Graft in MLB

Wow, what a great feel-good story. It makes me feel so warm an fuzzy to know that MLB’s new wealth-redistribution program is running so well. According to the AP, revenue sharing recipients are spending their revenue sharing windfall on the farm to build for the future. You see, there has been a perception that revenue sharing distorts the incentives for winning. Why spend $10 million dollars on players to generate wins and more revenue when you can just sit back and wait for some welfare from George Steinbrenner? The problem is that the gig is up. Everyone knows the system is a scam that does anything but help small-market teams compete. So what is MLB to do? Say that teams spending the money in the minor leagues “and building for the future.” Fans can see when teams spend big money on Major League players, but spending in the minors is virtually invisible to the public. So MLB puts out a press release to combat the image that owners don’t spend the money on building a better team to improve competitive balance.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said his team’s low payroll has led some to conclude that the team isn’t spending money.

“It’s not only the fans,” he said. “I don’t think players understand. I don’t think employees in our organization understand the money that goes into player development and scouting. I have to educate them on that.”

You see, it’s all a big misunderstanding. Yeah, right! This is just the latest cover story. Just as third-world dictators know the tricks to launder foreign aid — for example buying overpriced machines for under-the-table kickbacks from machine sellers — revenue-sharing recipients have found a way to hide their scam. By the time the money heads down the the farm and back the public has no idea where it went. If teams poor teams were really using this money on the farm, then why haven’t the perennial cellar dwellers (Brewers, KC, Pittsburgh, etc.) been stocking the league with talent for the past decade. The current revenue plan is not so different from the 1995-2002 revenue sharing plan to make such a big difference in the minors.

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