Sports Management in Baseball

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Sports management is important for any professional team. When teams are well managed, good results are almost guaranteed to occur. Managers need to ensure that players adhere to the team policy and maintain high levels of discipline. Players also need to ensure that they keep fit and have the right attitude as part of the team. Keeping fit ensures that players are always on their top form in order to achieve maximum results. Talented players are an inspiration to many upcoming players and a role model to other young children who would one day aspire to be professionals in the game.

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Baseball is a game enjoyed by many Americans. In fact is now known as the national pastime. Baseball originated prior to the American civil war (1861-1865) as a game called rounders. This game was played on sandlots. Early veterans of the game developed it to include most of the tactics used in cricket. The practice of scoring and record-keeping gave baseball momentum. In the year 1871, the maiden professional basketball league was created. During the 1890s baseball came under pressure to maintain its own reputation and to conform to the mainstream society. Newspapers started picking up the game forcing it to meet the schedules of fans and ardent followers.

The national league never held baseball Sunday baseball games until the year 1892. The league made these changes according to popular and natural standards. On such days, players used ballparks for a number of activities. These activities included unspoiled fights or games that were non-professional in nature. In 1880, the Cincinnati red stockings were expelled from the national league. The reason being that they refused to follow this requirement.

Moving forward to 1882, the national league held the first post season games. These games were in two series meant to be an exhibition between the two top teams. It was not meant to declare a victor. Such event generated a lot of money as stadiums made a kill out of ticket sales, especially on the big games. The post season games also gave teams more enticement to play exceptionally during the season and draw in supporters to the ballpark. Furthermore, these games validated baseball seasons and offered followers of the sport reason to take an interest in late season games. The year 1895 saw the unanimous agreement of all players to wear gloves in the pitch. Prior to that, the players wore gloves and catchers wore masks, but not necessarily gloves. Most were unwilling to change their personal playing styles that suited them better.

Towards 1900, baseball games started being booked for Sundays. Sunday was the most suitable day because in the entire week, it was the only day when people did not have to go to work or school. The only exceptions were the religious folks. The need to accommodate the highest possible number of fans later led the game to be played under floodlights. In 1903, the word series was inaugurated.

The evolution of the ball used in the game underwent various steps of development. During the late 1800s, the official ball used in the majors was the figure eight stitched ball. However, in 1901 the national league reduced the ball size. The lemon stich ball was used during the infancy of the baseball game. The difference between the two balls is that the lemon stich ball uses two circular stiches that cross each other. The figure eight stitched ball utilizes one continuous stitch that curves in a peanut configuration that resembles a shell. The figure eight ball is still used up to the present day. The reason for its preference is that it can be used in different types of pitches. In 1910, ball developers introduced a cork at the center of the ball.

Most changes that occurred in the playing field occurred mainly in 1893 and in 1900. They first set the pitchers mound at 60 feet, six inches. The pitchers rubber is then set in the center of the square. The square is commonly known as a diamond. However it is not an actual diamond. It is a square that turned 45 degrees. In this new configuration, the action starts at a segment of the field known as the home plate. The home plate is a slab that has five sides. The slab is made of white rubber that is 17 square inches. Two slab corners are removed in order to make one of the edges 17 inches long. The two nearby sides are eight and a half inches long and the two other sides are 12 inches. These two sides meet at an angle. The other three corners of the square have been number in an anticlockwise order from the home plate. They are known as first base, second base and third base. There are also three canvas bags that mark each of the bases. The canvas bags are 15 square inches.

The first base is the first among four bases that a player on the batting team has to touch so as to score a run. The second base is the second station that a player has to touch successively in order to make a run for his or her team. The third base is the third of four bases that a player must touch in counterclockwise order so as to make a run. Finally, a player must return to the home plate as the final base. The batters box is a position where the batter stands in anticipation of a pitch from the pitcher. These boxes are two in number, one on either side of the home plate. Foul poles are meant to help umpires determine whether a fly ball struck above the fence line qualifies as a foul or a fair.

