What bugs me is listening to a guy like Steinbrenner complain about "socialism." Here is a lesser heard quote from Steinbrenner taken from the same interview, speaking of MLB's current revenue sharing program:
"We've got to do a little something about that, and I know Bud wants to correct it in some way...Obviously, we're very much allies with the Red Sox and the Mets, the Dodgers, the Cubs, whoever in that area....At some point, if you don't want to worry about teams in minor markets, don't put teams in minor markets, or don't leave teams in minor markets if they're truly minor...Socialism, communism, whatever you want to call it, is never the answer."
Oy. Where to start? It's a pretty rich statement from a man who owns one of the most profitable franchises in professional sports and yet had no problem accepting $1.2 billion in taxpayer subsidies to build his team's (hideous) new stadium. You see, when the Yankees take money from New York's taxpayers, it's not "socialism, communism, whatever you want to call it," it's Hank Steinbrenner getting what's coming to him. But when the Kansas City Royals or Pittsburgh Pirates take money from Hank Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees it's "communism," and that's never the answer. Right. And I won't even touch on the fact that MLB operates a monopoly thanks to an anti-trust exemption from the U.S. government.
Also, once MLB cuts loose all those "minor market" deadbeats Hank complains about, who are the Yankees going to play? How entertaining will it be to watch the Yankees play the Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers and the Cubs forty times every season? Will people still pay regularly pay +$2,000 per luxury seat to watch the Yankees play the same teams over and over again? And how many games will the Yankees win when they no longer have minor market teams with tiny payrolls to pad their schedule?
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think MLB's current revenue sharing system works particularly well. I don't see much evidence that the smaller-market teams who benefit from the system put the money back into payroll, which is the way the system is supposed to work. I'm certain there are dozens of better solutions to baseball's current payroll imbalance. I just don't particularly enjoy being lectured on the evils of "socialism" by the likes of Hank Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner is your typical "born on third and thinks he hit a triple" spoiled brat. He has the intellect of someone who figured out he was set for life in third grade and stopped paying attention in school around the same time.
Oh, and one more thing: Go O's!