Baseball's money game

October 30, 1997

The New York Times said in an editorial Oct. 28:

There was something unsettling about this year's World Series, and it arises from the nagging thought that the Florida Marlins, who seemed to come from nowhere to win in a riveting seventh game, may dissolve as quickly as they were put together.

This is the age of impermanence in baseball, when free-agent players and free-market owners make it almost impossible to keep a team together. The Marlins are the apotheosis of the modern team, a transitory coalition cobbled together with shopping-spree logic. Their owner, Wayne Huizenga, invested $89 million last winter in big-ticket players, who gave him a championship faster than any other expansion team in history but also saddled him with a formidable payroll.

This Series was further defined by inconsistent pitching and fielding, interminably displayed. The people who run baseball cannot do much about the level of play, but if they care anything about attracting a younger audience, they can do something about speeding the games up. They might also think about starting them earlier. Mr. Huizenga is threatening to sell the team unless the taxpayers of Miami build him a new stadium. If he can't get the stadium, and can't sell, he will surely unload a lot of his high-priced stars.

Those who saw the Marlins in this Series may well have seen the last of them for a while. That is the way things happen in baseball's new money game.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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