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Cap in Hand

How SalHow Salary Caps are Killing Pro Sports and Why the Free Market Could Save Themary Caps are Killing Pro Sports and Why the Free Market Could Save Them

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Iconic baseball writer Bill James, in 1987, frustrated with MLB’s labor stoppages and the decline of the minor leagues, wrote that the minors “were an abomination . . . if you’re selling a sport and the players don’t care about winning, that’s not a sport. That’s a fraud . . . an exhibition masquerading as a contest.” Bill imagined a better model and proposed that, as opposed to limiting the number of teams in MLB to protect parity, a free market was capable of sustaining many more franchises — hundreds, even — if we would just allow it to sort out the level at which those cities might best compete.
Cap in Hand goes a step further, arguing that a free market in sports teams and athletes once existed and could work again if the monopolists of MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL would simply relent from salary-restraint schemes and reserve-clause models that result in elite talent being spread as thinly as possible and mediocrity being rewarded via amateur drafts and equalization payments.
In fact, the model for this exists and may be the most wildly popular and monetarily successful of all professional sports: European football.
Cap In Hand asks: what if the four major North American pro sports move beyond the restrictive covenants of the franchise model? The product sold to fans today is a pale copy of what it might be if the market could guide the best players to the best teams, whose ingenuity and innovation would inspire everyone to do better and put on a better show. 

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 05, 2018 – In this evenhanded if slow-going sports history, sportscaster Dowbiggin (Money Players) takes a hard look at salary caps and how they affect sports. He goes through decades of owner-player relations including Babe Ruth and the Yankees, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers and how their expensive contracts shaped their sports. Dowbiggin is not a fan of salary caps in professional sports, calling them akin to "a Soviet-style scythe to level competition in the service of parity." Acknowledging the often tense relationships between franchises and players, Dowbiggin nevertheless argues that "sports is perhaps the only industry where owners benefit from employees' being in a union." It takes a while for Dowbiggin to make his point, but it's a convincing one: moving to a system that European soccer leagues utilize, with divisions for winning teams to chase promotion, and losers to face relegation, and teams that "get to spend what they make." With that system in mind, he imagines, for example, how the NHL could be expanded to 48 teams, divided into two tiers, and made to allow teams to "pay partial salaries of players they trade or acquire in trades." This is a thought-provoking look into the financial structure of North American sports.
Cap in Hand
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  • $18.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Sports & Outdoors
  • Published: Sep 11, 2018
  • Publisher: ECW Press
  • Seller: ECW Press Ltd.
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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