Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Invest Wisely

Hal Steinbrenner has an answer for you.

For everyone bemoaning the fact that the Yankees now have the four highest paid baseball players in the league, for everyone bemoaning that their small market team doesn't stand a chance, Hal Steinbrenner has an answer for you:

“So we have some money to spend, and we’re going to reinvest it. That’s going to continue, whether people like it or not. That’s for the fans. They deserve the best team we can put out there.” (With thanks to Sam Borden over at Lohud).

This is why many Yankee fans don't, in fact, feel bad about their team.

Would you, dear baseball fan, rather have a team whose ownership is willing to continually invest in the team--even if the owner is on occasion a bit of a nutjob or if on occasion the investments are misguided--or would you rather have a team whose ownership is in it only, for the money, and a la Pete Angelos or Carl Pohlad (RIP) spend not a cent more than absolutely necessary to keep the team afloat?

Thought so.

While the Steinbrenner tenure of the Yankees has, of course, been far from perfect, there is one constant:

Every decision made, rightly or wrongly, was made to make the Yankees a championship team.

There is no denying that spending vast sums of money is a conspicuous activity and that in a time such as this GLOBAL FINANCIAL MELTDOWN OF DOOM that spending vast quantities of cash can seem ostentatious, but the ownership of the Yankees is spending the money on improving their product.

Would you, after all, rather see the CEO of Ford or Toyota spend vast reserves of cash on their private jet, or would you rather see them spend it on improving their cars that they sell to the public?

Such it is with a baseball team. Would you rather the Steinbrenners spend their money on upscale vacation condos that only they get to enjoy, or would you rather them spend it on improving their baseball team?

Teams like Kansas City or Tampa Bay may not have a lot of money (at least compared to the NY teams and Boston), but here's the kicker:

If you invest in your team by scouting well, signing good, young players and helping them develop, you can use these players and players acquired through trades of these players to build a winning team. Winning gets fans, even the notorious "pink hats", fans buy stuff, buying stuff means tickets and souvenirs, and this means money for the team.

It's not something you can do in one year--the worst to first flip of Tampa Bay is a rarity--but it happens over time.

I'll admit that for the Yankees and the Mets, being in New York certainly helps, but in truth, the 26 World Series rings really do have a lot to do with why the Yankee fan base is a large as it is.

So listen, if you're a Yankee fan and you're getting flak from fans about the money they spend, ask them this: what has their owner down for them, lately?

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