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Sunday, June 11, 2006

My Current Reading
Well, not so much current as I finished it earlier today. I just completed "In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig" by Amdrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College. (No relation.) Honestly, I was a little disappointed. Despite the title focusing on Bug Selig, he really doesn't enter into the picture until half way through. The first half of the book was devoted to a history of the governance of baseball including profiles of past commissioners. While this was interesting, I already knew much of it.

He does provide an interesting analysis, however, of the 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players' union and the owners. Essentially, while the payroll tax and revenue sharing that players consented to in the agreement were sold as an attempt to increase competitive balance in the game, the economic structure of those arrangements will actually serve to increase imbalance. The tax structure actually has a regressive tax structure that punishes low-income teams for increasing revenue. It also fails by sharing revenue based of team income rather than market size so that Phillies, who were in the 4th largest media market and largest unshared media market were receiving money through revenue sharing because their team was so poorly managed.

He does have good things to say overall about Selig's work to improve baseball financial bottomline and amrketing efforts, the latter of which were essentially nonexistent before his ascension to the throne. He does quote anonymous owners who have problems with Selig accusing him of talking out of both sides of his mouth, managing through sweet talk, sweetheart deals, and threats. I still think he's the Devil: interleague play and the wild card are abominations.

It's an interesting read. Nothing too earth-shattering. I'd definitely recommend waiting for it to come out in paperback or borrowing it from somebody.

I should also finish up the Compendium of the Social Doctine of the Catholic Church later today, which I've been reading off and on for the past few weeks. While there are issues that will cause disagreement from both sides of the political spectrum, overall, it's a fairly conservative piece of work, despite what many people who supposedly teach the Church's social doctrine would like you to believe. A strong preference for democratic forms of government with plenty of local control and involvement from the private sector, especially charities. A strong and healthy respect for the free market, encouraging the reduction of barriers to trade and freedom of entry, as long as it doesn't become and end in itself, always taking care to remember it's there to serve man, not the other way around. Nothing you couldn't find in Russell Kirk's writings.

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