BOB: Bud Selig and minor league strengthsby Brian Borawski
December 02, 2009
Bud Selig reiterates retirement plansWe’ve heard this one before: MLB commissioner Bud Selig said that he’ll retire when his current term expires at the end of 2012. That will put his reign at 20 years. We all know he’s seen a lot of both good and bad during that time. Selig made the initial announcement back on his 75th birthday in July but recently, some owners have asked him to stay on. Selig, at least for now, has stayed firm though and says he wants to do a few other things while he still can.
While I don’t think Selig will pull a Brett Favre, you just never know because it’s happened before. The timing will be good though because the next round of collective bargaining negotiations will be over and done (you would think) by then, a lot of the economic crisis that we’re seeing will be over. Of course now we’ll begin to see the speculation as to who Bud Selig’s successor will be.
Baseball’s average salary approaches the $3 million markThe final numbers are in and the average salary in baseball in 2009 was $2,996,000. This was a 2.3 percent increase over 2008 and it marks the smallest year-over-year increase in five years. The numbers come from the players' union, so we’ll see how they match up against the numbers that are released by the commissioner’s office.
The New York Yankees led the way with an average salary of $7.66 million; they’ve topped the list for the last 11 years. It seems spending does bring its reward for most because in total, six of the top eight payrolls made the playoffs.
2009 postseason shares announcedWhen you look at the salaries above, the whole idea of postseason shares don’t mean as much as in years past. Still, to the players on the lower end of the spectrum, playing for a winner can be a huge windfall. A full postseason share for the Yankees came in at just over $365,000 while the share for the Philadelphia Phillies was just over $265,000. The amount received by the Yankees breaks the record set by the St. Louis Cardinals set back in 2006.
Topps signs on to produce minor league cardsTopps is already the exclusive MLB baseball card producer and now, after signing a deal with Major League Baseball Properties, the company will also be the exclusive creator of Minor League Baseball cards as well. The multi-year deal begins at the beginning of 2010; the length of the deal was not disclosed.
I collected cards as a kid and I still buy the sets, although I’m a few years behind. It’s funny how things have come full circle. For most of the time prior to 1980, Topps stood by itself before competitors began cropping up. By the 1990s, you had probably too many players and now, Topps once again stands with a monopoly over the industry.
The art of minor league promotionOne of my favorite columns is Benjamin Hill’s "Minoring in Business." Last week, he talked about how minor league teams have used video in the marketing campaigns. Some teams have gone as far as creating video series to keep their fans engaged. Parodies are also prevalent as are on-field bloopers.
With a five-year-old son, I’ve become a bigger fan of minor league baseball. Their games keep him more occupied and I’m always fascinated at how innovative some of the teams get. This has shown at the gate as well because they were much more able to fend off the economic troubles than MLB was. And as far as Benjamin Hill, he also has a blog, so be sure to check it out.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.