Those who read me regularly know me as a hockey writer.  But I have another passion: baseball.  Get me out to the Oakland Coliseum, put a coke in my hand and give me an Italian sausage with peppers and onions and I’ll be happy as a clam. 

I love the A’s.  I love baseball.  Watching the Oakland A’s take on the New York Yankees these past two days I can only lick my lips at the thought of having A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, etc in the A’s lineup.  Oh what a dream that would be.

The New York Yankees, the team that people love the hate, spent over $400 million  this past offseason for prime talent.  I don’t think the A’s have spent $400 million total the past five years in their total payroll.  Boo, hiss, down with the big spending Yankees is all I hear. 

But guess what?  I say, “Good for them.”  The Yankees, along with the Angels, Red Sox, etc, have owners who are ready and willing to shell out money for players who are going to help their teams win championships. 

To be a baseball owner you can’t be poor, you must be rich.  Filthy rich.  As new reports surface about scandals involving revenue sharing being pocketed by clubs like the Pittsburgh Pirates, I can only shake my head and laugh at owners who claim poverty as to why they can’t spend money on their own clubs. 

If I’m not mistaken, the owner of the Royals used his revenue sharing money a few years ago to help buy his private jet.  The Florida Marlins were on the verge of a serious confrontation with the MLB Players Union for not spending revenue sharing until they vastly overpaid for two of their own players in contract extensions. 

Now, the Pirates ownership is under attack for making tens of millions of dollars off of revenue sharing that they have pocketed.

This brings me back to my A’s.  The Oakland A’s have claimed poverty for half a decade.  Bad stadium + not enough fans + “small market” has equalled “we don’t have enough money to spend on players.” 

Well, the A’s principle owner, John Fisher, may not have enough money to spend on players, but he did for spending about one billion dollars in over 1,000 pieces of artwork.  That’s right, the principle owner of the low-budget Oakland A’s spent $1,000,000,000 on pieces of art, but wont spend $50 million on his ball club.  Love your art more than your ball club? Then get out.

I, as a fan of a “small market” and “poor” baseball team, am sick and tired of hearing complaints about “big market” teams and how much they spend.  It’s time for Major League Baseball to create competitive balance by ridding itself of selfish owners who pocket revenue sharing, and while being billionaires, will not spend the money it takes to field a competitive team. 

Yes, it is their money and they can do as they wish with it.  But if you want to spend a billion on art and not on your ball team, then there’s there door. 

It is time for baseball to issue an ultimatum to owners: You must spend a minimum of $80 million on your roster per year.  Don’t want to spend it?  Good-bye.  There are other people, millionaires and billionaires, who would love a baseball team and will spend that money. 

Revenue sharing will still exist, but every year MLB should audit revenue sharing funds, and if every penny of those funds are not put back into the team (either on the current roster, or expanded scouting, etc) then that team loses revenue sharing dollars for three years.  Ridding baseball of cheap owners will fix the game, not a salary cap.

Read more MLB news on