Story of the Week

WHAT YOU CAN'T BUY FOR $238,944,348


          Before we get into detail, I would like to express my gratitude and congratulations to Mike Scioscia and his Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for making this article possible. To their immense credit, the Angels overcame! 


          $238,944,348! Just imagine having that amount of money to spend on whatever it is you wish. It’s a financial fantasy, to be sure. The list of what you can do with $238,944,348 is endless. You can buy anything you want with $238,944,348.


          Right? Wrong! It’s absolutely wrong, and I can prove it. I’ll tell you what you can’t buy for $238,944,348. You can’t buy a World Series! At least, you can’t if you’re the New York Yankees.


          The Yankees are indeed the most valuable franchise in baseball. No matter what their expenses, the Yankees will show an astounding profit. They drew over four million fans for their regular season home games this year. Their gross revenues from operations (tickets, premium seating, concessions, souvenirs, apparel, parking, and their most prized assets of all, their radio and television contracts) exceed $400 million. The Yankees are the Bronx branch of the U. S. Treasury!


          We know what their expenditures are as related to their players, and until Bud Selig puts a bona-fide NFL-type salary cap into place in MLB, that playing field will always be tilted in favor of large market teams. It’s unfair as hell! But that’s a totally separate issue that, as you know, has been no stranger to my website. Let’s get back to the Yankees.


          The Yankees last won a World Series in 2000. Since then, they’ve been to the World Series in 2001 and 2003, but no flag. After winning the 2000 World Series, they astonished our financial senses by going over the $100,000,000 mark in player payroll in 2001 with $112,287,143. That number has been climbing steadily since. Their actual player payroll hit a record $208,306,817 in 2005, but the ludicrous luxury tax of $30,637,531 kicked in to bring the total damage to the whopping sum of $238,944,348.


Why is that luxury tax ludicrous?  Because it’s an ant on an elephant’s rear end when compared to the Yankees’ intake of revenue. George couldn’t care less about that comparatively insignificant luxury tax imposed upon him. And to prove it, just watch his player payroll show another healthy increase next year in his quest for baseball supremacy. (For the record, Boston  was the only team other than the Yankees to pay a luxury tax on 2005 player payroll. It paled by comparison at $969,177.)


          Whatever the Yankees spend in player payroll in 2006, they’ll have a difficult time attempting to equal one incredible statistic of 2005. No fewer than 48 players were on their roster and wore the Yankee uniform at some point this year. Imagine…………48!  That number included 25 pitchers, 3 catchers, 10 infielders, 8 outfielders and 2 officially-listed designated hitters. That’s right; 25 different pitchers!  I’ve been in towns smaller than the Yankees 2005 roster.


          It’s quite possible, even probable, that Joe Torre will be replaced as the Yankees field boss in 2006. Torre is a good baseball man. GM Brian Cashman could also get the proverbial axe. Neither is to blame for the Yankees not getting out of the first round of the playoffs this year. Torre and Cashman could only make the decisions and pull the strings; it’s still the players who have to pitch, hit and field the ball. The underachieving Yankees once again showed their true pinstripes when the chips were down.


As a side bar, the Yankees won the AL East, but did not garner home field advantage in the playoffs against any team except Boston. We’ll never know if that was a factor in the demise of the Yankees in the ALDS playoffs against the Angels, but if it was, the one glaring reason for that happening was Tampa Bay. The Devil Rays finished the season with a very forgettable record of 67-95, but they were a surprising 11-8 against the Yankees. And Tampa Bay’s total player payroll in 2005 was a comparatively laughable $29,679,067, less than the Yankees paid in luxury tax alone.


          OK, so we’ve established the fact that the Yankees can’t buy a World Series for $238,944,348. However, one of four teams is going to buy the 2005 World Series for a much smaller investment in player personnel. The four teams still in the chase have the following investment in player payroll this season:

Chicago White Sox                   $75,178,000

Houston Astros                        $76,779,000

St. Louis Cardinals                   $92,106,833

Los Angeles Angels                   $97,725,322

Whoever it turns out to be, it beats the hell out of $238,944,348.


In closing, some Yankees fans and New York media are civilized and knowledgeable, but to those who do not qualify, namely the great majority who fall into the categories of arrogant and obnoxious, you may now put a huge sock in it for yet another year.


Last Week’s Trivia

        What MLB Hall of Famer was on the cover of the first issue of Sports Illustrated?  The answer is slugger Eddie Mathews. The date was August 16, 1954.


Trivia Question of the Week

        Who is the only player to quarterback a team in a Rose Bowl, a Grey Cup, and a Super Bowl? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.