Rich Yankees, poor baseball

Over half of baseball’s teams enter the season without a single prayer.

The Beatles wrote that money couldn’t buy them love in 1964, and as the New York Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner is realizing in 2005 for a fifth consecutive year, it can’t buy a World Series ring either.

The New York Yankees’ dugout sat stunned as Darren Erstad’s flip to Francisco Rodriguez put World Series title hopes on hold for yet another year. We have witnessed again that $205 million can get you a bunch of talented individuals, yet money alone cannot buy you a ring. These rings can be purchased only with teamwork and unselfishness not bloated egos, individual all-stars, and steroid-induced power (see Giambi).

The New York Yankees’ dynasty of the mid- to late 1990s had the benefit of the deep pockets of Steinbrenner. With each passing year without a World Series title, Steinbrenner has foolishly overpaid stars pass their prime or players with a one-gem year. Owners in baseball who build an organization with an eye toward the future succeed. Bringing individual all-stars for a quick fix and a ring does will give you a a $205 million headache.

Over the season, money will talk; rosters can be patched up, and injuries are tended to with a pocketbook. When October comes, a team needs to come together and its stars need to rise to the occasion. Alex Rodriguez made $25,705,118 in 2005 – that’s more than the combined salaries of 20 Minnesota Twins. He failed to show up in October for the division series, posting a .133 batting average. Where was Steinbrenner’s “clutch” player Gary Sheffield? He was batting .286 with no extra-base hits and two RBIs.

Major League Baseball has a problem with salaries. The Yankees clocked a $205 million payroll, while the Kansas City Royals spent $36 million in 2005. This disparity is killing the parity that makes the National Football League so popular. More than half of the teams in Major League Baseball enter the season without a prayer. This is a problem that needs to be dealt with. For now the baseball world, sans New York, should be happy knowing that the $205 million payroll of the Yankees was spent for an early flight home.

Tyler Rushmeyer is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]