One of the things that I always enjoy is seeing everyone complain about George Steinbrenner. I love how upset fans get, especially Red Sox fans. As many of you know, the Yankees are NOT my least favorite team in baseball. That distinction belongs to the Boston Red Sox. That’s not to say that I don’t hate seeing the Yankees win, cause believe me, I do. What I do love about the Yankees though, and what never makes me stop enjoying the offseason is their proclivity to spend with reckless abandon every year. This year is no exception, with the Yanks in the hunt for names like Beltran, Delgado, Pavano, well, really every name on the market. Each year George enters the off season shopping like a kid with a blank check in a toy store. Each year, reeling from the previous seasons unforeseen failed attempt to capture the World Series, Steinbrenner enters the offseason with anger and pure determination to do whatever it takes. This win at all cost attitude always seems to lead to great expectations but not nearly the result he has in mind, a World Series every season.
Last night I noticed a piece on ESPN Page 2 that made me laugh. David Schoenfield talks about how the Yankee rosters will look through 2010, with names like Bonds, Prior, and Santana all donning the pinstripes. The funniest thing about the piece is the prediction for how far the Yankees would advance each year. After 2005, the Yanks will not make the playoffs through 2010, according the article. While I wouldn’t take the futility as far as Schoenfield, I do think the Yankee spending will lead to more letdown for good old George. All that spending does lead to a more important question about baseball. Is the Yankees spending bad for baseball?
Rick Morrissey of the Tribune seems to think so.
“We’re supposed to feel happy about a Johnson-to-New York deal because what’s good for the Yankees allegedly is good for baseball. And to a certain extent, it is. Some teams get their best crowds of the season when the Yankees come to town. But another pinstriped superstar doesn’t feel right, not at all.”
Personally, I think it IS good for baseball. The Yankees draw crowds everywhere they go. By doing that, it allows other players on small market teams get some national TV time, and in turn generates interest in baseball as a whole. If that’s what it takes, then spend away George, spend away. Until it gets to the point that the Yankees are literally winning every year, it is not a problem. Sure the small market teams are at a disadvantage, but with the revenue sharing plan in place, there is no excuse for a team not to be able to field a solid core of players and compete each and every year. This obviously takes creativity and wise decisions, but smart baseball people can get the job done. Until baseball becomes so grossly one sided that no one can win without spendings 200 million, I have no problem and will continue to enjoy the free spending George Steinbrenner. That is unless he REALLY DOES convince Prior to don the pinstripes.