Talk of the day: A-Rod's deal proves Yankees' frugal ways

Published May 3, 2007

The New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, whose $252-million contract is the biggest in baseball history, generates more than twice his $23-million annual salary for the team, according to an economist who has advised franchises on players' value. The Yankees earn almost $47-million a year in revenue based on the games Rodriguez wins for the club, said Stephen Walters, an economics professor at Loyola College in Maryland. Rodriguez, a two-time American League Most Valuable Player, is an even bigger bargain because New York is responsible for only $16-million of his salary this season. His former team, the Texas Rangers, is paying the rest as part of the trade that brought him to the Yankees in 2004.

Southwest's cheap rep might not fly

So you've got to jump on a plane in a few hours to get to that unexpected business meeting. The cheapest fare, of course, will be on discount leader Southwest Airlines, which doesn't gouge last-minute passengers like other airlines. Right? Well ... maybe not. A new study from the University of California at Irvine suggests it might pay to shop around before booking that Southwest ticket. The report concludes that last-minute airfares are more expensive on Southwest, on average, than on other airlines using online search sites like Orbitz or Travelocity. The study's author, Volodymyr Bilotkach, says his conclusions deflate the long-standing belief that Southwest is always the low-fare leader on last-minute flights. After reviewing fares on 238 routes, Bilotkach and his assistants found that although Southwest offered cheaper prices on the advanced-purchase fares, the airline's last-minute prices were significantly higher in many cases. On average, Southwest charged about $34 more on those flights than the best available Orbitz fare.

Benefits of beer just keep flowing

Scientists and Australian beermaker Foster's are teaming up to generate clean energy from brewery waste water - by using sugar-consuming bacteria. The experimental technology was unveiled Wednesday by scientists at Australia's University of Queensland, which was given a $115, 000 state government grant to install a microbial fuel cell at a Foster's Group brewery near Brisbane, the capital of Queensland state. The fuel cell is essentially a battery in which bacteria consume water-soluble brewing waste such as sugar, starch and alcohol.

Price is right for online game site

Turner Broadcasting System is retooling its online gaming site by adding free access. The change is meant to attract a larger group of users to GameTap, which was launched in October 2005 as a subscription site. Turner expects the addition of a free version - supported by ads - to attract users beyond those who are serious gamers.