Archive for August, 2008

And The Beat Goes On

Posted: August 19, 2008 in Technology and Business
Today’s notable headline: 
(And Outlook Web Access still doesn’t recognize Google as a valid word.)
One more baseball post.  I was in Los Angeles last weekend.  It just so happened that the (dreaded) Los Angeles Dodgers were playing my (beloved) San Francisco Giants.  I happened to find it on Dodger (bums) radio 790 AM. 
Could there be anything better than listening to your team beat your biggest rival… on their radio station?!
I think not.
P.S.  Their (losing) postgame show made me particularly smile!

The Bonds Question

Posted: August 17, 2008 in Technology and Business
Bobby Bonds, Barry’s dad, was my favorite baseball player growing up.
Turns out Barry went to my high school, even played ball with my brother-in-law.
Those that know him love him.
Those that don’t, well, let’s just say Barry is his own worse enemy.
After the San Francisco Giants let him go last season, I thought for sure the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox — some wealthy, in contention, American league team would pick him up as possibly the best designated hitter ever.
Not only can Barry still hit (28 homeruns and led both leagues in walks in 2007), but can still play the field in a pinch.
And, of course, he guarantees a sell-out crowd night after night, just as he did for years in SF… the chase for #800 — just as the chase for #756 — is simply too irresistible.
But, no one has picked him up — despite many teams actually needing a player like him.
There’s been talk about ownership "collusion"… him being black-balled.  No doubt, with an impending steroids trial in 2009, he’s a hot potato. 
But we’ve always observed — disdainfully — that performance trumps behavior when it comes to professional athletes.  (Watch how many people scramble to pick up Michael Vick next year.)
Could this be the exception?
I thought it actually might be because he was demanding too much — but then I read this:
     "Borris has said that Bonds would play for a pro-rated portion of the minimum salary, and he attempted to contact Friedman this week after Tampa Bay lost Crawford to a right hand injury and Longoria to a broken right wrist."
Wow.  Barry Bonds at the greatest fire-sale for any athlete in the history of sports… and no one will touch him.
Confirms what my friend John Marino used to always say:  What goes around, comes around.
UPDATE (8/20/08):
Come to think about it, why doesn’t the Oakland A’s pick up Bonds? 
This is right up Billy Beane’s — A’s GM and the central character in one of my very favorite business books, Moneyball — alley.  I mean, can you find a bigger inefficiency in the market today? 
Not only in terms of "offensive production per dollar spent," but also butts-in-the-seats:  Bonds would be a major draw… and goodness knows the A’s need a draw.  (Who knows?  Maybe Bonds could help fill two new stadiums in his lifetime.)
After losing something like 18 of their last 20, what do the A’s have to lose?
Financial writer James Altucher is a pretty smart market cookie.  He recently wrote one of the best explanations I’ve heard for why cutting capital gains taxes is bad.  Click here for the full piece.  Below are the interesting outtakes.
The idea behind raising the taxes [Capital Gains] is that this primarily effects the wealthy and does not affect middle-income or lower-income people.

This is a not a Democrat vs. Republican issue. In fact, the largest increase in capital gains occurred when Richard Nixon [R] became president in 1969 and raised the tax from 28% to 49%. What happened then? It effectively eliminated the revenue that the government collected from the capital gains taxes, because there was a negative incentive to sell shares.

When there is negative incentive to sell, not only is less revenue raised by the government but there is less money reallocated from older business to new, entrepreneurial ventures. The market and the economy began to slide in the early ’70s, creating the worst bear market since World War II…

Congress finally slashed the Nixon capital gains raises in 1978 (under Carter), giving rise to the venture capital boom that spurred on Silicon Valley all through the ’80s and ’90s. Anybody who thinks an increase in capital gains taxes will result in more government revenue only need look at the ’70s as a prime example of the reverse.