Sunday, October 18, 2009

America's Unfair Pastime

Ok, I have to admit that my dad raised me as a Yankees fan. However, before you start to hate me, let me tell you that I admit that the salary structure of baseball is unfair. The Yankee's out spend all of the other teams year in and year out. This year the Yankees payroll was 26% higher than the next highest payroll of the New York Mets and 82% higher than the lowest payroll Florida Marlins. Although the Yankee's don't win the World Series every year, they rarely miss the playoffs and it is hard to ignore the fact that they go out and buy the best talent they can find in the market. This year they bought their ace pitcher C. C. Sabathia and slugger Mark Teixeira who have played key roles in the Yankees success this year. So, if it is unfair why don't they change it? Why doesn't MLB incorporate a salary cap?

There is a raging debate about the use of a salary cap in Major League Baseball. Some say that it will save the game and others think that it will destroy it. Currently, the only real constraint on salaries is called a Luxury Tax. This means that any salary money spent by a team over a certain amount will have to pay a tax (or a fee) to the league. The offending team has to pay 22.5% for the excess amount and the tax increases if the team "repeat offends" the excess amount. This tax doesn't come into play much though because it is set so high. Most teams don't even have to worry about the tax and the Yankee's seem to ignore it because they are usually repeat offenders and pay more than the 22.5%. One of the reasons the Yankees have been able to afford their payroll is because successful teams have been proven to increase revenues significantly. They have the advantage of charging for lucrative playoff tickets and they see increased regular season sales because people want to see winning teams and therefore they can continue to spend more.

I think the only solution to the inflated salaries and the unbalanced spending is some form of a salary cap. I think this would also create more parity in the league and allow more teams to make the playoffs. That way it would be even sweeter when the Yankees win the World Series.

What do you think, is baseball an unfair game? Do the Yankees have an unfair advantage? Would a salary cap fix baseball? How would you fix baseball?