(WARNING: This is a long post that includes references to numbers. If you get severe headaches from reading long posts or any post with even the slightest mention of numbers, continue reading at your own risk. The author got a headache while writing this post. He takes no responsibility for your headaches.)
Well Joe has a new post up on his blog and it’s another winner. You should read it.
I mean it. I intend to rant about the subject of his post and it won’t make much sense if you don’t read Joe’s post first. So go read it. Now.
Admit it, you didn’t go read it, did you? Your loss.
If you did, then welcome back.
If you read Joe’s post regarding this Forbes.com list, you learned a couple of things. Specifically…
- Even after accounting for revenue sharing, the Yankees bring in revenues about two or three times those of virtually every other team in baseball.
- The line of BS that the Yankees, their fans and members of the media that buy their crapola try to sell us about how the Yankees win because they invest their revenues in their baseball operations while owners who receive revenue sharing pocket it instead of investing in their team is just that… utter fictional BS. Every team (with the possible exception of the Marlins) spends the vast majority of their revenues in their baseball operations. Some just invest very poorly.
- The Yankees $uck.
That’s not to say every Yankee player, employee, and fan $ucks.But those who do $uck, so extreme in their $ucking that it is difficult not to color the entire group with the same brush.
And furthermore, everyone who follows the game but is not a Yankee player, fan or someone who’s livelihood is directly tied to the Yankees KNOWS the Yankees $uck.
But why? It’s one word… arrogance. F’ing Yankee arrogance.
And any time you want to really see an example of that arrogance, bring up the obscene competitive advantage the Yankees have that has directly led to the Yankees being all but guaranteed a playoff spot every. single. year.
Don’t believe me? Ask Brewers owner Mark Attanasio.
Early this season, Attanasio dared to pass along a rather obvious observation to USA Today that his team was struggling to afford an extension for Prince Fielder while the Yankees are paying their infield more than the entire Brewers’ payroll. In typical arrogant Yankees fashion, their president, Randy Levine, told a NY radio station that Attanasio was “whining.” Actually, if he had stopped there, it wouldn’t be such a prime example of Yankee arrogance. But here’s the quote:
“I’m sorry that my friend Mark continues to whine about his running the Brewers. We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players. The question that should be asked is: Where has the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?”
See… this is the standard line of garbage that Yankee fans hurl back in response to even a suggestion that there might be some reason other than just an inherent right or superior organizational talent (did you know Brian Cashman is a baseball genius?) that has resulted in the Yankees being granted an automatic berth in MLB’s playoffs for most of the past two decades.
“We play within the rules”. “We give other teams millions of dollars in revenue sharing.” “Other owners pocket the money instead of using it to pay for players.”
Well guess what? If you dig a little deeper in to that Forbes.com article, they specifically mention two organizations that got the most bang for the buck in 2009. According to Forbes, for six of the past seven years, those whining Milwaukee Brewers, “have had a wins-to-player cost ratio of 110 or higher, meaning they have generated at least 10% more victories per dollar spent on players than the average team.” By the way, the team Forbes tagged as the “best in baseball” in that category (with a ratio above 120 in eight out of the past 10 seasons) was yourrrrrrrrrr Minnesota Twins!
So, apparently the Brewers (and the Twins) are putting those millions of F’ing Yankee dollars to good use.
But what about the rest of the league? Aren’t teams like the Royals pocketing those revenue sharing dollars while fielding minor league quality products and trying to pass them off as MLB teams on the field? Well yes and no.
The Royals, and a few other teams, have certainly trotted out some incredibly bad baseball players dressed in their teams’ colors over the past couple of decades.
But despite what Yankee fans (and apparently, their president) would have you believe, it’s not because they aren’t spending the money they’re taking in while the Yankees are pouring all their revenue back in to the baseball operation.
In 2009, even AFTER the F’ing Yankees ponied up a few million dollars in revenue sharing, they realized NET revenues of $441 million. They invested 94% of that back in to their operation, with the remaining 6% constituting their “profit”.
