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Salary Caps for Sports Leagues

            Before we start traipsing down the yellow brick road of baseball's big constitutional changes last week, before we assume Bud Selig now has carte blanche to fix every problem under the sun, let's remember a few realities about this great game of ours. .
             Let's remember that baseball's revenue sharing plan still is subject to approval by the Players Association. If Selig wants to change it, he'll have to negotiate the changes with the union. .
             Let's remember that the union continues to think a salary cap is the work of Satan. If Selig wants to impose one when the current collective bargaining agreement expires, he'll be met with exactly the same response the Players Association gave the owners the last time they tried to jam a cap down the union's throat. The players will walk. Selig, more than anyone, should understand what happens to commissioners who don't take hard-nosed and unforgiving stances in these labor battles. He replaced one who didn't, Fay Vincent. That's another baseball reality we, as well as he, should remember. .
             Following sports used to be like watching a pretty good card game. You would watch for a season and see what each team had. You would know that the Indiana Pacers, say, could use a good power forward, or the Kansas City Royals could use a lefthanded reliever. At the end of the season you would watch a team draw from the deck or make a deal to better its hand. That was part of the charm, seeing how the moves worked. Now? It seems that at the end of every season everybody throws his cards into the air. Fifty-two pickup. Everybody grabs an entirely new hand and goes from there. .
             The past doesn't matter. .
             Baseball as a business, pastime or not, is subject to all the economics textbook formulas of labor, management, cost and a capricious market. This truth has been particularly evident to team owners, collectively represented by Richard Ravitch, who precipitated the strike by proposing a player salary cap linked to a 50-50 revenue-sharing plan.

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