The most expensive car? The Ferrari LaFerrari, which you can own and drive for a modest $1.13 million. The Tibetan Mastiff is the world’s most expensive dog. One of those puppies recently sold for a cool $2 million, presumably house-trained. And the flawless, 59-carat Pink Star is the most expensive diamond, purchased last year for nearly $87 million.
Not that I can relate to being a consumer of these products, but you’d suspect the new owners are fairly well satisfied with their acquisitions. Or at least that they came with a bags-of-money-back guarantee.
The 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers are the most expensive team in the history of baseball.
The Dodgers’ payroll of $241 million is $30 million higher than the #2 Yankees’, $60 million more than the #3 Phillies’ and in excess of double the Reds’ $112 million payroll. Eight of L.A.’s players earn at least $15 million this year (the Reds’ highest paid player makes $12 million) and that doesn’t count Clayton Kershaw who has to get by on $4 million this year but whose salary jumps to $30 million/year in 2015.
In excess, indeed.
You may need to read the next two sentences twice, because your mind won’t want to comprehend and it needs to.
(1) The Reds receive $30 million in local TV revenue this year.
(2) The Dodgers receive $330 million in local TV revenue this year.
Local media contracts are the fundamental source of inequality in major league baseball. Apparently not-scandalous-enough newsflash: The field of dreams isn’t level.
However, if the season ended today, the Dodgers wouldn’t even make the
coin-flip game playoff for the post-season. They could throw an expensive Irony Party to watch the Miami Marlins and their $47 million payroll. The Yankees and Phillies would be invited and available.
Today, the Dodgers half-stumble, half-stride into Great American Ball Park for four games. Since the Reds played them in L.A. two weeks ago, the Dodgers lost home series to the Pirates and White Sox and find themselves barely over .500, trailing the San Francisco Giants by 9.5 games in the NL West.
At the start of the season, the sharpies gave Don Mattingly’s Dodgers the best odds of any team to win the World Series. To say the boys in Dodger Blue have been a costly disappointment would be a Puig-sized understatement. That’s a $241 million expense without a money-back guarantee. And none of them, not even Dee Gordon, can reach 100 mph in under three seconds.
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Dodgers were in a similar position last year. In fact, they were 12 games below .500 as late as June 21, before their $223 million payroll went on a historic 42-8 tear and cruised to the NL West title.
As my high school debate coach used to say, whether you’re rich or poor, it’s good to have money. Wise lady, she was.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.