Mike Lopresti of USA TODAY recently wrote a column admitting he'd probably be subject to a breathalyzer, but why not use some of the massive revenues from TV to lower ticket prices at the ballpark? Why not, indeed.
A lot of the newfound gold will surely make its way into the hands of future crops of free agents, that's a given. Long-term, multi-billion dollar network contracts have not only paved the way for jaw-dropping deals with Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and some Japanese guy who I'm sure is nice enough but has never pitched in this country; the fact is, your grandmother, who couldn't care less about baseball, helps fill those coffers every time she sends her cable bill in (if she hasn't dropped dead of a cardiac when she saw yet another price increase). We all do. An overwhelming proportion of production expense is eaten up by sports content -- just surf the 8,000 channels in your "basic package" sometime, if you're up for yet more reruns of Law & Order, Andy Griffith and Seinfeld.
Obviously, it's the larger market teams that are able to score the most outsized network contracts, but they don't play against their shadows. Someone else has to be on the field, if only to make their $25M men appear to be worth every dime. A lot of those other teams make most of their money on attendance, concessions and (sometimes expensive) special promotions.
Good farms systems can only go so far. Meantime, the wealth and talent gap gets wider.
Way gone, obviously, are the days when you could take a family of four to the yard for a pleasant afternoon in the sun and a couple of cold ones, and still be able to make rent. But it gets kind of inexplicable when you see a half-empty stadium when a first place team is on the field. I thought it was a spectator sport.