The Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Twins are proving that in the business of baseball, money isn’t everything. When fans look at the payrolls of teams like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox there is an expectation of winning. So when, like the current Boston team, does not win, there is much disappointment. What does it say then when high payroll teams find themselves chasing small market teams like the Rays and Twins?
Going into Sunday night the Yankees were 5 games behind the Rays while Boston trailed by 8.5. In the AL Central, Minnesota led Detroit by 2 games. The Twins have good talent, not just in Joe Mauer. Orlando Hudson is currently batting .298. Justin Morneau is posting a .489 OBP with a .377 BA. With a total payroll slightly over $90 million, the Twins have a record of 26-17.
Then there is Tampa Bay with names like Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, and Carlos Pena. An overall record of 31-12, a payroll of $72 million and showing the rest of the AL East how to play baseball.
What does this mean to the business of baseball? I believe it shows that not everything is dollars and cents. You can pay a ball player $25 million a year but that does not mean he is going to perform better on the field. Baseball is a game that requires athletic ability and raw talent. Like all professional sports it requires coaching, practice, and above all dedication. The financial incentive for players to be the best has made the game enjoyable to watch for the fans. However, what happened to the days when players had to find off-season employment. I am not arguing baseball players should have to scratch by; that would put an end to professional sports as we know it.
I am saying maybe owners should think twice before throwing millions at a player. After all, it’s the fans that ultimately pay the salaries. Players should not be concerned with becoming the next billionaire athlete. They should be concerned with winning and helping their club get championships. Small market teams illustrate how fans care about their teams just as much as New Yorkers, Bostonians, and Chicagoans do.