Yankees big payroll sucks fun out of professional baseball
April 7, 2011
When the Minnesota Twins travelled to New York to play the Yankees earlier in the week, there were many connections and parallels to classic fables. In years past, it was David and Goliath as the payrolls and talent were lopsided in favor of the Yankees. More recently, the Yankees have earned the name of the “Evil Empire” as the greed and money incentives lead to domination on the diamond. As a Twins fan, there is nothing more that I despise than the New York Yankees. Yes, it mostly stems from the complete domination the Yankees have had on the Twins (they swept the Twins out of the play-offs for the last two years). Nevertheless, as a sports fan, the Yankees represent all that is wrong with professional sports today.
The most glaring issue stems from the economic standpoint. Although we do live in a capitalist society where you are free to do with your money however you please; the lesson that I take from the Yankees is that you can “buy” your way to a championship instead of earning it. Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees’ third basemen for example, will make $32 million this season. The entire Kansas City Royals organization makes $36.1 million according to an analysis of Major League Baseball contracts by the Associated Press. This clearly puts the Yankees at both an economic and performance advantage.
Now the Yankees still have to go out there and perform, but after they win a World Series, which they’ve done a record 27 times, there is no celebration from those outside New York and no feeling of accomplishment, because that is simply the way it should be. If you have more money, which can buy more talented players, you should win.
Baseball, as America’s pastime, was not meant to be played this way. Players such as Johnny Damon or Carl Crawford would not betray a following that ran so keep and gave a city hope. They have become the villains of Major League Baseball, while Joe Mauer and Ryan Braun are regarded as hometown heroes for rejecting millions of dollars to play for a team that is perceived to be better, to stay for pure “love of the game.”
In other professional sports, such as the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, policies such as salary caps have been put into place to encourage creative thinking and team building. The research has show that this has been beneficially to both the leagues, and to the teams themselves as the hope is to create a more equal access and more competitive games.
When teaching kids the lessons of sports, I want them to work hard and believe anything is possible. We want them to play the game “the right way,” with integrity and heart. But when you tell them that money is the answer to success, you lose all that has made baseball America’s game. The Minnesota Twins represent when is good about sports: it is not about finding the most talented palters, but finding the right players who are willing to give it everything they’ve got, regardless of the paycheck.
Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.