Commentary

Hey Brewers, money isn't everything

Whine about the Yanks' payroll all you want, but it won't help you win any rings

Updated: April 8, 2010, 9:20 PM ET
By Rob Parker | ESPNNewYork.com

The first week of the baseball season has brought a lot of good stuff, including Johan Santana pitching great in the Mets' opener and the Yankees picking up where they left off beating down the Red Sox.

Unfortunately, though, it has also brought us the same tired complaint: The Yankees have too much money.

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has to get off this soapbox. It's nothing more than an excuse to tell your fans why their team can't win. Just blame the Yankees. It's easy and most people are gullible enough to believe it.

Hate to break it to you, but money doesn't guarantee a thing, especially not a World Series. If that were the case, the Yankees wouldn't have gone eight years without a championship before last season's return to greatness.

Plus, they wouldn't have missed the playoffs in 2008. Yes, Mr. Attanasio, they had the largest payroll that year as well.

Yet a few days ago, Attanasio was moaning about having to come up with the scratch to pay superstar first baseman Prince Fielder. He told USA Today that the Yankees' infield made more money than Milwaukee's entire payroll.

To which Yankees president Randy Levine correctly responded to ESPNNewYork.com, "I'm sorry that my friend Mark continues to whine about running the Brewers."

You don't hear other owners whine. The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't won a championship since 1988. The San Francisco Giants have never won it all since moving to the West Coast in 1958. The big-market Chicago Cubs haven't won in 102 years. The Mets, with all their money, are still looking for another championship. Their last was in 1986.

And then there's the Minnesota Twins. Sure, they haven't won a World Series since 1991. But they make smart financial decisions, draft and develop players well. Hence, they keep winning the American League Central.

The only thing money buys is good players. Normally, the more money you spend, the better the player is. Often, in the Yankees' case, they spend a lot of money to keep players they have developed like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The original eye-popping Alex Rodriguez deal wasn't inked by the Yankees. It was owner Tom Hicks and his Texas Rangers who gave A-Rod a 10-year, $252 million package.

For sure, money doesn't equate to winning. You have to spend money wisely. Two seasons ago, the Detroit Tigers went out on a limb and jumped from the middle of the pack to the second-highest payroll in baseball behind the Yankees.

The Yankees didn't make the playoffs and the Tigers finished dead last in the AL Central.

It doesn't matter how much money you have to spend. If you have a bad general manager who makes bad personnel decisions and signs the wrong players to big-money contracts, you won't win.

The salary-cap talk is dumb, too. The NBA has had the salary cap since the early '80s. Yet the same teams compete for the championship over and over. Many believe in the NBA and NHL that anybody has a shot to win, because in both sports just about half the league makes the playoffs. But in the last 11 seasons in the NBA, only five different teams have won a championship. The Spurs and Lakers have won four each. The Pistons, Heat and Celtics won the other three. And before that span, the Chicago Bulls won three straight with Michael Jordan.

In the salary-capped NFL, the New England Patriots have won three Super Bowls since 2002 and went to another one. In the '80s, the San Francisco 49ers won four Super Bowls. In the '90s, the Cowboys won three.

Yet, it's always about baseball and the idea that everybody can't win. What a joke. In reality, baseball has more different champions than any of the other major sports. Since 2000, eight different teams have won it all, including the Yankees and Red Sox twice. The D-backs, Angels, Marlins, White Sox, Cardinals and Phillies all won titles.

Missing from that list? The Brewers. No wonder their owner continues to bellyache.

Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.

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