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Baseball, too?

It’s no secret that people are spending less money (or have less money to spend) this year. Almost everyone has been affected in one way or the other by the recent economic crisis, and I would have to think that baseball is not immune to the financial crunch.

As we watch the winter meetings, and hear about more and more players signing contracts that resemble Monopoly money for most of us, do we find ourselves resenting the amount of money in baseball?

I’m hoping this discussion goes the way of the economical, not political, but I am curious how the recent spending crunch will affect you, as an individual baseball fan, this upcoming season. I don’t think things will change for me personally; I have already picked my week at Spring Training, and I plan on going to more A’s games than last year, largely due to the convenience of the A’s playing the NL West this season. 

Has the economy affected how you will watch baseball? Are you less inclined to buy the extras; stadium tickets, Extra Innings packages, baseball vacations, etc?

On a broader note, do you think the free agents will suffer due to the economy? Obviously not the big money names like Teixeira and CC, but will it affect those on the fringe?  Have we already seen it with K Rod not getting the huge payoff some predicted and Furcal struggling to find a team to pay out?

Another interesting thing to note is how the stadiums themselves might be affected by the reduced spending, especially in the corporate realm. New York has been hit as the center of the financial markets in the US; every day brings more stories of layoffs and high-salaried employees losing bonuses, and in a lot of cases; even jobs.

You have to wonder how this will affect the new Yankee Stadium; things that seem to go during corporate cutbacks are company party expenses, bonuses, and luxury items, such as corporate seats and boxes at the game. And with the price of individual tickets rising, can people afford to attend games? It is likely that the first year of the stadium has been handled, but what of 2010? 2011? Will Yankee Stadium be able to recoup the money spent? Will this affect other stadiums or future plans as well?

How do you see this affecting baseball?