Tuesday, February 24, 2009

$$$ name of the game

Okay, I admit, I couldn’t stand it any longer. Blog writing seems to be playing out somewhat, and since my true calling is sports writing, I decided I needed to write another one, even if it is about Major League baseball, especially since the sport is on the horizon.

Or, about baseball’s free-agent signings, in this case. It’s been one of the busiest off-seasons I can remember, but it’s been mostly about spending of big bucks. To me, with all the news about bail-outs and everything else the recession has caused, it’s wrong for these folks to be throwing around this kind of money for contracts, but that’s what the world has boiled down to, I guess. Nobody has been spending like the New York Yankees, who have signed such names as C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira for nearly $425 million and almost simultaneously hitting up the city of New York for an extra $370 million in tax-free bonds to complete their new stadium. And, across town the New York Mets sold the naming rights for a new stadium to Citigroup, and it will be called Citifield.

“At Citigroup, 50,000 people will lose their jobs, yet in the boardroom of Citigroup, spending $400 million to put a name on a stadium seemed like a good idea,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio . This is just after Citigroup received a $45 billion federal bailout.

But that’s not all the wild spending. The Mets have added new closer Francisco Rodriguez, formerly of the Angels, so the New York teams will now have A-Rod and F-Rod. The Mets only paid $37 million for their new relief pitcher, but that is coming on the heels of getting starter Johan Santana for $137 million just one season ago. The suddenly competitive Rays have added Pat Burrell from the Philadelphia Phillies for $16 million over two years. The Atlanta Braves, long known for their pitching prowess, have rebuilt their pitching staff with the likes of Derek Lowe (four years, $60 million), Japanese right-hander Kenshin Kawakami (three years, $23 million) and another in a trade with the White Sox for Javier Vasquez. Trevor Hoffman went from the San Diego Padres to the Milwaukee Brewers, Matt Holiday from the Colorado Rockies to the Oakland Athletics, Jason Giambi from the Yankees to Oakland , Giants’ Edgar Renteria to the Tigers, the Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson to the Giants, the Braves’ John Smoltz to the Red Sox and Oakland ’s Huston Street to the Rockies . And on and on … oh, by the way, Manny Ramirez of the LA Dodgers remains unsigned.

One thing for sure this season, you better have a roster of each team to tell who the new players are.


At February 24, 2009 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

The extravagant spending of the baseball clubs may come back to haunt them if the economy doesn't have an upturn soon. It seems like there are four places in the US economy where extravagant spending is rampant: sports (particularly baseball), the Hollywood industry, the executive offices of major corporations, and, of course, the fourth is the US government.


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