What’s Wrong with Baseball
Major League Baseball has always done one thing differently than all other American sports leagues. They’ve never instituted a salary cap. Teams can spend whatever they want…with the recent exception that if you spend too much, you’ll get hit with a tax, a luxury tax. The Rangers weren’t close to meeting that threshold ($176 million) and neither were 27 of the 30 major league teams.
Maybe you all missed it since the world has stood still after Tony Romo threw his last interception against the Packers on Sunday. The New York Yankees were hit with a luxury tax by major league baseball, the total was $28 million dollars and now puts the Yankees total luxury tax at $252 million since the tax was instituted 11 years ago. Just take a second and think about that. In just eleven years the Yankees have paid a quarter of a billion dollars ABOVE AND BEYOND their regular payroll. That comes to $23 million dollars per season.
All Major League teams combined have paid $285 million in luxury tax and the Yankees represent 88% of that total. And what do the Yankees have to show for it…one World Series title in 2009. Something is really messed up about that. I realize that no one cares if the Yankees throw more money into the wind but it does affect the Rangers and all other teams. The Yankees aren’t spending that money so they
can lose money, they can spend that kind of money and still make a profit. Sure a hot dog at Yankee Stadium may be $25 but hey, you should be thrilled to pay it.
The trickle down hits all teams. A Rangers game is more expensive than ever – parking, tickets, food, beer, etc. It all goes up almost every year and the Texas payroll was only $137 million. The Pirates made the playoffs last season and their payroll was just $74 million. Same with Oakland at $71 million. Both were about $60 million less than the Yankees and had more to show for it. They should be proud. The Yankees front office should all be fired.
A sport that has that big a discrepancy in payroll from one team to another is destined to fail. Maybe not tomorrow or next year but it’s bad for the whole league to see one team continue to try and buy all the best free agents and jack up the price that all teams must spend.
There is no end in sight. The luxury tax was started to temper the Yankees spending sprees…to no avail. Maybe nothing will change until all of the owners gang up on the Yankees and force a salary cap so that it’s a level playing field. Then we can get back to the good old days when players actually stayed with their teams for more than a cup