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Braintrust & Mailing Lists  Craig Tomarkin's Braintrust Newsletter, September 2002

Friends and Braintrust Subscribers,

The Nana-Go-Roku Matsuri (756 Festival) is here! September 3rd, 2002 marks the 25th anniversary of the date that Sadaharu Oh hit his 756th home run, passing Aaron for the world record (although it is not an MLB record and Josh Gibson probably had more than Oh's 868 ending total in the Negro Leagues).


What is the likely impact from the new MLB labor agreement? First, there will be no contraction for at least another four years. Second, some money will be transferred from the rich teams, such as the Yankees and Dodgers to the poor teams, such as the Pirates and Expos. The hidden give back is that teams will no longer receive first round amateur draft picks in compensation for the loss of a top free agent player.

The results from this are unclear. Is it better for a team, such as the A's, to get roughly $6 to $8 million or so extra  revenue share to play with, which is not enough to prevent a top player from leaving, but is enough to grab a mid-range free agent. Or, is it better to have the extra draft pick? Certainly, the new deal allows the team to at least get a quality player now, rather than have to wait for an amateur pick to develop. The trouble is that there is no guarantee that the owner will use the money to pay for the free agent player. They are free to pocket the extra money.

One might expect them to spend the money to keep the team competitive, but the truth is that they have less motivation for spending the money than the rich teams do, because they get less reward for their investment. Recall that a poor team, the Pirates, had championship teams in 1990 and 1992, when they had Barry Bonds. But, the fans spoke in both years by not showing up for either League Championship Series (LCS) and the Pirates could not afford to keep him. Under the current agreement, they'd still lose Bonds, so not much has changed. Perhaps the fans had the power to keep him, but they chose not to (by not watching) and ownership obliged them.

There is a disconnect between the players' desire for maximizing their pay checks and the fans desire to maximize the competitive balance of the league. The owners are caught in the middle with no lasting solution.

· Fans dream - revenue is divided equally between all of the teams maximizing opportunity for competitive balance (as in the NFL)

· Players dream - market demand determines salaries (at the cost of financial balance between the teams)

· Owners dream - maximize profit. Pure market forces would force contraction, but even though the players want that on one hand, they object because it means they lose jobs. Complete revenue sharing keeps all of the teams in business and maximizes competition, but the players object to that to, because they don't want a salary cap. Rich owners also object because they make less money.

What does it all mean? We have a Band-Aid and the threat of another strike in four years.

Fantasy Baseball

We enter the final month of competition. How's your team doing? The Baseball Guru slid into second place this month, trailing the Sporting News in the FRSU expert league. We expect a close and exciting finish.

Pro Yakyu

For the Nana-Go-Roku Matsuri (756 Festival) in honor of Sadaharu Oh, Jim Albright wrote a special comparison of Oh to other Hall of Fame players. It's fun and interesting reading. Here's the link:

He also compared Oh to the other players being considered by the Veterans Committee. Here's the link:

In August, the Japan Times mentioned and efforts to promote Oh for the Hall of Fame. Hopefully this kind of press is happening elsewhere as well. Here's a link to the Japan Time's article with our mention:


Your vote counts! Make your voice heard by voting your favorite overlooked candidate into the Hall of Fame. In the middle of the home page there is a box that reads, " Vote for Sadaharu Oh for the HOF." Click on it to vote for Oh or any player you like (you can give your reasons too) and your two cents will arrive at the HOF for consideration.

You can also write in your vote:

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
25 Main Street
P.O. Box 590
Cooperstown, NY 13326

Not all votes are a secret. Find out which players John Holway included in his Hall of Fame ballot and why. Here's the link:

Baseball Analysis - Some Highlights

John Holway presents Slaughter, Pesky, and the Power of Myth. Holway writes, "The death of Enos Slaughter inevitably reminds us of his famous dash in the seventh game of the 1946 World Series. It won the Series, put Enos in the Hall of Fame - and kept another great little player, Johnny Pesky, out." Here's where to read more:

Find out if MLB foreign expansion is a dream or a not too distant reality. Which cities have real opportunities? What are the drawbacks? Here's the link:

Criteria for Article Submissions

We are raising the bar. I want readers to know that when they click on a link to an article, even one written by a non-guru, that something original and worthwhile will pop up on their screen. While I realize that we have not always achieved this in the past, it is our mission. In wading through the recent article submissions, I am reaffirming dedication to this.

I want to thank those, who contributed articles recently. Those efforts are appreciated. However, personal opinions, regardless of how well articulated and interesting the topic, are editorials, which are better placed in the Fans Speak section of the site. Here is the link:

I don't want to see the analysis section of The Baseball Guru become a glorified message board. There are good public outlets for that type of creativity, which can be found in the newsgroups and chat section of the site. Of particular interest are the mailing lists. A good one for non-SABR members is statlg. Here's the link:

Examples of original items for the analysis section are:

· News reports - such as Gary Garland's daily Japan baseball box scores and daily game summaries translated into English,
· Annotated photos taken from an event - such as Charlie Haeffner's HOF photos and Joe Mocks Ballpark shots,
· Personal experiences - such as Mike McCann's monthly Minor League report,
· Interviews - such as John Holway's series on the Ladies Leagues and the Negro Leagues,
· Historical diaries - such as Bruce Markusen's daily series on the 1972 A's and Max Blue's detailed account of the NY Giants 1916 historic winning streak,
· Articles based on facts from various sources used as evidence to prove a point revealing new understanding of a topic - such as Jim Albright's series on Sadaharu Oh and
· Use of another author's formula on a different data set to prove a point, such as Jeff Mordock's use of Bill James' Hall of Fame Monitor in his assessment of active players,
· Presentation of baseball history using an original formula - such as John Korsgaard's position research or my series on the greatest teams of all time.

Please submit material for online publication by emailing me. You don't have to be a Guru to make a valuable and interesting contribution, but you do have to present something original to be included in the analysis section of the site.

The Guru's Famous Game

If you've never played the game before, you can print out the instructions from the Free Cards Archive. If you want to learn more about the game, here's the link to the main page:

Look for exciting sample cards of Japanese players to be added to the free cards archive this month. Just be aware they may not be the final "official" version, since simulating Japanese baseball is not just about making cards; it's about simulating Japanese baseball.

You can support with very little effort…

Do your part by buying all of your books and CD's through The Guru's Amazon Affiliate Store instead of directly through Amazon. You get the same prices and service but also help keep up and running. Please use the search box on any page. It's much appreciated.

So, that's what's new. Keep on visiting, keep on emailing and tell your friends about the most interesting baseball site on the web!

Sincerely Yours,

Craig Tomarkin (the Guru, webmaster and editor)

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