Congrats to the World Champion New York Yankees. I mean that. I really do. They were obviously the best team in baseball and proved that since August. A common reaction to the Yankee success is that they "bought" the championship. That, of course, is ignorant and juvenile.
The Yankees compete with the same rules as every other team. They spend more than any other team, but also contribute the most to the collective bargaining agreement. The more that the Yankees spend, the more money the Royals owners can pocket. Let's move onto teams like the Royals.
People complain that these small market teams can't compete with the monoliths in the Northeast. Here's my rebuttal: baseball owners are so rich that the OWN BASEBALL TEAMS. It's not like they are living CBA paycheck to CBA paycheck. Sure, MLB teams are investments like anything else, but it's easier to miss water falling out of a boat than to not make money in Major League Baseball. Look at the empty seats at the Metrodome for Twins games. That team will be in a brand new, open air (enjoy April) stadium next season.
Rhetorical friend: "Well, wouldn't a salary cap be more fair?" I respond: You're not even real. But to address your suggestion, a salary cap would be more "fair" but also far more boring. A hard salary cap is one of the worst aspects of the NFL. It makes teams nameless, faceless robot squads (actually, that kind of sounds cool). Regardless, it makes every team the same and then you have no "enemies," and only the manufactured pablum of faux outrage. Watch wrestling for that crap. You can hate the Yankees and the Red Sox for spending more on a number 5 hitter than your hometown spent on a water purification system, but you can only hate the Cowboys and the Raiders because of the colors of their uniform. Another theory I have is that if baseball really wants to clean up steroids, then a salary cap would not work. The NFL depends on steroids to keep its players at a relatively even playing field (have you seen people NFL linemen size in the real world? Didn't think so).
I'm not saying that baseball's system is perfect. A salary floor is a more palatable idea to me, but even that has its flaws. Also, as much as I and many other people would like the economic situation in baseball to change on some level, there is very little chance of that happening as long as that goose keeps pooping gold.
So hope for change, but don't go too far. Let's let the Evil Empire have this one. They may have to wait another nine years before they can buy another championship.
In other news, The Freak got caught with some sticky icky. It's probably the weakest drug a Cy Young winner has used in 14 years.
Image courtesy of Getty Images.