When is it going to end: How much longer can George Steinbrenner continue to recklessly throw money at any superstar he wants? How many different ways can the Yankees stick it to the Red Sox?
All of these questions have been asked since the Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers last week. The thing is, no one knows the answers.
The acquisition of Rodriguez raised an already robust Yankee payroll to $184 million for the upcoming season. Compare that to the Reds lavish payroll of $58 million. There is no way to compete. Baseball is the only sport on the planet in which half of the teams competing have no chance at the beginning of the season.
The business of baseball is a business of anti-parity. It allows the rich to get richer, and the poor to develop players who undoubtedly will become future employers of the rich.
Who should we get mad at? Is it George Steinbrenner, the strict Yankee owner, who apparently has pockets deeper than the Grand Canyon? Or is it the players who appear to have more greed than the ex-CEO’s of the Enron Corporation? Maybe we should get mad at ourselves: the fans of the game. After all, if no one showed up to the games, this argument wouldn’t even be taking place.
We would all love it if George Steinbrenner was the owner of our favorite team. Unfortunately for non-Yankee fans, he isn’t.
The Yankees have turned the baseball economy upside down. General Manager Brian Cashman has been quoted as saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” I tend to agree with this statement, but is it necessary to spend this much money? They are going to make money no matter what.
What baseball really needs is some sort of salary cap. Forget about that happening. This will never go into effect unless the players’ association loses some of the power it currently holds. After all, it is the most powerful union in any industry in America.
Where else can an employee get fired for not performing up to potential, and yet still get paid?
The Yankees’ roster includes five players who will make $100 million before their contract expires. It also includes 17 former All-Stars, two former MVP’s, and 23 players who have played in the postseason.
Who knows how long this will take before it gets resolved, how much it will affect the history of baseball, and how much money the Yankees will continue to pay for superstars.
For now we will have to root for our underfunded teams and watch a ten-team race every season. It doesn’t look to be getting any better. The Yankees like spending money, as much as everyone likes to hate them for doing it.
Most things in sports can be unpredictable. Not baseball. While the games, the tradition, the players and the atmosphere will continue to draw fans in, the competition won’t.