To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Theo Epstein, the Red Sox's wunderkind progeny of Moneyball baseball revolutionary (and Oakland A's GM) Billy Beane, must know a good deal about economics. After all, it's smart economics that governs the approach pioneered by Beane and Bill James, the mad statistician who singlehandedly invented the idea of using statistics to attach real value to professional athletes. A nine-word book report -- showing why it's so popular with both baseball GMs and libertarians alike -- might go like this: "Find hidden value. Don't waste money on overpaid players."

Which is why I find it so disappointing that Theo in fact has all the economic sense of a fried clam strip.

This weekend Theo -- who, with his school-social-worker brother operates a nonprofit devoted to "helping disadvantaged kids" -- told the Boston Globe that, by the time he's an old man, he'd like to see government get involved in regulating sports so that salaries can be better re-distribued to the needy. (Stop raising your voice at me! I know that sports and athletes are already hyper-taxed and regulated. I'm only quoting Theo.)

"There are very few athletes who do as much as they should in the community[," said Theo's brother Paul.]

Theo agrees, and even suggests the government might someday want to regulate professional sports.

"Not to offend any libertarians out there," he says, "but it's not outrageous that 50 years from now the government could regulate sports, and basically cap player and front-office salaries and redistribute some of that money to, say, teachers."

With that, Theo tugs on the bill of his baseball cap and takes a deep breath.

"I spend a lot of time thinking about what the hell's wrong with America, and what the hell's wrong with the world, and sometimes that results in misguided political discussions," he says. "But I don't think people want to tune in to their local TV station and see their GM talking about much besides baseball."
That makes two of us, Theo. You just shut the hell up and keep my Red Sox winning and we won't have a problem.