Hey fans,

Yes, 40 games does not portend a trip to the World Series, but based on the current records it seems four MLB teams - whose combined team payrolls are LESS than the NY Yankees - know what they're doing and doing it quite well. The Oakland A's, Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays are currently all in first place and have a better record than the Bronx Bombers, who are in the middle of the division under with an under .500 winning percentage. So what does Billy Beane (Oakland), Terry Ryan (Minnesota), Larry Beinfest (Florida) and Gerry Hunsicker (Tampa Bay) know that Brian Cashman doesn't? Perhaps the fact that baseball is a boys game, which takes heart and soul and yes, a bit of luck and skill. Maybe paying humongous sums for multiple years to players past their prime and now off steroids (read Jason Giambi) is not the way to go. Bill James, now a Red Sox consultant, in his 60 Minutes interview said a player has his best years between 25 - 29. Since letting Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon go, the BOSOX have done pretty well. Does all this mean we might be near the end of bloated salaries given to over-the-hill ballplayers? Maybe so. Look at what just happened in Milwaukee. Eric Gagne, the recent recipient of a $10 million one year contract has been relieved of his closer role, due to poor pitching. To me the possibility of lower salaries would be lower ticket prices - only kidding. Just like the $4 gallon of gas, the high priced ticket is here to stay, especially since MLB has gotten under the covers with STUB HUB. A relationship which raises the price of attending the game for the baseball fan by about 50 percent. MLB says it's "fans to fans selling tickets". We all know that's a bunch of BS, since MLB gets both a sponsorship fee plus a piece of tickets sold. Sounds like a case of George Costanza "double dipping". So let's hope that the A's, Marlins, Rays and Twins continue their winning ways through September. That would make for a great Fall Classic. Granted the TV networks would not like it. Without the marquee players the ratings would suffer. Case in point, the Yankees played @ Tampa Bay last night in front of a paltry 13,900 fans. Let's keep rooting for the low paid, high-producing teams. In some way I feel the fans will be vindicated and the Billionaire owners will have little to show for their $200 million dollar team payrolls, other than some unwanted free time in October to watch their favorite NFL team in action.

Chuck T

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