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May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy Hardcover – March 3, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"... argues Andrew Zimbalist, a professor... and author of 'May the Best Team Win.'" Michael K. Ozanian with Cecily J. Fluke, Forbes, 4/28/2003
"Instead of drinking beer and moaning, pick up a copy of Andrew Zimbalist's 'May the Best Team Win.' Zimbalist is the author of 'Baseball and Billions,' one of the most impressive books on the subject, trumped, perhaps, only by this one.... 'May the Best Team Win' is one that the critical fan needs in their arsenal." Mudville Magazine, 4/28/2003
"'Andrew Zimbalist writes with obvious love, but deep concern for our national pastime. " Chris Berman, ESPN, 2/4/2003
"An absorbing, provocative discussion." Publishers Weekly, 2/24/2003
"Follows up his original tome by documenting perhaps the wildest set of chapters in MLB history. In just the past two years, commissioner Bud Selig and the owners have attempted and failed to wipe out two teams, narrowly averted a labor stoppage with the players, engineered a bizarre ownership swap involving the Boston, Florida and Montreal franchises, stumbled through a high-profile congressional tongue-lashing, and were beaten in court by a stadium commission from Minnesota. " Eric Fisher, Washington Times
"Major league baseball has put a stranglehold on real competitive balance, and Zimbalist claims that the near-monopoly status is a detriment to any impulse for improvement. His prescriptions offer harsh but needed medicine. " Library Journal
"Zimbalist offers a whirlwind tour of baseball chicanery.... Concise and coherent.... Anyone who holds an opinion on the state of the game, or fears its demise, owes it to him- or herself to take Professor Zimbalist's 224-page class." Jon Morgan, Baltimore Sun, 3/23/2003
"I highly recommend Andrew Zimbalist's new book, 'May the Best Team Win.' If you read this book... you'll know everything about the ugly side of baseball that you need to know." Rob Neyer, ESPN.com, 4/1/2003
"Exhilarating.... Combines an academic's precision with a fan's passion." Allen Barra, Newhouse Newspapers
"In the most damning chapter in the book, Zimbalist outlines a complex but convincing deconstruction of Selig's assertion that MLB lost $519 million in 2001...As Paul Beeston, MLB's chief operating officer said, 'Under generally accepted accounting principles, I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss and I can get every national accounting firm to agree with me.'" Sean Callahan, GeezerJock Media, Washington Post Book World, 5/18/2003
"Zimbalist demolished Commission Bud Selig's claim made before Congress that baseball's 30 teams lost $519 million in 2001....A compelling critique." Glenn C. Altschuler, Cornell University, Barron's, 6/2/2003
"[Zimbalist] has other arrows in his quiver, including a worldwide player draft with picks in reverse order or league standings, elimination of some of the tax shelters that owners now enjoy and tighter governmental oversight over team movement and labor relations." Lawrence S. Ritter, New York University, New York Times, 5/25/2003
"Especially revealing." The Boston Globe
"'May the Best Team Win' combines the precision of an academic with the passion of a fan.... you have no one to blame but yourselves if you don't get 'May the Best Team Win', read it and heed it." Allen Barra, St. Petersburg Times (Florida), 4/6/2003
"My daydream... is that somehow every sports talk show host and every caller to such a show might mysteriously find himself or herself reading this illuminating book. That development would decrease the dumbness quotient of discussions between the former and the latter by about 99%." Bill Littlefield, "Only A Game" (WBUR), 4/19/2003
"Major league baseball has put a stranglehold on real competitive balance, and Zimbalist claims that the near-monopoly status is a detriment to any impulse for improvement. His prescriptions offer harsh but needed medicine." Library Journal, 5/1/2003
"Andrew Zimbalist's 'May the Best Team Win' is a stark reminder that many of the issues that divided baseball's owners and players during the contentious 2002 collective bargaining negotiations have not been fully resolved." Daniel C. Glazer", Shearman and Sterling sports group, New York Law Journal, 5/29/2003
"The real case for reforming the sport is to reinstate that very American balance, rescuing the sport froma system, which, as it stands, is neither competitive nor fair." The Economist, 5/31/2003
"[Zimbalist] is correct in identifying MLB's primary problem -- competitive imbalance." Andrew M. Alexander, co-editor of Intellectual Conservative, Intellectual Conservative.com, 3/3/2004
"The author of one of the most significant works on baseball economics, 'Baseball and Billions,' Zimbalist considers baseball's current state of economic health.... With amazing precision, Zimbalist turns Selig's claims of $519 million in book losses for the 2001 season... into an actual operating profit." Geoff Wilson, Baseball Magazine, 4/20/2003
"These days a typical owner will rake in big money, claim he's nearly broke and then threated to move unless his host city subsidizes a new stadium at taxpayer expense. If you think this is an exaggeration, read Zimbalist's brilliantly researched study on the economics of the game." Charles Hirshberg, Sports Illustrated, 5/26/2003
"Zimbalist's analysis is easily accessible, his data quite interesting and his judgments evenhanded almost to a fault." Washington Post, 4/6/2003
"One of the great strengths of May the Best Team Win is the way in which Zimbalist clearly unravels the workings of various markets labour, product, broadcasting and stadiums and how they combine to make up the industry that is baseball. He provides a detailed analysis of collective bargaining in baseball.... Provides a very readable account of major issues associated with the recent operation of American baseball. It systematically examines various peculiarities and nuances of the operation of this legal cartel. Its major contribution lies in its analyses of the impact of recent collective bargaining deals, the various revenue sharing mechanisms they contain to enhance competitive balance and the moving feast that is broadcasting rights.... Highly recommended for all those interested in the economics of professional team sports and the operation of cartels." Braham Dabscheck, Economic Record, 6/1/2004
