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Salaries of Professional Sports Players

The past decade has witnessed a staggering increase in professional sports player salaries. Baseball appears to be the sport where these increases have come closest to ruining the game. Unlike the parity between teams that exists in the NFL, the lack of a salary cap in major league baseball (MLB) equates to a wildly uneven playing field. Rising salaries and payrolls are cited as a major reason teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and other high-end teams are perennial post-season darlings while low-end teams like the Minnesota Twins and the Montreal Expos seldom make post-season play. As Minnesota General Manager Terry Ryan notes about rising payrolls: ôTen years ago we were in the middle of the pack with a $27 million payroll and today we are in the bottom three at $41 millionö (Weir and Antonen, 2002, C03).

There are others who are opposed to this line of reasoning. Instead of blaming skyrocketing salaries on poor performance and a lack of parity between teams, some managers and experts on sports argue that bad management is to blame for poor use of available revenues. How else, they wonder, can it be explained that the $135 million payroll of the Yankees was not enough to get them to the World Series, even though the payroll figure ômatches the combined salaries of the Giants and Angelsö who did make the World Series (Steen, 2002, 14). Critics of the alleged lack of parity among professional baseball teams argue that those teams who do the best are those whose managers are adept at squeezing the most wins out of available dollars. Proving their point, these individuals argue that the Arizona Diamondbacks who won last yearÆs World Series, the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves have fallen to the wayside, despite enormous payrolls.

Despite which side of this debate one chooses to adopt, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig negotiated with owners to propose resolutions to provide more parity among ...

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