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Major league salaries down 17 percent

Frustrated that the Cardinals didn't ratchet the payroll back up after drawing 3.4 million fans last season?

Well, at least they aren't the only team to hold the line on payroll.

According to the Sporting News, the average salary in Major League Baseball is down about 17 percent this season from $3.2 million in 2009 to $2.8 million in 2010. A total of 14 teams have a lower payroll this year than last season. The dip is the largest since 1988.

The Yankees are still the top spenders in the big leagues with a payroll of $206.3 million in 2010, about 3 percent higher than last season, The Sporting News reports. Boston remains in second with a 33 percent payroll hike to $163 million and the Cubs, suffering the effects of backloaded deals, have the third highest pay out at $146.6 million.

The Cardinals payroll is technically about $500,000 higher than it was last season. But deferred payments to Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter actually leave the Cardinals with about $6 million less going out the door this year than last.

The decrease, which teams blame on the economy, is a good start. Now if they can only lower them about another 900 percent in time for the 2011 season maybe people could afford to go to the games.