Major league greed

Sooner or later, you’ll be charged a few bucks, here and there, for talking about your favorite team by name.

According to the Cape Cod Times, Major League Baseball has threatened to pull the $100,000 grant it annually awards the Cape Cod League if teams that borrow their name from a professional franchise do not “purchase all future uniforms and souvenir merchandise from more expensive MLB-licensed vendors.” You know, names that it could only take the genius of MLB to come up with, like Cardinals.

Staff writer Rob Duca writes, “MLB is also requesting an 11 percent royalty on sales next summer of existing inventory from the six affected Cape League teams. Non-clothing items such as coffee mugs and teddy bears that are not available through MLB vendors could no longer be sold.”

Advertisement:

Six Cape League teams use MLB names, including the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Hyannis Mets, and Chatham A’s. According to Duca, “All six teams are considering changing their nicknames rather than shutting out local merchants, according to sources. But it is too late to adorn uniforms and merchandise with new logos before the June opening of the 2008 season.”

Under any new deal with MLB, the local merchants that the league now depends upon would be cut out. Deplorable.

The Cape League runs on an annual budget of between $1.5 and $2 million, so a $100,000 grant is a pretty significant portion of that. Part of the allure of a Cape League game is that is costs nothing to attend. Plunk down a chair and enjoy. It’s an original in today’s landscape of the bottom line. Of course MLB would need a piece of that. I imagine Bud Selig the type to always have a metal detector with him seeking spare change on an Orleans beach. There may be a few straggling dollars to be had.

Major League Baseball likes to tout the billions of dollars it made last year. “Baseball is more popular than ever.” Great. If you want to play that line, then let us suggest that $100,000 is an embarrassing amount to reward the Cape League, which does nothing but help your major league product. Duca points out there are more than 200 Cape League veterans playing in the majors right now. The Cape League runs on a volunteer staff, for the love of the game. How naïve.

Advertisement:

It’s obvious that they owe their soul to Major League Baseball. Don’t we all sooner or later?

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com