"Zimbalist has written a compelling, accessible introduction to the economic issues surrounding the current state of major league baseball." D. A. Coffin, Indiana University Northwest, Choice, 1/1/2004
"Zimbalist writes a thorough but concise analysis of the economic health of MLB.... One of the strengths of May the Best Team Win is the way the book uncovers the hidden disincentives that are hurting the game." Kevin Skelly, Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York, Issues in Labor Statistics
"The overriding theme of the book is that MLB is an unregulated monopoly and as a conseqeunce the industry suffers from inefficiency, exploits consumers, manipulates public policy and suffers from a competitive imbalance that threatens the future of the game.... A well-crafted book that gives a good view of the inner workings of MLB and its owner-barons and provides an interesting case study of cartel behavior. The intended audience is clearly broader than that of academic sports economists.... Zimbalist succeeds in making the material engaging for both economists working in this field and for non-specialists interested in the economics of baseball." Leo H. Kahane, Mount Holyoke College and California State University, Hayward, Journal of Economic Literature, 6/1/2004
"An interesting, insightful, and revealing examination of the business of baseball a book that will shave the game to its roots. It will become the ultimate book on the economics of professional sports. You will find it just as riveting as I did. " Pat Williams, senior vice president, Orlando Magic, 2/1/2003
"The business of sports is more competitive than the games on the field because the business is conducted under the laws of commerce, not the rules of sport. In this excellent book, Andrew Zimbalist describes the action in the business of baseball like it was the seventh game of the World Series which it is." Clark C. Griffith, Chairman, Sports Law Division, American Bar Association Forum on Entertainment and Sports Law, 2/1/2003
"A great book just the latest indication of why I tell my students at Harvard that Andrew Zimbalist is the top sports economist in the country. " Paul Weiler, Friendly Professor of Law and chair, Sports and Entertainment Law Program, 2/1/2003
Top Customer Reviews
This deeply probing work uncovers the abuses and inefficiencies in the baseball industry, and concludes that baseball's monopoly is the devil in the details. Team owners use their monopoly power to "derive higher returns, misallocate resources, and take advantage of consumers." Any fan who has paid $5 for a ballpark hot dog will definitely empathize with his findings.
"May the Best Team Win" addresses the competitive balance (or competitive imbalance), the myth of non-profitability, the collective bargaining agreements, and how teams convince cities to foot the bill for new stadiums.
In the end, Mr. Zimbalist outlines some possible solutions to help improve the game. Some of his ideas seem workable, while others seem idealistic and unrealistic. However, all of his suggestions are well worth reading. This is an ambitious effort, and fans with serious concerns about the future of the sport will definitely appreciate this analytical endeavor. Zimbalist has taken on a difficult issue, and shown that he has more than just warning track power.
Its a quick read and a great reference for any student of the financial aspects of the game, especially those interested in reform.
It was written in 2002 so some of the information is outdated, but it is amazing to look back and see what was important at the time, how little has actually changed since that time, and how the CBA of 2002 has impacted today's game.
He goes into detail about the history of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and their fights against ownership. It is interesting to note that while the union is portrayed as the goat for many of the past labor work stoppages, after reading this book one can understand why the union's grievances with ownership are what they are. They have also harbored feelings of distrust not just against the owners, but against commissioners as well: Ueberroth and his role in the collusion scandal of the 1980s, and Selig and his ludicrous demands thrown on the bargaining table along with his claim after the 2001 season that Major League Baseball was in the red by millions of dollars.
Zimbalist studies Major League Baseball's exemption from antitrust legislation, how it came about, and how it is congressionally and judicially deemed today. While it seems baseball will retain exemption so long as they can police themselves, given the bevy of problems plaguing the game (or, rather, business) today, it seems that the government must sooner or later step in and right the many wrongs. If baseball were not exempt from antitrust legislation, notwithstanding the fact that owners could sell a team to municipalities and amateurs could challenge the right of a team to withhold exclusive rights to their services for up to seven years, one would find out just how much money ownership really lost and by how much the number would differ from Selig's number.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was published in 2002, just after the Diamondbacks won the World Series vs. the N.Y. Yankees, and before the steroid drug scandal. Read morePublished on July 13, 2010 by Loyd Eskildson
A very useful and informative economic discussion of baseball. What economists often do is point out the obvious, but it is only obvious after it has been pointed out. Read morePublished on December 24, 2007 by Marja
I thought this book gave me a brand new insight on buisness and the way this economy works. Zimbalist gave brilliant views of the corruption among the game.Published on March 27, 2007 by David E. Reese
The information presented in this book is amazing. The economics of baseball are hardly talked about. Read morePublished on July 19, 2005 by J. L. White