Another week, another poll:
The high price of going to a game is now the No. 1 problem in Major League Baseball, a new Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll of fans shows.
Soaring salaries and steroids dominated fans' worries in past AP surveys. But with opening day less than a week away, the nation's recession is delivering the biggest blow.
But the cost of tickets, concessions, parking and everything else added up to fans' main concern. The toll of attending a game was tops at 45 percent, followed by player salaries (29 percent), steroids/drugs (19 percent) and the length of games (6 percent).
- Nearly 60 percent of fans said no player who used steroids or performance-enhancing drugs should get into the Hall of Fame.
- 85 percent said all 104 names on the list of players who tested positive for drugs in 2003 should be made public. So far, only Alex Rodriguez has been identified.
- 60 percent said they were not interested in the World Baseball Classic -- the preseason tournament involving major leaguers that was won by Japan for the second time.
Of course, the fools out there (hey, nothing personal, ok?) continue to blame the labor for getting whatever they can, rather than bashing management and ownership and the Commissioner's Office.
"I'm not happy about the prices," [a fan] said this week at the Indians' new camp. "Every sports team in America, every professional athlete, is out of line.
"We have people losing their jobs, and CC Sabathia -- I love him, he was my favorite -- he gets more millions than a third-world country's national budget?"
Only in America. Stop blaming the labor, please. If you hate the salaries and everything that goes along with it, start voting with your wallet. Stop going to games. Stop buying merchandise. Pull back on the concession purchases, even if it means one fewer $8 beer. But bashing the players is just silly and lazy. And wrong. Should Sabathia have offered to take less to make his owners richer, because the difference wasn't going to fund teachers' salaries or municipal infrastructure? Should Teix have told the Yanks that he'll take only $100m and to donate the balance to the TARP fund pool? Would you?
We'll see the pullback in team revenues this summer, particularly in hard hit areas like Detroit. Will we see a resetting of the free agent scale, aside from upper echelon players that the Yanks and Sox eventually need? Maybe only then. And if the ticket pricing schemes that the Yanks are foisting upon us backfires, perhaps the Yanks Ponzi Scheme collapses, too.