Don’t Boo the Yankees

A Red Sox fan urges folks to hold their fire when going after the Yankees’ offseason largess:

As a Bosox fan, the most important thing each summer aside from Boston winning is New York tanking, and it’s my hope that despite the influx of new talent, the aging Jeter, Posada, Damon and Rivera (the best closer in MLB history will, one of these years, falter) won’t be able to keep pace and once again the NYC media will dump on the Yanks. Such a summer occurrence is far better than even a bumper crop of silver queen corn and sweet & sour plums. Nevertheless, even though I was disappointed the Sox owners—obviously one of baseball’s wealthiest franchises, with the fourth largest payroll in ‘08—couldn’t complete a deal for Teixeira, I don’t fault the Yanks for attempting to field the best team possible.

It’s called competition.

The author, Splice Today’s Russ Smith, is a friend of ShysterBall, and I hold him in highest regard. And indeed, on this point, I agree with Russ. That said, a Sox fan defending the spending of the Yankees is sort of like one CEO defending the reasonableness of another’s benefits package. Yes, it may mean something, but it is a sentiment that doesn’t exactly resonate with the masses because it’s been a long time since the Yankees and the Red Sox were different beasts in any real way.

As an economic and competitive issue, I really don’t care how much the Yankees spend. Many people view this as a political or even a moral issue, however, and while I don’t agree with them, I understand why they feel the way they do and why they won’t be deterred from booing.

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  1. John Henning said...

    While I agree to a certain degree with Russ Smith, as a Yankee fan, I feel that booing the team for their profligate spending is entirely appropriate for fans of other teams. The Yankees as overspending, championship-buying juggernaut is a compelling storyline, and booing Goliath is always fun and can provide an added layer of enjoyment to the game. What should really be discouraged is when the booing turns uglier—more personal, more vicious. While rare, profanity laced, racially charged, personal attacks on individual players (or even worse, on fans of the other team) go beyond the arena of fanhood, and enter the arena of the despicable. And perhaps some writers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia should spill a little ink trying to curb such behavior.

  2. Mike Jones said...

    I definitely agree with Russ. I’m a Sox fan, but if I were a Yankees fan I’d definitely want to see the Steinbrenners putting their money on the field instead of in their pockets.

    Of course, the local sports talk nitwits (Albany, NY) jumped on the Sabathia and Texiera signings as “proof” that baseball needs a salary cap, which is Utter Nonsense. If there’s a problem here, it’s *revenue* inequality, and there’s a simple (but drastic) solution: MLB could declare that it owns *all* media rights to games, and that it will be the sole negotiating agent for broadcast contracts (including with Yes, NESN, TBS, WGN, etc.), and that all media revenues will be shared *equally* among teams.

  3. Ty said...

    I think Dan Szymborski’s posting on BBTF last week is one of the best takes on “Yankee largess” I’ve read.  It is largess, but it’s also not the problem.  The problem are the myriad owners who _don’t_ try to field a competative team, despite having as much or more money than the Steinbrenners _and_ receive millions of revenue sharing dollars each year from MLB.  I really, really wish the mainstream media would focus on that particular travesty instead of the Yankee payroll each year.

  4. tadthebad said...

    @ Joe, I don’t know about Communism, but each of the major professional sports leagues in the US exhibits some elements of socialism, right?

  5. Pete Toms said...

    What does ** mean?

    Doesn’t the stupid amount that has been written about the Yankees spending ( and the healthy commenting that it provokes ) this past week or so reveal something?  Isn’t that something that there is a LOT of interest in the Yankees? 

    The Red Sox don’t like sharing their loot either.  That is why they told MLB & StubHub to stick their big secondary ticketing deal ( instead they struck a deal with a local broker ) and why Werner and Henry have been vocal about wanting control of their local digital rights ( which MLB currently controls via BAM ).  The Red Sox want to exploit these rights via NESN.  The Steinmen have been comparatively quiet ( and more cooperative ) about sharing their loot.

  6. Pete Toms said...

    @ Mike & Tad.

    A couple of fundamentals that suppress player salaries in MLB are 1. revenue sharing and 2. monopsony

  7. Mike Jones said...

    Joe S. -
    No, it’s not Communism at all. It’s a recognition that the teams are not “competitors” in an economic sense. The Yankees *lose*, not gain, by driving the Royals out of business. They *need* the Royals (and other teams) in order to play games. They certainly wouldn’t draw 4 million fans a year for intrasquad games.

  8. MooseinOhio said...

    No economic model truly fits MLB or other sports as all have a mix of systems in play.  For example, folks who claim the Yankees are capitalistic are partly right but remember the Yankees have taken advantage of public funds to build their new stadium (corporate welfare one may argue), which will give them more money to spend in the capitalistic players market. 

    If the Yankees had fully funded their stadium and gotten some tax breaks from the city maybe one could claim they were functioning more like a capitalist enterprise but even then they would have received some public support.  This is not meant to be Yankee bashing – just using them as an in-time, real example of how no economic model purely applies to MLB.  In fact, the whole anti-trust exemption makes it difficult for any team to claim it functions as a truly capitalistic enterprise.

    I tend to prefer to equate teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and other big market teams as living in the most expensive community in the area, with all the riches that go along with residing in the wealthiest neighborhoods (i.e., bigger houses, nicer belonging, more expensive cars) and having a more luxurious lifestyle (i.e., kids go to private school, more vacations, greater discrecenary income to spend) than others.  However, even in this wealthy neighborhood there are differences as the Red Sox have one of the nicer houses and better lifestyles but they recently purchased their house with a decent size mortgage and needed to upgrade it and had to put some more monies into the renovation.  While it certainly has turned into one of the nicest houses on the block they do not own it free and clear and have to somewhat careful with how they spend their monies even as one of the wealthier folks in the neighborhoods. 

    The Yankees have also lived in this neighborhood for a long time and made as much money, if not more, than anyone else and certainly enjoy one of the more luxurious lifestyles.  This due in large part to not having any debt service to be concerned about as their house was bought in the early 1970’s and has been paid off for quite some time.  So they can spend as much of their monies anyway they want as their have limited or no debt service and can spoil themselves rotten with their riches.  Recently their very generous uncle Bloomberg and his envious friends gifted the Yankees with a brand new house with all the spoils that go along with it and apparently only want to be able to come over and watch the kids play on a regular basis.

    The Mets are the jealous neighbors and have always aspired to live like the Yankees but owners of that house have not always been the wisest in their spending habits and have not always made the wisest choices but still live better lives than most.  Fortunately for them they also have the same rich uncle who helped them upgrade to a nicer house but the owners may be in another difficult spot as they may have invested some monies with a bad man, a very bad man.  However they are still better off than most who cannot afford to live in such a nice neighborhood and cannot afford as many of the nicer luxuries in life and have to spend their limited monies much more cautiously. 

    How these teams got into the elite neighborhood and how they stay there are different for each but one commonality exists for all of them – life is certainly a wee bit easier in the nice neighborhood.

  9. Pete Toms said...

    @ Sara.  Why did “” fall out of favor?  And what are all the variations of ;:) that I often see at the end of sentences? ( can you guess my age from my ignorance of this? )

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