It seems these days whenever Bill Maher opens his mouth, he's bound to stick his foot in it while saying something totally devoid of logic or factual basis.
Consider Friday's "Real Time" on HBO when with his final "New Rule," he claimed the economic business philosophy of NFL football is similar to that of the Democratic Party while Major League Baseball's is more in line with the Republicans (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BILL MAHER: So it's not a surprise that some 100 million Americans will watch the Super Bowl next week. That's 40 million more than go to church on Christmas. Suck on that, Jesus. It's also 85 million more than watched the last game of the World Series. And in that is an economic lesson for America, because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich always win and the poor usually have no chance. The World Series is like the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills": you have to be a rich bitch just to play. Whereas the Super Bowl is like Tila Tequila, anyone can get in.
Or put it another way, football is more like the Democratic philosophy. Democrats don't want to eliminate capitalism or competition, but they would like it if some kids didn't have to go to a crummy school in a rotten neighborhood while others get to go to a great school and their Dad gets them into Harvard, because when that happens, achieving the American dream is easy for some and just a fantasy for others. That's why the NFL literally shares the wealth. TV is their biggest source of revenue and they put it all in a big commie pot and split it 32 ways because they don't want anyone to fall too far behind. That's why the team that wins the Super Bowl in the next draft picks last - or what the Republicans would call punishing success.
For those of you familiar with how both sports work - something that Maher clearly isn't - you know the "Real Time" host was once again misrepresenting the truth to advance his liberal agenda.
The NFL does indeed have what's called revenue sharing, but so does baseball. As reported by CBS Business Network in 2008:
After hashing out their competing interests, large-market owners, small-market owners, and the players’ union initially struck a major revenue sharing deal during collective bargaining in 2002. Under the latest version, in effect through 2011, all teams pay in 31 percent of their local revenues and that pot is split evenly among all 30 teams. In addition, a chunk of MLB’s Central Fund — made up of revenues from sources like national broadcast contracts — is disproportionately allocated to teams based on their relative revenues, so lower-revenue teams get a bigger piece of the pie.
As such, baseball's revenue sharing is actually more socialistic than football's for the lower-revenue teams get a bigger chunk of the shared funds.
Makes Maher look like a bit of a jerk, doesn't it?
So does his point about the winner of the Super Bowl getting the lowest pick in the following year's draft. Baseball does the same thing giving the last pick to the winner of the World Series.
I guess you could call that strike two. But there were more wildly errant swings still to come:
MAHER: Baseball, baseball, on the other hand, is exactly like the Republicans. And I don't just mean it's incredibly boring. I mean 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. Their payroll is 40 million. The Yankees is 206 million. The Pirates have about as much chances getting to the playoffs as a poor black teenager from Newark has of becoming the CEO of Halliburton. That's why people stopped going to Pirate games in May, because if you're not in the game you become indifferent to the fate of the game and maybe even get bitter. That's what's happening to the middle class in America.
It's also how Marie Antoinette lost her head. So you kind of have to laugh that the same angry white males who hate Obama because he's redistributing wealth just love football, a sport that succeeds because it does just that. To them, the NFL is American as hot dogs, Chevrolet, apple pie, and a second giant helping of apple pie. But then again, they think they're macho because their sport is football, when, honestly, is there anything gayer than wearing another man's shirt?
As San Francisco Giants announcer Mike Krukow often says when someone strikes out, "Take some pine, meat":
- The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010. They had the tenth-highest payroll in the league. Their opponent, the Texas Rangers, had the 27th-highest payroll. Only three teams spent less last year.
- In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays made the World Series with the second-lowest payroll.
- In 2007, the Colorado Rockies went with the 26th-highest payroll.
- In 2006, the Detroit Tigers went with the 14th-highest.
- In 2003, the Florida Marlins won the Series with the 20th-highest payroll.
- In 2002, the Anaheim Angels won the Series with the 15th-highest payroll beating the Giants who had the tenth.
- In 2001, the Arizona Diamondbacks won the Series with the eighth-highest payroll.
So much for his "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" analogy.
Add it all up, and the differences between the economic philosophies of these two sports as depicted by Maher Friday evening were totally non-existent.
Funnier still is that the "Real Time" host completely ignored what does indeed separate these leagues financially: football has a salary cap and baseball doesn't. This is what allows teams like the Yankees and Red Sox to spend so lavishly.
Maher ignoring this suggests he really knows little about these sports, for there's nothing more Republican than the belief that achievement should come with unlimited rewards, and nothing more Democrat than it shouldn't.
On the other hand, maybe the "Real Time" host didn't bring this up because he doesn't want to admit support for salary caps fearing that such a thing could some day be implemented by one of his employers to spread the wealth within the organization he works for.
As likely one of the highest paid at HBO, Maher mightn't think such a program was "Democratic" if he was forced to participate in it.
Now THAT'S entertainment!