Yankee’s Spending Spree Frivolous, Excessive, and Desperate
By David A Lane of Predictem.com
Now one might be thinking to themselves, “So what else is new?” The Yankees overspending on free agency is as common as traffic tickets- too common if you ask me- and is one major reason why most baseball fans learned to hate the ‘Evil Empire’ at an early age. Since most teams are not in the playoffs nearly as often, rooting against them has a popularity all its own. Similarly, going against them certainly has been rewarding in recent years because they’ve been chronic underachievers and wasted millions of dollars that even Congress is envious of.
The cost of the three new free agents that will be calling new Yankee Stadium home in the 2009 season total $423 million, and although they’re sure to help wage divisional battles against the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays (whose payroll was a tenth of the Yankee’s BEFORE the signings), this also gives them plenty of ammo against the rest of the major leagues as well. Their names and price tags- 1B Mark Teixeira 8 years for $180 million (.308 AVG, 33 HR, 121 RBI), SP C.C. Sabathia 7 years for $161 million (17-10, 2.70 ERA, 251 K), and SP A.J. Burnett 5 years for $82.5 million (18-10, 4.07 ERA, 231 K) – are well known in baseball because they are all proven winners who are at the top of their professions and in the prime of their careers (ages 28, 28, and 32 respectively). All are good citizens and terrific players who should also be excellent character guys for a team that already has a few of them and, more importantly, should help fill the new stadium while on paper, at least, giving the Bronx Bombers another great shot at a championship.
Since there is no salary cap in baseball, it seems that all other teams are basically farm teams for the Yanks who wait until a smaller market team develops talent that gets to free agency only to be gobbled up by them at prices nobody else can compete against. If that isn’t bad enough, how would you feel if I told you that none of these free agents will in fact have their salaries paid for by the Yankees themselves as the organization is trying to weasel politicians into emptying public coffers for the cost of the price tag- all in the name of cost overruns on the new stadium.
Because the stadium fulfills certain criteria like fulfilling a multi-purpose use stadium and the rebuilding of a distressed area, ownership George M. Steinbrenner will most likely be able to pull this off- a measly $259 million of the $1.7 billion tax-exempt bond authority the state of New York receives from the IRS to help its citizens through joint public and private ventures- to cover costs not projected in the initial plan. The amount makes up roughly 15% of this public money available to the state for projects that could be way better used in a desperate time when they face record bankruptcy and unemployment while also compounding the problem they already are facing in lost tax revenues.
Thing is, in this tough economic climate when the average fan has a hard enough time making his mortgage, not to mention being able to pay for baseball tickets, these moves look seriously gaudy while also being fiscally flawed as well- a fact that might not bother the Yankees now but it surely isn’t good for the fans, the rest of the league, and/or the health of the sport itself. The one group they have helped with their moves are the players who can now use these contracts as leverage in all future negotiations. Certainly, the players union has no grievance and appreciates the love that they shower down on the chosen ones who are lucky enough to be wanted by the Yanks at the expense of the health of our national pastime.
When one considers that the total cost of the three signings practically equals or exceed the amount paid for the most expensive movie of all time Superman 3 ($500 million), or the amount it took to build Hoover Dam completely, or the price of the North Shore Connector project in Pittsburgh which involves the building of two light rail tunnels under the Alleghany River, it’s very hard to be a fan and much easier to be a Yankee hater. The bottom eight teams’ total payrolls in the majors in 2008 added together in fact still total about $20 million less than what the Yanks spent on these three. With an added revenue stream at the new ballpark estimated to be close to $250 million dollars annually, it makes one wonder why they even would ask for more public funds. Next time you watch the Yanks play, keep this in mind as they hopefully underachieve again this season so we can laugh and wallow once again at their ineptitude.