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Baseball Salary Cap

             In 1993, baseball attendance records surpassed 70 million, breaking the old record by 24 percent (Costas, 18). Yet in 1994 mid way through the season, the Players Union decided to go on strike over threats made by team owners of a salary cap. The strike lasted 234 days, lost 800 million dollars, and resulted in the cancellation of the World Series. It also was the longest and costliest work stoppage in the history of professional sports (Play ball). Then in 1995, the baseball industry received the worst ratings they have ever faced (Costas, 21). It seemed as though Americans had lost faith in their favorite pastime. However in the past few years attendance and rating have risen due largely to the great record-breaking homerun races. On the other hand the competition in baseball seems to be on a downward spiral because big market teams have been dominating post-season play. The lack of a salary cap has brought about controversy in major league baseball. The owners, players, and fans seem to disagree about the current state of baseball and what, if anything should be done. .
             The salary cap debate is not a new issue in baseball or in sports. Owners have been playing with the issue for a while, with the first discussion occurring in 1989-1990 (Staudohar, 8). The purpose of these discussions was to protect teams in small markets from having their talented free agents bought up by big market teams, and to equal the revenue gap. The first proposal in 1990, by then Major league baseball commissioner Vincent, did not have any equal revenue clause, so the owners dropped their demands for a salary cap and began a 32-day lockout. As a result, a four-year collective bargaining agreement said that all teams of big and small markets would get an equal amount of revenue from national broadcasts (Staudohar, 8). This lockout was not very significant, but set the stage for the 1994 players union strike.

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