New York Yankees Compete in World Series
New York Yankees Compete in World Series

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The New York Yankees are in America's World Series again this year.  It is one of two professional baseball teams in the country's largest city.  The players who wear the Yankee's famous "pinstripes" are part of a winning tradition that dates back more than 100 years.  The team leads Major League Baseball in revenue and in championships.  They have won 40 American League pennants and beaten the National League in the World Series 26 times, in a sport that is often called "The National Pastime."

But critics say the sport and its professional players are driven more and more by money. 

In this year's World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies are battling the New York Yankees for the prestige of winning the annual classic.

For the Yankees, it is a familiar position to be in.  They have won 26 championships over the years, with the help of baseball legends such as Babe Ruth.

The secret to their striking success?

Hal Bodley, who has reported on Major League Baseball since 1958, says it has to do with money and mystique.

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"The team's payroll is well over $200 million," he said.  "No team in baseball has a payroll that high.  That's the mystique of the Yankees, they can afford to go out and get the best players.  They can afford to be the number one team in a lot of ways, and they try to make that happen on the field also."

Off the field, they are already winning.  Zealous Yankees fans come out to support the team, whether they have tickets to the game or not.

That support is giving stores such as Stan's Sports World, located across the street from Yankee Stadium, a big lift.

"They drove a long way, and they're buying three, four of an item, because not everyone can go to the game, so they're picking up stuff for a brother, a sister, an aunt or an uncle," said store owner Steve Martucci.

Local businesses prepare for rowdy crowds, says bar owner Chris Manriquez.

"Extra people, extra beer, extra food,  security - everything extra," he said.

And the crowds keep coming, with the Yankees back in the World Series for the first time in six years.

Fans and writers often lament simpler days, when baseball tickets were cheaper and the game seemingly less commercial.

These days, Bodley says the players are average $3 million a year.

"These multimillionare ball players are high level business people now," he added.  "They watch the stock markets, they watch their investments, and it's more of a job to them i think than it ever was."

Baseball has been called America's "national pastime."  There is more competition from professional sports such as American football and basketball.  But tickets to Yankees Stadium for the series sold for $1,500 on one major Web site.  And Bodley maintains, professional baseball is still the country's favorite.