Last night before I went to sleep I got a message from the Boston Globe. “Jacoby Ellsbury and the New York Yankees have agreed on a seven year deal worth $153 million. My first reaction was, Typical Yankees. I wasn’t mad, just resigned and envious of the New York team that I haven’t invested most of my life in.
As a contrast, two weeks ago, the other New York team announced a big move. “Free-agent outfielder Chris Young has reached agreement on a one-year contract with the New York Mets, a baseball source confirmed to ESPN.com on Friday. The deal is for $7.25 million, a source said.”
While both players are 30 years old, the similarities end there. Last year Ellsbury hit .298 and stole 52 bases for the World Champion Boston Red Sox. He is a gold glove center fielder and lead off hitter. On the other hand Chris Young hit .200 with 12 home runs and lost his starting job with the A’s a year after suffering the same fate with the Diamondbacks.
Now those of us who are Mets fans are used to this. Over the past 38 years (the free agent era) we have watched other teams, particularly the Yankees pursue and land the best free agent players for their teams. The Mets on the other hand have for the most part avoided the best (read most expensive) free agent and typically gone after second tier players. Do any of you remember VInce Coleman?
Many of us have tried to convince ourselves that the Mets couldn’t compete with the Yankees, because they have so much more money. Why have we believed that? Both teams have luxurious new (somewhat publicly financed) stadiums, both own their own TV networks, and both play in the largest, richest city in the world. Maybe its that the Bronx is so much more luxurious than Queens!!!!!!
Once upon a time, New York was a National League city and the Mets consistently drew more fans than the Yankees. Now, its as if the Mets are the minor league team in town.
I can’t escape the fact that the problem with the Mets is the ownership. The real question is are the Wilpons stupid, cheap or both?
To get a different look at this I have done a bit more than just look at payroll. What I have done is weighted each major league city by population and income. To be fair, for each city with two teams I divided the population in half. Then I looked at each team’s payroll in the context of the value of the team. While you may think that the Mets are being run like a mid market team, the results are clear. The Mets are the equivalent of the Houston Astros!!
|Team||Metro Area||Population||Med Inc||Regional Income (Millions)||2013 Payroll (Millions)||Ratio|
This metric clearly is biased to the small market teams but it does make you think. If the economic opportunity is larger, and you believe that success creates higher attendance, merchandise sales and TV ratings, shouldn’t you want to spend more to field a successful team?
So either the Mets management think that they are stupid and that they will spend money poorly or they think the fan base is stupid and that fans will still spend a lot of money without getting a quality product. The latter is a low risk proposition if you are confident that you have a captive audience.
Lets look at a different metric. Here I will look at salary as a proportion of estimated franchise value. These values are from 2013 and are taken from Forbes
|Team||2013 Payroll (Millions)||Franchise Value||Ratio|
So once again, our beloved Mets have the 2nd lowest ratio of spending to the factor. This time its spending to value. So what the owners are being told is don’t bother to invest you will still be rewarded with a very high value. Of course, if THEY were smart, they would very quickly see what happens when you do invest. You become the Yankees who manage to have 3X the value for a very similar product just four miles away. Incredible.
My fellow fans. We have lived with this for most of the past 35 years. The problem is ownership. Unfortunately, we the fans enable ownership to continue to damage OUR franchise and essentially steal our money.
The bottom line is the Wilpon’s are STUPID AND CHEAP!!!!!!
The only way to let the Wilpon’s know that we are sick of this is to completely boycott our beloved Mets. Than means no going to games (even with free tickets), no watching on television, canceling our MLB packages if applicable, and certainly no purchases of Mets merchandise.
It will be painful but I want my team back. I want to care about games in September. I want to be able to not have to whisper that Im a Met fan!!!
Lets do this!!!