Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Royal Treatment

I sincerely dislike the Royals. I haven't always felt this way. As a kid the Royals were the Yankees big rivals and we regularly clashed with Willie Wilson, George Brett, Dan Quisenberry, Frank White, U.L. Washington, and Hal McRae, just to name a few. The Topps 1980 George Brett card was the hottest card out there and every kid was scrambling to get their hands on it. I liked the Royals then. They weren't laughing stocks and they knew how to build a team.

Sure, the economics of the sport are very different 30 years later, but there's much more to the Kansas City collapse than dollars and cents. A few years ago, Royals fans staged a walk-out when the Yankees were in town to play. The theme of the most recent game was "Star Wars", a not-so-veiled attempt at jumping on the Evil Empire bandwagon. Just like the Bush administration, the Royals would like to deflect attention from their own failures and shortcomings by blaming them on a giant boogeyman. With the Bushies it's 9/11, Hussein, Bin Laden, and liberal bloggers. With the Royals, and teams like them, it's the free spending Yankees.

George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973 for $10 million. 33 years later Forbes values the Yankees at slightly over $ 1 billion, the 1st sports franchise to achieve that lofty height. It has a lot to do with the size of the New York market, but it also has to do with re-investing money in the team to make it powerful and iconic. The Yankees operate at a net $50 million loss. The money is more than made up for in outside interests like marketing, tv, and so on. The thing is, the Yankees pay mega-bucks in luxury tax every year as a penalty for their enormous payroll. That money is divided between the small market clubs, presumably to be spent on remaining competitive. That's rarely the case though. The Royals, among others, prefer to pocket that money as profit. They reinvest very little of that tax revenue into their players. They are business people first, and sports people second. Their religion is profit, not baseball.

So be it. Everyone has a right to do whatever they want with the money that comes their way. The problem is, they turn around and cry "woe is me" when the Yankees are in the playoffs with a $200 million payroll and point the finger towards the Bronx, when their own fans start to get edgy. People buy that crap, like they buy the notion that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11. 38% of American polled believe that there was a connection. Something purely concocted by Rumsfeld and Cheney. They also forget to point their fingers back at management and demand that they pay some good players to come to Missouri. They forget the fact that the Yankees come to town and sell out the stadium. They forget that boatloads of money are available to go get that free agent slugger. It's easier on the collective psyche to believe that your team is a victim.

So, we have Chewbacca (or a bear, as Suzyn Waldman announced on the air) throwing out the first pitch. I can live with that. It also makes it a lot easier to live with when we use the Royals as a punching bag, to the tune of a 10 run 7th. Oh how I love to live up to the Evil Empire image. If they want to use that as their rallying cry, then we should be happy to oblige with a Death Star like destruction of their bullpen. Let's hope for a sweep to keep them fuming in their seats at our wealthy coffers and high falootin' pinstripes. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks.

8 comments:

bobtaco said...

Excellent image Mike. That is classic.

Also, I am with you on the political frame as well.

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the politics, but otherwise bang on.One question.Why does no-body comment here? This is by far the best yankees blog that I've read.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, why never any comments? Excellent blog. I agree with the thesis, but the political jargon has no place...although, if that's what it takes to get comments...while we're at it, you might as well add that every administration since I've turned 18 have been composed of lying self serving scumbags.

Mike Plugh said...

Thanks guys.

The political stuff is really a strong part of who I am. Sports and politics are a very difficult mix and I work very hard to keep my politics out of this blog, but occasionally it happens.

I'm very willing to engage in productive debate about the issues in a civil and open-minded way unlike many on both sides of the aisle in America. Anonymous #2 makes a great point about the lying and self-serving scumbags that have governed the US for generations.

I'm a Progressive and act as the communications chair for Democrats Abroad Japan. I have always been a Progressive/Independent, but was motivated to join the Democrats when Bush was elected. I have strong feelings about Cheney and Rumsfeld, in particular, and thought I had to get involved. It's important for all of us to use our voices and speak our consciences. Both sides.

I like Conservatives actually. Not so much social conservatives and neo-conservatives, but the standard conservatives who want small government and fiscal restraint. I hope we can get back to being Progressives and Conservatives and stop all the American radicalism that we see from all angles.

As for the Yankees, I wish more people would stop by to comment, but I keep an eye on the hits and I know people are coming by to read. That's really rewarding.

I'll try to keep my politics limited to my website:

www.italstew.com

and stick to the Bombers here. Thanks again for the support and very kind words. It's appreciated!

Mike.

singledd said...

Hey Mike,
I'd like to talk to you, but I don't want to hog/fog up your comments.

Can you post your EMail address somewhere on this site?

You know I am, as you are, a Bronx Banter faithful. But honestly, you've done a great job with this blog... by not reharshing old news found on other blogs, or simply posting game rap-ups.

Since I agree with your politics (as posted here), I'll give ya a pass.

As a 'fair play' guy, I don have problems with the financial inequities of baseball. I was against this form a free-agency, and salaries are way out of hand. But there is no doubt, that the way George reinvests in the team, and his passion to win, makes him a leader amongst owners.

I think Cashman is on the right track. I do worry that when Steinbrenner goes, the dollars might dry up, which could devastate the team for a number of years.

Again, I love your graphics.

ami said...

Dear Mike
Your blog has been my must-read before I tug in for bed every night.
I love your sharpness in words and your humor in graphics.
So, forget about not mixing politics with sports, write whatever you like.

Mike Plugh said...

You guys really made my day today. The support that people have given with their kind words and loyal readership fuels my efforts.

Keep coming back. I'll set up a Canyon of Heroes e-mail address that people can contact me with.

I'm a little hesitant to post my personal e-mail, for fear that I'll get blasted with junk mail, or trolls looking to spew anti-Yankees stuff.

I'll try to have it up today or tomorrow in the daily post. Thanks again everyone.

Mike.

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