The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics won American League Division Series' games in dramatic fashion this week. Both teams represent examples of how the rich and the poor are playing America's game.
The team that I've followed since I was young isn't in the playoffs this fall. So, I'm temporarily supporting the franchises that are offering the most compelling baseball products.
Due to an approaching fan vote in November, people of every political persuasion are debating a variety of money issues. But, let's rewind for a moment so that we can set the current scene.
I began following baseball in the 1970s, when George Steinbrenner was developing his baseball power. It's hard to imagine that as a 9-year-old, "The Boss" used the chickens that his father gave him (instead of an allowance) to start the "George Company". His father was an MIT graduate who eventually became head of the Kinsman Marine Transit Company in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1973, the boy who once sold eggs door-to-door bought the Yankees from CBS (along with 12 partners) for $8.7 million. This season the team's opening day payroll was $209.7 million and the value of the franchise was estimated to be $1.85 billion. The new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, cost $1.5 billion.
Yankees' pinch hitter Raul Ibanez (2012 salary $1.1 million) tied last night's ALDS game against the Baltimore Orioles ($84.1 million opening day payroll, $460 million franchise value) with his bottom-of-the ninth inning solo home run. He remained in the lineup, as a replacement for designated hitter Alex Rodriguez (2012 salary $30 million), and then won Game 3 (3-2) with another solo home run in the bottom of the twelfth inning.
I could have listed the names and salaries of the Orioles' pitchers who surrendered those blasts as well, but my point has been made. I also think that what Steinbrenner accomplished during his life was incredible and I'm rooting for his team (the rich kids) to win this series.
On the other side of the tracks
Meanwhile, Athletics ($52.8 million opening day payroll, $321 million franchise value) general manager Billy Beane's "Moneyball" methods were also employed this week.
The A's seemed certain to drop their ALDS series against the Detroit Tigers ($133.4 million opening day payroll, $478 million franchise value). But, their centerfielder Covelli "Coco" Crisp (2012 salary $6 million) drove in designated hitter Seth Smith (2012 salary $2.4 million) to cap a dramatic come-from-behind, bottom of the ninth, 4-3 victory to force a deciding fifth game.
I think that Beane is a brilliant baseball man and I'm rooting for his team (the poor kids) to win this series.
Fan personalities and baseball perspectives
Some people will responded favorably to the baseball information that has been presented in this feature, while others will choose to focus on the money figures that were inserted.
Some boys and girls never liked the kids who were good baseball players in school and have seemingly transferred their old grudges to current fields of play. Other children recognized that everyone has unique talents and that all lives don't develop in the same way.
Class warfare is waged by adults who think that they understand the world and that the rest of us never learned how to play the game.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He began his professional career in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons' front office (the Philadelphia Phillies former Triple-A affiliate), later worked as a freelance sports writer and is currently a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo Contributor Network! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
Other features from the Yahoo Contributor Network:
- Sports & Recreation
- Oakland Athletics
- George Steinbrenner