Gaining Traction

All of us hope to be GAINING TRACTION to improve….at work, at our hobbies, etc. It’s true in the sports world also.
….Many times teams have attempted to gain traction while make a “run” for the playoffs by using trades. On July 31, 1997, the Cardinals wanted “traction” for the drive to the post-season. After some coaxing from Tony LaRussa, Mark McGwire agreed to the trade bringing him to the Lou. As we all remember, McGwire reawakened the StL fans with his 70 HR year and a total of 220 HR with the Cards. He led them to 2 post-season trips.
….Now, the Blues are hoping to GAIN TRACTION and go deep in the Cup as they did in 2019. But, their traction involves a bit of a twist. One has to look @ goalie Jordan Binnington. Clearly, he was a primary force in the Blues drive to win the Cup in 2019. He was spectacular over & over again in the playoffs. But, should the Blues try to gain traction to advance in the Playoffs NOW and “move” Binnington as his play has declined.
…Checking out Binnington’s 21-22 stats—he’s a modest 18-14 in W-L column—which doesn’t ALWAYS paint a fair picture of a keepers play in the nets. But his save percentage is .910. Compared to 2019-20 when it was.912 and to 2018-19 (the glory year) when it was .927. Similarly, his Goals against numbers have also shown a consistent rise- in 2018-19 it was a spectacular 1.89. In 2019-20 it bumped up to 2.57 followed by 2.65 in 20-21 its risen to 3.27 in 21-22. I think that its fair to say that he’s “lost” something..he’s not the same!
…With the emergence if Ville Husso (2 years younger), goals against 1.81 and save % of .945 with 2 shutouts, and a far smaller contract than Binnington. The Blues already have a replacement.
….the Blues could use that “extra” money saved after the trade to strengthening their defense. Or maybe, he could be traded for a defenseman. Since Bennington does carry a 6 year $36m contract from 2021 that includes a no-trade clause for the first 3 years, so some negotiating is needed. In layman’s terms the “no trade” contract really means– you’ll have to pay me more money BEFORE trading me. Who wants to play for a team that doesn’t want him?
…Trying to gain traction as an elite NFL QB, Joe Burrow took a big step with the win Sunday over KC. When Burrow arrived @ Cincy 2 years ago, the Bengals were last in the league with a 2-14 record, were 30th in the league with 32 teams in points scored, 30th in point deferential, 29th in off yards & 29th in takeaways in the NFL. Burrow has demonstrated “big game” savvy this season. Apparently, many discarded his stats in the 2020 National Championship Game against Clemson. In that game, Burrow threw for 463 yards with six total touchdowns, five passing, which led LSU to a 42–25 victory and him being named the game’s MVP. His 1st season @ Cincy was filled with typical ups/downs of rookies. Burrow led the Bengals to their 1st playoff win since 1990 this year. He snapped the longest active drought in the 4 major N. American sports as he led Cincy to its 1st Super Bowl appearance since 1988! That was 8 years prior to his birth!!
…Unable to gain any traction in the D-II Regional Voting, the UMSL Womens Basketball team raised their record to 13-2 over the weekend with 2 wins on the KC trip to Rockhurst & Wm Jewell. Coach Kate Vaughn (the winningest UMSL Coach & the Coach with the highest winning percentage) has her club playing strong defense, sharing the ball and rebounding. This team is averaging 65ppg while permitting only 51 ppg!! Tough home games this week—Mon-Maryville; Thur-Drury; Sat-SW Baptist.
…while the traction may be at a snail’s pace, the MLB-MLBPA negotiations have inched forward with some movement. Talks on minimum pay have begun (still far apart but negotiable). Also on the table, are talks on pre-arbitration bonus pool. Both sides seem to be talking but of course, they don’t see eye-eye in the dollar figures at this point. It seems like the National League DH is a “gimme” in the talks. Discussions on revenue sharing seem to be “running in place” but..at least they’re talking. It sounds like both sides have softened. Let’s hope the traction picks up momentum.
….Competitive balance is a key target for the union. Some teams don’t or won’t commit sizeable amounts of money to the contracts of their players. With that backgeround… when free agency becomes imminent for a player, he is often traded for lower salary-scale unproven players with “potential”. Potential really means—“we THINK he’s going to be a good player”but we know he’ll be here next year.
…. In 2021, the maximum MLB payroll agreed upon was $210m.The NYY & LA Dodgers routinely exceed that quota on a regular basis. Their “deep pockets” make it an easy for them to skirt this maximum. For example in 2021, The total LA payroll was $271m ($61m over the limit!)
…My idea is NO TEAM may exceed that maximum amount at any TIME. If you reach the highest allotted total with 23-24 players…then you play with 23-24 players. No exceptions.
…on the bottom end…if a team finishes 4th or 5th in their division, they would receive additional TV money from league broadcasts. That money may only be used for players salaries. However, this “bonus” would only last for a maximum of 3 consecutive years. Or, when the team moves into 3rd place or higher in the final standings. If a team like Tampa Bay can win and win big on a tiny payroll…kudo’s to them!!!
…A somewhat hidden factor (at least to me) that plays a role is that many teams have bought into the television networks. So the profits of those networks through televising their own baseball games is a growing income source apart from the traditional income avenues. The Cards own 30% of Fox Sports Network. Toronto owns 100% of their network. Most of the teams with money have pieces of their network. Hence, the profits directly related to the broadcasts aren’t considered “baseball” income. But, those teams DO earn more money from the MLB baseball broadcasts through the MLB presentations.
….Well….I’ve just lost all my traction to move on…Thanks for the Read!! Your thoughts are ALWAYS invited. Put them directly on my Facebook page (Bob Ryan) or send to me via email & I’ll post them for you using your initials. Want to see more…go to http://www.bobryansportsblog.com for all the blogs! Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s