Anyone who has been involved in an organized sport, whether it is backyard football or a high school sports team, knows that these sports all have organizations that are responsible for setting rules, determining conditions of play, and penalizing individuals who infringe the rules. Some of the organizations like the National Football league and the MLB are familiar to most people, the rules they follow are not generally understood by anyone who is not closely associated with the sport. Most fans and sport critics assume that what is happening inside these organizations are of little concern to them. However, this is not the case. In the MLB, the New York Yankees spend an excessive amount of money every year to obtain big name players. A luxury tax was put into effect for teams that go over the spending limit.
However, the Yankees are the only team that pays the tax because they are the only team that exceeds the spending limit. The players, coaches, fans, and I have argued that a salary cap would be the best possible way to allow teams in the Major Leagues an equal opportunity getting to the World Series. For the last 30 years, the New York Yankees have been a dominant force in Major League Baseball. Other teams do not make as much money as the New York Yankees therefore they have less capital to spend on big name players. In 1994, the Major Leagues put the luxury tax into place. The idea was to tax a club's payroll if the total payroll exceeded a certain limit.
However, the Yankees seem to exceed this limit every year. The Yankees are a notable team not only for their impressive history on the field, but also for their financial situation. The Yankees owner spends more on player salaries than any other franchise in baseball. "As of 2004, the team payroll is more than $182 million, which is $51 million more than the second-highest team, the Boston Red Sox, and more than the six lowest-payroll teams combined" (Wikipedia Encyclopedia"). The millions of people who are associated with baseball in this country, many of whom had only a vague idea of what was happening, are now asking themselves whether or not the game is being played fairly. Even though teams like the New York Yankees are able to assemble top-notch teams by ignoring the spending limit, a salary cap is necessary to maintain the equal competitive nature of major league baseball.
One only needs to read some of the memos and news releases to see that the issuing of the salary cap was the primary focus of this debate. Bud Selig's 2001 editorial in the Baseball Almanac makes it clear that the Major League Baseball Associations primary responsibility is to oversee the entire operation and maintain the integrity of the game, such as the way the game is played and the way teams are organized. He asserts that "the salary cap would be a good way to make teams in MLB considered equal with the issue of money" (44). Selig sees the Major Leagues as a "battle between the rich and poor teams." His focus is that the New York Yankees spend more than $50 million dollars on big name players that other teams are not capable of doing, one can conclude that without substantial changes, the New York Yankees will continue to exceed the spending limit and will gradually build a stronger more dominant team. What readers might take from Selig's editorial is that a salary cap would benefit the smaller less fortunate teams. According to the article, web wrote on December 1, 2000, Bob George explains why he believes there should be a salary cap in baseball.
He compares the "MLB to the earlier NBA years in the 1950's and 1960's." These were the decades in which the Boston Celtics won 11 titles in 13 years. He states, "The team was hated all over the world and was all due in part to the lack of a salary cap." He made it clear that, "in the MLB today, we are once again in the midst of the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport." Three times in franchise history, the New York Yankees have won three straight World Series titles. The mighty Yankees are getting even mightier today seeing as though they signed Mike Messina for $88 million for eight years and Alex Rodriguez for $252 million for 10 years. He states, "This is not about stupidity, it is about what is fair in baseball, and what is not.
It is about the overall appeal of the national pastime. It is about caring, interest, and most of all, competition. Right now, there is very little of any of these components outside of the 212 area code." Most importantly, he explains why baseball needs a salary cap by saying "it is the only way to put constraints on what the Yankees are doing and to return the sport to the interesting and suspenseful form of sporting entertainment it once used to be." The Yankees are at an unfair advantage all across the league, and nobody, not Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Cleveland, or perhaps even Los Angeles, can acquire talent the way they can. The only way to prevent them from doing so is to put a cap on how much they can pay their entire team.
The Major League Baseball Association (MLBA) decided to issue a luxury tax in February of 1997. Paul D. Staudohar a sports analysis provides further insight about the luxury tax "in a sports sense it's a surcharge put on the aggregate payroll of a team to the extent to which it exceeds a predetermined guideline level set by the league." The apparent purpose of this 'tax' is to prevent teams in major markets with high incomes from signing almost all of the more talented players and hence destroying the competitive balance necessary for a sport to maintain fan interest. He also talks about how the money derived from the 'tax' is then divided among the teams that play in the smaller markets, presumably to allow them to have more revenue to devote toward the contracts of high-quality players.
While this tax as a way to stop teams in the Major Leagues from exceeding the spending limit, it doesn't seem to stop that Yankees because they have enough money to pay for players and the luxury tax. This luxury tax will help support the argument that if a salary cap is enforced then the MLBA will not be about what team has the most big time players, it will be about a team of individuals coming together to win a ballgame. In an interview given on September 21, 2002, George Steinbrenner the owner of the New York Yankees answered a number of questions about the debate as to whether he thinks the Major Leagues should enforce a salary cap. His remarks about the "salary cap" were limited to a few brief comments. Steinbrenner said that "he spends around $115 million dollars on his team every season." Additionally, He made it clear that the Major Leagues shouldn't start a salary cap, which isn't surprising, given that he is the richest man in Major League Baseball. He argues that the other teams could go out and buy a winning team just like him, however, he doesn't seem to state the fact that he is the only one capable of spending this amount of money.
Obviously, the interview is going to favor the Yankees since it came from the owner. The Yankees do not want a salary cap to be issued because then every team would have the same equal opportunity to get expensive big name players. It should be useful, though, in supporting the main argument because it does discuss how the salary cap would affect the World Series race. Ultimately, while making all the teams in the MLB be governed under a salary cap would be the best option for every team in the league, it is unlikely that this move will change the way people play and watch the game. The CNN SI website talks about the following benefits: o Teams would have an equal opportunity to obtain big name players. o The MLB will not be about who has the money, it will be about who can use the same amount of money wisely.
o The richer teams will not be able to assemble a dominant team to crush all the other less fortunate teams. o Other teams will have the same opportunity to obtain big name players, so that every year the playoffs will not contain the same teams. o Dominant players will not be clustered on the same team; they will be distributed though out the league. It is obvious that most people have the same opinion as me about the 'salary cap' issue. It is proven that the teams with wealthier owners are usually always dominant in this league because they can afford to buy whatever players that they wish. This is unfair to teams with owners who are not so wealthy.
These less fortunate teams are forced to compete with these 'all-star' teams. Bud Selig tried to help out the money problem by issuing a luxury tax. The dominant teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox with owners like George Steinbrenner can afford to sign very expensive salaries and pay for the luxury tax also. So, this obviously did not make a change to the money issue and the only thing that would be acceptable would be to issue a salary cap like every other major sport in America. The NFL and NBA were forced to have a salary cap and we haven't seen a dominant team like the Yankees since the Celtics in the 50's and 60's. Every year there is usually a different 'dominant' team and the Super Bowl and NBA Championship is always up for grabs.
Attendance is slowly declining in the MLB because people do not want to support their home teams when in reality, they will lose to the usual dominant high paid teams. This is not fair to any sports fan and the only acceptable solution to keep attendance high and ratings up is to issue a salary cap. Selig, Bud. "Baseball Almanac Biography." January 12, 2001.
[ web biography. shtml]Staudohar, Paul D. "Salary Cap in Professional Sports" June 21, 1998[ web Bob. "Money Battle" December 1, 2000 "Wikipedia Encyclopedia." Accesses November 27, 2004[ web Page]Steinbrenner, George. "Steinbrenner Speaks To the Press" September 21, 2002[ web.