to my mind this is obscene
this is why baseball will not survive without a salary cap
Yankees to break $200 million barrier; in New York, that's chump change
By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer
December 31, 2004
NEW YORK (AP) -- There appear to be few, if any, limits to what the Yankees can afford, the reason they can add Randy Johnson and perhaps Carlos
Beltran to their firmament of stars. Then again, money is no object when you play in a city where apartments sell for $44 million, nursery schools can
command $24,000, and dinner for two at a top restaurant can cost $1,000.
New York's acquisition of Randy Johnson from Arizona, which is likely to be completed next week, will boost the Yankees' payroll to about $205
million, easily topping the major league record of $187.9 million they set in 2004.
The Yankees, with a bottomless pit of cash and, some would say, arrogance, must pay a $25 million luxury tax for last season -- about $600,000 more
than Tampa Bay's entire payroll.
Owner George Steinbrenner certainly doesn't mind spending as long as the World Series flag flies above his ballpark. Problem is, it hasn't since 2000.
But that hasn't stopped him.
``When you accept big money from Mr. Steinbrenner,'' first baseman Tino Martinez said, ``you have to win.''
Martinez, who helped the Yankees win four World Series titles and five American League pennants from 1996-01, rejoined the team Friday as a backup to
Jason Giambi. He knows how Yankees fans view last season's team, which was an inning away from sweeping Boston in the AL championship series only to
become the first major league team to squander a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.
``They came up short, they failed,'' Martinez said bluntly. ``They have to win a world championship. That's what they're there for.''
New York and Arizona finalized paperwork Friday for the Johnson trade and plan to submit it Monday to commissioner Bud Selig for approval. The Yankees
are sending the Diamondbacks pitcher Javier Vazquez, prospects Brad Halsey and Dioner Navarro and $9 million. As part of the deal, they want a 72-hour
window to discuss a contract extension for Johnson, a 41-year-old left-hander who has won five Cy Young Awards.
The Yankees' economics are far different from those of every other major league team. Their box seats near the infield will go for $90 a game next
Of course, that's peanuts and Cracker Jacks for the city's well-heeled baseball fans. For many New Yorkers, money really is no obstacle.
For example, this week at Zabar's, a famous West Side food emporium, there was an express line just for caviar. At Citarella, another mecca for
gourmands, white truffles were going for $199 an ounce.
Fans of cabaret singer Bobby Short pay a $95 cover charge before he ever tickles the ivories or a single drink is poured at Cafe Carlyle.
Those numbers are infinitesimal when compared to Manhattan's booming real-estate prices. According to Halstead's third-quarter survey, the average
sale price of a small two-bedroom apartment was $963,127 in the third quarter. The average for a large two-bedroom was $1,277,401.
Perhaps the most incredible example of all: News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is in the process of buying a three-floor Fifth Avenue apartment from the
late Laurance S. Rockefeller's estate and will pay $44 million in cash -- no mortgages allowed. That tops the record $42.25 million businessman David
Martinez paid when he bought two condominium units to combine them into one at the Time Warner Center.
The Yankees had revenues of roughly $315 million in 2004, taking in about $130 million from ticket sales alone. Boston, which had the No. 2 payroll at
$130 million, estimated its revenue at $220 million.
Yankees manager Joe Torre, as well as Yankees fans, know that after he plucks these stars from other teams, Steinbrenner readies himself for the new
season by thinking about 162 wins, 0 losses, and postseason sweeps all the way through the World Series.
Anything less is a failure.
``When you work for George Steinbrenner,'' Torre said, ``whether you're the favorite or you're not the favorite, you're expected to win.''
No matter the price