Thursday, December 30, 2004

Not one game
So the Yankees have pried Randy Johnson away from the Diamondbacks. I have lost all respect for Mr. Johnson. If he really wanted to play for a winner, he would have okayed a trade to a number of different contenders. It seems that what he really wants is an extension from Steinbrenner's infinitity-and-beyond checkbook. I hope he blows out his knee in spring training and never throws another pitch. And let me repeat me pledge: If the Yankees sign Carlos Beltran, I will not watch or listen to a single baseball game this season. No Phillies, no fantasy baseball, nothing. And this time I'm not coming back until baseball has a salary cap.

This has nothing to do with the logistics of the deal per se -- the Diamondbacks did pretty well for themselves, netting a solid young pitcher and a top catching prospect for a 41-year-old pitcher with a history of back and knee problems. It's about the fact that half of the other 31 teams serve as farm systems for the Yankees, who have absolutely no limit on what they can spend. It's ruining the game of baseball, and I will not contribute another dollar to the sport until it stops.

9 Comments:

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Annie DiMario said...

Why do the Yankees get the brunt of so many people's hatred of baseball being a money game? Is it because they've been successful with the money they've spent? There are plenty of other very wealthy teams who spend millions of dollars on good players too, but because they haven't produced the way the Yankees have, they escape the criticism. I don't hear anybody mouthing off about the Mets or the Cubs or the Braves. And then there are those that HAVE been successful with a lot of money and a bunch of purchased superstars, just like the Yankees, and not only escape the same criticism but are heralded as being some little team that could. There's some team from Boston -- name escapes me -- that comes to mind.

I know the Yankees not only have the biggest payroll in baseball, but have the biggest by a lot. I wrestle with it too. I didn't want Alex Rodriguez to come to New York (I love him now, and he was humbled this season which has a lot to do with that), and I definitely don't want Randy Johnson to come to New York. I think they're making a huge mistake, spending that kind of money for a guy whose career will undoubtedly come to a rapid end, no matter how good he is now. (I would like to point out, too, that that team from Boston also pursued both of these players and were ready to put out an obscene amount of money for them.) But, in time, the Yankees will face the problems of what they've done more than anybody else. Money doesn't necessarily buy a team. Their farm system is a mess and they will be hit by that at some point. And if Joe Torre ever leaves, they're screwed. Period. But. I am really tired of everybody getting down on the Yankees (who will have to deal with what's coming to them in one way or another) and using them as the be-all and end-all example of everything that's wrong with baseball. They are a symptom, not the problem. They have simply taken the rules that baseball has mistakenly set for all teams and stretched them in every way to serve them as a team. That's your job as an owner of a team, and if you have money on your side, then you use it. Every single other team has the same rules, the same abilities; they just don't have the same money. So they find other ways, like Billy Beane did. But some teams do have an awful lot of money, and work more similarly to George Steinbrenner than Billy Beane, but because they Yankees have been successful and are under a constant microscope, it's cool to hate them. It's fine to use them as a scapegoat for a problem that is bigger than a team and frankly bigger than the sport. It's easy, it's lazy, and I'm tired of it. The people in charge of Halliburton and Enron are very rich, but that's not why they're evil. Others allow them to be, so we're not going to fix them problem by attacking only the corporations themselves.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger David Faris said...

I agree that it's the system that's broken and not the Yankees, who are, after all, only taking full advantage of what the system allows them to do. It's also true that other teams have been tossing dough at free agents this year (I'm thinking of the Mariners and the Diamondbacks). The difference between those teams and the Yankees is that the Yankees can afford to make a team full of mistakes -- Steve Karsay, Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams, Kevin Brown -- that would cripple any other team in baseball. They're riddled with bad contracts, but it doesn't matter. And if it turns out that Pavano, Johnson, and Wright aren't good enough to cut it in New York, they can simply go out and change their whole rotation the next year. The days of New York being a well-run ballclub full of homegrown talent are over. All that's left of the bumper crop of minor leaguers is Bernie, Rivera, Jeter, and Posada. The Red Sox have done their share of buying too, but their payroll is at least somewhat under control.

The Yankees are going to clear far more than $200 million in payroll, which will end up being about double what any other team can spend. Steinbrenner doesn't care about the luxury tax. You could double it and it wouldn't matter. Baseball needs a salary cap -- make it extremely high if you need to, $150, $160 million, but it's got to be something. Just imagine how the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Devil Rays must feel trying to compete in that division. It's impossible for them.

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger Annie DiMario said...

I agree that the Yankees are not full of home-grown talent anymore and it makes me sad. That was the great thing about the Yankee late-nineties dynasty, when I first started to love them -- they were their very own team. They're not anymore. But, tellingly, they don't have those results anymore either. It's true that they can afford to make mistakes, but I do believe it's only a matter of time before they realize that's backfiring -- not from a financial perspective (as they can afford it), but from a team one and ultimately a winning one. But I still think they take more than their fair share of grief. I'm not sure what the Red Sox payroll is, but I know it's the second highest in baseball, and I know that it's well over 100 million -- maybe 150? -- and probably three or four times the (new and improved) Reds.

I don't know how I feel about the salary cap. I think in theory it's a good idea, but I think the whole system is a lot more complicated than what I understand and there are probably other things that could help just as much. Maybe profit sharing, for one.

I really didn't need to respond to your post, but most of all needed to contest your calling Bernie Williams a COSTLY MISTAKE!!! God damn!!! Have you no heart! Bernie Williams is a Yankee among YANKEES AND YOU SHOULD BE IN LOVE WITH HIM!!!! WHY DO YOU HATE JESUS!!!

 
At 7:35 PM, Blogger David Faris said...

I hate Jesus because his long-term contract with the Christians was ill-advised. Same thing for Bernie. I mean, I love the guy and everything, but his skills are deteriorating faster than Democratic electoral prospects in the South.

 
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