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Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want

Yes, it's true, I'm a big John Hughes fan.  Not that one needs to watch Pretty in Pink to appreciate the Smiths, one of my long-time favourite bands.  Yes, Morrissey is ridiculous in a completely over-the-top self-consciously Byronic way, but that's part of the charm. 

Anyway, although it's old, this JP Ricciardi interview with WFAN's (NYC sports radio, sportstalk radio being one of my guilty pleasures when I'm back in New York))Sweeny Murti has been making the rounds, and I wanted to comment on something. 

As the always-reliable Southpaw points out, JP says specificially that the 2009 Jays' budget is $ 85 million (Southpaw has us at $81 million with current personnel, so there's that, but that's beside our discussion).  The reason for this, according to Ricciardi, is that ownership expects the team to spend in accordance with its revenues and that's the payroll that the revenue will bear this year.

I guess my reaction to that is that ownership's mandate is based on what I see as a fundamental fallacy - the assumption that revenue is totally independent of payroll.  I'm not saying one can equate with precision how much extra marginal revenue a team could expect given an additional dollar spent on team payroll, but it seeems equally obtuse to assume that there is no relationship. It seems to me that what you spend on players - meaning not just how much you spend, but who you spend it on  is one of many factors that drives overall revenue.

To demonstrate the fallacy in action - trading Doc and replacing him with Romero would not allow the team to recoup an extra $14 million, because revenue would drop accordingly. 

By the same token, it would  make sense that there would be a way in which the Jays could spend additional money that could boost revenue.  I see this happening in a few ways --  (1) it could make the team better overall, thereby increasing fan interest and revenues accordingly; (2) the Jays could sign a big name people would turn up just to see; or (3) more money spent would improve the team's chance at a (gasp) playoff spot, which of course means a lot more revenue.  

I'm not saying that these moves would necessary pay for themselves, but it is easy to imagine them partially doing so.   And when a team has a better season, the revenue gains carry over into the next season as well, which creates a snowball effect.  By the same token, a poor season will have its revenue implications carry over to the next season. 

I really think this notion that revenue is independent of payroll is ultimately self-defeating for a team.  It implies that money spent to improve a team is money down the drain unless there is some reason (the economy, the exchange rate) for revenues to improve.  As they say, you have to spend money to make money. 

Now, as the Drunks point out, whether JP actually agrees with the premise behind this  is open to question.  But it seems clear that ownership does - or, at least, they are so dire about the economy that they don't believe that any amount the Jays could put into the team would impact the Jays' revenue for the season. I don't buy that.