Saturday, November 7, 2009

Anybody Else Sick of the Yankees?

As I drove to work on the morning after the Yankees heroically played close to their potential and clinched the 2009 Fall Classic, I had to turn off my radio because the lovefest between the Yanks and ESPN radio. I was listening to the Mike and Mike show (not actually a good show) and I was sickened by the praise being given to the Yankee team and GM Brian Cashman.

They were discussing how Cashman deserves a lot of praise for the "savvy" moves and "smart" free agent signings. I almost threw up my my car. Cashman displayed the brilliance of chimp throwing money at the most brightly colored pieces of free-agent fruit. No one that gives A.J. Burnett a 5-year $82 million contract should be lauded for doing a good job. Cashman has a fitting name because he is playing with monopoly money.
The Bronx Bombers had a payroll of $201 million this season. Only 8 other teams in baseball have a payroll over $100 mil, and the next highest payroll is the mess known as the Mets at $149 large.
A-Centaur makes only $3 mil less than the entire Florida Marlins. The three big Yankee free agent signings (Burnett, Sabathia, Texiera) made a combined $52.5 mil, that's more than the Pirates, Padres, and Marlins paid their entire team. Had enough? Okay, one more, the Pirates highest paid player of 2009 was Paul Maholm at $2.5 mil, it takes A-Rod about two weeks to make that.

The point is that, unlike the NBA and the NFL, it is not close to being a level playing field in MLB. Certain teams have a distinct advantage due to the lack of revenue sharing with TV contracts, and lack of a salary cap. The players that took the Yanks to the championship were priced at premium that no other team could afford.
The ridiculous salary disparity does not just manifest itself with teams from New Amsterdamn. The Cubs and Jim "I thought Milton Bradley would light a fire under the team, and now I'm going to light myself on fire" Hendry are also guilty of creating a high-priced bunch of under-achievers that other teams couldn't afford and now don't want. A team that Cubs fans will have to pay for as the new owners, the Ricketts, announced that ticket price would increase in 2010 and the payroll would stay the same. But Tom Ricketts promised a World Series victory, so of course it will happen. Someone should tell the baseball gods.

I don't see Major League Baseball doing anything to change the current state of the game (it's called a SALARY CAP), because they want big market teams from L.A. and NYC to win and drive up TV ratings. So for now I am just going to complain, and root for small-market teams and my high-priced Cubbies from the comfort of my living room.

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