Around the Bases

Tariq Engineer

Alex Rodriguez is now a Yankee; the most expensive player in baseball now plays for the most expensive team, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.The Yankees didn’t break any of baseball’s laws to sign A-Rod. They aren’t refusing to pay the luxury tax on their payroll. They simply accepted the asking price, whereas Boston, who had the chance to sign A-Rod, balked. Equally important is the fact that the Yankees aren’t breaking their own bank to pay for A-Rod. Whatever else The Boss may be, he’s no fool when it comes to money. He may get a ‘little’ carried away with wanting to win, and he may infuriate a lot of people in doing so, but nobody can excuse him of having a bad head for business.

Furthermore I don’t see why the New York Yankees should be punished for having a monetary advantage over the other teams in the league. Why should the Yankees be punished for playing to their strengths. If having such an advantage guaranteed the Yankees the World Series every year, then I would say it would be bad for baseball. But have the last three World Series taught us nothing?

How much money you have to spend is only one factor in putting together a winning team, not the only factor. If it were, Florida Marlins wouldn’t be the defending World Series champions. At the highest level of any team sport, it takes a group of players coming together at the right time to be successful, especially when it comes to the playoffs. Just because you spend $200 million dollars doesn’t mean you are going to have a team that gels well together. In fact, one of the biggest questions facing the 2004 edition of the Yankees is the question of team chemistry.

Which brings me to the real irony of the situation. When the Yankees were winning four World Series in five years, it was team chemistry that was cited as the primary reason. It’s only really been the last 3-4 years, when the Yankees haven’t been winning, that there has been such a huge hue and cry about how much money they spend on payroll. Money isn’t everything. Let’s not pretend that it is.