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Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball Hardcover – April 4, 2000
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This isn't a commentator's diatribe against the sport, but rather a fan's case for baseball. What do I want? I think the same thing that most baseball fans want: To see the game prove worthy of our devotion.
Bob Costas loves baseball. And he's worried about the state of the game--superstar players abandoning the teams that helped them rise to greatness, the awkward interleague play system, the pennant-race-weakening wild cards, and the payroll disparity that effectively eliminates two-thirds of the teams in the league from having any chance to win the World Series--even before opening day. Costas addresses these problems and offers provocative solutions in Fair Ball.
Costas makes it clear from the outset that he's not a romantic, baseball-should-be-played-in-flannel traditionalist; indeed, some of his ideas--comprehensive revenue sharing and salary caps and floors--will be seen as radical by many team owners and players. Others are more standard--no more wild card, and farewell to the DH--but all are thoughtful and cogently argued.
Throughout Fair Ball Costas's affection for the national pastime softens his occasionally strident tone. Ultimately, all baseball fans want the same thing; Costas's ideas, if adopted, would go a long way toward returning the game to full health. --Sunny Delaney
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Granted, not all of the ideas are original to Mr. Costas, but he places all the ideas together, something I haven't come across before. As stated earlier, Mr. Costas premise is that the future stability of baseball has been further weaken by the owner's decisions since the last strike. Among Mr. Costas' solutions are: a revenue sharing arrangement, including local the team's media revenues and gate receipts; a salary cap complete with a floor; no radical realignment of the divisions; and the elimination of the Wild Card.
Along the way Mr. Costas chides both the owners and the players for their selfish, self-motivated attitudes, which left unchecked, just hurt the game.
One drawback to the book is the last chapter in which Mr. Costas discusses nine minor points that are best left out of the book, as the subjects do not fit the book's theme, with the exception of the debate on the DH.
In the Introduction, Mr. Costas states that his effort is to draw distinctions between progress and mere change. Mr. Costas' book does just that and is a good starting point for all baseball fans to discuss the future needs of the game.
Much of his book concentrates on the issue of revenue sharing, which has been a bone of contention among owners for years. His plans for sharing local broadcasting money and for sharing ticket money are solid ideas, but they've been suggested before and little has been done over the years because the teams that rake in the most money through these are not likely to want to part with them. Costas says that the big-market teams need to look at the long-term impact that revenue sharing will bring to the entire league, but doesn't really address that it will be very hard for owners of those teams to do that.
His arguments for realignment, interleague play and scheduling are great ideas. I liked the concept of interleague play when it was adopted in 1997, but did not know that the same divisions were always going to play each other each year. Major league basball has agreed to follow one of his suggestions as it is following an unbalanced schedule this year (where teams within a division play more games against each other than against the rest of the league). So maybe they will look at the bigger picture someday.
I agree with his positions on mostly everything else, including allowing Pete Rose to be eligible to enter the Hall of Fame, the elimination of the designated hitter and a day World Series game (the latter will never happen, however, because of the money that will be lost from advertisers).
Costas has written a concise argument for baseball. I hope the powers that represent the owners and players read it before the end of the collective bargaining agreement at the end of this season!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well researched but with glaring holes and errors. I expect better from Costas but I'm not surprised since Costas has repeatedly taken his position and ignoring the counter... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Dean Van Damme
TL;DR: "Baseball is at record-high levels of attendance and TV viewership, here in 2001, and the popularity of the sport is booming like never before. Read morePublished 15 months ago by The Real
This is a good novel that makes a great case of what is wrong with baseball. Costas does a great job explaining the economic problems as well as the problems with changes to the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Robert A. Raymond
Booring ego laced Costas at his worst. You want a book to boor you to sleep...this is it. Who cares about Costas's writing. He should stick to running his mouth at TV gamesPublished on November 20, 2013 by Britman
Bob Costas is one of America's best-known baseball, and for that matter, sports broadcasters. He has called numerous World Series, All Star, and League Championship games His... Read morePublished on June 29, 2010 by Mark Ahrens
This book gives some good suggestions on needed improvement in the MLB organization. During his speech at the Speaker Series he mentioned that a lot of the points that he brings... Read morePublished on June 29, 2007 by William S. Oetting
A well written, concise book about the problems in baseball today, Fair Ball is a book that is now old. Read morePublished on July 27, 2006 by Ignatious Valve
Kostas critiques baseball and proposes several common-sense changes. He attacks extended playoffs, and shows how the current revenue disparities make it difficult for many... Read morePublished on December 14, 2005 by K.A.Goldberg
This book is only really slightly dated as MLB baseball is slightly different now - A) the "luxury tax" system penalizes big money teams who go over a certain limit (and the system... Read morePublished on July 18, 2005 by Robert Burns