Like Barry Bonds, Baseball Widow hasn't retired; she's just not playing.
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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen, Poet Laureate Jayson Stark

He might not be the greatest sports writer out there, but the man has flow. . .
Baseball Widow learns through Jayson Stark's Rumblings and Grumblings that there is a solution to collusion, even though most of us wouldn't recognize a collusion from a contusion.

Oh boy, does Baseball Widow really have to write about this?

Here it is, in short form. In baseball, collusion is the coming together of owners to ensure that prices for players don't exceed predetermined ceilings. Collusion is bad because it seeks to circumvent the free market system. . .not that MLB is a paradigm of free market goodness.

To combat rumors of collusion, MLB has revamped the policy whereby it gives to interested owners a cheat sheet of sorts--a listing of the appraisal value of a free agent player. What's wrong with this? Don't ask Baseball Widow.

Collusion may or may not exist, but the existence of an appraisal sheet is not collusion, it's not evidence of collusion, and it's not even a red flag to indicate that owners might be thinking of colluding. Appraisals exist everywhere--from real estate comps to Beanie Baby trading values. Just because a potential owner researches the value of his purchase doesn't have anything to do with conspiring to cheat the market. Besides, free agency is much more like an auction. The "winner" loses by definition, because he chooses to pay more than the market value (the market being what everyone else was willing to pay). Think about that as you finish your Christmas shopping on Ebay.

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