Ethan Sturm | Rules of the Game
Confessions of a whiny Yankee fan
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 06:03
I ’ll preface this column by clarifying that I’m currently a grumpy Yankees fan. I’ve followed the team since I was born, and I honestly can’t remember when they weren’t good. I’ve been treated to five World Series titles, some of the greatest moments in baseball history, and never had to sit through a bad summer.
This year, though, the Bombers are more like bygones, and they can’t do anything about it, because they have more money invested in these old limbs than the GDP of some small countries.
So, maybe it’s awfully convenient that it’s now, as my favorite team, goes into what’s sure to be its worst season in nearly 20 years,that I chose to argue for the advent of such a cap.
But I’m not doing it for selfish reasons the Yankees are already ruined, and no major rules changes are going to fix that. I’m doing it to save those teams who are following them down the same destructive path.
In a cap−less league, the players hold all of the power, which may explain why Major League Baseball seems to be the only professional league capable of avoiding labor issues because, let’s be honest, it’s not Bud Selig. As the revenue sharing and TV contracts continue to grow, stars can ask for fatter and longer contracts, always knowing someone in the league is going to give them one.
The results have been some of the most outrageous contracts in sports history. Alex Rodriguez got the ball rolling with his 10−year, 275−million dollar contract, which will keep him comfortably employed through his 40th birthday. Now, his contract along with that of Mark Teixiera have become untenable, locking up all fluidity the team has in making moves.
The Red Sox tried to copy their division rivals, with Carl Crawford getting seven years and 142 million dollars and Adrian Gonzalez getting seven years and 154 million. Boston has already blown up that core, trading it all to the Dodgers in a desperate attempt to not become what the Yankees are now.
The teams from Los Angeles have become Yankees west. Albert Pujols got his golden ticket in the form of a 10 year, 240−million dollar contract from the Angels last year, while Josh Hamilton will join him in Anaheim this year for five years and 125 million. Add that to the ex−Red Sox deals across the city and the 160 million going to career scatterbrain Zach Grienke, and you can’t help but to think that the City of Angels has picked up the halo as big spenders after the Bronx finally stopped burning.
Well, Los Angeles baseball fans, I implore you to proceed with caution. The first few years might go well, but things will get ugly quickly. An injury or a steroids investigation or a lack of clutch performance will claim your golden boy’s career, and you’ll be stuck with Juan Rivera in left field because the team has nothing more in the coffers.
A salary cap would be the magic pill for fixing the contract length and size inflation in the sport. Big markets could no longer be forced into franchise destroying deals, while small market teams may actually be able to hold on to the stars they worked so hard to develop. Competitive advantages would be based on strong scouting and development, not who was lucky enough to get the one star whose body didn’t break down at 40.
It’s time for the owners to push harder on one of the biggest issues in sports. Please, fix the game, and make no one suffer the pain that we whiny Yankees fans are currently going through.
Ethan Sturm is a senior who is majoring in biopsychology. He can be reached at Ethan.Sturm@tufts.edu or @esturm90.