Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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High-payroll Yankees don’t make World Series

The World Series, between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, begins tomorrow. Go Nats!!


The New York Yankees, who lost Saturday to the Astros in the American League Championship Series, haven’t appeared in a World Series in a decade now, despite a huge payroll. And that’s the first time such a decade has happened in more than a century, the Wall Street Journal reports.

It hasn’t been for lack of investing, the Journal notes: The franchise has spent about $2 billion on player salaries since 2010, more than any other team in baseball. Sure, the team won more games than any other team and made the playoffs seven of those 10 years. That’s an impressive record, indeed, but what fans really want to take home is the big bonanza. And to that end, the Yankees have not delivered.

Now, what investors tend to care about is profit, at least when we’re talking about a $2 billion investment. Yankees games tend to be highly entertaining, and with the most populous city in North America being their hometown, it would be difficult not to make a profit on the long regular season. But although that investment led to profits and brought home a lot of wins, the World Series has escaped the franchise for an entire calendar decade for the first time since 1910.

Investing in sports doesn’t always pay off

While the Yankees can teach us valuable lessons about why we spend money to buy the very best, even if doing so doesn’t meet our ultimate goals, that’s not what this story on a school news blog is about. Investing in top-of-the-line youth sports programs doesn’t always mean your kids will go pro; they might not even touch a state championship. But as with the Yankees, that’s probably just fine.

“Hockey sticks. Baseball bats. Skates. Basketball shoes. Golf clubs. High-end uniforms. The cost of equipment alone can stretch your budget and wreak havoc on your bank account. In today’s world of competitive youth sports, some parents can spend up to $10,000 a year funding their child’s athletic pursuits,” writes Dave Ramsey on his blog.

Mr Ramsey offers a few suggestions about how parents can economize or save money, but he definitely stops short of saying that investing in youth sports is a waste of money.

That’s because it isn’t. Investing in fine youth sports programs shouldn’t be some investment in a pro sports career for kids. Most adults can figure out in a few minutes which kids on any given team have the potential to go pro and which ones don’t. So that tends to happen with or without investment for kids who show talent.

Rather, as a parent, you’re better off looking at your spending on sports—or music, dance, or any other activity, really—not as an investment in a pro sports career or any other career, but as an investment in your child’s overall development.

See, youth sports programs aren’t based on talent; they’re based on money. Entirely. On money. Nothing else.

Sure, they cultivate talent, and they can be all but cutthroat when it comes to scouting and advancing talented kids. But no eighth-grade boy or girl is going to get onto a varsity high school team as a freshman just because they played travel ball all over the country. Those trips may get them on some college’s radar, but most youth sports stars are just developing as young men and women.

“What parents usually want most is for their children to have fun and be successful at their chosen sport,” writes the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. “But the keys to their enjoying their sports experiences lie in [parents’] hands—first by helping them choose the right sport and then by being a good role model for sportsmanship and commitment.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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