Congratulations to the New York Yankees. No seriously, congratulations.
In Mark Teixeira, the Yankees got their man and they did it within the rules of the game. Whether or not they have an unfair competitive advantage doesn't matter right now. According to the system that we have in place, it's fair.
As the fans of every other team in baseball are focused on holding their lunch today, there is one solution to this problem.
Major League Baseball needs a salary cap.
It's funny actually, because just a couple years ago the baseball world was up-in-arms about a certain other kind of unfair competitive advantage: steroids.
Essentially, the Yankees are Mark McGwire.
Mark McGwire was torn apart and made to look weak back in 2005 for having success with an unfair competitive advantage that was, at the time, within the rules of the game.
So what does that make the Yankees? What does that make the league's premier franchise and poster-child?
This problem may actually be worse than steroids. It affects not just a few at-bats per game, but entire teams. It affects the fans in ways worse than the feelings of dishonesty that came with steroids.
Always, but especially in a time of recession, it affects our wallets.
Hey Yankee fans, how does a ten-dollar beer sound?
We're paying for it all in the end. Not having a salary cap hurts our wallets, it hurts the competitive balance of the game, and it hurts the sport.
It's time for Bud Selig to realize a salary cap would be good for the owners he represents. Not having a salary cap has driven player salaries through the roof.
Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in the game, signed a contract worth an average of $14 million annually over seven years before the 2004 season.
Fans of the Cardinals should be shaking in their boots right now. If Teixeira can command an average of $22.5 million annually over eight years, what will Pujols command in a few years?
Steve Phillips, the former general manager of the New York Mets, was on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning on Wednesday. He was challenged to address the fact that while the Tampa Bay Rays were competitive this year, they will not make the playoffs 14 out of 15 years like the Yankees. His reply was, "Nor should they. If you own a large-market team you get special privileges."
That's right. It's not about the fans, the revenue providers, anymore.
I propose a $110 million cap with a $60 million minimum spending limit.
It's time for Major League Baseball to put the big-boy pants on and get to work. Bud Selig needs to tell Donald Fehr enough is enough.
It's about time the Tampa Bay Rays can keep the fruits of their labor and resign the prospects that they develop.
It's about time the fans of the Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals, and Pittsburgh Pirates can go into a season feeling good about their team.
It's about time the Yankees, and a handful of other teams, develop their own talent and stop their reckless spending.
But hey, congratulations to the New York Yankees. No seriously, congratulations.