The evil empire of baseball: The Yankees

18 Aug

Being a life long Yankee fan I have come to realize one thing. People hate the Yankees for all the wrong reasons. As a Yankee fan in the heart of the Red Sox nation I’ve heard it all. Real Sox fans don’t complain about the Yankee payroll anymore. They don’t complain about the free agents. They realize the Sox spending is spiraling upward rapidly. They have few homegrown players on the field or bench, and they pursue hired gun free agents as rabidly as anyone at the expense of young talent. If you want to hate the Yankees do it for the right reason. Do it because they are good. They win. They make tons of money as a franchise. They are one of the most recognized and revered professional sports organizations worldwide. Hate them because maybe they killed your teams post season dreams.

What people that call Yankee fans spoiled by recent success and high payroll teams don’t realize is that there are many of us that lived through the CBS years otherwise known as the Horace Clarke era. We Went through the drought between championships from 78-96. We are in another now. What I call those people is bitter. Be loyal to your team but don’t blame the competition for their mediocrity. Not the Yankees, Sox, Braves, Angels, Mets, or any other perennially good team made your team a loser by their spending. If they can’t compete for a post season title then it falls on that teams ownership and players, straight down to their scouts. Minnesota fans all too often complain about revenue yet rarely complained that the late Carl Pohlad, their billionaire owner, didn’t want to build teams that won. Just teams that made money.

Many teams are like that, and if the fans don’t like it then don’t have to support them. Yankee, Sox, Braves, Mets, and Angels fans are blessed by the fact they have owners that want to win and spend the money to compete. If your teams owner isn’t willing to do that then oh well…tough luck. As a fan of a losing team it is your responsibility to pressure ownership to field a competitive organization. You do this by not paying the inflated ticket prices, writing the owner (Yes you really can do that!) and making noise via blogs, or any visible venue. With enough voices and enough lost revenue even bad owners wake up and take notice.

The Yankees have predominately been a successful franchise not just because most of the franchises owners realized winning teams make more money, but also because of simple geography. New York allows for so many revenue streams to be tapped and is such an internationally known city it’s hard to not make money there. The final piece of the puzzle is that there are millions of die hard Yankee fans out there that spend, spend, and spend, on their teams merchandise creating more revenue. Even people only casually interested in baseball wear clothing and hats adorned with the world recognized Yankee logo.

So before calling New York the evil empire of baseball or passing it on to any other team that spends money to win, I say in fact you should be looking at the teams receiving more money in revenue sharing than they spend on their entire team payroll, or very close to that number. Look at the Marlins with baseballs lowest payroll and attendance reaping nearly sixteen million in revenue sharing and luxury tax benefits before the seasons first pitch is thrown. How about the Royals or the Nationals? They don’t spend on their franchise and cause fans to suffer through repeated years of mediocrity. They weaken the competitive balance of the game. They comprise the true evil empire. Not the Yankees or any other team that has spent their money to remain competitive.

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