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Baseball: Color The Sport Green

In His Weekly Commentary , Andy Rooney Looks At What Has Happened To Our National Pastime

A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney:
A lot of us think the same thing about things, and one of the things we've all been thinking is - they're ruining sports with money.

Half the time, the headlines are about how much someone is making not about who won. When the coach of the football team makes four times as much as the college president, something's wrong.

You probably read that television star Katie Couric of the “Today Show” signed a contract for an outrageous $15 million a year. Well, do you realize that if Katie Couric played baseball, nine guys would be making more than she does?

Of the nine highest paid players in the league, none of them played for the Arizona Diamondbacks who won the World Series.

Alex Rodriquez signed a contract with the Texas Rangers to play for $25 million a year. The Rangers won fewer than half their games, and he ought to have to give some of that money back.

I love it when the team that spends the most doesn't win the most games.

Here's a list of how win/loss records of some of the teams, compared to how much they spent:

  • The Yankees spent the most - $112 million - and had the third best win/loss record. Not bad.

  • The Boston Red Sox had the second highest payroll. But Boston finished 15th.

  • The Mets paid fifth most....finished 16th.

  • The team that did best and should have been declared the world series winner was the Oakland Athletics. They had the second best won/lost record and their payroll was next to the lowest.

There are 30 Major League Baseball teams. Each one of them plays 162 games, and all but two of them lost money last year.

There are a lot of reasons people don't go to baseball games anymore. One of them is, they take too long.

The fifth game of the World Series took four hours and fifteen minutes. Television loved that, of course, because it gave them so much time for commercials.

Baseball players all have nervous ticks. They spend more time getting ready to play than playing.

The other reason people don't go to games is, teams pay the players so much, ticket prices are too high. A good seat for a game in Yankee stadium that used to cost $12 - costs $65 now.

If you want a Coke and a hot dog, that's another arm and a leg.

Kids aren't baseball fans anymore. They don't play pickup baseball Saturday mornings in vacant lots. There are no vacant lots. They play baseball organized by adults, played on school grounds and sponsored by local businesses.

The great American pastime isn't baseball - it's money.

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