I am one of those rare Red Sox fans that does not hate the Yankees. In fact, I like and respect them. Derek Jeter is one of my favorite ball players of all time, and I admire many Yankees of the last decade - Pettite, Mussina, Posada, Matsui, Damon, Rivera, Williams, Brosius, O’Neill - even though they have given the Red Sox trouble from time to time. (Not lately, though!)
Mark Teixeira (photo from MLB.com).
So, in this off-season, when the Yankees signed three of the four most talented players on the open market by throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at them (including Mark Teixeira, whom the Sox were interested in but could not match the Yankee offer), I did not begrudge them one bit. If they can afford these salaries even while they are building a new stadium, good for them. It’s their money, and they should be able to spend it however they wish.
And then I saw this article in the New York Times:
Now, beyond all sense or sensibility, the New York Yankees have appeared with a request for $370 million in new taxpayer-backed financing for a new baseball stadium that will open in April.
This is more. New. In addition to. On top of the $942 million in previous financing, and $660 million that the city is pitching in to replace parkland sacrificed for the new stadium and transportation improvements. (Note 1.)
Are you kidding me? The Yankees - the richest team in baseball - are looking for public funding because they can’t afford to simultaneously build their new stadium and allocate $500 million for three players? The Florida Marlins, with their entire payroll being just north of $20 million dollars, must be shaking their heads in disbelief.
This is madness... but somehow appropriate in the Bailout Era.
1. Jim Dwyer, “In Matters Concerning A New Yankee Stadium, Sanity Rides the Bench,” About New York column, New York Times, 10 Jan 2009, p. A15.
2. photo credit to Jeff Zelevansky, MLB.com, http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/images/2009/01/22/QHlWENFZ.jpg.