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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Big budget, big talent: Can the Mets take ownership of New York from the Yankees?

I tell him that a week ago I was on the other side of Florida to see the New York Yankees, where reporters pressed chairman Hal Steinbrenner on whether he felt pressure to spend more on payroll to keep up with the Mets.

“To Hal?” Eppler clarifies with some incredulity.

That’s right; because people say the Mets are setting the pace for sports in New York City these days.

“I’m not starting that,” Eppler says with a laugh. “I’m not even biting on that.”

OK, maybe he was smart to sidestep any explicit rivalry-making so soon into his career with the Mets, but it wasn’t intended as a trap. Eppler spent years in the Yankees front office, rising to assistant GM during a time when they assured themselves playoff berths by simply outspending the competition year in and year out. For 15 straight seasons from 1999-2013, the Yankees fielded the highest payroll, winning three World Series, losing two more and missing the postseason only twice.

In 2015, Eppler’s last season in the Bronx, Hal’s Yankees outspent the Mets by more than $100 million. But now, Eppler returns to a New York sports landscape that has a new titan at the ownership level. The 2022 Mets, if all goes according to plan, are trying to be the New Yankees.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 31, 2022 at 10:03 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Adam Starblind Posted: March 31, 2022 at 02:24 PM (#6069807)
Apparently all they'd need to do is bang on a trash can.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: March 31, 2022 at 04:00 PM (#6069824)
I'm not sure the key to the Yanks' dynasty was the big payroll, especially not big FA purchases. Obviously that helps but the key was talent development -- then yes having the money to retain that talent -- and a lot of astute decisions. The story of the Yankees dynasty is primarily the story of Bernie, Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, Posada and eventually Cano. Guys like O'Neill, Tino, Wells were available to pretty much any team. They even suckered the Rangers into covering about 1/3 of ARod's salary -- any decent payroll could have afforded ARod at that price. Now Clemens and I suppose Mussina were the sorts of players where the Yanks used their advantage -- but that didn't work out all that well with Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown. To the extent the Yanks bought championships, they mainly did so by extending their own players.
   3. TomH Posted: April 01, 2022 at 11:51 AM (#6069932)
Well, sure, if "the key" = most impt piece. But as good as the Yankee core was, if it weren't surrounded by other pieces that only came in with lots of money, you may have had a team of constant-contender/never-a-champ.
   4. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 01, 2022 at 11:58 AM (#6069933)
Having a giant payroll makes everything easier. It doesn't replace good drafting, development, and trades of course, but it covers up plenty of mistakes along the way.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 01, 2022 at 12:12 PM (#6069936)
The Yanks have outdrawn the Mets in all but two stretches of their shared 60 year history: 1964-75, when Shea Stadium was new and the Yankees were slumping in a decaying park; and 1984-92, when the Mets were perennial contenders and the Yankees were racing to the bottom.

Other than that, it's been all the other way, and for the past 29 years the Yanks have dominated New York in attendance and pretty much everything else.
   6. Adam Starblind Posted: April 01, 2022 at 01:44 PM (#6069974)
The Yanks have outdrawn the Mets in all but two stretches of their shared 60 year history: 1964-75, when Shea Stadium was new and the Yankees were slumping in a decaying park; and 1984-92, when the Mets were perennial contenders and the Yankees were racing to the bottom.

Other than that, it's been all the other way, and for the past 29 years the Yanks have dominated New York in attendance and pretty much everything else.


These sorts of facts being exactly why the author raises the question.
   7. Swoboda is freedom Posted: April 01, 2022 at 03:16 PM (#6069993)
Yankee Stadium also has a location advantage, unless you are from Long Island. It is easier to reach Yankee Stadium than Citifield. Citifield is at the end of a long 7 ride in Queen, while YS is easier to reach from most of the region.
   8. Adam Starblind Posted: April 01, 2022 at 03:29 PM (#6069997)
Yankee Stadium also has a location advantage, unless you are from Long Island.


Nonsense, unless you think people in Brooklyn and Queens don't drive. Also, Long Island has 3 million people.
   9. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 01, 2022 at 03:43 PM (#6070001)

Yankee Stadium also has a location advantage, unless you are from Long Island. It is easier to reach Yankee Stadium than Citifield. Citifield is at the end of a long 7 ride in Queen, while YS is easier to reach from most of the region.

On game days, there's an LIRR train to Citi Field that takes about 20 minutes from Penn Station. Much quicker than the 7 train and you can actually get a seat.
   10. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: April 02, 2022 at 06:09 AM (#6070082)
Be the Amazin's again. Bring Lenny back please.
   11. BDC Posted: April 02, 2022 at 09:27 AM (#6070085)
Citi Field is also convenient to the Whitestone Bridge. ("Convenient" in a sense relative to driving around New York, anyway.) It is slightly closer & quicker from, say, New Rochelle to Citi Field, than to Yankee Stadium.
   12. Adam Starblind Posted: April 02, 2022 at 10:59 AM (#6070089)
Perhaps what Swoboda meant was that it's much more convenient to get to Yankee Stadium from Wall Street. Which is true. Do they still have that drunk boat up the Hudson? That was a lot of fun.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 02, 2022 at 12:53 PM (#6070096)
Perhaps what Swoboda meant was that it's much more convenient to get to Yankee Stadium from Wall Street. Which is true. Do they still have that drunk boat up the Hudson? That was a lot of fun.

