Yankees Won't Cover In-Flight WiFi For Their Players

New York Yankees
New York Yankees / New York Yankees/GettyImages

The New York Yankees are a famously rich-beyond-measure franchise, an organization that has largely built its reputation on a willingness to spend far more than anybody else. That has changed a bit in recent years but the team still boasts the second-highest payroll in baseball heading into 2023, with four nine-digit contracts on the books.

Yet they are still too cheap to pay for in-flight WiFi for their players, as reported by Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein. Which is an even worse look when taking into account that the only other team to do that is the Cincinnati Reds. Yes, the same Reds who blew up their playoff roster to save money and then said to the fans, "What are you gonna do about it?"

Per SI:

TAMPA — Gerrit Cole had dreamed of playing for the Yankees since he was a kid, and in so many ways the experience has been exactly what children envision: the crisp pinstripes, the retired numbers, the Bleacher Creatures.

But one thing surprised him when he got to New York after signing a nine-year, $324 million deal before the 2020 season: The fourth-most valuable franchise in sports charges players for internet access on the team plane.

Technically, it’s Delta that does the charging, approximately $9 per flight. (Delta also offers free iMessage and WhatsApp.) But the Yankees, whom Forbes estimates are worth $6 billion, do not cover the cost. A person familiar with the prices of such things said an in-flight Wi-Fi plan for one team for one year costs approximately $40,000—or about the price of four Cole pitches.

Let us all take a deep breath and have a good laugh at the New York Yankees, a sports franchise often equated with Donald Duck diving into a pool of gold coins, getting cheap on its players. Absolutely tremendous. Hal Steinbrenner is worth over $1 billion and the Yankees are worth $6 billion. But nine bucks for WiFi per guy? Too much, they say!

Clearly Aaron Judge, reigning AL MVP and newly-minted regular season home run champ, should think about forcing a trade to a less cash-strapped franchise. If the Yankees can't or won't pay the WiFi, how much will they pony up for things that actually matter? Sad times for the pinstripes, really. Hopefully they can bounce back on the financial side of things in 2023.