Economics of pro sports are sorely out of whack

While America was transfixed by the possibility of Tiger Woods winning his seventh tournament in a row, Ken Griffey Jr. was traded to Cincinnati.
The Reds got a slugger who can hit for average. Griffey might even have a shot at Hank Aaron’s record, if he stays healthy and avoids contact with Chuck Knoblauch syndrome. (Knoblauch syndrome is when numbers plummet after switching teams, fans hate you, you still think you’re an all star, but your team is successful.)
Griffey was traded for four players, two of whom are minor leaguers. Two years ago, the thought of Griffey leaving Seattle was about as likely as Carrot Top winning the presidential race.
But now Griffey is gone and the Mariners are left with Alex Rodriguez — a player they’re not even sure they can sign.
If Seattle, a team with a new stadium and a chance to win a few games, can’t keep its talent, how is Minnesota supposed to keep a guy like Brad Radke?
Radke’s no Griffey — he’s only won 20 games once — but he’s still going to be equally difficult to sign. And don’t think fellow Twin Eric Milton is going to cost a pretty penny in a year or two.
Baseball in Minnesota is so sick that if the Twins are going to make a run at .500, this is the year.
While the Twins are busy watching players they’ve developed walk out the door, the Vikings are struggling to keep any semblance of its postseason winners around.
Randall McDaniel, widely regarded as one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL? Gone. Jake Reed, a great complement to the offensive arsenal? Gone. Jeff George, who led the Vikes to an 8-2 record as a starter in the regular season? Gone.
Good. Extra baggage probably. Why keep anybody on your team that’s ever made the Pro Bowl? They just end up making more money anyway, before they get fat and lazy like that Santa Claus guy.
But talk of inflated salaries is always kind of boring. Yeah, they make a lot, and yes, it’s tough to comprehend making even $1 million a year.
One thing is clear: Salary caps are not the answer — the NFL is proving that the offseason. No team in the NFL will be able to stay together for more than two or three years.
Sure, Minnesota is breaking up its team, but it’s far from alone. San Francisco, Miami and Dallas are all trying to figure out how to keep their superstars while holding on to their role-players.
Players are obviously getting paid huge sums of money — that’s the root of the problem. Teams in sports without the salary cap have to deal with trying to keep their teams together while baseball players follow the money to profitable teams.
But the worst of it all is, there might not be any change in sight.

Jim Schortemeyer is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected]