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“You use examples like the Green Bay Packers to back up your claim that other small market teams seen not to have problems, but you forgot one thing….there is a salary cap in the NFL and NBA, so it’s a bit easier to compete. Institute a salary cap in baseball, and you’ll see your beloved Yankees fail to compete just like everyone else.”

This was written as a comment on my post from a few days ago about Randy Levine telling the Brewers owner to stop whining.  The writer was unwilling to give an actual name or screen name to the comment, instead opting to simply write “whatever” with an email address of whatever@whatever.com.  Gotta love idiots behind computer screens – they can get feisty and say whatever they want to.  I guess that’s why he/she choose “whatever.”

Normally, Chris and I don’t allow comments to come through if someone isn’t decent enough to provide a screen name or email/web address.  Our reasoning is simple – if we were having this discussion face-to-face, we would know each other’s names.

However, I wanted to let this one go through because I believe that it proves my point and Randy Levine’s for that matter.  Here is another person who is whining about how the Yankees spend money.  Since this guy chose not to leave a name, I’m just going to refer to him as “DUDE.”

DUDE, you are missing the point.  It’s easy to knock on the Yankees because they are high-profile, their payroll is massive and they tend to win games because of the talent they can afford.  Your point seems to be, and correct me if I am wrong, that the Yankees would not be able to compete at the level they do if there was a salary cap.  Perhaps that would be the case but no one can know for sure until it happens.

Here is what we do know: first, don’t blame the Yankees for escalating player salaries.  Blame the Texas Rangers for signing Alex Rodriguez to a $250 Million, ten-year contract while the next highest paid player was making well under $20 Million at the time.  Second, guys like Matt Holliday and Johan Santana and Joe Mauer have gotten big contracts from other teams.  The Yankees just have a few guys with larger contracts – but Mark Teixeira, for example, was getting similar offers from the Red Sox and Orioles.  He just likes NY better.

No, DUDE, the problem with baseball lies with the Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and other teams with massively depressed payrolls.  Here’s some more facts for you.  All of these small-market, low payroll teams receive tens of millions yearly from the Yankees and other teams through the Luxury Tax program.

In fact, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN and his meticulous research, 29 of the 30 teams receive at least $15 million before each season begins in TV and radio revenue.  That’s before any tickets, beer or food are sold.  Each MLB team also pulls in somewhere between $70-90 million EVERY YEAR after merchandise, revenue sharing and TV/radio revenue.  Again, that’s before tickets, beer and food are sold.

Yet, teams choose not to spend that money on payroll, like they are supposed to.  They can afford to, but generally don’t.  Why?  Because their greedy owners are more focused on making a profit on their baseball teams then actually winning championships.  The Minnesota Twins are a great example.  Most people never expected the Twins to re-sign Joe Mauer – the Twins owner is rich and can afford it, but has let marquee players like Torii Hunter and Johan Santana move on to bigger and better paychecks.  This time, the whole front office knew that if they did not sign Mauer they would face a very angry fan base.  Fortunately, Mauer was also willing to give them a hometown discount.

I singled out the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Cavaliers because they are in small markets but still have large payrolls.  Why?  Because they want to WIN.  Oh, and Dude?  The NBA barely has a salary cap.  They pretty much have luxury tax.

The Yankees are playing the system to the best of their ability and doing right by their fans at the same time.  Baseball is business and business will be good if you create a great product and position it right in the marketplace.  The Yankees have done that and are succeeding because of their business sense.  You say the Yankees would fail to compete with a salary cap?  I say bring a cap on – the Yankees have competed at a top level consistently for almost 90 years now.  I don’t think a salary cap will change it.

Oh, and have the cojones to put your name next to a comment next time you visit Generation Third.

Seacrest, out.

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I know this is a Yankees blog, but there’s not much news going on in the Yankee Universe right now.  There usually is a void of baseball news from Dec 15-Feb 15 and its especially huge during the Jan 15-Feb 15 period, what with NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl, the NBA and NHL All-Star Games, the Daytona 500 and this year, the Winter Olympics.  So this post is about something completely non-Yankees.

I was listening as some of the ESPN commentators the other day were discussing why ratings for the NBA All-Star game aren’t that high and how they felt that casual basketball fans were no longer watching the NBA.  I regret that I cannot remember who the commentators were, but I felt that they hit the ball out of the park, so to speak.

The NBA is no longer the game I remember, the game I grew up with and as a result of that, I don’t think I have watched a full game, regular or postseason in almost 5 years.  I can’t relate with anything about this game anymore, the players are different and the game just feels different.  I’ve come up with 4 reasons why I cannot relate anymore.

