Professional Sports Free Agency Is Causing The Slow Death Of Baseball

1664 words - 7 pages

Free Agency is Causing the Slow Death of Baseball

What ever happened to the old days? This is a comment that my Dad and Grandpa are always saying when it comes to major league baseball in this era. Like clockwork, at the beginning of every baseball season my Dad says, "Every year my team has all new faces. How am I supposed to root for this team if I don't even know who is playing for them." Now, more than ever, this comment is true. It is true because of free agency in baseball. Free agency is destroying the fabric of the baseball blanket in America. This is the same blanket that many of us sports fans have grown up with and have drawn accustomed too. Baseball is our national pastime. If something is not done to change free agency in baseball it may not remain our national heritage in the future. Baseball is the sport that every kid growing up has a dream to play. These same kids also look at major league baseball players as their role models. If free agency runs the same course that it has been running it will destroy baseball. If nothing is done to change free agency all that we, as baseball fans, will remember baseball as is a pastime.

According to Rick Reilly, a freelance writer for sports magazines, free agency (which he broadly defines as an athlete's ability to offer his services on the open market to the highest bidder,) is a threat to baseball (108). However, free agency does have a few restrictions that do not allow just any player to file for it. A player with zero to three years of experience must negotiate his salary with club management; a player with more than three but less than six full years in the majors has an option of submitting a salary dispute to an independent arbitrator; and a player with six or more years experience is eligible for free agency, according to Richard L. Worsnop, a writer for professional sports publications (84). What this breaks down to is that a player with less than three years experience has to settle for whatever the team that owns his rights as a player offers him. A player with more than three years but less than six years experience in the majors can file for an independent arbitration meeting if he feels that he is worth more than the contract that he signed when he was in his first three years in the majors. The arbitrator then decides if the player is worth more money or if he is not worth more money. Finally, after a person has spent six full seasons in the major leagues he is then eligible for free agency which means he is capable of going where the money takes him and that is what most of these players do. Whether that is right or wrong nobody knows, but the fact of the matter is that free agency is causing problems in baseball.

Worsnop also states that professional sports leagues are thriving in the United States. Fan attendance is at an all-time high and TV revenues are skyrocketing. But the issue of free agency continues to plague player-management relations. This is...

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