The Nub

Dollar Dominance Tilting Political and Ball Fields


As Baseball enters the post-Labor Day homestretch, here’s what we feel comfortable predicting: seven of the 10 teams competing for playoff spots will make it: the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians and Astros in the AL, the Nationals, Cubs and Dodgers in the NL. Five of those seven have top-10-level payrolls, with the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox all above $200 million. The Nationals and Cubs are the other two more modestly wealthy playoff-likely teams. Conclusion (1): unless one roots for Arizona, Colorado or Milwaukee in the NL, or the Angels, Orioles, Seattle, and the Rangers in the AL, the season, involving 18 of 30 less financially competitive also-ran teams, has been a bummer.

Conclusion (2): unless the MLB finds a way to bring more payroll-level equality to the sport, it will become less and less able to compete for fans with pro football and basketball, both of which are close to having overcome the inequality problem.

Disappointed progressive fans have surely noticed their teams’ similar problem on the political field: the once-dominant Dem club has all but disappeared in contending with financially superior Team GOP. Attentive observers recognize that the Dems are trying to attract support, not with an offense, but by bemoaning how badly the powerful Trump/GOP opposition is performing. That the Dems chose an ill-equipped leader in Senator Chuck Schumer should have been evident. His skill at playing fund-raising ball with Wall Street, which helped get him the job, is a main reason for his team’s disappearing act.

Asked on “Meet the Press” last week about his party’s inability to awaken an effective vote-attracting offense, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said he believed the Democrats needed to reaffirm their tradition of standing with Labor. “Fighting for workers”, he said, on such things as the right to living wages for all and overtime pay could trigger and overdue rally. Issues about which the Schumer-led Dems have been mostly silent.

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Leak(e)ing Ship? In the never-say-die city of St.Louis, Cardinals fans have reason to worry that this year’s edition of the Redbirds has given up the wild-card race. The trading of starter Mike Leake to the Mariners on the threshold of decisive September stoked the fears. True, Leake had been a 7-14 disappointment for the ‘Birds, but he’s a near-10-year veteran with a winning record who’s capable of clutch performances at homestretch time.


(The Nub is a team effort produced by Dick Starkey)

About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.