Another off-season, another installment of Beantown Vs. The Evil Empire. Ho hum.
Now, before you get the idea those two clubs play in a higher league let me remind you the Tigers and Athletics played each other in the ALCS. As for the best teams money bought in 2006, the Red Sox failed to make the post-season and the Yankees made an early exit. Only the networks, their spnsors and Tommy LaSorda were disappointed. Everyone outside Route 128 and the Island of Manhattan openly rejoiced.
Still, when one looks at all the money being thrown around it’s not hard to understand how these two teams dominate the news and will once again be favored to make it to the post-season. After all, how many clubs spend $51.5 million just to talk to a free agent? The Red Sox may have scored a few points among their jealous rivals if they indeed stared down Scott Boras in the Daisuke Matsuzaka negotiations and he blinked. Poor Scott. If reports are true he “settled” for a $52 million, six-year contract for his 26-year old client.
Meanwhile, over in the poor old National League, which despite generally being considered the weaker of the two leagues managed to win the World Series last year, the Dodgers have reached deep into their pockets and made a number of acquisitions that will likely make them the favorites in the West. Not to be outdone, by anyone in either league as it turns out, the Chicago Cubs lavished millions of dollars on several marquee players in an almost desperate attempt to break the endless cycle of futility that hangs over this storied franchise. Unfortunately, none of the beneficiaries of their munificence can pitch, at least not without breaking down.
What has become evident in baseball among all the major sports is the spiraling out of control of salaries. Go ahead, name the top salaries paid to NFL superstars like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Of course, you haven’t got a clue; but you can name the “posting” fee for Matsuzaka. Tell me, what are the Penguins paying Sidney Crosby? A little louder, please. Meanwhile, over at the NBA, no stranger to ridiculous salaries, the big names there, take your pick, are making how much?
Those who point out that baseball is enjoying record attendance and revenues and can afford these salaries forcibly remind me of the so-called securities experts who during the tech boom of the late ‘90’s and early turn of this century argued that earnings were not the true measure of a company’s worth or prospects.
We all know how that turned out.