Now that the New York Yankees and Jay-Z are going to the World Series (Jay-Z to sing, the Yankees to play baseball), fans can expect to have their pockets picked by Major League Baseball a little more next year.
It may not be the end of civilization, but if the Yankees win the World Series, it will likely mean higher prices at baseball stadiums across America.Or at least it will for teams that want to win. After all, isn't that how teams sell it at the beginning of spring training? No team markets itself as looking forward to another losing season. You can't admit defeat before the first pitch has been thrown if you want people to spend their money at your ballpark.
The Yankees lead the major leagues in payroll with $201 million paid out this year, so look for other teams to try to do all they can to raise money to afford the best players on the market.
Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Manny Ramirez, Cliff Lee and John Lackey are some of the potential free agents in 2010, so if your team picks up any of the higher-priced players, expect that beer, hot dog, ticket or anything else you buy at a game to cost more.
The Yankees have the highest paid player in baseball -- Mark Teixeira for $168 million for eight years. For this season and beyond, the team is paying $400 million to Teixeira and two pitchers.
The Yankees have some of the highest prices in baseball at their new stadium, although ticket prices in a few areas are dropping, partly because of the recession and the team being unable to sell all of its most expensive seats. Fans paying to get into the new stadium have to walk over a few cracks, which must be fun when paying a few hundred dollars for a seat. Parks were planned for the old stadium, but have yet to go up, leaving non-baseball fans without a place to play.
Major League Baseball already has a luxury tax, which the Yankees pay, but a salary cap would add parity and make it easier for other teams to compete by limiting how much money teams can spend.
The 1994 baseball strike that caused the World Series to be canceled was supposed to deal with that issue, but it never really got there.
So as the Yankees host the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, it may have plenty of interesting subplots, but calling it the "World Series we've been waiting for," as an ESPN columnist does, is wrong.
It's the last World Series baseball fans need if they want to see lower prices at the ballpark.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area who can be reached at www.AaronCrowe.net
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