Monday, August 07, 2006

Defending The Indefensible

Been very busy lately, so that's why I haven't blogged recently. And the way things have gone, good thing I was busy; thinking too much about baseball would've been too annoying.

On my way to a much-needed weekend getaway, I was listening to Chris Russo talk to Yankee fans trying to defend the richest baseball team getting even richer.

"Because the Yankees are in New York, they deserve the highest payroll." What's so great about New York? Stupidity.

"When you wear a Yankees cap in Europe, everyone knows what it is. You can't say that about a Tampa Bay cap." And therefore we should say to hell with competitive balance and to hell with a team that can't generate a fraction of the revenue that the Yankees-YES juggernaut does?

"Why is it any different than Exxon-Mobil making tons of money?" Comparing sports and real life? Gimme a break. Life isn't fair. But games should be fair.

"They're playing within the rules." As I pointed out on this blog a few months ago, and as Russo said the other day, NY Giants owner Wellington Mara did what was good for the game by sharing his revenues with other teams. If not for Mara, the Green Bay Packers would be in the same straits as their baseball counterpart, the Milwaukee Brewers, losing year after year and being unable to sign good players due to small market constraints (if the Brewers had the Yankees payroll, you think they would've traded Carlos Lee?).

"Because of football's salary cap, you have mediocre Super Bowl champs." Baseball isn't much better, since the advent of the wild card. The best team in recent vintage, the '01 Mariners, won 116 games, but very few people outside of Seattle care to remember. A lot of wild card teams (like the '03 Marlins) had the fortune of getting hot at the right time and thus being able to win it all. Were the '03 Marlins baseball's best team in the regular season? Far from it.

"And salary caps prevent teams from putting together dynasties." As Russo pointed out, how about the Pats winning the Super Bowl 3 of 4 years?

-- And don't talk to me about the Red Sox. They're in a different league. And if the Yankees' payroll was only $10 million more than the Red Sox, I wouldn't say a word. When the Yanks won it all in '98, it didn't bother me. They didn't spend over $85 million (more than most teams' payrolls) than the second-best club.

The fact that the Sox can spend millions more than the Royals or Marlins bothers me, and I agree that the system needs to be fixed. But at least their payroll is not a gross aberration. The Yanks' payroll, especially with the addition of Abreu, is.

- So let the Yankee fans celebrate as their team buys another pennant. If I had that money, I can do the same thing.

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