Thursday, August 16, 2007

Competitive Balance

Where is all of this competitive imbalance that baseball fans rail on about? We are 3/4th of the way through the baseball season and only 12 teams (Baltimore, Tampa Bay, ChiSox, KC, Oakland, Texas, Florida, Washington, Houston, Cincinnatti, Pittsburgh, and San Fran) are out of playoff contention. Of those teams, 2 have won championships in the past 4 years (ChiSox, Florida) and 2 others have played in the World Series since 2002 (San Fran, Houston). Another has averaged over 94 wins per season this millenium (Oakland). Two more have spent big money, but don't know what they are doing (Baltimore, Texas). Washington D.C. is a major market and will be getting a new stadium next year. Other than mismanagement, there is no reason they shouldn't be able to compete by 2010. Cincinnatti and Pittsburgh play in new stadiums, in what is easily the worst division in baseball. If they can't compete, that is on them.

That leaves two teams worthy of our sympathy; Kansas City and Tampa Bay. Kansas City is a tiny market, with a fairly rich baseball history. Unfortunately, while the rest of the country has grown, KC has fewer people than it did in 1950. It is the 31st biggest market in the country and falling. Sorry Kansas City, but the sport has outgrown you. It happens. If more people wanted to live in your stupid metropolitan area, you wouldn't be having these problems. Vegas is the 43rd biggest market and climbing, fast. Throw a 35,000 seat stadium on the strip and they would sell out every game (Imagine the luxury box revenue!). The Royals should move there ASAP. Even the name "Royals" works beautifully in Vegas. Problem solved.

Honestly, Tampa Bay can go fuck themselves. Actually, I shouldn't put it in such nasty terms. Floridians have shown that they don't care about big league baseball. Fair enough. Just don't ask me to listen to them say "Woe is me. We can't compete." Tampa Bay is the 12th biggest market in the country and it would take a Katrina-like hurricane to fill their stadium. They never cared about their team and I can't be bothered to care about them not caring.

I understand everybody thinks that the Yankees are evil and ruin everything for everybody, but the only thing their money does is give them a 90% chance of making the playoffs. Since the playoffs are a total crapshoot (you aren't paying attention if you think otherwise), the Yankees should win about one World Series per decade. The rest of the league can fight it out for the other nine. I think the sport can survive. Unless your team is in the AL East, where the Yanks and Red Sox have a stranglehold, you can absolutely contend.

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