Today (well… OK, two days ago) in non-news news, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports goes out of his way to make a well-understood point that sometimes gets a little lost in all our fawning over Rogers’ sudden benevolence this winter: if you’re looking for someone to thank for the Jays’ transformation this winter, maybe try looking to MLB commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner.
A little-known aspect of the CBA — the market-disqualification program — is helping force a select group of teams to operate more competitively than they did in the past.
The way the program works, revenue-sharing proceeds for teams in the 15 largest markets will decline by set percentages over the next three years, and disappear entirely by 2016.
Teams that previously received such funds — Toronto, Atlanta and Washington, among them — had little incentive to field better clubs. Why bother? By increasing revenues, they lost revenue-sharing dollars.
The new CBA flips that equation.
Teams that are about to lose their revenue-sharing income are more motivated to make money. And teams make money by winning.
No, it’s not that we all didn’t know this, or aren’t still grateful to Rogers for not being the Seattle Mariners about it. And no, there isn’t any real point in skewering them on it at this particular moment, apart from the fact that Rosenthal brought it up. But he’s not wrong. And as much as we may want to look at the decision to spend in the first full winter under the new CBA as a mere coincidence entirely in line with the vision Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos articulated long before anybody knew what the revenue sharing program was ultimately going to look like, it certainly wouldn’t be out of character of Rogers to be thinking less altruistically here and more purely through the prism of their bottom line than maybe we’re comfortable admitting.
I don’t know if I have a point here, except that this is maybe a thing that got a little too lost in our past three months of gum drops and cotton candy, and that we shouldn’t let our guard down when it comes to a deeply cynical ownership group, as we open this new era of Rogers love.
Obviously this is no newsflash or anything, but still… it’s worth giving a few seconds of thought to how it’s awfully, awfully coincidental that they went ahead and green-lighted putting a competitive team on the field in the first year when the old, revenue sharing pool-devouring plan went out the window. And also to how it could actually be possible that, as an architect of the CBA, Bud Selig maybe shouldn’t be quite so reviled– at least not in this town.