Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Anti-Yankee Story

by Jeremy Bird

To me, the Yankees symbolize pretty much everything that is wrong with major-league baseball.

A team should not be able to buy championships with essentially no regulation. The game needs a salary cap. It needs more parity. It needs more restraint on unlimited spending.

It needs less of the Yankees and more of the Marlins.

The Fish just won their eight straight last night with a series sweep of the Brewers. With 21 different rookies used this year and a payroll of $14 million (dead last in the majors), the Marlins season is a story of youth and hard work against incredible odds.

It is the anti-Yankee story.

Earlier this season, the Marlins were 11-31. They were inexperienced, and it showed with one of the worst starts possible. But, instead of buying veteran players and blowing up their payroll by the millions, the team relied on its rookies to get better. Joe Girardi coached his team. Young players were given the opportunity to play the game every day, and they started to flourish.

Josh Johnson, the 22-year-old rookie, now leads the majors with a 2.87 ERA. Right now, he is in the contention for the NL Cy Young Award. Second baseman Dan Uggla is also in the rookie of the year category. Last night Uggla hit a 473-foot homer, his 20th of the season, putting him five short of the rookie record for a second baseman, set ironically by Joe Gordon of the Yankees in 1938.

Three of the Marlins rookie starters already have 10 wins or more, putting them in striking distance of breaking Dontrelle Willis' team record of 14 wins in a rookie season.

The Yankees struggled earlier this season as well, though not as bad as the Marlins. So, what did the team do? They bought more players, including the most recent acquisition of Bobby Abreu. The Yankees current payroll is $199 million, $79 million more than the next closest team (The Red Sox).

The Yankees have 5 players who make more than the entire Marlins team. Five.

I know I have opened a can of worms with the whole salary cap issue. Not to mention the Yankee-hating on a site full of Yankee lovers.

But, the real debate is not about the Yankees. It is about the cap. That issue stirs up a lot of debate in the baseball world. Sure, there are many details to discuss, but whether it is "hard" caps or "soft" caps, franchise-player exemptions, luxury taxes, or some other concoction, the games needs something to stop the Yankees of the world from buying their victories.

Baseball needs more of the Marlins. I hope we get more of it this season. I hope the Fish keep on winning and take the NL Wild Card.

I don't necessarily think any team should spend as little as the Marlins. I don't necessarily even like the Marlins. But, I like the concept of a team full of rookies making a serious run at the playoffs.

Ah, writing this makes me think back to the 2003 World Series. Josh Beckett's complete game shutout in Game 6 was a beautiful thing for all of us anti-Yankee fans.

Jeremy's column, "Bird's Eye View", appears alternate Tuesdays


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, the Yankees are part of what's wrong in baseball, and the Fish are an amazing story, but they're not what's right with baseball. Yes, the Marlins are well managed, and have a solid core built for the future. But a payroll of 14 million dollars shows that the owner isn't willing to pay for a winner. Think if they had had a little veteran help to start. They might be leading the wild card right now. And their owner is thinking of firing Joe Girardi, who has done a tremendous job.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006  
Anonymous Travis G. said...

The Yanks dont do anything illegal. They play by the same rules as everyone else. Steinbrenner tries his best to win - can you ask for anything more from an owner? Is it their fault for playing in NYC, which generates the most revenue? They pay luxury taxes like their supposed to. It's up to the Royals, etc. to decide to pocket the $ or actually spend it on baseball. Oh, and ask the other owners whether they like it when the Yanks come to town (yeah, sell-outs every night).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006  
Anonymous NYYanksFan said...

Whenever the Yankees get close to contention every antiYankee starts screaming payroll. The Yankees have proven that having the highest payroll in baseball does not necessarily "buy" you a championship otherwise they would have one every single year.

It's simply boring to hear it year in and year out no matter what they do. They almost didn't even make it to the playoffs last year and they played a majority of this summer with their superstars on the DL, but no one ever gives them credit for guts and grits and will never give them credit for glory.

Many teams overcharge their fans at the gate and don't put their money back into the team. Other teams benefit from the Yankees coming to town and the Yankees play on the biggest baseball stage in the world. There is a lot right with the Yankees and one thing is that they sellout ballparks no matter where they play...and in those opposing ballparks, no one is giving the Yankees a percentage of the pot.

The Yankees "buy" championships is such a stupid and tired refrain. Get a life or come up with something that actually means something.

Saturday, September 02, 2006  
Anonymous POPS said...

That's exactly what it is ---buying a championship.Football ans hockey have seen the need to do something about payroll. NOT baseball, why, tradition. Do not mess with the game. Payroll is not part of the game. Baseball has a couple of big,no HUGE issues and refuses to deal with either of them. Steriods and payroll issues. Selig needs to go and baseball is content to just ignore any problems on the horizon.
Yankees, parity is coming, get used to it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006  

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