Dear fans, followers, and aficionados of the New York Yankees;
I know we haven’t gotten along very well in the past, what with me being a biased hack and you all being pompous donkey’s butts. But I come before you today with an olive branch (temporarily) extended, in hopes that you can answer a question that has been bugging me since early November.
Without condoning or condemning, what’s wrong with admitting that the Yankees’ 2009 World Series win was all about money?
Let’s look at the facts.
The Yankees spent over $200 million on player salaries last season; no other team even cracked $150 million. Since winning their penultimate ring in 2000, George Steinbrenner has shelled out nearly $1.6 billion in payroll.
And, of course, their championship came on the heels of a half-billion-dollar shopping spree last winter.
Farm system? Sure, they used to have one. Kidding aside, Robinson Cano was the only homegrown prospect from this decade who was truly a major player in New York’s success. Joba Chamberlain? Phil Hughes? Brett Gardner? Sure, they’ll be something someday. But saying they’re part of the core is like saying the Phillies got to the World Series because of Pedro Feliz.
And what of Jeter and Posada? Pettitte and Rivera? They’re homegrown, yes, but all were harvested 15 years ago. Most teams can’t afford to commit $55 million to four aging players without filling the rest of the roster with rookies and scrubs.
I’m not saying the Yankees are wrong for putting together The Best Team Money Can Buy (it’s taking a lot of self-control). I just don’t see any other way to describe how the organization works.
It’s like staring at your opponent’s half of the screen while playing Halo or Gears of War; it’s cheap and good players don’t need to do it to win. But it’s legal, and it works well for people who would rather win now than learn to shoot their friends like a civilized person.
To those of you who will receive this letter with an open mind and meet me halfway for an awkward moment of tolerance between rivals, I thank you and look forward to your replies.
And to the not-so-silent majority who won’t—well, I tried.
I’m not saying spending exorbitant amounts of money is wrong. I’m not saying Ronald Reagan’s most reprehensible act as President was pardoning Steinbrenner. And I’m not saying that only Philistines cheer for Goliath.
But the first step is admitting it.
Lewis J. Pollis
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