Archive - July 2015

  1. Column: Would You Pay $36 Per Month for ESPN?July 27, 2015

    Growing up in the family business – wholesale meat and groceries – I was always looking for ways to improve operations. Every time I made a suggestion my father couldn’t or wouldn’t support, his standard response was “It sounds good.” I learned early on those were his final words on the topic. There was no discussion or explanation. Nor did he ever indicate whether he didn’t like the idea or had tried something similar in the past without success and didn’t want to hurt my feelings. This brings me to the concept of a la carte cable television, the option to purchase only those channels we want to watch. The cable industry prefers the concept of bundling where we are forced to buy a package of channels, most of which we never watch. It’s frustrating listening to a cable representative explain their offerings, none of which truly mirror our viewing preferences. If it was available, most of us would instinctively choose the a la carte option. But would that result in a lower cable bill? Maybe, or maybe not.

  2. Column: Coaches vs. Medical Personnel - Who Rules?July 19, 2015

    With colleges on the cusp of pre-season football practice, there’s an off-field battle worth keeping an eye on: Coaches vs. medical personnel. Head coaches at a majority of the big-time college football programs insist on hiring, supervising and firing the doctors and athletic trainers that attend to their student-athletes. Not surprisingly, medical practitioners don’t believe the practice is in the best interest of the student-athletes. Two years ago, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, joined by five other medical groups including the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, issued a public statement along with a set of recommendations against the practice. In their words, “Freedom in their professional practice is ensured when neither the team physician nor the athletic trainer has a coach as his or her primary supervisor, and no coach has authority over the appointment or employment of sports medicine providers.”

  3. Column: MLB Underpays ScoutsJuly 13, 2015

    Almost every group of MLB employees seems to think they’re underpaid. In the past two years the league has been besieged by complaints and/or lawsuits from clubhouse attendants, administrative workers, interns, “volunteers,” and Minor League players. They all complain that MLB violates the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) along with state wage and hour laws by failing to pay minimum wage and overtime. In some cases, the plaintiffs have also alleged that MLB’s practices violate federal and state antitrust laws. Now, scouts have jumped on the litigation bandwagon. Two weeks ago former Kansas City Royals scout Jordan Wyckoff filed a class action lawsuit in a New York federal court claiming that many MLB scouts make less than minimum wage and aren’t properly compensated for overtime, practices that violate the FLSA. In addition to his FLSA argument, Wyckoff also alleges that MLB teams conspire to keep scouts’ wages depressed in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.

  4. Column: Pete Rose Still Belongs in HallJuly 6, 2015

    Here we are again, discussing Pete Rose. Does he deserve to be reinstated to Major League Baseball? Should he be eligible for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame? It seems to be a discussion without end, yet it shouldn’t be. It’s not that complicated. In 1989, as part of a plea agreement with then MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti, Rose agreed to permanently be placed on baseball’s ineligible list. In return, MLB suspended its investigation into Rose’s gambling activities. The agreement came after John Dowd, a former federal prosecutor turned investigator, submitted a report confirming allegations that Rose had bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Two years later the Baseball Hall of Fame voted to exclude anyone who was permanently ineligible from appearing on a Hall ballot. While that decision covered a number of former ballplayers, it was clearly directed at Rose who was about to appear on the ballot for the first time.