New York Yankees

Already this off-season, the New York Yankeeshave spent a quarter-billion dollars on pitching.

The Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a seven-year, $161 million deal—a record amount for a pitcher—and they’ve inked right-handed A.J. Burnett, who turns 32 in January, to a paltry $82.5 million, five-year deal.

A.J. Burnett (left) and CC Sabathia (right) share a moment during their press conference introducing them as New York Yankees.

A.J. Burnett (left) and CC Sabathia (right) share a moment during their press conference introducing them as New York Yankees.

However, in a blow that’s sure to rock the Yankees’ empire to its core, General Motors dropped out of its contact to be the franchise’s official automobile.

However will the Yankees survive without GM as a sponsor?  Don’t worry, Toyota and Audi have already replaced the struggling auto maker.

Let’s face it, the Yankees aren’t just rich, they are stinking rich.  They have so much money banks come to them for a bailout.

On top of adding two huge arms to their staff, which finished last season ranked eighth in the American League in pitching with a 4.28 ERA, the Yankees are also rumored to be chasing slugger Manny Ramirez.

Hey, it’s just the Yankees being the Yankees.

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If I was a Yankee fan I would be ecstatic.  My team is addressing weaknesses and aggressively seeking solutions.

However, like most of America, I’m not a Yankee fan (a concept MLB and television networks fail to realize).

I find the Yankees’ spending spree to be deflating and depressing.  The Yankees just bought themselves a World Series championship—maybe that’s hyperbole, but they’ve at least bought themselves a trip to the playoffs.

How can small markets teams compete with the Yanks?  How can big market teams compete?

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Yankees, who are already talked about at nauseating lengths, will now, thanks to their new stadium and their new pitchers, be discussed even more.

So, should non-Yankee fans give up on the MLB season already, even though it’s only December?

Of course not.

A pitch has yet to be thrown in 2009 season and a lot can happen between now and spring training, between now and opening day, between now and the post season.

After all, who would have thought at this time last year the Tampa Bay Rays would have had their ticket punched to go the World Series?

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The Tampa Bay Rays came out of nowhere in 2008 to win the AL East and the AL Pennant.

Not only that, but if the Yankees are in third place heading into the All-Star break think of how much fun we’ll have relishing in their demise.

The AL East, home to the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox (winner of two World Series this decade) and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (defending AL Champions) can only supply two teams to the postseason.  Meaning, at least one of the three aforementioned powerhouses won’t be making the playoffs.  The odd team out could be the Yankees.

But I doubt it.

The Yankees will probably have a 10 game lead at the All-Star break and it will be time to flip to the NFL network and get ready for some football.  Listening to pundits and supporters talk incessantly about the Bronx Bombers running away with the division will be insufferable.

Regardless of how well or how poorly the Yankees do in 2009, their spending spree reinforces a perception that the MLB is consolidated in just a few cities.

Fewer than 600 people showed up to see the Florida Marlins play the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 3, 2008 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

Fewer than 600 people showed up to see the Florida Marlins play the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 3, 2008 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Philadelphia have all the talent.  The Tampa Bay Rays, with their incredibly deep farm system, have all the young talent.  The rest of league is just playing out the schedule.

Maybe that’s a good business model but it’s certainly not the business model used by the world’s most successful sports league, the NFL.

Maybe that’s why football has supplanted baseball as America’s national past time?  Maybe that’s why no one watches the World Series anymore?

Don’t blame the Yankees though.  They are just doing what it takes win.

And to think, the Yankees run started over 80 years ago when they traded for Babe Ruth, all because the owner of the Red Sox wanted to sell theater tickets to a Broadway show.

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