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Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Yankees Won The World Series - So What?

So, the Yankees have won the world series again after a break of 9 years. And the celebrations are on. But is it really something to celebrate? What exactly have the Yankees accomplished worth celebrating?

Where I come from, when a player plays on a local team, it is because the player was born in the local area and/or went to school there. When a team wins a championship, the city has a legitimate reason to celebrate because it is the local talent that won the championship.

In the case of professional sports in the US though, money moves players all over the country, and even brings in players from outside the country. These are pure mercenaries who will and do play for different teams in different years. The teams themselves have no deep affiliation with the cities they play in, and many move around from city to city, sometimes changing names, sometimes keeping the same name.

The players have no allegiance to the city for which they play. Most of them are not born or brought up there. Many are not even born or brought up in the US! Looking at the Yankees roster, there is exactly on player on the team who was born (and hopefully grew up) in New York. There is one player from New Jersey, which is close enough to New York for him to be considered a native of the area.

None of the 23 other players on the roster are from anywhere near New York. At least a half dozen of them are from Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.

Essentially, these were all players who were "bought" by the Yankees organization to play for them in New York. They are mercenaries, and as such their winning of the world championship gives New York the right to boast that their mercenaries are better than the mercenaries of other teams. All I can do is yawn and go, "Very interesting, so what?"

The amazing thing to me is not that the Yankees won the world series, but that they did not win the world series for 9 years in a row. Essentially, this team has a payroll of over $200 million while the next closest team has a payroll of about $135 million. The team they defeated, the Philadelphia Phillies has a payroll of only $113 million.

Given the disparity in payrolls between the Yankees and other teams in professional baseball, the 9 year drought in championships means that the Yankees wasted a ton of money buying inferior mercenaries who did not have what it takes to actually make themselves worth what they were being paid. The Yankees should be ashamed that they went 9 years without a world series given the money they have been spending to try and win the world series!

Even this year, the scores in the world series games speak for themselves. The Yankees had to stretch the series to 6 games in a best of 7 series to win. And if you add up the scores in the individual games, the Phillies still beat them 31-28! And the Phillies are a team that pays its mercenaries about half of what the Yankess pay theirs!!

I guess it is part of the standard New York culture to overpay for talent that does not deliver anywhere close to the performance that is expected of them. We saw the same thing with the CEO's and other executives of big New York financial companies taking home huge (and I mean really, obscenely, obnoxiously huge) compensation packages in exchange for bankrupting their companies and bringing the nation and world to the brink of economic and financial meltdown. That this culture of overpayment for underperformance continues with the Yankees should not be too surprising to me!

Go Yankees! And take all the Wall Street fat cats with you!!

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