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Free Agency and Competitive Balance in Baseball

The featured book at FishStripes, by fellow FishStriper Ronald W. Cox, was among those on a recommended list for spring training reading.

Unfortunately, I have yet to read the book but it is next up and I should start it Friday - if everything goes well.

Free Agency and Competitive Balance in Baseball was given a quick and positive review by the Miami Herald author.

*  Free Agency and Competitive Balance in Baseball. Ronald W. Cox with Daniel Skidmore-Hess. McFarland. 212 pages. $29.95.

Ronald Cox, an associate professor of political science at Florida International University, exposes the realities that create baseball perennial winners (Yankees and Braves) and losers (Brewers and Devil Rays), as well as gets to the truths behind free agency, expansion, new stadium deals and the globalization of the game.

Although at times Cox's economic arguments are a bit technical, and he hammers home his basic points with annoying repetition, what the numbers say is clear. By and large, team owners are greedy and less than honest. The players and their union, while certainly greedy, are still settling the score for a century of exploitation by the owners.

The Florida Marlins, the team in Cox's back yard, receive special attention. An expansion team that won a World Series in 1997 with free agents, then was gutted and sold by its owner, the Marlins nevertheless won a championship again in 2003 through good timing and shrewd management. South Florida's major league team is nothing short of a perfect example of much of what is right and wrong with professional baseball in the present day. What's more surprising is how little things have changed in 150 years.

It should be an interesting read.  That economics stuff is a perversion of mine which will make it only more interesting.  All the books on the list look worthy of a review.