Thursday Weisblog: There’s a breakdown dead ahead

In case you don’t know, CC Sabathia is one of the best starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. When his contract with his old team expired at the end of last season, everyone knew some desperate team would pay a king’s ransom for his services.

Enter the New York Yankees. Yesterday, Sabathia agreed to a seven-year, $161 million contract with the team that is perhaps the most loved – and most hated – baseball team on the planet.

You read it right. It’s not a typo. ONE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-ONE-MILLION DOLLARS. Over seven years, that comes out to $23 million per season. Since a starting pitcher (assuming he never gets hurt) appears in about 35 games, that means he will get approximately $657,142.86 per start. Looking at this even closer, assuming he averages seven innings per start, he will receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $93,877 per inning.

I have not been a baseball fan since the 1990s when the World Series was canceled, and my life has not suffered one bit. I stopped watching in part because there is no level playing field for all the teams. For example, the contract of Alex Rodriguez (also with the Yankees, mind you) was more than the entire payroll of last year’s Florida Marlins team. I ask you, is that fair?

Major League Baseball will price itself into financial ruin if this salary upswing does not stop very soon. It’s much like the housing market was a couple years ago. Everything was way overpriced and, eventually, the market could not bear these prices and everything collapsed. The same will happen – and soon – with MLB, if sweeping changes are not made.

I don’t blame CC Sabathia for taking the money (in fact, I’d probably be out on the pitcher’s mound with a calculator adding up my earnings each time I got a batter out … LOL). I blame the sport for allowing salaries to get so far out of hand that $23 million is the “going rate” for a player of his caliber.

Baseball is no longer “America’s National Pastime.” It’s America’s most mismanaged sport, which is precisely why the average Joe is losing interest and can no longer afford to go to the ballpark and “root, root, root for the home team.”

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3 responses to “Thursday Weisblog: There’s a breakdown dead ahead

  1. Michael Binder

    I totally agree, and understand fully. As a Twins fan, baseball is pretty meaningless. A few Teams now can buy all the talent, and the others are left to play out a 162 game season. But it is nice to see some low budget Teams sneak in a do well. That won’t last long as in a year or two, the Tampa Rays will be stripped of that talent as it goes to Boston, NY , LA or Chi. Unfortunatly, the Yankees can afford it because prices for tickets at the new Stadium are so high I can’t believe anybody can afford to go. Bad thing is they are pricing the true fans out of the ballpark, so A list people have something to do and can be seen at the game. The blue collar worker trying to take his children to a game is getting hard to do. You make good points John, esp. breaking down the salary per inning, wow.

  2. Some good points, but I hope you spend as much time in future posts railing against far more important corporate greed. Walmart is destroying America and the world with its corporate practices, not to mention the greedy actions of countless businesses that absolutely must maintain certain profit margins, no matter if it means cutting benefits and laying off workers. Recommendation: Go to a UCF Knights baseball game. Costs a couple of dollars, you get to see college kids bunting and sliding for the love of the game, it’s a relaxed atmosphere, leaves plenty of time for conversation and you may yet rediscover why it’s baseball that is America’s Pasttime and the greatest game in the world.

  3. Andrew Schaller

    I agree that there is a breakdown on the horizon. Believe it or not, Bob Costas has an interesting book on the subject of MLB’s problems. I find myself agreeing with him and his proposed solutions…some of the time.

    I do follow MLB baseball. I love the game, and I always have. Just because the people that run it suck (and many times those who play it do) doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the game. It is expensive to attend, but who said I have to go to the games?

    Allow me to rant…just a little…

    If you look closely ALL the owners are the problem, not just the big spenders or large market teams. In some cases, small market owners are making millions (believe it), but they refuse to put that money back into their francises. Take a look closely at the Minnesota owners, for example. You have to spend money to make money. Don’t blame the big market teams if you refuse to reinvest the money you’ve earned. I think Minnesota will have more money to spend in the future because of their new ballpark…

    The Marlins? Didn’t they buy a world championship a few years back? They mortgaged their future, but they won a ring.

    Sorry, but the problem is a bit more complex than the Yankess vs. the poor small market teams.

    Are some small market teams successful? YES. They may not have sealed the deal yet, but it’s not that they don’t have a chance. I don’t know about you, but I see the Twins as a model TEAM despite their ownership. They have better chance of winning than say the Orioles who have paid millions to free agents.

    Look I agree that the money being paid to Sabathia is unbelievable (and I don’t think he’s in good enough shape to last the whole contract)…

    But…it’s Steinbrenner’s money to burn. OK. I agree with some of your points, but I guess I’m a quietly dissenting voice, and no, I’m not a Yankees fan.

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