During the first years of "the" Yankee Stadium, the games started at 3:30 in great part to accommodate the Wall Street crowd. That 3:30 starting time was how the Yankees' late inning rallies became known as "Five o'clock lightning", when the average game was around 2 hours long. This was also why you'd occasionally see early season and late season slugfests called on account of darkness, before and after the dates when Daylight Savings Time went into effect in NYC.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 02, 2022 at 03:18 PM (#6070105)
The Yankees had a dynasty because they drafted and developed very good players in Bernie, Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, and Posada, and had the payroll to retain them once they reached free agency.
   15. The Duke Posted: April 02, 2022 at 09:27 PM (#6070152)
Cohen is the best thing to happen to the Yanks. They won't want to be the second NY team. NY is going to have some good baseball over the next 20 years.
   16. Brian C Posted: April 02, 2022 at 10:00 PM (#6070159)
I'm not sure the key to the Yanks' dynasty was the big payroll, especially not big FA purchases. Obviously that helps but the key was talent development -- then yes having the money to retain that talent -- and a lot of astute decisions. The story of the Yankees dynasty is primarily the story of Bernie, Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, Posada and eventually Cano. Guys like O'Neill, Tino, Wells were available to pretty much any team. They even suckered the Rangers into covering about 1/3 of ARod's salary -- any decent payroll could have afforded ARod at that price. Now Clemens and I suppose Mussina were the sorts of players where the Yanks used their advantage -- but that didn't work out all that well with Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown. To the extent the Yanks bought championships, they mainly did so by extending their own players.


As far as I remember, the obsession with the Yankees payroll mostly dates back to signing Jason Giambi to a mega-contract after the 2001 season. Up to that point, the Yankees dynasty was mostly a celebration of their renaissance and the Cult of Jeter. But the A's were getting a lot of attention for winning with no money (culminating in "Moneyball" a couple years later), and the Yankees swept in and signed the best hitter in the game over the previous couple years. Also, Selig's contraction plan was big news at the time, putting the spotlight squarely on payroll dollars; up until then, everyone obviously knew that the Yankees were richer than everyone else, but it was Selig who made it a national bugbear in an effort to gain leverage over the MLBPA.

So the league and its media sycophants jumped on the signing as a huge injustice and everything that's wrong with the league's financial structure. And the Yankees high payroll has been a bogeyman of sorts ever since.
   17. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: April 03, 2022 at 12:01 AM (#6070170)
I will admit up front that I had the same impression that a few have expressed here - maybe the $$$ helped retain some guys, but the dynasty was development fueled. Then I looked at the 1996 roster. Jeter, Bernie, Pettitte, and Mariano (if you consider a setup man to be a regular). The 5 highest-paid players were Ruben Sierra (hee-hee), Paul O'Neill, Kenny Rogers, David Cone, and John Wetteland. So yeah.
   18. BDC Posted: April 03, 2022 at 09:46 AM (#6070180)
I even think there's a lingering impression from 1977-78 that the Yankees just buy championships. That team had only Munson and Guidry as "homegrown" stars, and Reggie and Catfish as early superstar free agents; plus a sense that they could just arm-twist everybody (not just the Kansas City A's anymore :) into trading them anyone good.

The approach has worked sometimes and sometimes not, and as noted the Jeter Yankees were not really built that way at all; but "signing everybody" became their brand early in the free-agency era.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 03, 2022 at 05:32 PM (#6070219)
I even think there's a lingering impression from 1977-78 that the Yankees just buy championships. That team had only Munson and Guidry as "homegrown" stars, and Reggie and Catfish as early superstar free agents; plus a sense that they could just arm-twist everybody (not just the Kansas City A's anymore :) into trading them anyone good.

The approach has worked sometimes and sometimes not, and as noted the Jeter Yankees were not really built that way at all; but "signing everybody" became their brand early in the free-agency era.


You could say that the second wave of True Steinbrennerism started with Tino or Knoblauch, but the real madness started with Clemens in 1999 and Mussina in 2001, neither of whom performed for the Yankees nearly as well as they had for their former teams. You can look it up.

And from there it just got crazier and crazier. The World Series run was fueled by the minors plus trades and a few strategic free agents, but the decades of one postseason loss after another came with the pursuit of every big name they could think of, some winding up very good for long stretches (A-Rod, Matsui and Sabathia), but mostly they left their best years behind them. After after the Core Four (or Core Five if you count Bernie), the only notable player who came out of the farm system before Judge & co. came along was Robbie Cano, and maybe Brett Gardner if you overlook his 100 OPS+.

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