The Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees: Brewing a Rivalry?

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IApril 6, 2010

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 11: New owner Mark Attanasio of the Milwaukee Brewers, approved for ownship on January 13, 2005, takes in his first opening day game between the Brewers and the Pittsburg Pirates on April 11, 2005 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Pirates 6-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees faced off in the 1970s and 80s and had quite a rivalry in the American League East.

All that changed when the Brewers switched leagues in 1998, but it seems there may be a renewal of the rivalry, at least between the front offices.

Yankees President Randy Levine called out Brewers owner Mark Attanasio in the media on Tuesday.

Attanasio recently made comments to USA Today about the difficulties his team is having in trying to sign Prince Fielder to a long-term deal.

"We're struggling to sign (Fielder) and the Yankees infield is making more than our team," Attanasio told the paper.

Don't count Levine as one that feels sorry for the Brewers or their owner.

"I'm sorry my friend Mark continues to whine about his running the Brewers," Levine said to in an interview on Tuesday. "We play by all the rules and there doesn't seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players.'

"The question that should be asked is: Where has the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?"

The Yankees will have a payroll of around $200 million this year, while the Brewers will see their payroll range between $80-90 million.

In fairness to Attanasio, the payroll for the Brewers has increased significantly since he purchased the team in 2005. That season the payroll was a little less than $40 million, so Attanasio has definitely put money back into his investment.

The Yankees have given over $175 million to the other teams in revenue sharing in the past seven years. That is by far the highest amount of any team in the league, totaling 92 percent of all funds given out for revenue sharing.

Fans have grown to hate the Yankees because of their spending, but they aren't the real problem in baseball. The problem comes when teams don't spend their revenue money to compete. Teams like the Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates have, until recently, not used their share to put back into their payroll.

While it is more difficult for the perceived "small-markets" to compete financially, there are several examples of teams having success with a payroll very similar or even less than what the Brewers currently have.

The Minnesota Twins recently signed Joe Mauer to a massive contract extension, thanks in large part to the brand new Target Field in downtown Minneapolis. It's difficult for a non-New York or Boston team to lock up a young player to such a large contract, but it isn't impossible.

The Brewers are in the process of trying to lock up Fielder to a long-term deal. It will be very difficult for them to do so and put a strain on the franchise financially, but it's a sacrifice the team needs to make.

Many will still claim the Yankees to be the "bad guys" in baseball's current economic plan. It's simply not true. They operate completely within the framework of the rules, and pay the appropriate taxes to do so. The Milwaukee Brewers and other teams need to follow the lead of the Yankees and learn to spend a little (or a lot) of money, to make money.

Such is the life of the economics of baseball in 2010.


To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here .