How Baseball Owners, Players, and Television Executives Have Led Our National Pastime to the Brink of Disaster
Email this review


 Another entry in one of the hot topics of the year, baseball as big business--and potential bust. Lately, this subject has been explored by professional economists (Andrew Zimbalist, Baseball and Billions, p. 912; James Quirk and Rodney D. Fort, Pay Dirt, p. 1298) using statistical analysis and expert knowledge of market forces. Sands (attorney and sports agent) and Gammons (baseball correspondent for ESPN), however, rely on insider access and colorful anecdotes. The upshot is eminently readable, although perhaps less reliable as economic writ. In fact, despite the apocalyptic title, this works best as a lively history of baseball business over the past 20 years, covering free-agency, expansion, media coverage, and the like. Powerful characters abound, like union organizer Donald Fehr, ``the master of outrage,'' and Atlanta Brave's owner Ted ``the Mouth of the South'' Turner. So do poignant moments, as when two noble veterans, Dwight Evans and Carlton Fisk, suffer indignities at the hands of greedy management. All of baseball's recent commissioners take their knocks, from the aristocratic Bowie Kuhn (``one of those guys who played tennis stiff-backed'') to the overreaching Faye Vincent. One radical suggestion that the authors put forward is to establish a baseball CEO apart from the commissioner, who will be relegated to goodwill-ambassador status (an amusing section imagines baseball in the year 2000, with Mario Cuomo as the glad- handing commissioner). The authors see player greed as a major problem, and suggest opening salaries to free-market pressures. Startling predictions for the near-future include a new tier of playoffs, regular season play between National and American Leagues, even a World Series that includes Japan or Australia. A fine baseball-as-business book for those with no head for business.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1993
ISBN: 0-02-542411-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993