The time has come for Kansas City baseball fans to drop their complaint that Royals owner David Glass is a cheapskate who'd fish a penny out of a urinal. Recently published salary figures put the 2007 Royals' payroll at a not chintzy $67.4 million.
The total is not entirely accurate. The figure includes pitcher Odalis Perez's $7.75 million salary, but the Royals are on the hook for only a portion of the left-hander's largess. The Los Angeles Dodgers, which traded Perez to KC last sumer, will pay most of Perez' salary. The Dodgers were happy to be bid of Perez, who stopped purchasing tickets for inner-city schoolkids upon his demotion to the bullpen. Stay classy, Odalis!
Then again, the $67.4 million figure does not include the salary of shortstop Angel Berroa, the former Rookie of the Year the Royals exiled to Triple-A Omaha after three years of majestic sucking at the K. Berroa is making $3.25 million, which goes a long way in Nebraska, one presumes.
Adjusted for reality, the Royals' payroll still equals or exceeds the payrolls of a number of playoff-caliber teams, including the Cleveland Indians, the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The aforementioned teams all play in fancier stadiums in larger markets.
So, if baseball fans want to rip Glass, they should concentrate on all the bad trades (Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez) and misspent draft picks (Jeff Austin, Kyle Snyder, Colt Griffin) during his tenure. But for 2007, at least, Glass has shed the miser label.
Maybe next year he'll spring for more ticket sellers. -- David Martin