Written By: Matt Vereb
New York City is the largest city in America. Roughly, 22 million people live in the New York Metropolitan area. Given the Yankees success, New York baseball fans have been spoiled for the past 15 years. If we rewind to 55-60 years ago, New Yorkers lived in Baseball Heaven. New York had three different baseball teams(Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers). During that time frame, each team featured marquee players. The New York Giants had all-time great, Willie Mays. The Brooklyn Dodgers had Jackie Robinson. The Yankes had Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra. Between 1949-1957, the Yankees had won 7 World Series titles. Baseball was at its peak in New York.
In 1957, both the Dodgers and Giants moved to California, leaving the Yankees as the only team in the city. The Golden Age of Baseball in the city ended in New York. Five years later, Joan Payson found the New York Mets in 1962. However, the mystique of 1950s New York baseball has never been restored.
Point being: Can New York bring back a 3rd team?
Let’s dive into that question. The Collective Bargaining Agreement in MLB expires after the 2011 season. The financial behemoth New York Yankees will be at the forefront of re-negotiating this agreement. The Yankees outpace every other team financially, paying roughly $215 million for players in 2009. At the core of that new agreement will be revenue sharing. Many owners disagree with the current revenue sharing structure and are clamoring or whining(Hello John Henry) for a salary cap.
Could Major League Baseball institute a salary floor?
This would prevent smaller-market teams, like the Florida Marlins or Kansas City Royals, from pocketing luxury tax dollars from the Yankees. The only draw back to this plan would be increased inflation within the game. Teams would pay more for marginal talent and further drive up salary prices. This in turn, will make the rich, richer, player-wise.
Could Major League Baseball institute a salary cap?
The dreaded SC. Baseball did institute a luxury tax to prevent teams(Yankees) form spending an unlimited amount on free agent players. Since the luxury taxes inception seven seasons ago, the Yankees are a perfect 7 for 7 in exceeding the payroll threshold. $174 million of the $190 paid in luxury tax has come from the Yankees. The luxury tax has been good for the game. Teams who not break the threshold will claim a cut of the Yankees check. The Yankees have no problem paying the luxury tax, given their other sources of revenue.
Is it reasonable for a third team to come to New York?
Yes. I mentioned earlier that 22 million people reside in the NY Metropolitan area. Assuming all things being equal, each New York team has 11 million fans following them. In comparison, LA has 8 million fans per team. Chicago has 5 million fans per team. Injecting a 3rd team into New York would split that ratio to roughly 7.33 million people per team, justifible in terms of geographic positioning. Teams who make the playoffs benefit greatly from playoff revenues. The Yankees made $20 million alone in ticket sales. This does not take into account for the large media revenues generated by the largest market in America. Alike the 1950s, a third team will renew borough rivalries. Any team or player stands to benefit greatly from the New York media exposure(Hi, LeBron).
Would the Yankees and Mets allow this move? Who would move?
I doubt the Mets or Yankees would allow this move. Each team has exclusive zoning rights in the city. The Yankees have a lot of pulling power in the CBA agreement. After building two stadium in the past year, public funding for a third stadium may be even tougher to come by. This does not even account for the new Nets arena in Brooklyn. I don’t think New Jersey, Long Island or Connecticut would want to foot the bill either for new a stadium. I doubt this new team would detract fans from either side, but players from the smaller market team would receive huge endorsement opportunities and exposure in New York. Tim Lincecum would become the modern day “Cy Young” in New York.
What team would move?
The Dodgers and Giants will not come back to New York. Population-wise, they rank 2nd and 5th respectively. Both teams do extremely well financially. Could the Royals move to New York? Kansas City only has 1.7 million people, but they don’t have the dollars to compete in New York. Ultimately, there really isn’t a great fit for a team to move.
It’s nice to watch film of Willie Mays’ catch with the New York Giants. Jackie Robinson changed the game forever by breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankee Dynasty of the 1950s was the best ever in baseball. We will always have these memories of borough baseball. It’s just not possible in today’s game.