Op-Ed: Baseball’s cash problems

“Giambi Will Don Pinstripes for Seven Seasons,'” was the headline I read on ESPN.com before I nearly fell off my chair. Actually, I was not surprised at all. Angry was more like it. How could the American League champion New York Yankees sign major league baseball’s most valuable player runner-up and one of the two most coveted free agents of the 2001-02 off-season, when only the year before they signed the top free agent pitcher after winning the World Series? The fact of the matter is good teams get better, and bad teams get worse. Competition and loyalty hardly exist anymore. Spoiled players play for spoiled owners.

The big issue is the absence of a salary cap in the major leagues. How are the small-market, poorer teams supposed to compete when teams like the Yankees, New York Mets and Atlanta Braves are the only ones able to sign such high-priced players with unlimited money? Rich teams sign expensive players, and small market teams cannot. The Yankees have the highest payroll in the league, and it only continues to grow.

The Montreal Expos and the Minnesota Twins already have large payrolls, but they also have two of the worst records the baseball. Their annual revenues are among the lowest in the league. So, instead of introducing a salary cap and profit sharing, a process where richer teams give a fraction of their profits to poorer teams, it was decided baseball would simply contract the league and get rid of those two teams, effectively making the money problem disappear. But the money problem is going nowhere. Small-market teams will never be able to compete when they have a third as much money to spend as their richer competitors.

As a baseball fan, I can only feel disgusted and betrayed by the state of professional baseball. Players hold out for the most money they can receive, and rich owners are happy to oblige them. Twins and Expos fans have to feel the most betrayed. The teams they love may soon cease to exist due to the ludicrous financial disparity among teams. For the sake of competition, for the sake of the fans, for the sake of baseball, baseball’s owners should push for fairness.

-The writer is a freshman majoring in computer engineering.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.