I must admit. I'm a big Peter Gammons fan. In fact, he and Rob Neyer are two of my favorite baseball writers. Unfortunately, since ESPN made the decision to place both behind the "Insider Wall," I don't get to read them much anymore.
However, I must say, since the Red Sox changed their operations to truly embrace their large market status and began winning championships, I find Gammons' pro-Red Sox shtick a bit harder to take.
I don't have access to the entire article, but here's the free portion of recent blog entry from Gammons entitled "The Rich get Richer."
Now you start thinking about what it's going to be like when C.C. Sabathia is a free agent at the end of next season, or when Brad Penny and Jake Peavy hit the market the following year.
Bud Selig tried to level the playing fields with revenue sharing, and it did work -- for a while. But there were only four or five teams this offseason that could make a play for Johan Santana or Alex Rodriguez or Miguel Cabrera, or Torii Hunter, for that matter. The situation will be the same when Sabathia is on the market next November, and it won't matter how much C.C. cares for Mark Shapiro and the Indians organization. The steep price will be one the Indians can't afford in their market -- any more than the rate Hunter set for center fielders and Santana will set for pitchers -- and won't fit the budgets of most teams.
It doesn't matter how much luxury tax the Yankees pay or how much Steinbrenner money goes to Kansas City, Minnesota or Tampa Bay. Hank Steinbrenner is going to use his AmEx to win. He gets a year's grace from some of the taxation because of the new stadium that opens in 2009, but if you're out there in a small market, how scary is this winter, with the realization that the Yankees and Mets are both about to open new revenue-cow ballparks?
Now, maybe, just maybe, he mentions the transgressions of the Red Sox in the portion of the article behind "the wall," but somehow I tend to doubt it.
That said, it's obvious that the BoSox are just as guilty as the Yankees of throwing their massive revenue streams around to win baseball games. Lest we forget, the BoSox paid a posting fee of $51,111,111.00 to the Seibu Lions just for the rights to negotiate with DiceK. That's a one time fee that's substantially higher than some teams' entire annual payroll. None of that money even goes to DiceK, but rather they had to pay millions on top of that to sign him. So, it strikes me as very disingenuous to see Gammons point the finger at the New York teams as being the problem, when the BoSox are equally responsible.
The reason the BoSox are having so much success as of late is that they've stolen Billy Beane's playbook and coupled it with a substantially higher revenue stream to achieve winning results. The BoSox organization deserves all the credit in the world for their impressive performance, but they certainly aren't underdogs or some kind of a Cinderella story. In fact, it's quite the contrary, as the BoSox have officially joined the ranks of the Evil Empire. Perhaps it's time for Peter Gammons to come to that realization, as I'm sure small market organizations already have.