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Mornings unPHILtered - Studying economics through baseball
GSU professor offers unusual class
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    Everybody is concerned whether their wages will go up or down. Anthony Barilla came on Monday's “Mornings unPHILtered” show to talk about how a college professor studies player salaries in Major League Baseball. Barilla said the current economic downturn is affecting even players salaries.
    Barilla is an associate professor and the undergraduate coordinator in the School of Economic Development, which is part of the College of Business Administration at Georgia Southern University.
    Barilla said that many baseball players are grossly overpaid, with the average annual salary being around $3.5 million. Barilla added that if you consider the median salary, which is determined with fifty percent of the players being above or below the figure, the salary comes out at around $600,000 per year.
    Considering that owners get much of their income from attendance and television royalties, the players are very concerned about where the median salary will end up. The rise in stadium ticket prices, however, caused a noticeable drop in attendance last season.
    Barilla said baseball provides very good performance statistics - batting average, home runs, pitching wins - whereas in the real world people like school teachers are much harder to evaluate as per performance. Using baseball and its population of data makes it easy to reach conclusions.
    Barilla said that in evaluating teachers you must set up a metric, or standard. In evaluating school teachers, he asked how do you deal with so many other factors that must be considered. Children come to the teachers from everywhere, and these teachers are just thrown into the pot and told to succeed.
    Barilla said smaller class sizes in any school, be they at the elementary or collegiate level, will result in better performance. So this leads to a Catch-22: do you build more small schools, which have fewer classrooms; or do you build fewer larger schools, each of which has more classrooms.
    Barilla said he has a three-hour credit class in which his students set up independent studies, and his students assist him in creating data sets. One such case is a student who has been examining many different aspects of NASCAR racing.
    His primary areas of research are sports economics and the aspects of economic education.
    For more information on Professor Barilla's classes, his office is in room 3330 of the COBA building, his office phone is 478-0894, and his email address is barilla@georgiasouthern.edu.
    
    “Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com