Take the three combined highest payrolls in Major League Baseball in 2011 at $557.5 million. Then compare that to the amount of postseason glory, zero. Such is the reality for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.
You can’t buy a championship these days, but this exorbitant amount of money isn’t wasted money. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
The Tampa Bay Rays may have been the anomalous team with a paltry $41.1 million budget, but the other four playoff teams still in contention pay out $386.9 million total. You can’t buy a championship, but your chances are significantly improved if you spend.
Getting hung up on the budget numbers is easy if you discount the total amount of money the average MLB franchise brings in per year. According to a Forbes story, an average franchise is worth $523 million. Despite the economic recession and falling attendance numbers, MLB franchises have added to their overall value.
Whatever money the top franchises, Yankees and Red Sox, throw at their players, it is a fraction of their operating budget. These teams aren’t one-trick ponies. The Yankees and Red Sox bring in money through television ventures, sponsorships and even soccer teams like Liverpool. These teams generate so much wealth that they support the majority of baseball with revenue sharing.
The fallout from postseason failure can generate big headlines, like Terry Francona’s exit from the Sox. Or in the Yankees’ case, it can be business as usual. It depends on the passion of the fan base and the ferocity of its journalists. But don’t get wrapped up in newspaper ink.
In Boston, the working class fans equate money with results. In New York, money is liability insurance. The common thread is that this money isn’t going anywhere. As long as the business of baseball is not affected by the economy and teams are willing to throw great giant heaps of money at players, nothing will change.
There’s no reason to worry about skyrocketing budgets. These teams are well within their budgets and are managed by people smarter than you. If your favorite team is without star players, then its up to your franchise to be more like the Rays. Just be happy that you’ll still have a team come every spring. They aren’t going anywhere, literally.