Sunday, October 7, 2007

Bush on Baseball

From, via Andrew Sullivan:
"I made my arguments and went down in flames. History will prove me right," - Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush after voting against realignment and a new wild-card system during a Major League Baseball owners meeting in September 1993. Bush was the lone dissenter in a 27-1 vote.

Sully posted a reader's argument in defense of Bush on this today. Of course, Sully acknowledges knowing nothing about baseball, so I figured I'd counter the dissent. First of all, being a political scientist and a "pretty serious fan of baseball" does not make someone an authority on baseball. Being a political scientist is hardly relevant and being a serious fan of baseball isn't what you would call uncommon. Anyways, suffice it to say that the wild-card playoff system (combined with the 'roid fueled homer binge of the late '90s) was responsible for bringing baseball back from the dead after the 1994 strike. The system has made the season far more interesting, and this season it led to one of the most interesting final weeks you could possibly imagine.

Baseball now has its highest attendance figures in history- despite the trend towards building smaller parks. Revenues have quadrupled, as well. Now, of course I object to the subsidies that have helped fuel this, but the turnaround has been fun to watch as a whole. Now if they would only introduce a European-type relegation system with the minor leagues, baseball would be unstoppable.