The Yankees lost a miserable game today to the Cleveland Indians in the opening series of their New Yankee Stadium by the score of 22-4, with a 14 run second-inning put up by the Indians (the most ever given up by the Yankees in a single frame).
Normally, I'm not one to put down the Yankees in April considering for the past 5 years or so they've struggled in April and soared in the second half.
However, the new stadium epitomizes in every way that the New York Yankees are a business related franchise.
I, as a Yankee fan, have stood up for them, because they've shown that they produce a formula that works by winning 26 championships. Winning doesn't just come from "believing," it comes from putting the best team on the field.
With that said, this team has some of the best players in the league, however, they lack an intangible: heart.
I believe that could be said about most teams in baseball. Baseball salaries have become so astronomical, the players make as much annually as CEOs. Businessmen.
The expectation placed on the shoulders of players with contracts like these create a scenario in which egos become a factor, as stated in Joe Torre's book regarding Alex Rodriguez's arrival to the Yankees.
Further, these people are human. They are not machines. To shell out money, and expect a machine-like performance just isn't a realistic expectation.
You can shell out a billion dollars, and create the most beautiful baseball stadium ever. However, you can't shell out a billion dollars in player salaries over the course of four years and guarantee winning a championship.
The Yankee championship teams were filled with guys like Tino, Brosius, Paul O'Neil, and Bernie Williams, guys with heart.
I realistically believe that the Yankees current fillers in those slots were done mostly to prevent Boston from getting them, rather than because they best suited the Yankees. Regardless of the players being the best on the market (individually).
A firm salary cap could prevent this from happening, and maybe these talented players could go to a "losing" team with cap room who needs their talent to complement the heart they have and win a championship. These players could go from businessmen to legends.
I strongly believe that baseball should institute a firm salary cap such as the NHL, and maybe even add a round to the playoffs while cutting the regular season seven games shorter. This will only enhance competition.
The NHL's "watchability" factor between the pre- and post-lockout eras is phenomenal. The competition is intense, and there are no perennially bad teams.
The NHL has 30 teams who fight for 16 playoff spots. More than half of the teams in the league make it, and the competition in the 2008-09 season, has been as intense as I've seen in any league as far as making the playoffs.
Eight points (four wins) separated the fourth place team(home ice advantage) and the 10th place team (two seeds out of the playoffs). Baseball has eight teams that make it to the playoffs and it's barely as competitive.
I agree that some of the points I've brought up are a bit radical. However, between the "paint drying" pace of watching a 162-game season where only four teams per league see the post season, played by men who make eight-figure salaries and whine about it, to the teams that pay them the money, to the teams who are horrible year after year, to the steroids used by the players, something radical needs to happen to this game... I mean business.
If this business wants to continue to see success, they're going to have to remember that they're playing a game.