1. What’s with the handshakes? I caught the beginning of the Magic-Cavs game the other night.  I watched Lebron James do a unique and special handshake with almost every teammate and, I think, the entire stadium too.  I couldn’t believe it as the TV cameras followed him for near 5 minutes as this went on.  I don’t want to watch this!  I tuned in because nothing else was on and I hoped to catch a good game, but I couldn’t believe the amount of handshakes.

2.) Lebron is really good and really cool, but enough already! Some people need a reminder about this.  Maybe it’s mostly the media’s fault, but there are other guys in the NBA who are as dominating as he is, yet his every move is reported on.  And it doesn’t stop there.  It seems like every single nationally televised game involves Lebron’s Cleveland Cavaliers.  Teams like Denver and Atlanta are doing well and have some top players, but they never seem to be on.

3.) Who can relate to these guys? It’s not just Lebron.  He’s a great guy.  After all, he’s a Yankee fan.  But the top players today aren’t the top players from 15 years ago.  Guys like Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Reggie Miller, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, Isiah Thomas, Karl Malone, John Stockton and David Robinson seemed like guys who you could look up to.  They seemed like normal guys.  Now, NBA players seemingly have tattoos everywhere, and weird ones at that – lips on a neck, pictures of themselves and superman signs on their arms.  These guys make millions and then go weird.  At least baseball players who make millions could still blend into a crowd of normal people.

4.) The Knicks have sucked for about 10 Years now. If it wasn’t for the uniforms, I wouldn’t believe you if you told me that this was the same franchise that used to make the playoffs every year and was dominating.  The Knicks have made the playoffs once since this century began and haven’t had a winning record since the 2000-01 season.  This is the same team who made it to at least the second round of the playoffs for the entire 1990 decade behind such unforgettable players as Ewing, Allan Houston, Charles Oakley, John Starks and Charlie Ward.  This team would have had at least one championship, probably more if it hadn’t been for Jordan’s 6 titles in the 90’s.

Sadly, this team has regressed into a joke of an organization.  Beginning with the end of the Ewing Era in 2000, the Knicks have tried to win by overpaying for underachieving players such as Howard Eisley, Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury, to name only a few.  That combined with mismanagement, horrible coaching, and a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2007 that revealed disappointing details about the environment and management practices in the Knicks organization.

It even seemed that the additions of Donnie Walsh as president and Mike D’Antoni as head coach in the 2008 offseason would improve the team, but it has still floundered – seemingly biding time until the 2010 offseason and the impressive free agent class available.  Still, the team is atrocious, not just bad, and it’s painful to watch them.

Today it was a beautiful 65 degrees in New York.  When the ALCS was in New York, the temperature was in the low 40’s with windchills in the low 30’s and rain.  I could not remember the last time we had weather so cold in October.  Through the next three days, it will be between 65-72 degrees.

Figures…

Occasionally, I feel inclined to write about non-baseball news.  After hearing about this story Tuesday morning on Mike and Mike, I am disgusted.  Mike Greenburg had a phenomenal rant regarding this story which I am posting.

In case you have not heard about this story, after losing their second game of the season Sunday, the fans at Fed Ex Field booed the team.  After the game, Hensen, a rookie linebacker who has not even played yet this season, said on his twitter page that they shouldn’t “come to Fed Ex to boo, dim wits.”

After that Henson added, “who are you to say you know best for the team and you work 9-5 at McDonalds.”

What an ass.  This guy is an insult.  He is lucky that us 9-5 workers go to games so we can pay his salary.  What a pompous, high and mighty son-of-a…..I won’t go there.

And my favorite part….as Greeny points out, the fans at the game had as much to do with the Redskins play as Henson did – considering he has been inactive all season.

If he said that stuff to a referee, or someone like that, he would have been fined.  If I was the NFL – I would fine him.  For the same reason why Donte Stallworth, Pacman Jones, Mike Vick and others have been fined and/or suspended for their criminal activities because they made the league look bad, Henson too should be fined for making his team and the league look bad.

What an idiot.

After this weekend’s 4 game sweep of the Red Sox, I can’t help but think of 2006 – the Yankees had not been doing well all spring and most of the summer, and managed to come back strong after the all-star break.

On August 18th, they traveled to Boston to face the Red Sox for a 5 game series at Fenway.  An earlier game at Fenway had been rained out, so on Friday August 18, the Yankees and Red Sox played a double header, taking both games and setting up a weekend I will never forget – a 5 game sweep of the Sox in the home stadium.

That sweep gave the Yankees a 6.5 game lead in the AL East.  After this 4 game sweep the Yankees now lead the Red Sox by, you guessed it, 6.5 games.

The Yankees never looked back, winning the division by 10 games.  Boston missed the postseason, winning only 17 games the rest of the season and finished third in the AL East.

This weekend had erie reminders of that great weekend.

Oh, and one other thing.  In the history of Major League Baseball, as long as there have been divisions in the American League – the Yankees have never failed to win the division if they have led by 6 games or more.

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