Ain't that America This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   The song "Ain't that America" by JohnMellencamp always comes to mind when I hear that a baseball player signed amulti-million dollar contract. Only in America is the entertainment business sobig that while people are starving, athletes get paid so much.

Think ofthis: in December, Alex Rodriguez, a.k.a. A-Rod, signed a 10-year, $252 milliondeal with the Texas Rangers. At minimum wage, one would have to workapproximately 15,750 years to equal A-Rod's deal. A-Rod himself would have toblow about $29,000 dollars an hour around the clock for a whole year to spend hispaycheck.

And it is not only A-Rod cashing those checks. Many otherbaseball players have signed huge contracts. The first $100 million player wasKevin Brown when he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998. Mike Hampton andManny Ramirez signed $121 and $160 million deals, respectively. And, last but notleast, Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green both signed deals topping $100million.

With all this money being thrown around you would think all MLBteams are in great shape, but that is not the case. Unlike the NBA and NFL, MajorLeague Baseball does not have a salary cap. That means an owner can spend as muchor as little as he wants on his team. For example, the New York Yankees' payrollfor the 2000 season was over $112 million - the highest in the league. Thepayroll of the Minnesota Twins was $14.7 million - the lowest. That's adifference of roughly $98 million.

There is a cliche that says "Moneycan't buy happiness," but in the MLB, winning brings happiness and moneybrings winning. In the 2000 season, the five highest payrolls belonged to theYankees, Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox and Mets. Their combined record was 447 winsand 362 losses. The bottom five payrolls belonged to the Twins, Royals, Marlins,Expos and Pirates. Their combined record last year was 361 wins and 448 losses.In the MLB, "You can't make the scene if you don't have thegreen."

Now, don't get me wrong - I love playing and watchingbaseball, I just don't like the business aspect of it. But unfortunately,business is a big part of America's favorite pastime. The only way this can befixed is to place a minimum and maximum on both team payrolls and playersalaries. They absolutely need to be in place so 1) teams will have an equalchance to win because they will have to spend about the same amount of money, and2) players' salaries will come down.

I am sure I am not alone in my viewsof Major League Baseball's spending frenzy. Many are asking, "Where has allthe baseball gone?"




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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