What about those miserly Royals? Well, as Posnanski mentions in his post, the Royals also invested 94% of their revenues (including their share of the revenue sharing pie) back in to their operation and showed the same 6% profit the Yankees did (though the Royals profit was less than $9 million, while the Yankees’ nearly hit the $25 million mark in profits). By the way, the whining Brewers had a nearly identical 94%/6% split. Take that, Randy Levine.
So, it appears the Royals aren’t trying to game the revenue sharing system to make vasts amounts of money. They just really suck at assembling a baseball team.
As we all know, the Twins are swimming in revenue now that Target Field has opened. In fact, Forbes estimates that the Twins will see revenues jump by $30 million dollars over 2009’s numbers. (Say… isn’t that about the same amount that the Twins’ payroll went up from 2009 to 2010? Yeah? Probably just a coincidence.)
But before any of us starts assuming this means the Twins will able to start competing for the next round of superstar free agents, keep this little fact in mind: If you took the new 2010 revenue levels and DOUBLED them, that would still be $50 million LESS than what the Yankees collected in 2009 (even after paying in their revenue sharing dollars).
The Yankee apologists are correct about one thing, though. The Yankees are following the rules. King George and his boys, Hank and Hal, have gamed the system perfectly. They pretty much just print the money they need, toss the rest of the teams what amounts to little more than “tip money”, and go on about the business of throwing obscene amounts of cash at every superstar free agent who hits the market.
They do it because it’s what MLB rules allow today. That doesn’t mean the rules shouldn’t change.
But how? How do you create a more evenly competitive environment when there is so much disparity in revenue opportunities?
A salary cap that prevents the Yankees from spending more on payroll than other teams? All that would accomplish would be putting more money in to the Steinbrenner family trust fund and it would never get the needed support of the MLB Players Association.
A salary floor that would require every team to spend something closer to what the Yankees do on players? The Yankees spent more on payroll than over half of the teams collected in TOTAL revenue (including revenue sharing dollars) in 2009. Are you going to force half the teams to operate at a net loss?
No, the issue is not payroll size. The Forbes lists demonstrate that every team (except possibly the Marlins) is reinvesting most of their revenues in to their baseball operations. Some invest in their farm systems and scouting operations and some invest in aging, incompetent free agents who are past their prime or never had a prime. (It does make you wonder, though, how Jermaine Dye hasn’t ended up back in a Royals uniform, doesn’t it?)
The only way competitive balance can be reached is with a redistribution of revenues. You simply can not have one team with two or three times the financial resources available to them than any other team has and expect competitive “fairness”.
But how to redistribute the wealth? It’s not that difficult, really. It just takes a Commissioner with some intestinal fortitude and integrity (of course, MLB has Bud Selig instead) and 29 other owners willing to stand up to the Steinbrenners (instead of just Mr. Attanasio and 28 other owners without the guts to back him up).
So here’s what Baseball Commissioner Jim Crikket would do.
I would tell the Yankee owners that the issue is in their hands. I’d give them six months to come up with a plan that assures that no team (read: the Yankees) will ever have more than twice the revenues from which to operate their franchise than any other team. If the Yankees had revenues of $350 million and every other team fell somewhere between $175 – $350 million, I believe you would have competitive balance.
I’d also tell the Yankees that if they fail to come up with a workable plan within that six month period, we’re going to announce that MLB is expanding by two teams (to finally have two balanced leagues of 16 teams). I’d tell the Steinbrenners that one of those teams would be locating in Hartford and that the other would be setting up shop in Newark or, better yet, Brooklyn.
Oh, and by the way, I’d also tell the Yankees that the owner of that new team in their backyard market would be Mark Cuban. (After his bid to buy the Cubs failed, he’s reportedly now interested in the Dodgers.)
Then I’d tell them that all local broadcast rights for every team will be going up for auction and all such fees will be paid to MLB and distributed equally among all teams. If the Yankee-owned YES network wishes to bid for the rights to Yankee games, let them do so. But they get no special deals and they pay market prices… to Major League Baseball.
Then we sit back and find out just how smart Brian Cashman really is… and how much whining Randy Levine does.