Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fans Have the Power

MLB free agency kicked off this week and already some big names have found new homes with different teams.

John Lackey signed a 5-year deal with the Boston Red Sox, Randy Wolf signed a multi-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, Chone Figgins went to the Seattle Mariners, Rich Harden signed with the Texas Rangers, Hideki Matsui joined the Angels and Pedro Feliz signed with the Houston Astros.

Along with the free agent signings there have been a flurry of trades as Curtis Granderson was sent to the Yankees, Cliff Lee sent to the Mariners and the biggest name of all Roy Halladay was shipped off to the Phillies.

There are still some big names left that are without a team including the 2 biggest free agents Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. Although neither has hinted as to where they will sign rumor has it that the Angles, Yankees, Red Sox and Mets are all in the running and are the most likely destination for these top outfielders.

This brings me to the point of this article, fans complaining.

When you look at the teams that have been the most active so far during free agency a common theme appears. The Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets, Angels and Mariners are all in the Top 10 when it comes to team payrolls and have all been the most active signing and trading players. They have the money to go out and spend $85 million on a guy like Lackey where as smaller market teams like the Rays or Royals do not. Thus the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

This has many fans complaining and demanding that a salary cap be instituted in MLB in order to bring more parity to the game and stop having the whole season revolve around the Red Sox and the Yankees.

To these fans I have only one comment, you have the power.

If these fans ever took the time to quit their crying they would understand that the reason their team isn’t spending money is because of them. They are the reason for the great divide between the rich and the poor in MLB and they have the ability to make the changes necessary to lessen that gap.

A baseball like it or not is a business. The owners have to make enough money off ticket sales, television contracts, merchandise and other outlets in order to be able to pay the salaries of the players, coaches and stadium workers. In the end it all comes down to money made versus money spent.

If an owner makes more money then he spends he has money to put back into the team. If the owner doesn’t make enough money to cover his costs then he is forced to make budget cuts and more often than not the cuts come in the form of player salaries.

Here is where the fans come in.

Instead of crying about how the league is unbalanced and your team doesn’t have as much money as the Red Sox and the Yankees try going to the game. Buy some tickets once in a while or maybe even splurge on a t-shirt or a jersey.

These people seem to think the Yankees spend so much because Hank Steinbrennar is a billionaire and spends all his money on the Yankees. Do you know where he gets most of the money to pay for his roster? From ticket sales and revenue generated from merchandise. The Yankees have a large fan base that spends money on the team and supports them no matter what. They were 2nd in the league last year in attendance and are annually in the top 5.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sit the Oakland A’s. They were dead last this year in attendance and 26th in the league in terms of payroll. If fans were more supportive of the team and went out to the ballpark more routinely then management would have more money to go out and sign players or maybe even keep a couple guys instead of constantly having to trade everyone.

The evidence is there:

Teams in Top 10 for Payroll and Average Attendance






Red Sox



See a pattern?

The teams that spend the most money and are more often than not the most successful are the teams that are supported by their fans. Obviously fans support winning teams but the teams that thrive year in and year out are the teams with the loyal fans who support the team no matter what.

The fans have the power. Fans need to get out to the ballparks. Owners aren’t going to spend money on a failing product and so they need the fans to show them that they are invested in the team and are willing to support them in the bad times if it means good times are in the future.

If you are just sitting there complaining (like 95% of Jays fans) you aren’t doing your part. Most of these owners got to where they are in life by being smart with money not just spending it frivolously on a failed investment.

If fans of smaller market teams want things to change then they need to be the ones to initiate that change. The power lies with the fans. But since I am a Red Sox fan I hope you all remain behind your computers complaining about things being unfair instead of doing anything to stop it.

Random YouTube Video

No comments: