Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why All of Baseball's Arbitration Hearings Should Be Handled By Sarah Palin

It's that time in the off-season: the one in which all of MLB's high-profile free agents have signed with their respective teams, and we're left with an empty void of nothingness (of which voids are prone to be filled) before spring training starts. Being fanatics (the deranged kind, not the tame version from which 'fan' evolved), we must find something, anything, to pass the time.

Enter arbitration hearings.

Players tell teams how much money they (the player) think they (the player) should make. Teams tell players how much they (the team) think they (the player) should make. Sometimes, the team and the player come to an agreement before going to a neutral arbitrator. "Will [player X] win his arbitration case? Or will [team Y] triumph? An analysis", boring-as-fuck bloggers write.

(What boring-as-fuck bloggers should write: 'Will [player X] earn a salary slightly higher than his team would like to pay him, or will [team Y] pay [player X] slightly less than he would like to earn but still it'll be millions of dollars? An entry in my diary because I don't want to dilute the already barren internet with this shit that nobody cares about.")

Well, I'm not just going to sit here and whine, because that would be petty and unproductive. I have a solution: put Sarah Palin in charge of all arbitration hearings.

There are innumerable benefits to this idea, not the least of which is the entertainment value that would be added to the proceedings. We'd be glued to our internets waiting for the latest Palinism to go viral.

It would keep her out of politics. In retrospect, despite the good Bud Selig has done for the game, wouldn't you rather George W. Bush had been named commissioner, as he was purported to have been in the running for, in 1992? He would have had too much on his plate to think about running for president, and I think we can all agree that would have been a good thing.

Furthermore, it would allow teams and players to get more creative with their contract submissions. Being an Alaskan, Palin naturally has an atypical concept of the value of money, and as such may be willing to negotiate contracts based on other forms of currency, such as polar bear coats, wooly mammoth tusks, and baby seal oil. The burden would be on the team or the player to acquire this type of non-standard currency, but those parties willing to put in the time and effort could see massive savings.

Now, between Bristol's dancing career and Sarah's hunting "prowess", the Palins have some pretty solid reality-TV connections. Can you imagine how much this bleak stretch of winter would be improved if "arbitration hearings" became "Arbitrating With the Stars"? Envision the ratings MLB could get from "The Real Housewives of MLB Arbitrators"? And don't pretend you wouldn't watch "America's Next Top Arbitrator". (Plus, don't forget the inevitable Tina Fey parodies. I've long said the arbitration process is a natural fit for a sketch-comedy send-up.) Really, this is an economic no-brainer from MLB's perspective.

The only drawback I can foresee is the legal hassles that may result from signed contracts containing what are later discovered to not be words. Pundits believe that some arbitration-related accidental word creations might include "contractivation", "baseballyhoo", and "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimlich Maneuver".

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