Rob Johnson

Skip the corny and sarcastic introductory sentence.  

In 2011, the New York Yankees will have a payroll totaling almost $230 million. This 40-man roster will make more money than the entire countries of Sao Tome and Principe and Kiribati. While most people would need to break out their geography books to locate these countries, I can assure you they exist. 

Unfortunately, a salary cap in Major League Baseball (MLB) does not, allowing teams like the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies to shell out enormous amounts of cash to draw in free agents. 

Not that the $143 million payroll seems to help the Cubs, who nearly doubled the salary of the Cincinnati Reds and exceeded every other team in their division, despite still finishing below four of their five division rivals.  

Regardless, big market teams have higher payrolls. The Red Sox boast a $163 million payroll and the Phillies have $140 million invested in their team. The Florida Marlins saved up all of their pennies for a scanty $48 million in 2010. 

The point of my Forbes-esque money watching rant is that these teams attract big name free agents.While the Notorious B.I.G. insinuates “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” many players in the MLB have and will continue to join clubs that can fatten up their wallets the most. 

Is it shocking to anybody that Carl Crawford went to the Red Sox, Cliff Lee went to the Phillies (sorry Indians fans looking for a shred of hope) or Troy Tulowitzki stayed in Colorado to the tune of some $20 million? Of course not, it’s a reoccurring trend in the MLB, which directly reflects our capitalistic society.

MLB has become such a market-oriented sport that it’s almost disgusting. Growing up in a Cleveland Indians family, I remember the days of being able to list every player on the team. Today, players switch teams so fast, by the time you purchase a jersey it’s already too late. 

It’s almost miraculous that the Yankees have not won every World Series this decade with the teams they chauffer into the American League each year.

If not for the rule stating that every team must be represented in the All-Star Game, this year’s league matchup in Chase Field would consist of a combination of Red Sox and Yankees for the American League and the Phillies plus Pujols and Tulowitzki for the National League. However, the 2010 World Series shows that star-studded teams to not always produce rings.

There is always something to be said for teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, who despite having a $60 million dollar payroll and the fan base of a newly formed high school rock band, won the division, finishing ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox. 

While a salary cap would be the sensible thing to do, it most likely won’t happen for a while and the high rollers will continue to help themselves to the best available talent, while the rest of the league fights for the scraps.

Wouldn’t it be nice if players played for the game instead of the money, or at least teams would be on even playing fields? I think the Yankees just built a stadium in the Hamptons.