Oh, please. The Yankees are the best thing to happen to baseball. There is a reason that when the Yankees visit a city, they break attendance records. (In 2004, when the Yankees visited Los Angeles, the Dodgers recorded over 55, 000 fans in attendance, or the highest recorded attendance in 31 years...including World Series games.) There is a reason that when the Yankees play an away game on a getaway day, the game is scheduled at night, even though most teams play day games on getaway days. Why? Because the local television want to broadcast the games at night when people are home from work, because they know they will get the highest ratings of almost any game that year.
Why do people come to see them? Simply put...they are the Yankees. They will invest money in their product to give themselves in the best chance. They will do whatever it takes to win, including spending money and the fans respond. Not only in New York, but everywhere. It's good business, not just for the Yankees, but for baseball. Fans want the best product and the Yankees deliver.
And as a result, the Yankees earn a lot of money—which certainly makes other fans mad. But the point is they spend it, while a team like the Houston Astros, home to the fifth biggest market, cry poverty and pretend they are small market and spend next to no money on their own team. As a result, they are mediocre.
Example #1 of the crying poverty nonsense; Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. “At the rate the Yankees are going, I’m not sure anyone can compete with them,” Milwaukee Brewers owner told Bloomberg News in an e-mail after the Yankees signed Texeira. “Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap.” This coming from an owner who made almost $40 million over the 2006 and 2007 seasons and is set to make more money after the Brewers ranked 9th in attendance this year, up from 17th just two years ago.
However the internet and newspapers have been riddled with complaints of Yankee malfeasance; articles unaware of their own wrongheaded logic. Here's an except from an article from bleacherreport.com
So the article's principle argument states "Spend the big bucks and make it impossible for the weaker guy to win and in the very next sentence states that the Yankees came in third behind the Tampa Rays. The article then goes on to write, "It seems baseball is now a game of money, not talent. The spenders are usually the ones who succeed," conveniently ignoring the fact that the World Series played three months ago was played by two teams ranked 13th and 29th in team salaries and who beat the 1st, 3rd and 4th teams in salaries.
In a span of a week, the Yankees have signed the top pitchers in the market, C.C. Sabathia (17-10, 2.70 ERA in 2008) and A.J. Burnett (18-10, 4.07 ERA in 2008). It seems to be the way the Yankees function. Spend the big bucks and make it impossible for the weaker guy to win.
In recent years, the Yankees have been disappointing. Last year was a good example of that. The Yankees finish third in the AL East, much due to the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bronx Bombers finished 89-73.
Let's go back to Mr. Sheridan and his circuitous logic.
What's wrong here is obvious. It's also not really new. Unlike the NFL, NBA and NHL, baseball has no salary cap.....Those leagues have them as part of an effort to maintain some kind of competitive balance among teams from different-size markets in disparate parts of the country. The Yankees have proved for the last five years that buying the highest-priced players does not guarantee you a title. Teams, not necessarily all-star teams, win championships.....The bully franchises make good foils for everyone else. It was a nice, fun story when the Tampa Bay Rays played their way into the World Series to face the Phillies (who in turn beat out the New York Mets and their bloated payroll).....When the bullies win, well, they're supposed to. When they lose, well, they give everyone something to laugh at....."
OK, let's get this straight. The Yankees are bad for baseball because they destroy competitive balance, but they haven't won the Series in 9 years and didn't even make the playoffs this year and got beat by the Rays. How does that follow? Let's read on.
In fairness, MLB did create a luxury tax system that punishes overspenders such as the Yankees and Red Sox and adds revenue to the coffers of teams such as Florida and Kansas City. Of course, that system also gives some of the small-market teams a disincentive to spend money to win. They can pocket their free money from New York and Boston and continue to flounder on the field.Nonsense. The Yankees and revenue sharing don't cause a "disincentive to spend money and win." A reluctance to spend is the reason teams don't spend. As James Lincoln Ray wrote in his essay, "Baseball's Revenue Sharing Problem", some teams use the money they receive in revenue sharing to improve their ballclub. "The Rockies used all of the $16 million they received in 2006 revenue sharing dollars to increase their payroll in 2007, and that certainly helped the team win this year's National League pennant." He goes on to write that the Detroit Tigers in 2006 used the money they received to attract Magglio Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez and win the pennant the next year.
There's no "disincentive" to not spend money on free agents and lose. Teams just do it to be cheap. It's easier to pocket your revenue sharing earnings, smile, then publicly blame the Yankees for trying to win than to actually go out and sign a free agent.
Ray continues in his essay:
The Marlins won the World Series title in 2003 with a team that had...Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, Mike Lowell and Ivan Rodriguez. That year, the team had a respectable $54 million payroll. Rather than retain those players, however, the Marlins traded away Penny and Beckett for much cheaper players, and lost Mike Lowell and Pudge Rodriguez to free agency.
By shedding these stars, Florida was able to cut its payroll down to $14.9 million in 2006, which is less than 20% of the Major League average of $78 million. It was also less than half of the $31 million in revenue sharing dollars the team received that year. So, rather than using the money to retain or attract on-field talent, the owners took it as part of the team's MLB best $43 million profit in 2006.
The Rays might be worse than the Marlins. From 2002 through 2006, Tampa Bay took in an average of $32 million per year in revenue sharing money. During that same period, the Rays had an average payroll of just $27 million, which was the lowest in baseball. They also had the worst five year record on the field, winning an average of just 70 games per season. Yet the team turned an average profit of more than $20 million during those years.
It's interesting to note that since Ray wrote this, the Tampa Rays increased their payroll to $43,820,598 last year and with the players they spent money on, made it to the World Series. That exemplifies that young talent mixed in with some money spent on free agency is the best method. Crying poverty and doing nothing, however, does not.
A high-ranking MLB official once said anonymously to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle, ''There are owners that would like to see the Yankees win every year. They believe it raises the water level for everyone.'' See,TV ratings when the Red Sox and Cubs are on are decent. The Dodgers still do well. The Giants, Tigers and Cardinals still hold their own. But nothing is as good for baseball—financially speaking—as having the Yankees playing deep into October. When they're on, more people tend to watch. And when more watch, there are more earnings. So let your team lose, have the Yankees win the Series and pocket the revenue.
"Now what seems un-American or bad for economic times? Spending money on an internal product? Drawing fans into the American economy? Boosting revenue and paying higher taxes as a result?"And to that, I'll add the thought. Is trying to win, anti-American, Mr. Sheridan? I'll bet in your heart of hearts, you know the answer to that one.