Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Payroll Misconception

Note: This post is based on the official payrolls reported for 2005. The numbers are now out for 2006, so be sure to check out the new payroll post.

My enjoyment of this fabulous article was marred by one twist of fact that has become a pet peeve of mine.

This season, the Yanks and Red Sox were Nos. 1 and 2 in salary. The sum of their payrolls ($330 million) is roughly the same as the combined salaries of the four teams now left in the playoffs.

This is a good point, and an interesting one. My problem with it is not with what Boswell writes, but what he leaves out, which has become the norm of late. The payrolls of the Yankees and Red Sox have been lumped together and referred to as the two highest in baseball, with no distinction between them - not just by Boswell here, but most likely by every sportswriter in the country at some point in the last two years. As a result, I have encountered time and time again people who consider the red sox "practically as bad as the yankees" simply because the media has given them the impression that the red sox payroll is not too far behind.

The way Boswell describes the gap between the payrolls of the Yankees and Red Sox and the teams who still remain in the playoffs is helpful (albeit slightly inaccurate, the sum of the four teams being "roughly" $10 million more) to conceptualize the size of the gap in MLB payrolls. This is in fact the same method I have used to describe the gap between that of the yankees and red sox. I can't find figures more recent than April, but the relationships are likely to remain fairly accurate.

With the payroll of the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox could field their entire team as well as:

With the payroll of the New York Yankees, we could field BOTH Sox teams - White and Red, and still have $9.6 million dollars left over.

Or maybe you'd prefer to field three teams? How about the Red Sox plus:

I could go on, but I think you get the point, right?

Right on, I really don't get how they can lump anyone in with the Yankees. With their payroll, you could set up a whole new division.
You're right. This is the type of stuff that yankee fans will call you crazy for and call you all sorts of names, and Cardinal fans will believe all the hype of articles like this and hate us for no reason.

Even Mike Francesa said it the other day. The yanks have about an 80% advantage over the Red Sox, while the Red Sox have about a 20% advantage over the next highest team.

Anyone who tries to compare us and them is clearly a yankee fan trying to make excuses.
here's one I forgot to mention:
the third highest payroll is the NY Mets at $101.3 mil. and the fourth is the Angels at $97.7 mil. With the Yankees' payroll, you could field both of these teams and still have $9.1 leftover.

The difference between the Red Sox and the Mets is $22.2 mil, or 75% of the lowest mlb payroll, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Hmmm. So does anyone find it interesting who won that season series between the lowest and highest payrolls?
Thanks to Lou Pinella,too. He's a gutsy guy.
I know, I know, guilty as charged and now better educated.
ah, don't worry 'bout it, john. You were just a minor rub of seasoning on a huge slab of beef I already had which Boswell's article finally lit the fire under to cook up the numbers so we can finally feast on a tangible and revealing way of looking at the real truth of the top 2 payrolls in MLB.

that run-on-forever sentence, however? I'll stick you with the blame for that.
I heart you for pointing this out. I plan to shamelessly quote these numbers at everyone on campus until they get heartily sick of me.
I wish I could implant these numbers into the brain of every sports fan in the country. I am so sick of hearing the "red sox are almost as bad" crap. shout it from the rooftops, sam.
Something else people fail to mention: the Sox payroll went down by about 4 million and the median salary down by 2 million from 2004 to 2005, while the Yankees went up 24 million total and 2.7 million median over the same time period (
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