The New York Yankees are 21-24, 9½ games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. Understandably, the New York City media is bashing the Bombers, and Yankees fans are stricken with panic, inching closer to leaping off the ledge. This reaction is with good reason. The team that general manager Brian Cashman has assembled is just - well, simply put, it is not very good. The roster is littered with underachieving primadonnas and players who were once great but are now on the downside of their careers.
Regardless of how you feel about the Yankees, one thing is certain. Outside of New York City and Yankeeland (the less loyal version of Red Sox Nation), baseball fans do not care about the Yankees struggles. They do not care about the Yankees at all. Yankees fans wonder why everyone roots against them. That one is easy. For years, the Yankees have represented what most people detest - arrogance, elitism and a sense of entitlement. Baseball fans did not dislike the Bombers because they won; however, they were repulsed at how the Yankees won.
Before the age of revenue sharing, the Yankees and George Steinbrenner made the most of playing in the nation's top media market, and the financial windfall that allowed. The Yankees were able to acquire and sign any player they wanted while winning three consecutive World Series titles from 1998-2000, and four in five years with the 1996 crown. Then something spectacular happened. A bloop single from the bat of Luis Gonzalez scored the winning run and lifted the Arizona Diamondbacks to a Game Seven win over the Yankees in the 2001 World Series. Outside of Yankeeland, the baseball world celebrated, and it hasn't stopped cheering at the Yankees misfortune since.
Today, the Yankees are Major League Baseball's version of the Buffalo Bills - close but not good enough. You can thank revenue sharing for leveling the playing field. George Steinbrenner can no longer hog all of his money, and rightfully so. Revenue sharing not only allows small market teams to acquire through trades and sign as free agents key players, but it also gives these teams the resources to upgrade scouting and player development staff, and enhance their minor league system by signing high-profile prospects in the draft.