Friday, April 14, 2006

Batman Redux

The discussion at Baseball Primer reinforces an essential point about the Batman vs. McClatchy debate. Those of us who have suffered under the yoke of the McClatchy regime can only be pleased when our oppressor is publicly humiliated as he was in this instance. But in a perfect world, he would have been humiliated for the right reasons.

To say that McClatchy needs to write more and larger checks isn't quite right, and the assertion plays right into the devious PR strategy of the regime: Our critics, they can argue, don't understand the odious constraints that the structure of baseball places on lowly small-market teams like ours; our failures are the fault of George Steinbrenner and Bud Selig, not us; it's easy for a movie star to ask us to write checks when the checks don't come from his bank account; if we had the money, we would spend it, and if the fans keep coming to the ballpark to eat $7 hot dogs and watch games that are over in the first 15 minutes, maybe we will.

Sure, it would be nice if the owners would write more checks, but the problem isn't the quantity of checks written or the amounts for which they are written; it is the payees to whom they are written. When McClatchy announced that he was challenging Littlefield to increase the payroll in the off season, I shuddered. "I don't trust these guys to spend that money wisely," I said. Was I wrong?

The McClatchy regime uses the Pirates small-market status as an excuse for organizational incompetence. Other teams operate far more successfully within the same constraints that the Pirates face. That's what I wish Batman had said.


Blogger Rory said...

I was pleased when the oppressor was called out publicly as well, but you're absolutely right.

5:46 PM  

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