The last couple of weeks have been filled with payroll arguments, especially when it comes to "rebuilding" the Twins and the questions about Joe Mauer. But when it comes to the smartest spenders in sports over the past five years, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine rates the Vikings higher than the Twins.
That may be a surprise to Twin Cities fans, especially for the Twins' reputation of playoff contention with homegrown players while the Vikings built via trades and free agents. But this fact certainly shouldn't shock any Minnesota rooting for the home teams: None of the home teams ranked particularly well, because the list is based on wins. And this year, Businessweek gave a bonus for "significant" wins. Anyone around here remember those?
So the Vikings "lead" the Twin Cities at 73rd out of the 122 franchises ranked, with an average payroll of $118.4 million (slightly over the league median) for the five years, and with average wins just below the league median for the time, not to mention wins that put them over .500 and a playoff victory. Meanwhile, the Twins, at an $82 million average payroll that is both smaller than the Vikings' and the MLB median, are at 85th. Even though they had a significantly higher number of wins over .500 than the Vikings, the Twins are again bit by the bugaboo of no playoff wins.
Filling out the grid are the Wild at 99th (yes, that payroll is going up, but will there be any games to win?), and the Wolves, at 121st. Or just one spot above last. That honor goes to the St. Louis Rams.
Some other observations: The Tampa Bay Rays and their Wall Street arbitrage-guided spending as detailed in "The Extra 2%," are at first. But next come some titans -- in winning and spending, at least as of late: The Texas Rangers, the Detroit Red Wings, the L.A. Lakers, the Boston Celtics, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New England Patriots, some team from Green Bay and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. A little surprisingly, the Miami Marlins are at 11th.
So take it for what you think that's worth. And if you don't like that standard, Businessweek allows you to come up with your own. But moral victories aside, Twins fans, remember those sage words most famously said in Green Bay: Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing.