John writes: If the Yankees are paying $25 million or so in luxury tax, does every Major League team under the salary threshold receive a portion? Are they free to do whatever they want with it? It seems to me that it’s a complete waste if a greedy owner is just going to pocket the cash instead of improving his or her team. Wouldn’t it make more sense for MLB to mandate the money being used to improve the ball club?
Answer: It’s a popular misconception that the luxury tax payments go to other teams. In fact, the money goes to Major League Baseball. Half of the money is used for player benefits (pension, health care, etc.). A quarter goes to supporting amateur baseball and a quarter goes into an “industry growth fund.” Revenue sharing payments go directly to small-market teams. Rest assured, some greedy owners pocket that money.
Andy writes: Just before the Mitchell Report came out you wrote, “It also will be interesting to see whether any Red Sox are named. If not, the report’s credibility will take a hit.” Based upon the only prominent recent Sox on the list was Gagne, do you think the report is further worthless?
Answer: Worthless is a strong word. The report was flawed in a lot of ways and certainly lacks credibility given that the two main sources (Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee) are based in New York. It doesn’t seem Mitchell and his investigators looked too hard for dealers in other cities, including (or especially) Boston. But to his credit, Mitchell admitted his report was limited in scope.
Kevin writes: Any word on the health of Bobby Murcer? I hope he’s doing okay and will be back in the booth again. I’ve never met him but it seems that almost everyone who has says that he’s a great guy. I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about the man.
Answer: I have not heard anything since the end of the season, Kevin. I’ll take that to be a good sign. Bobby looked and sounded great when he was on the air at the end of the season. You’re right about him being a great guy. The print and television guys generally don’t work together much. But Bobby is universally respected and well-liked by everybody around the team. Trust me when I tell you, that’s rare.
Allison writes: Pete, who do you think will make the Hall of Fame. Who did you vote for?
Answer: I do not have a vote yet, Allison. You have to be a member of the BBWAA for 10 years and 2008 will be my eighth year as a member. From talking to other writers, I get the sense that Goose Gossage and Jim Rice will get in. Jack Morris, Tim Raines and Bert Blyleven seem to have a chance.
Thanks for writing. Feel free to e-mail me with any comments, suggestions or questions.