Yankees

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Based on the nonstop angry e-mail off of my recent Yankee post, I’d like to sorta smack myself across the face.

Being serious—I really didn’t mean to imply that idiots root for the Yankees. I certainly understand the passion and the intensity and the joy that Yankee Baseball brings to people. I’ve seen it up-close; have covered some of the absolutely great Yankee Stadium games of the last, oh, 15 years.

What I meant to say, with all respect, is that I find it hard to understand how baseball fans of any big market club can muster up the excitement and juice when their teams are playing ballclubs with 1/3 or 1/4 or 1/10 the payroll. It’s like watching a college basketball game between, say, North Carolina and Delaware. If you’re a Tar Heel, you can certainly yell and scream and root against the Blue Hens to score. But is it possible to actually feel anything real? To build up animosity—one of sport’s greatest tools?

Obviously, one would rather root for the Yankees than, say, the Pirates. Hell, being a Pirates fan must suck. You have no hope, your management team is terrible, your players know they have no shot. But, come day’s end, wouldn’t the Yankee fan (or Red Sox fan? Or Dodgers fan?) prefer an equal playing field, where everyone has a relatively similar chance of success? It seems true bragging rights come with a level playing field. If you win in the NFL or NBA, it’s because you out-thought, out-drafted and out-maneuvered the other organizations. In baseball, while all those apply, it’s often also based on, simply, out-spending. Not entirely (Exhibit A: 2009 New York Mets). But largely.

Anyhow, that’s what I was trying to say. And, in all sincerity, I apologize for blogging while mentally drunk. It was a dumb post.

8 thoughts on “Yankees”

  1. Yeah, tell that to the Marlins who have to hold a fire sale every time they win a World Series.

    The Yanks have a $201+ million payroll. Next closest is the Mets at $135+ million (which is already gastronomical by league standards)
    Something is inherently wrong with that.

    Being from Boston, I guess I should be a Sox fan. However, I cannot get into baseball as much as football, hockey or basketball too much when the playing field isn’t remotely even. The AL is superior to the NL in overall play because of the DH rule, which needs to be abolished (check out the 13-year All-Star Game win streak…or AL players doing better in the NL and NL players doing worse in the AL)
    But the payroll differences from club to club are the worst.

    I’m with Jeff on this one.
    You can still be a Yankee or Sox fan, but it just is nowhere near as fun or even as it could be. Not when Red Sox, Yankee, Angel, or Met fans are already making lists of what Marlin and Ray players they want the most. Even if those teams have little to no fans in their stadiums, it is sad.

  2. FYI. The correlation between winning percentage and 2009 payroll is ~0.5. This means that there is a very weak correlation between 2009 payroll and winning percentage i.e., $$$ does not guarantee success.

  3. Obviously some games are not as fun as others, but watching Melky get a walk off hit against the last place A’s or Matsui hitting an 8th inning go-ahead homer against the Blue Jays can be just as fun as a lot of other things you can do with your time.

    Also, there are other strategies to baseball than just spending money. Look at the Mets, they think that’s all it takes. They forget makeup, drafting well, discipline all go a long way.

    You got so much angry mail because people have come to expect a certain level of discourse from you, but what you said just sounded like it came from a 10-year-old.

  4. An being a Pirates fan, you can now apologize about this post. The Pirates have been bad, this their 17th straight losing season. That point is not debatable.

    Saying the management team is terrible is ridiculous. The new President and GM have been on the job for two years. The took over a team with a barren farm system and few quality major league players. They have completely turned over the 40 man roster.

    In fact they made a trade with the Yankees last year that was widely criticized by guys like you, in which they traded Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for Ross Ohlendorf (11-8 4.15 era for the Pirates) Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutcheon (13-6 3.36 era at AAA) and, most promising, Jose Tabata a 20 year old OF slashing .333/.388/.487 at AAA)

    Nady played 59 games with a 105 OPS+ last year and has been hurt all this year while making $6.55 million. After this year he’s a free agent. Marte was terrible last year in 18 innings and even worse this year in 6 innings. Worse they signed him to a 3 year $12 million deal last off-season!

    The four Pirates are making around $1 million this year in total and the Pirates have 20 more years of organizational control over the group.

    Based on that trade you might want to re-evaluate what terrible means. The Yankees were completely fleeced it might appear to many.

  5. Last 10 years Super Bowl participants (first team listed won):

    Rams/Titans
    Ravens/Giants
    Patriots/Rams
    Bucs/Raiders
    Pats/Panthers
    Pats/Eagles
    Steelers/Seahawks
    Colts/Bears
    Giants/Pats
    Steelers/Cards

    Of the 20 teams, 14 participants were different but there was only six different winners.

    For the NBA Championship:

    Lakers/Pacers
    Lakers/Sixers
    Lakers/Nets
    Spurs/Nets
    Pistons/Lakers
    Spurs/Pistons
    Heat/Mavs
    Spurs/Cavs
    Celtics/Lakers
    Lakers/Magic

    Of the 20 teams in the Finals, 11 participants were different but there was only five different winners.

