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March 9, 2001

by Bill Hogan



Last week, I asked for input on the following: "Is free agency wiping out the sports dynasty?" A reader brought to my attention the greater issue.

Rob from Baltimore wrote: "Free agency is not causing the sports dynasty to go the way of the dinosaur. The real problem is the salary cap. Take a look at baseball. Much to my dismay (I'm an Orioles fan), the Yankees have won 3 straight World Series. They probably would have lost some of their stars along the way if they had to work within the confines of a salary cap."


"Free agency", he said, "only serves to help a team get better. It's the salary cap that forces a good team to dismantle".

You're right, Rob. And (not to rub it in) it looks like the Yankees only got better this off season by signing ex-O Mike Mussina.

The salary cap seems to be having its biggest effect on the NFL.

Six different teams have appeared in the last three Super Bowls.

Proven veterans are dropping like flies as teams scramble to get under the salary cap.

Sooner or later, age or injury will make even a future Hall of Fame player (i.e. Rice and Aikman) expendable when considering the salary cap issue.

This year's list of veterans that were waived before the salary cap deadline reads like a Pro Bowl roster.

Let me make a proposal to the NFL: If a player is with the same team for ten years or more, then his salary should not count toward the cap. Reward the veterans that have spent their entire career with one team by letting them decide when it's time to go.

I know, as a fan, there is nothing worse than seeing a guy you cheered on for years wearing another team's uniform.

Johnny Unitas looked ridiculous wearing high-top cleats and a lightening bolt Chargers helmet. (Of course it wasn't a salary cap issue that made Unitas leave Baltimore).

Write me and let me know how you felt when you first saw your favorite player suit it up for another team.


Back to baseball. Enough has been written about the quarter billion dollar contract signed by Alex Rodriguez. Here's my take. I don't care. If I were a Ranger fan, I'd be happy. Heck, I'd even spend a little more on a ticket to help pay the guy. Butů

Don't expect the fans to foot the whole bill!

I don't want the already over-priced hotdog to cost more.

There's about a 10,000% mark-up on a draft beer - leave it alone.

When I go to an expensive restaurant for dinner, they usually have free valet parking. If I'm going to drop $100 or more (usually more) at your ballpark, don't hit me up to park my car!

And, lastly, give away those big foam "we're number one" fingers. What do they cost to make? A penny? Consider it free advertising. I can't walk into a ballpark without my son hounding me for one. He's got about a dozen collecting dust in his room.

The big finger is good for nothing after you leave the stadium. And it's worthless if my team is not "number one". Of course, my two-year-old would disagree. He uses it to try to poke his mother in the eye when he thinks she's ignoring him.

I'd rather buy my son a ball cap. At least he could wear it to school, or the mall. I can't remember the last time I saw a kid walking around the food court with a big foam finger on his hand.

Baseball has the right idea. Forget about a league imposed salary cap. Every team in pro sports already has a cap. When the money runs out. As a fan, I want my sports teams to spend as much as they can to field a championship caliber team.

The only cap I want my team to worry about is the one they're selling at the concession stand. The cap I'd like to buy my son if I can get him to stop asking for that dopey foam finger.


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