Fans, especially those of the New York Yankees, have tried to deny baseball’s obvious salary cap issues for years. With claims that “money doesn’t buy championships,” few have actually looked at the numbers.
Unlike most sports, baseball doesn’t have a hard cap. If you have the money, you can spend it; if not, then too bad. Entering the 2009 season, nine of baseball’s 30 teams had a payroll of over $100 million. Of the eight teams that will be participating in playoff baseball this year, six of them will have a payroll of at least $100 million.
On top of that, baseball’s top five teams (based on regular-season record) all have payrolls over $100 million. Last year was no different, with six teams topping the $100 million mark playing postseason ball.
This isn’t to say that a small-market team can’t be successful. Last year, the Tampa Bay Rays had baseball’s second-lowest salary, and still were American League champions. Unfortunately, teams like the Rays are more like aberrations in baseball. For teams with big bucks, winning has become commonplace.
Major League Baseball dropped the (fly) ball in not enforcing a hard cap, basically allowing teams to buy championships. So if the Yankees, baseball’s salary-cap king, win the World Series this year, it should come with a little asterisk, denoting their obvious monetary advantage. Until a hard cap is enforced, the rich will get richer… and better.
Michael Perchick is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.