Clipping:Bad economic arguments for an expanded League

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Date Sunday, November 19, 1876

The professional season legally ended November 15, but it really closed four weeks previous. It is suggested that October 1 is late enough for playing, as all interest in the game ceases at least two week previous, but it would be as well to have the remainder of the month to meet the exigencies of bad weather. There is no money in the game after the middle of September, and it were better for managers of clubs and players to make the season shorter, and, consequently, less expensive. Players could afford to play for smaller salaries if their work was over October 1, as they would thereby gain a month and a half for the winter’s work. Looking back over the season just closed, it seems as though the Professional League had not fully realized the expectations of its projectors. Certainly clubs have fallen out by the way, the same as under the old association. Again, clubs have paid no better than in former years, or, to be more explicit, only one club, probably, the Chicagos, has $100 more in the treasure than in the spring, while all except, perhaps, the Bostons and St. Louis, have run behind hand. The balance sheets of these clubs will speak for themselves on the occasion of the annual meetings. “Crooked” playing has existed in the League as of yore, but there have been greater possibilities of discipline than under the old regime. Now there is no lack of public interest in the game, and there must be something radically at fault, or the business would pay better. What this is it is for the League to determine, but some things suggest themselves to an outsider very much in this wise: The League is too exclusive, and works against its won interest in admitting so few clubs to membership the small membership necessitates a too lengthy series of game between clubs, for the reason that only the first half of a series, as a rule, pays. Again, the clubs are hundreds of miles apart, which makes traveling expenses heavy. For example, it is a long journey from Boston to Chicago, and much time and money are expended in making the trip. Suppose there was a club at Syracuse, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis a club from the East could play every day, weather permitting, on the trip to Chicago, and vice versa. To be sure, it would cost more to halt by the way, but there would be a daily income all the while. Finish the list of clubs by the admission of one or two in Western Pennsylvania, and a club from Boston could make the round trip, playing about every day, with good weather. Some one will say that more or less of the smaller clubs would disband after a few games had been played. So much the better for those that remained, for is it not the first two or three games of a series which bring in the greater part of the profits? Make the series small, say five games, and, if a dozen clubs are admitted to the League, sixty games will have to be played in a season by each club, and that is a large enough number of professional games. Should it be found profitable, supplementary series can be arranged between any clubs. In this way, those sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth games, which are accustomed to drag along, in many cases with profit to nobody, would be avoided; and it is possible that the admission of new clubs would bring a large amount of talent into the market, which would cause a reduction of salaries, of all things especially to be desired at this time. When the latter form is effected a reduction of admission fees can very properly be made, and public patronage correspondingly increased. Incidentally, the proposed change would give more meaning to the word “championship,” as it would make it more nearly the “championship of the whole country” than it is at present, when only half a dozen or so clubs are allowed to be contestants for the honor. Perchance experience has taught the club mangers the fallacy of adopting any such course as that suggested above, but to an outsider it seems to promise a possible solution of existing difficulties.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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