Review of the 2002 Member Survey
Each January, the Committee surveys all members with E-mail
addresses about various issues relating to the business of
baseball. These surveys often ask broad questions with no
"right" answer, but since this year's edition
focused on topics related to the upcoming labor negotiations, we
can look back and see how well we did.
Only nine of 37 respondents correctly predicted that MLB's
then-pending attempt to contract would be a complete bust, with
both Montreal and Minnesota opening the 2003 season in the same
cities. 25 of us thought that the Expos would relocate to
Washington or northern Virginia, while just two forecast any
reduction in the number of major league teams.
Fifteen of 37 correctly predicted that the 2002 season would end
with a new labor agreement, reached without a strike or lockout.
Of the remaining 22 respondents, eighteen thought the season
would be played to completion with no work stoppage; as of
January, only four anticipated a 2002 strike or lockout.
Our collective wisdom came close to predicting the percentage of
local revenues to be shared under the new agreement. The owners
asked for 50% revenue sharing and settled for 34%; our average
guess was 33.9%, our median, 33%. But we all overestimated the
likely luxury tax: the initial tax rate was lower, and the 2003
tax threshold ($117 million) higher, than anyone had anticipated.
Fourteen of 35 respondents correctly predicted that the new CBA
would not require teams to maintain a minimum payroll, while only
seven forecast that it would not contain provisions for a
worldwide amateur draft.
The Second Annual Bud Selig Prediction Contest asked respondents
to identify the 16 clubs least likely to make the playoffs. For
purposes of this contest, the 14 "contenders" included
the eight playoff teams (New York Yankees, Minnesota, Oakland,
Anaheim, Atlanta, St. Louis, Arizona and San Francisco), plus the
six other clubs which missed the playoffs by the smallest margin
(Boston, Chicago White Sox, Seattle, Montreal, Houston and Los
Angeles). Here's how we voted, with the eventual contenders
in bold italics:
Out of 29 valid ballots cast:
0 votes: Atlanta, New York Yankees, Seattle
1 vote: Arizona, Cleveland, St.
2 votes: Houston, New York Mets
3 votes: Oakland
4 votes: Boston
8 votes: Chicago White Sox, San Francisco
12 votes: Los Angeles
15 votes: Chicago Cubs
17 votes: Minnesota, Texas
20 votes: Philadelphia
24 votes: San Diego
26 votes: Colorado, Toronto
27 votes: Cincinnati, Florida, Milwaukee, Montreal
28 votes: Anaheim, Detroit, Kansas City,
Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay
29 votes: Baltimore
We made four gross errors out of the 30 teams. 28 out of the 29
respondents dismissed the chances of the eventual world champion
Anaheim Angels, fresh off a 75-87 season in which they missed the
playoffs by 27 games, and just two thought the Montreal Expos
could contend. At the other extreme, only one picked Cleveland as
a non-contender, only two ruled out the New York Mets. With the
Minnesota Twins a smaller error, we correctly assigned 25 of the
30 teams to "contender" or "non-contender"
Copyright © 2002 Doug Pappas. All rights
Originally published in the Fall 2002 issue of Outside the
Lines, the SABR Business of
Baseball Committee newsletter.
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