OK, the BS about MLB

STEVE BUFFERY, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:02 PM ET

I love Frank Sinatra, but if I hear New York, New York one more time, Iím going to heave.

It used to be a great song.

But now thatís all you hear come October when the Yankees qualify for the post-season. That, and Sweet Caroline, the unofficial Boston Red Sox anthem.

Honestly, I donít know how Yankees fans, and to a lesser extent Red Sox fans, can get remotely excited anymore.

Thereís a Simpsons episode where Homer becomes the leader of a Freemason-type group called the Stonecutters and his loyal followers let him win at everything. At first, itís great. But after a while, winning becomes routine and loses its lustre.

You would think Yankees fans would feel the same way.

Apparently not.

Year after year, they cheer their beloved pinstripes to victory. And while the Yankees donít win the World Series every season, itís pretty well a guarantee that theyíll make it into the playoffs.

The Yankees, the biggest spenders in baseball, have qualified for the post-season 14 times in the past 15 seasons.

How can that be exciting anymore?

The Red Sox, meanwhile, with baseballís second-highest payroll, have made it to the post-season six times in the past seven seasons.

New York and Boston have finished in the top two in the American League East 10 times in the past 12 seasons.

Meanwhile, fans in places such as Toronto and Baltimore feel as though theyíve been kicked in the gut.

I have a lot of friends who are die-hard Blue Jays fans. Many of them havenít gone to a game in years.

Itís an unofficial boycott.

Nobody actually uses the B-word, but theyíve basically turned their backs on the team and on baseball.

Whatís the point spending money on tickets? The Jays have no chance of winning over a season.

The Yankees are basically an all-star team, and the New York management has proven that, unless your GM is a complete moron, and Brian Cashman certainly is not, money can buy a winner.

Yet some baseball apologists contend that the Yankees win because of smart drafting.

Baloney.

The Yankees, whose payroll exceeded $200 million last season, draft smart, and then fill out their roster with free agent all-stars.

Baseball is the only major sport in North America without a salary cap. And because of that, especially in the AL East, you get basically the same winners every year.

Tampa Bay fans are supposed to be happy with that one great season they had in 2008. You know what happens when their great young players become free agents? Theyíll be snatched up by the Yankees, the Red Sox, et al.

Money buys wins, plain and simple. The Yankees spent $200 million and finished first overall. The Red Sox spent $120 million, the second most, and finished third overall. The Angels spent the fourth most and finished with 97 wins, third best in the majors.

But then you have these guys who say: ďWell, nothingís stopping the Jays from matching the Yankees and Red Sox.Ē

Great, so the Jays spend $150 million, and then the next year the Yankees spend $230 million and the Sox $190 million and then they keep raising the ante year after year.

And soon you have a utility infielder making $10 million. Meanwhile, billions of people around the world continue to live in poverty, the American debt reaches the point of no return ... but hey, a handful of baseball players and agents can now afford that third Bentley. Itís obscene.

Of course, baseball will probably never implement a salary cap because the U.S. television networks absolutely love it when teams such as New York, especially, and Boston make it to the post-season. The ratings are big.

But you know what the most frustrating aspect of all of this is? The party line Blue Jays management has fed us ó the B.S. about how they love being in the AL East and playing New York and Boston all the time, ďbecause we have to beat them eventually anyway.Ē

And you know why they feed you that? Because they love the big crowds the Yanks and Sox draw to that mausoleum known as the Rogers Centre. In the long run, thatís counterproductive.

The idea of allowing two teams in one division to spend all that money is ridiculous. Itís stupid. And I firmly believe, and I surely hope, that it comes back and bites Major League Baseball in the ass.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca


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