Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime

Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime

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by Andrew Zimbalist
     
 

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"A savvy analysis of the game's financial problems" (Los Angeles Times), now updated throughout and featuring a new chapter on recent controversies and upheavals in the game. Selected as one of the best books of the year by Business Week.

Overview

"A savvy analysis of the game's financial problems" (Los Angeles Times), now updated throughout and featuring a new chapter on recent controversies and upheavals in the game. Selected as one of the best books of the year by Business Week.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A professor of economics at Smith College, Zimbalist ( Comparing Economic Systems ) here presents the best recent work about baseball's economic aspects. He analyzes profits, franchise values, attendance and ticket pricing, the relations between teams and their host cities, minor-league ball and player salaries. Admirably objective, he is skeptical about the owners, whose creative bookkeeping practices make their cries of poverty almost credible; he is skeptical about the players, who generally play poorly after they sign multi-year contracts; he is skeptical about the media, whom he finds massively ignorant of sports economics and presumably content to be so. Finally, he demonstrates that those who predict the demise of the national pastime need not be right. Scholarly and impressive. (Sept.)
Library Journal
``If I were a rich man,'' sings Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof . Change the words of this catchy tune to ``I am a rich man'' and you have the owners and athletes who play catch in Zimbalist's (economics, Smith Coll.) book. Baseball and Billions describes a game with revenues approximating those of corporations, owners who receive public taxes worth millions, and ballplayers with salaries averaging over $1 million a year . The author has assembled facts and figures from owners, front office personnel, players, and politicians to present a picture of a national pastime that is threatened by greed, exploitation, and abuse of public trust. From Brooklyn to St. Petersburg, Florida there is agreement that something needs to be done to make the game less corporate and more responsible to its fans. This book will be of interest to both scholars and fans of the game who enjoy the cry, ``Play ball!''-- Albert Spencer, Coll. of Education, Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas
Kirkus Reviews
During the baseball strike of 1990, Zimbalist's disillusioned 11-year-old son suggested that his dad write a book on the economics of baseball. The happy result is this grand-slam study of America's only "self-governing, unregulated monopoly," standing head-and-shoulders above Neil J. Sullivan's similar The Diamond Revolution (p. 661). Although baseball is booming (revenues doubled to billion from 1985 to 1990), Zimbalist believes that danger looms, the result of a shrinking TV audience, ballooning salaries, and other woes brought on by "commercialism, greed, and poor management." He points a well-aimed finger at team owners as the major culprits; while George Steinbrenner "stands out in his zaniness and mismanagement," few owners escape Zimbalist's acid remarks. The sport's commissioners also take their lumps: Zimbalist doubts current boss Fay Vincent's claim that many teams are losing money, and he notes that franchise values are skyrocketing. The author explores hidden sources of revenue (like luxury boxes, some with marble-and-gold bathrooms) and the inflated salaries of superstars as clues to baseball's hidden economy, and he slams the treatment of minor leaguers, subject to pitiful pay and no job protection, as "scandalous." Leapfrogging of teams from city to city also draws fire. As to how to heal our national pastime, Zimbalist offers no panaceas, although he returns time and again to the idea of expansion to 35 or 40 teams, a move that will relieve a number of problems, including an underused labor pool. A "minimalist" fix- up might also include guaranteed free access to special games like the World Series, revenue sharing among teams, and a baseball labor act. A"maximalist" cure would mean government regulation through the creation of a federal commission. A near-miracle—a nimble, exciting unknotting of a horribly tangled business—that's also a public service, as Zimbalist presents workable proposals that put the fan's interests first.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465006151
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
02/28/1994
Edition description:
UPDATED
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)
Lexile:
1450L (what's this?)

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Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun read about how economics plays a role in the business aspect of the MLB, and how money effects the game overall.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the book baseball and billions was an ok book. it talked about the economy in the baseball world and the issues and how much money was spent for uniforms ect. all in all it was a good book.