In the later part of the 20th century, most major cities in the eastern part of the United States had professional baseball teams. These teams were separated into two leagues. They were the National league and the American league. During a regular season, teams only played against other teams within the same league. The team with the highest victories in each league went ahead to win the pennant. The two winners of the pennant met after the conclusion of the regular series. They met in the World Series thereafter. Any team that won a minimum of for games out of seven was declared the champion for that particular year. This arrangement is still used up to now. However, the leagues are currently subdivided and pennants are awarded in post-season playoffs between the victorious teams in each of the divisions.

In the 1950s, baseball increased its geographical reach. The western cities got teams through enticing them to leave the eastern towns. They also formed expansion teams that established teams used as a means to avail players. This phenomenon saw the integration of baseball with business. The major league earned a lot of money through television broadcast revenues and other related fees. Players became more and more concerned about getting a piece of the growing revenues. They went ahead and strengthened their union in the year 1965.

The union hired Marvin miller, a renowned labor organizer. He had fought for the right of the united steel workers union for a number of years. Miller clearly understood that more was at stake than simply adding broadcast revenues into pension perks. The minimum player salary was a mere $6000. This amount was $1000 more than the amount players earned in 1947. When miller gathered more data, the players came to the realization of how meagre their pay was. This discovery gave birth to the first collective bargaining agreement in the year 1968. The agreement provided tangible improvements. However, it gave the players a say in their welfare. They also gained the right to forward their complaints to an independent arbitrator.

On the other hand, team owners did not like this occurrence. They were very unhappy with the union intervening in their affairs. Likewise, they were appalled by the players ability to challenge them. Previously, team owners virtually owned the baseball players. In 1975, two pitchers challenged the reserve clause. The clause stated that teams had the right to renew players contracts for a period of one year. The players interpreted that clause to be recurring, and that they could renew the contract yearly. Two players by the name Andy Messer smith and Dave McNally declined to renew their contracts. In case the reserve clause held them for the 1975 season, there was no contract to be renewed in 1976. They were able to win the case giving rise to free agency. However, players were still contractually bound to their teams for the initial years of their careers. After those years, they were allowed to sign up with any team of their choice. This free agency resulted in bidding wars. Team owners began a frenzy of outspending and outbidding each other. The players became very happy since everyones pay was rising. There was also an emergence of stars who were paid millions of dollars per year. Managers have also had similar contracts such as players. Upon the end of their contracts they can either renew of bid to be appointed to other teams. A highly successful manager costs a higher price to bid (Lehn 343-366).

Team owners however colluded with each other not to sign new contracts. This collusion led to the sudden collapse of the free-agent market. In 1992 when the labor contract was nearly expiring, the team owners forced the commissioner to resign. The reason being that they did not want him to intervene in the negotiations. It turned out that they never wanted the negotiations either. These squabbles led to the cancellation of the World Series in 1994. The president had to come in due to the weight of the situation. He appointed a mediator and finally after two years of battles between players and owners, a deal was struck in 1996 (Voigt).

In the year 1997, major league baseball inaugurated inter-league games. In these games, each team plays a number of regular-season games against American League teams within the same division. In 2002, rules were altered to allow both American League and National league teams from non-corresponding categories to play against each other. A major difference between the two leagues still remains. American Leagues 1973 implementation of the elected hitter rule permitted teams to replace another hitter for the pitcher, who usually hit poorly, in the lineup. The result of this is that, teams in the American League characteristically score more runs than National League teams. This situation makes, some supporters argue, for a more thrilling game.

In conclusion, baseball has indeed undergone tremendous evolution since its inception. In this case it has become both a sport and a business. But the way players are being treated, it seems like the managers are more focused on the business aspect of the sport. In order to enhance the appeal of the sport, rules need to be established in order to prevent team owners from exploiting the industry.

Works cited

Rader, Benjamin G. Early innings: A documentary history of baseball, 1825-1908. Ed. Dean A. Sullivan. U of Nebraska Press, 1997.

Lehn, Kenneth. "Property rights, risk sharing, and player disability in Major League Baseball." The Journal of Law & Economics 25.2 (1982): 343-366.

Voigt, David Quentin. American baseball: From gentlemen sport to the commissioner system. Penn State Press, 2010.

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