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Volume 24 No. 156
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THE GILDED AGE: FOUR TEAMS TOP $70M IN MLB PLAYER PAYROLL

          As MLB opens its season on Tuesday, the "gulf between     the sport's have and have-not franchises is wider than     ever," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST.      Today in MLB, "you have to spend big to win big."  Tigers GM     Randy Smith: "I don't think you have to spend $60 million or     $70 million to win.  But it's clear that in order to get     into the playoffs, you're going to have to spend, and spend     pretty big."  Maske notes that no MLB club had a winning     record last year with a player payroll of less than $40M.      Acting Commissioner Bud Selig: "There's no sense in deluding     one's self.  You could see this coming five to eight years     ago."  Selig added, "We just need to improve the system. ...     One could make a convincing case here that there's just not     enough cost restraint built into the system."  Maske lists     MLB team player payrolls for the '98 season.  The figures     use the "payroll-calculation method" used by management's     Players Relations Committee.  The method includes the     salaries of all players on the 40-man roster, bonuses and     benefits.  For players with multiyear deals, the average     annual value of the contract is used.  The MLBPA does not     include benefits in payroll calculations.  Player payrolls     of MLB's 30 teams (WASHINGTON POST, 3/27):           
TEAM PAYROLL
TEAM
PAYROLL
BALTIMORE
$74,303,497
MILWAUKEE
$48,753,716
ATLANTA
$71,639,725
HOUSTON
$48,403,250
BOSTON
$71,318,403
CHI. WHITE SOX
$45,887,914
N.Y. YANKEES
$70,583,730
ANAHEIM
$45,479,584
CLEVELAND
$66,850,303
ARIZONA
$43,565,417
TEXAS
$64,154,180
PHILADELPHIA
$42,065,084
COLORADO
$62,179,513
FLORIDA
$40,917,001
CHICAGO CUBS
$59,391,084
TAMPA BAY
$39,872,584
TORONTO
$58,494,370
KANSAS CITY
$39,089,251
SEATTLE
$58,017,231
DETROIT
$37,390,084
LOS ANGELES
$57,642,751
MINNESOTA
$34,883,022
N.Y. METS
$57,378,501
CINCINNATI
$32,467,793
ST. LOUIS
$56,204,396
OAKLAND
$26,646,584
SAN DIEGO
$52,292,624
PITTSBURGH
$24,407,251
SAN FRANCISCO
$50,318,200
MONTREAL
$16,031,584

MORE MLB NOTES: In Boston, the GLOBE features an extensive series on MLB's search for talent in international markets, including Asia, Australia, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Red Sox GM Dan Duquette: "It's hard finding talent in the States because kids just aren't playing enough baseball. You have to explore every avenue for talent, and the international market is now a critical avenue" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/27)....USA TODAY's BASEBALL WEEKLY editors interview MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr and MLB COO Paul Beeston in the current issue. Beeston, on attracting more fans of color: "We're trying to do it. ... You can't say we're not advertising. Can't say we're not out there." Fehr, on the image of the players: "I think since the strike ended there has been a sustained effort to reach out, to do more, to incrementaly rehabilitate the image of the players and the image of the game" (BASEBALL WEEKLY, 3/25 issue).