Ready-Set-Action

Ready, Set, Action….Finally, sports will have plenty of action! With the MLB agreement, NHL skating towards playoff time, NCAA Final Four looming….we’re in full swing!
…the distasteful bargaining between billionaires & millionaires over money (that was the PRIMARY issue in almost every issue) has come to an end. Some reactions to the agreement…
….HEAVY ACTION HERE….one of MLBPA’s goals was to enrich the young player. The Minimum salary was raised over 22% from $570,000 to $700,000 in the 1st year. I don’t know about you but I NEVER got a 22% raise except in my 1st year of work when I went from zero earnings to whatever! That minimum salary will increase by $20,000 each of the 5 years of the agreement. Further the pre-arbitration star players (in league less than 3 years) gained tremendously. There has been a pool of money established to pay a bonus to players under 3 years of experience who excel on the field. Not ALL the pre-arb players qualify only the star players who finish very high in batting/pitching stats.
…LITTLE ACTION HERE…the competitive balance part (luxury tax) is aimed @ shackling the wild-spending of the real, real big boys—LA & NY. Don’t hold your breath here….these teams have frequently exceeded the limit. I would have really lowered the level that the luxury tax begins. By lowering it, I feel like several other teams may spend closer to a lower maximum level and balance out..to some extent…the “max paying” teams. Of course, the players would have no part of lowering the maximum, even if it meant more teams may have higher salaries. MLB always seem to protect LA & NY!
….NO ACTION HERE…. I do wish that the very low paying teams, non-competitive MLB teams, would be forced to raise their salary scale somewhat so that they may compete. If they CAN COMPETE on a low salary base (like Tampa Bay), no “push” should be applied. Sure, in the Lou we’re happy with the current NL Central alignment. In 2021 the Cards had the highest team salary base in the NL Cen@ $169m (9th in MLB), Cubs were 13th@ $144m. Other Central division teams are all in the bottom half—17th-Cincy $130m; Milwaukee is 20th @ $97m while Pittsburgh is 29th in the league @ 54m. In other comparisons, Paul Goldschmidt $22m & Nolan Arenado $35m were paid more than the ENTIRE Pirates team. Further, Goldy, Arenado, Carp($18.5m), Mikolas$15.7 & Andrew Miller $12m pay scales outspent the entire Brewers team!!! Maybe the tributes that we pay the Cards for forming a solid roster has much more to do with their willingness to spend than astute evaluations. How CAN the division be totally competitive with this very wide discrepancy in spending?
….COVERT ACTION HERE…I had no idea about the International (especially Latin America)Signing issues. Apparently, very young players (under 16) are scouted. They are “represented” (using the term loosely) by a member of the family/city/whatever. Since all MLB teams could “recruit” the player, it seems that these “reps” could be enticed to lead their “prospect” to one team or the other and often changed their recommendations to the player. Sooo..it seemed to me that the last team to deal with the “advisors” would often get the signing. The MLB wanted an International draft, hoping to eliminate this constantly changing situation by adding regulation(draft). No agreement on this area. There’s so many different angles, history, culture to attack in this problem that a couple months of talks couldn’t untangle it all.
…OBVIOUS ACTION HERE…we all knew that universal DH was coming for NL. Personally, I enjoyed the strategy of replacing players due to the pitchers AB—pinch hitters, double switches, Pinch Hitters who would remain in the game…a piece of in-game strategy has been removed. Pitchers, in most games, only batted 1 time in a game anyway! (It was exactly 1.49 AB/game) I don’t expect the NL to follow the AL lead –purchasing high priced DH’s. I expect many NL teams will use backup players or platoon players in the DH spot to keep them sharp (and keep the salary base down).
…MONEY ACTION HERE….12 playoff teams(40% of the teams)…. Too many for my taste. Why play 162? Let them play 140 games and extend the playoffs to 9 or 11 game series (the longer the series, the more often the better team will win). 8 playoff teams seems like the right total to me. But…the real BIG money from streaming/TV is made during playoffs. Hence, money wins out. Surprise? 😊
…MIXED ACTION ….the Blues have been very streaky in the last 7 games. The Blues are 2-5 during this span. In games that the Blues score less than 3 goals, the Blues are 2-16 for the season. That’s 28% of the season. True, the Blues are a defensive team but they still have to score to win. They have allowed the fewest goals in their division this season. However, the Blues are significantly behind Colorado in the Division (13 points). Colorado, an offensive team, has a wide lead with the most goals in our Division…in fact, 2nd highest in the entire NHL. When I see the Av’s play, it seems to me that their team speed is at a different notch than our Blues. Loss of Pavel Buchnevich stymies the offense.
…BUMMER ACTION… removing the 7-inning double-headers was a bummer. I didn’t hear anyone that didn’t like them. However, putting the runner on 2B in extra innings did seem a bit “cheesy” to me.
…IMMEDIATE ACTION …Cuonzo Martin’s immediate firing @ MU was expected. The huge drop off this year as the team finished in last place in the SEC with 12-21 record. Martin’s season records in 5 years @Columia got progressively worse. In 17-18 Mizzou was 20-13; in 2018-19- 15-17; in 2019-20– 15-16; in 2020-21, MU was 16-10 and this year 12-21 @ 5-13 in the SEC. I think that Cuonzo is a good man but didn’t seem to adjust to the changes in transfers/portal. This year, he was never able to replace point guard, Xavier Pinson, who moved to become a starter @ LSU. When Cuonzo arrived @ Columbia, he stirred up lots of excitement with the recruiting of Michael Porter Jr. He hired his Dad as an assistant to help seal the deal. Michael (seemingly destined to be a 1 & done guy) got injured before his college career began & played just 3 games as a Tiger. If he still wants to coach, Martin will find a job but he needs an assistant who LOVES to recruit.
….IMPROVING IN PRIME TIME ACTION… St Louis U’s season ended with a loss to Davidson in the A-10 Tournament Semifinal. SLU was one of 6 teams in the A-10 over .500 in conference play this season. The Bills were 3-7 against those other 5 teams. Without question, Coach Travis Ford has advanced the program. Now.. his sights have to be raised to winning the Conference Tournament and beating the other top clubs in the A-10. While the Billikens are improving (while using a good complement of St Louis Players)…keep upgrading the non-conference schedule. More teams like Auburn, Memphis, Boston College, UAB prior to conference. It will strengthen the team even if the record suffers a bit.
…TRIBUTE ACTION… A stretch of Interstate 64/40 in downtown St. Louis has been renamed the “Bobby Plager Memorial Highway” in honor of the late Blues’ legend. MoDOT recently completed installation of the street signs in both directions along the interstate between Jefferson Avenue and Tucker Boulevard near Enterprise Center. Plager wasn’t the best player in Blues history but he gave all he had to the game and city as a player, coach, team rep, member of the Lou!
…END OF ACTION!… I know that all of you have some thoughts on the strike settlement &/or my reactions. Please share on my Facebook page (Bob Ryan). If you’d like to catch up on blogs that you missed, visit… http://www.bobryansportsblog.com. Thanks for your time & read!

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