With the 2009 Major League Baseball season underway, everyone will be watching the New York Yankees. Another offseason spending spree has further distanced the Yankees' payroll from the rest of the league. It seems they sign every single big name free agent who hits the market. Because of this, a lot of people complain the Yankees are ruining baseball, but that simply isn't true. In fact, it is quite the opposite: the Yankees are great for baseball.
The biggest way the Yankees help the sport is through revenue sharing. Revenue sharing was implemented in the 2002 collective bargaining agreement. Shared revenue is how several smaller market teams make a large portion of their money. In 2005, the Yankees paid $76 million to the revenue sharing program, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays, Rays, Royals and Marlins all received more than $30 million. That means the Yankees money single-handedly could have paid for the Rays' ($33 million), Royals' ($30 million) and Diamondbacks' ($13 million) portion of revenue sharing. It's hard to complain about a team that helps the league out so much.
Implementing a salary cap has been a hot-button issue during recent baseball offseasons. A salary cap would not help baseball at all. If it were to be implemented, the Yankees would not be able to sign the big name players who help them be such a recognizable franchise. This would prevent them from being so profitable. That would then decrease the amount that they paid to the revenue sharing program, thus hurting several smaller market teams.
The Yankees have some of the most recognizable players in baseball. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are two of the most recognizable people in pop culture in general. Fans enjoy keeping up with A-Rod and Jeter's personal lives almost as much as they enjoy watching them play baseball. A-Rod's fling with Madonna received more attention last year than his stats.
This makes the MLB easier to market nationally and worldwide. Teams sell more tickets when the Yankees come to town. Toronto's stadium is often filled with more Yankees fans than Blue Jays fans. The Royals always draw more fans when the Yankees visit, and it is like that around most of the league.
The Yankees are the "bad guys" every league needs. Football has the Patriots, basketball has the Lakers and baseball has the Yankees. These teams all have large fan bases, but even more importantly, there are even more people who love to root against them. As long as seats are filled, the MLB is winning. If fans really hate the Yankees, they shouldn't attend games that feature the Yankees.
If you take the Yankees away from baseball, the league would not survive. The fact is that yes, they do spend a lot more than the rest of the league, but they do not have a monopoly on winning. They have not won the World Series since 2000.
And yes, they do have the most World Series championships by far (the Yankees have 26, the Cardinals are second with 10). But out of all the World Series played, the Yankees have won only 25 percent. With all the revenue they generate, they deserve to win one out of every four World Series.