Submitted by Paula Duffy on 2011-01
Bill Maher may have broken new ground on
his HBO program "Real Time", by using
Major League Baseball and the National Football League
to make a point about socialism.
The owners in baseball represent the philosophy of those that believe in not penalizing winners by asking them to contribute to those who are losing. It's a sink or swim attitude that rejects the necessity of keeping all thirty MLB franchises in contention to win championships.
The NFL on the other hand distributes wealth evenly among clubs and strives for parity of performance. Its financial model does what it can to keep franchises in the playoff hunt so that fans don't stay away from games that aren't competitive. Here's some of what Maher had to say in his closing monologue New Rules:
"Football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich almost always win and the poor usually have no chance."
"The NFL runs itself in a way that would fit nicely on Glenn Beck's chalkboard - they literally share the wealth, through salary caps and revenue sharing - TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put all of it in a big commie pot and split it 32 ways."
"Baseball, on the other hand, is exactly like the Republicans, their economic theory is every man for himself. The small market Pittsburgh Steelers go to the Super Bowl more than anybody - but the Pittsburgh Pirates, well Levi Johnston their economic theory is every man for himself. The small market Pittsburgh Steelers go to the Super Bowl more than anybody - but the Pittsburgh Pirates? Levi Johnston has sperm that will not grow up and live long enough to see the Pirates in a World Series"
Maher decided to use stats to show how obsessed Americans are with a sport that is designed to give everyone hope. An estimated 100 million people will watch the Super Bowl, while less than 20% of that number saw the World Series last year.
Support for the NFL's business model isn't the reason however, but it is the end result of how well that model works.