Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Here are the opinions du jour.
n We are witnessing the demise of professional baseball, as we know it.
Sad, but unfortunately true.
It had been rumored for weeks that Major League Baseball was going to drastically cut the numbers of rounds in its annual draft.
Well, MLB dropped the squeeze bunt on Friday.
And, then, some.
It deleted 35 rounds.
Considering Major League Baseball’s annual draft has consisted of 40 rounds for the last eight years, it means MLB just got rid of 87.5 percent of its draft.
Or let’s look at it another way.
There are 32 NFL teams and their draft consists of seven rounds. More or less, it means the NFL Draft usually will consist of about 224 players.
MLB, on the other hand, has 30 franchises. So, this new Reader’s Digest version of baseball’s annual draft will number about 150 players.
Sounds fairly equitable on the surface, huh?
MLB has minor league clubs to stock with players besides the parent clubs’ rosters. The NFL? Its minor league teams go by the name of “LSU, Clemson, Alabama, etc.”
See the gaping difference?
This goes hand in glove with MLB’s decision to cut the number of minor league franchises from 160 to 120. Since there will be 40 less teams, there’s no need for nearly as many players.
Take West Virginia, for example.
The state has four minor league franchises. The West Virginia Power, which plays in Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, is the ranking member, competing in the Class A South Atlantic League.
Next, the West Virginia Black Bears are based in Morgantown and play in the short-season New-York Penn League. Like Morgantown, Princeton and Bluefield also have short-season, rookie league squads. Princeton is an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, while Bluefield is affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. Both compete in the Appalachian League.
Or, at least, they did.
As it stands, the West Virginia Black Bears are the only Mountain State-based minor league franchise that is expected to survive the 40-team purge.
If anybody is still looking for an upside to all this, good luck. Not even a metal detector, Geiger counter or divining rod is going to help.
There is no upside.
All this is going to do is hurt the quality of Major League Baseball. It’s inevitable. MLB rosters are littered with players who were selected lower than the first five rounds of the draft.
But not for long.
Oh, sure, MLB made the so-called concession of allowing teams to sign an unlimited number of free agents for $20,000 a piece. What a scam. A sixth-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft received $301,600 to $237,000.
But, now, he’s going to get $20,000?
I don’t think so.
Good-bye, MLB, hello college or junior college.
It’s inevitable. After all, a college education is worth a heckuva lot more than $20,000.
These austerity moves won’t accomplish anything but undermining Major League Baseball in the long-term.
It’s rather sad.
Major League Baseball has decided to focus on dollars instead of sense.
n The furloughing of 65 employees in West Virginia University’s athletic department was rather stunning.
That’s particularly true in light of athletic director Shane Lyons’ admission that about six employees will not return and their jobs won’t be filled.
It prompts a compelling question.
How long before Marshall University has to take similar steps?