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Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Great book

    The author has great knowledge of the game and how it is run. The book also teaches how baseball was a game that needed fine-tuning before the 21st century. Lastly it expressed how some simple things could fix baseball.

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  • Posted June 29, 2010

    Fair Ball: Still a Relevant Read to Improve Our National Pastime

    Bob Costas is one of America's best-known baseball, and for that matter, sports broadcasters. He has called numerous World Series, All Star, and League Championship games His book, Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball offers up thought-provoking and holistic solutions to help restore and maintain competitive balance in Major League Baseball. The 2001 book has some parts which are dated, but many of Fair Play's points remain relevant today.

    MLB players, the Players' Union, and baseball's owners are beginning early discussions on the next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). As such,it is a good time to re-examine some of the more contentious labor-management issues. Costas' book gives us a perfect retro platform to do so.

    The premise of Fair Ball is that the fans don't really care about the business side of baseball. Yet today, baseball discussions can sometimes be more about the revenue haves vs. the have nots than actual on-the-field play. MLB fans, from New York to Kansas City, want their teams to have the opportunity to compete consistently for the playoffs.

    Costas' book, avoids the Polyanna-ish route, to make the point that some teams will make good use of this opportunity while others will squander it through bone-headed trades, bad management, or sheer bad luck. However, it is the opportunity for teams to consistently compete which lies at the heart of Fair Play.

    Some of Costas' recommendations include:

    --Revenue Sharing -- All teams should share 50% of their TV, Radio, Internet, and Ticket Sales revenue. This still allows successful teams to make more money, but flattens out the huge disparity in local revenues that exists today.

    --Salary Cap and Floor - Tied to the revenue sharing and based on a formula, all MLB teams cannot spend beyond a certain point and must spend a minimum amount. The ceiling is two times the amount of the floor. The "luxury tax", baseball's current mechanism to enforce a semblance of salary equity is failing miserably in this area.

    --SuperStar Salary Cap - Put a cap on the maximum amount you can pay any one player. This would allow all teams to theoretically compete for the premiere players.

    --Tighter Salary Slotting for Younger Players -- Create specific floor and ceiling pay rates for players first coming into the league. Allow teams to "bank" some of their salary cap to lock up prospects according to need as long as they spend, on average across 5 years, withing the floor to ceiling range.

    --International Draft -- include international players in a draft. Today, big-market teams are generally the only ones competing for the elite foreign players.

    Readers might correctly point out that some small market teams have been able to compete, some even consistently so, for the playoffs. While this is true, there are many more small-market teams that don't compete at all and this has harmed the value of many of these franchises and thus, the game's overall value.

    Others may believe that baseball is a business, should be subject to free market competition, and that Fair Play's recommendations smack of socialism. The belief that baseball exists in a free market is completely non-sensical. Baseball enjoys many restrictive covenants (e.g. territorial rights, centralized TV contracts) that limit competition. Each club's welfare is intrinsically tied to one another-a rising tide that lifts all boats, so to speak.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2001

    Great Book

    Bob Costas again shows how much of a pure genius he is. If baseball doesn't even consider some of his ideas then they are cheating the players and the fans. Five Stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2001

    Finally, someone comes up with answers

    Bob Costas writes a call to arms for all fans who have rapidly watched the disintergrating state of the game. This book does not spout some utopian theories, but solid, grounded discussion on how to improve the game, inside and out. Any fan, who has become disgusted with both ownership and player salaries, need to read this book. Those people who believe that there is nothing wrong need to read this book. Not a real intensive read, it took me a few hours finish, but a very informative one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2000

    Wow---This is a good book!

    Bob Costas is a genius, and he shows his knowledge of baseball throughout this book. Costas is an outstanding broadcaster, and an excellent writer. A must read for any fan of the game!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2000

    Costas Hits Grand Slam!

    Bob Costas'FAIR BALL is a triumph of the classic baseball fan and an impassioned look at the ways the game can be improved. Costas has succinctly summarized improvements on America's favorite sport.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2000

    Many good points, but lengthy

    Some of the book seemed like high-school filler, like he had a minimum number of pages to write. But he is a fan and raises a lot of valid points regarding the economy of the game. I sure hope the league doesn't lose a season through strike/lockout just to agree on a plan similar to what Costas has lined up... Should have been a SI piece.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2000

    One of the most truthful pieces ever!

    This is one of the most truthful pieces I have ever read. He picks out the bad points, tells you a good solution, and it is a very possible to complete. If only the league would take some of his ideas into consideration, I think it would help the game imensly. Any baseball fan out there should take a little time out of their life to read this. I think it is a very interesting and enthusiastic piece.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2000


    Finally somebody speaks up about the out of control issues in baseball escalating under Bud Selig's watch. Costas for Commissioner! He gets my vote! Very Entertaining, and easy to understand. I didn't agree with everything but it is a major step in the right direction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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