I’d like the New York Mets to win the World Series, please

You are supposed to root your team to win the tournament. I got it. For those of us blessed to cheer on a great team, we want to see that greatness crowned with this cute, sweet, very pointy championship trophy. For those of us who don’t have that chance, well, we better get to the underdogs, right?

The 2023 Kansas City Royals will not be a good team. The 2022 edition wasn’t a good team, and the gap between what last year’s team was and what counts as “good” is uncomfortably large, so uncomfortably large that the right move (standing up, assessing the young talent you have, making next year’s moves) feels like a concession. About the white flag already.

Yes, I’d like the Royals to win this year’s World Series trophy. But I’m realistic: It won’t happen. And you know what? I don’t subscribe to the “heroism or bankruptcy” mentality. Sport is entertainment, and putting all your eggs in the tournament basket is foolproof.

So, who do I support to win the World Championships this year? New York Mets, that is. I’d like the Mets to win the World Series because it could be a catalyst for what baseball needs most: a salary cap and a salary floor.

Mets owner Steve Cohen bought a controlling stake in the team in 2020 after becoming a minority owner eight years earlier. The big-market Mets hovered in the middle of the pack in 2010, and even in 2015 they had the 21st spot on the Opening Day payroll. Cohen, the richest owner in Major League Baseball With a fortune of $17.5 billion, per ForbesSpending started immediately. In 2021, the Mets’ opening day payroll was $195 million, about $37 million more than their 2019 salary. In 2022, the Mets’ opening day payroll was $264 million, an increase of $69 million from the previous year.

To counter Cohen’s spending spree, the owners attempted to clamp down by implementing what have come to be called “Steve Cohen TaxIn the new collective bargaining agreement. Said agreement imposes penalties for repeated spending above one of several thresholds. Cohen’s tax specifically mentions a new threshold, which in 2022 was $290 million. MLB teams can exceed Cohen’s tax threshold, but to do so They must pay an additional 80% on every dollar — at a minimum — spent above the threshold over the $230 million basic luxury tax cap.

Cohen didn’t care. So far in 2023, even after the huge deal for Carlos Correa fell through, the Mets are looking at a $339 million Opening Day payroll — which is $75 million more than last year. But that’s not all: Cohen and Mets are over Cohen’s tax threshold and are spending an amount An additional $88 million in competitive balance taxes. Overall, the Mets’ payroll will cost them more than $427 million in 2023.

In an article for The AthleticEvan Drilich, who covered the CBA negotiations extensively the previous season, quotes a rival executive on Cohen’s spending spree:

“Our sport looks broken right now,” another competition executive said Wednesday. “We have someone who has three times the average salary and doesn’t care at all about the long term of any of these contracts, in terms of the risks attached to any of them. How exactly does this work? I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.”

So, why am I rooting for the Mets? It’s simple: Because a World Series win for the Mets could be the catalyst for something game-changing: a salary cap and a salary floor.

By and large, MLB owners have money. Look at the numbers And you’ll find that even small market teams like the Royals get involved at least 215 million US dollars in revenue annually, with a huge difference in the market Pulling $500 million north. Now, there’s no arguing that John Sherman can’t match Cohen’s spending. But this is where the minimum salary and salary cap come in. Last February, I looked at what It will look like the NBA minimum salary and the MLB salary cap. As revenue sharing increases, setting caps and bottoms would increase the money going to players and reduce the spending gap between top and bottom.

With a hard cap, Cohen’s spending tactics can be curtailed, and with solid ground, teams will be forced to spend money they otherwise wouldn’t. Meanwhile, I can’t really blame Cohen; He’s got money, his business is making a lot of money, and he’s investing it directly into his business.

A Mets win in the World Series may not change much. The damage could have already been done to the rest of the owners. But somehow, watching Cohen and the team he bought lift the World Cup feels like he might accomplish something he might not otherwise. That’s because the owners, as a group, don’t want to show up. In Drilich’s article, he quotes another executive who admitted Cohen’s rogue act is holding something back.

“I think it will have consequences for him in the future,” said an official with another major league team who was not authorized to speak publicly. There is no collusion. But… there was a reason no one ever made over $300 million over the course of years. You still have partners, and there is a system.

I don’t want to see royals cry poor and run off their paychecks in the bottom third of their paychecks year after year like they have for most of my life as an adult. So, I’m going to root for Mets to see if they can kick-start the change into a system that needs it.

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