    For the World Series:

    Yankees/Braves
    Yankees/Mets
    Diamondbacks/Yankees
    Angels/Giants
    Marlins/Yankees
    Red Sox/Cardinals
    White Sox/Astros
    Cardinals/Tigers
    Red Sox/Rockies
    Phillies/Rays

    Of the 20 teams, 16 were different and there were eight different champions.

    So please explain to me about the awesome parity in the NFL and the NBA and how the World Series has the same few teams?

  6. Great points, Byron.

    However, the baseball teams contending each year appear to be the richest (Yanks, White Sox, Red Sox, Angels) whereas the Marlins, Rays, and A’s have to reload once they finally are in a position to contend. Even then, they get NONE of the exposure that big-market teams receive and they aren’t able to create rivalries for long.
    In the NL, there are only a few teams that are good enough to hang with the AL teams (Cardinals; Phillies; maybe the Dodgers)

    You also have to look at how steroids has tainted a lot of the last 10 championship teams. Just scan those teams and look at what will jump out at you.
    Luis Gonzalez and the 2001 D’Backs, the 2002 Angels going against Barry Bonds’ Giants, the 2004 Red Sox (and 2007 but to a lesser extent), any of those Yankee teams, etc, etc.

    The NFL is the best league with what teams can do to change their destiny from season to season dramatically. It inherently feels fair.
    However, 7 out of the last 10 championship teams have come from the AFC.

    The NBA, despite being my favorite sport, is the easiest to predict who will win it all before the season begins.
    7 of the last 10 championship teams have come out of the Western Conference.
    However, the belief in the NBA is that there simply will not be the same 2 teams in the Finals each year (look at the last 5 champions that veers away from 3-peaters like the Bulls and the Lakers: Spurs, Heat (easily could have been the Mavs), Spurs, Celtics, Lakers)
    A lot of it comes down to the NBA having some of the worst management in sports (Phoenix Suns easily could had a championship and denied the Spurs but their owner is too cheap)
    Also, the Lakers never would have been champions if it were not for dumb ownership from the Grizzlies allowing Pau Gasol to be traded for nothing, but that is another rant.
    The brightest teams of the future are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, and possibly the Bulls, Nets (moving to Brooklyn!!!), or Mavericks (smart owner in Mark Cuban)…and whatever team LeBron decides to run with (Cleveland has done an atrocious job with finding him a solid supporting cast).

  7. “Whereas the Marlins, Rays, and A’s have to reload once they finally are in a position to contend. Even then, they get NONE of the exposure that big-market teams receive and they aren’t able to create rivalries for long.”

    Couple of things here, the Marlins don’t “have” to reload whenever they get good, they just do because their owners are incredible cheapskates who don’t want to pay anything to their players.

    Miami is a top seven or eight market in the country, there is no reason that they can’t have one of the highest-grossing revenues in the game.

    As for the A’s, this has the been the way it’s been for them for their entire life as a franchise. They broke up the $100K infield, they sold off their best players in the early 30s, they were terrible in KC and were essentially a Yankee farm team and they’ve gone from really, really good to really, really bad in Oakland so much they should rename the team the Oakland Sybils.

    As far as the Rays, whom have they been selling off? Eric Hinkse, Rocco Baldelli? I’m not sure where you’re coming from on that account.

    And being able to create rivalries has nothing to do with parity. As a Red Sox fan, I can tell you that Boston and Tampa have been in the midst of quite a rivalry since the early 2000s.

    “You also have to look at how steroids has tainted a lot of the last 10 championship teams. Just scan those teams and look at what will jump out at you.
    Luis Gonzalez and the 2001 D’Backs, the 2002 Angels going against Barry Bonds’ Giants, the 2004 Red Sox (and 2007 but to a lesser extent), any of those Yankee teams, etc, etc.”

    Two things:

    1. How does this effect parity?
    2. You don’t really believe that steroids is something that only effects MLB, do you?

    Look at the defensive line of your favorite football team. Are men really supposed to be 6’4″, 320 pounds and able to run the 40 in 3.5 seconds?

    “The NFL is the best league with what teams can do to change their destiny from season to season dramatically. It inherently feels fair.”

    But it’s not. I just showed you that six of the last ten (60%) Super Bowls were won by teams that won in the last ten years. In baseball, it was four out of the last ten (40%).

    It seems inherent because the NFL has an easier time of getting a message out that everything is equal between the 32 teams and that “everyone has a chance on any given Sunday”.

    It’s bullshit. Statically, it’s wrong.

    Jeff’s original point was that certain teams in baseball have some sort of monopoly on the post season, while the NFL and NBA don’t. That’s not the case at all, in fact it’s completely opposite of the truth.

    Here’s another stat, no team with MLB’s highest payroll has won since 2000. In fact, last year the top two teams didn’t make the playoffs at all.

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