In 2007, 29 free agents signed contracts worth $5 million to $10 million. But 2008 saw only 11 such signings, and a smaller but significant drop in the $1 million to $5 million category. "The industry, in just a few years, has arguably made up for decades' worth of inefficiencies," writes Silver. "If only the rest of the economy could be so lucky."
(Read more MLB stories.)

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