MLB 2008 payrolls, Repo! and randomness

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Considering the outcome of this year’s Major League Baseball playoffs, it’s time to mention MLB payrolls. Of the 30 franchises, the three teams with the highest payrolls (New York Yankees, New York Mets and Detroit Tigers) did not make the playoffs. In fact, the Yankees actually eclipsed $200 million this year. What a waste.

MLB 2008 payrolls The 2008 World Series is being played by #13 (Philadelphia Phillies) and #29 (Tampa Bay Rays) on the payroll list. That’s a surprisingly financially responsible result. Here’s a quote from my “MLB playoffs/payrolls, Prawn To Be Wild, Gottfried, Letterman” post from October 2007:

The New York Yankees (at $195.2 million) have a payroll that is more than eight times what the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays pay their players ($24.1 million). In fact, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, who earns $27.7 million per year, makes more than the entire Tampa Bay ballclub. Just the salaries of New York’s top three players put them in 18th place in terms of payrolls . . . for three guys! It’s obscene. Thus, I love to see small-market teams (or relatively small payroll teams) make the playoffs, despite drastic disadvantages in being able to afford (and attract) premier talent.

I’d like to echo similar sentiments this year. I’m glad to see Tampa Bay reach the World Series against all odds, with one-fifth of the Yankees payroll. The Rays don’t have a single player who makes more than $6 million per year. About half of the players on their playoff roster make less than $1 million per year, which is dirt cheap in professional baseball. The Tampa Bay team payroll (at $43.4 million) is less than half of Philadelphia’s ($95.5 million).

Which brings me to this: Was last year’s exorcism of the “Devil” from the “Tampa Bay Devil Rays” franchise name enough to swing the team from worst to first this year? Perhaps the Rays are in the World Series because they, uh, found religion? I mean, the team is now represented by a yellow “beacon of light” instead of an “evil” fish. Yes, I think this theory might hold water, if “religion” can be described like this (courtesy of Bill Simmons):

[The Rays] proved the flawed and immensely messed up sport we call “Major League Baseball” can still work competitively – as long as the Have-Nots hire the right guys, draft wisely and make low-risk free-agent bets on the right players. Maybe they can’t compete year in and year out, but if they play their cards right, things can crest every few years and they can make a run against the Haves.

Indeed. OK, that’s it for sports.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera opens in select theaters on November 7. It is coming to Portland for one night, Monday, November 10, at the Clinton Street Theatre. The director and writer will be there to present the film. Learn more at the Repo Road Tour site. In this rock horror opera, a biotech company launches an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause is a killer, however. Heh. I just watched the trailer and some clips. Seems strangely compelling and quite original, and I usually dislike musicals. I might make the trek up to Portland to check it out.

Repo! The Genetic Opera Music, humor and more

If the actions in a-ha’s “Take On Me” music video were sung literally, you would have this awesome work: Take On Me: Literal Video Version.

Still worried about the economy, especially the stock market? Not as worried as most of these guys. Check this out: The Brokers with Hands on their Faces Blog.

Here is a quick chain of amusing loldogs (messing with paper products and lolcats): Dis magazine has a flavr, I not has flavr!, I can xplain, itz blind.

National Geographic has added an underwater WildCam to its portfolio that includes Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana and others that allow viewers to watch the activities of grizzlies, polar bears and other charismatic megafauna. The new camera pans the undersea world 66 feet below the surface at Glover’s Reef, a World Heritage Site on the barrier reef off the Central American country of Belize. Read more: “New critter webcam: hot undersea action!

To reinforce environmental protection, here’s Smokey the Bear: Only you can . . . well, you know (actually, it’s not what you think).

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