The Herald Bulletin

March 30, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Nothing wrong with free-agent spending

— Since when is spending money in professional sports a bad idea?

Certainly pulling out the checkbook to fill the monetary requirements of enormous contracts isn’t a guarantee of a winning season. I will be the first to admit that is true.

But it isn’t like it has never worked either.

The New York Yankees have made it a successful strategy from the time the late George Steinbrenner purchased the team through today’s edition. The team has rarely been out of contention through that period.

The Miami Heat didn’t have a lot of success the first year after emptying the wallet, but the second year turned out well for them and the third year has produced the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

So with that for a history lesson and with a firm grasp that the Oakland Athletics’ “Moneyball” theory produced an engaging movie but no World Series ring, I wonder why all of the hate’s being directed toward my own favorite team — the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Sure L.A. has new owners and they have a deep pocket of resources. They decided they would use those resources to purchase players who are better than the ones they had previously paid large sums of money. Sounds good to me so far.

Another thing the critics haven’t taken into account is that the previous owner, Frank McCourt, spent almost nothing in the free agent market for three or four years before selling the team. So it seems to me that the Dodgers had some catching up to do.

They had to spend money to upgrade the pitching rotation. Why? Look at the team that Los Angeles has to battle each season for a postseason berth. The San Francisco Giants have had the best rotation in baseball for several years. The Dodgers had to fight fire with fire and now might have a staff that rivals the one the Giants possess.

The MLB season opens tonight and then goes full bore on Monday. The Indianapolis Indians are right behind them. I wonder if it is OK to spend money on tickets?

We are down to just one Indiana team in NCAA Division I basketball tournament play, and I’ll be watching them today.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s team is worth everyone spending a couple of Easter Sunday hours rooting them on against Kansas.

Even if she weren’t surrounded by a number of talented players, Skylar Diggins would be worth the time spent all by herself. The South Bend native is the most exciting player in women’s college basketball.

Certainly some may claim that Baylor’s Brittney Griner would be her rival in that category. But Griner, to me, as talented as she is, can be singled out for her size. A woman playing the college game at 6-foot-8 is about the equivalent of a man playing in college at 7-foot-6.

Diggins gets her work done through skill, speed, determination and the willingness to work however hard she needs to in order to get a victory. I wish the Irish the best.