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What Do You Expect for $40 Million?

You have to either admire or be bewildered with the baseball fans in Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, who reach into their savings account every year, to purchase seasonís tickets for their professional baseball team. They either have too much money, or are living in one hell of a dream world if they expect their favorite teams to be competitive when they donít spend any money. Now to most of us $40 million is a large whack of dough, but in the MLB that does not add up to very many wins.

Case in point are the payrolls of Tampa Bay at $29 million, Kansas City at $36 million, Pittsburgh at $38 million and Milwaukee at $39 million. While we have only played about 16% of the schedule up until this point, a quick glance will reveal the expected. All four teams sit at the bottom of the division and I would not anticipate much better in the next 140 games or so. Kansas City lost 104 games last year and they could be worse this year. Their record now stands at 5-17 and considering they got a break by playing 15 of their first 22 games and won only 2, this will be a long year in the ďShow Me State.Ē

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, lost their fourth straight game and are now 1-7 on the road and Lou Pinella is probably going to end up in the hospital if this continues. Pittsburgh and Milwaukee sit at 8-12 and 8-13 respectively and will be staring up at the Cardinals all year.

Donít get me wrong, though, if you think that I support the insane philosophy of George Steinbrenner who is forking out $208 million this year on the Red Sox and their $123 million, but whatís the point in having a team if you canít compete? For an extra $20 million dollars, you may be able to field a half-decent team like Minnesota and Florida, which would lend to bigger crowds and increased revenues.

Good ball teams will attract tourists to the community, who then will stimulate the growth of the other businesses in the area. What amazes me, though, is how the sport of baseball can continue to shell out these incredibly large salaries, yet several of their teams are going to end up in ruins because they cannot compete. You would think they would learn from the sad state in the National Hockey League!




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