Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Myth of Baseball Parity, part 2.

Now that the Yankees have swept the Twins in the ALDS, let's take a look at this year's playoff teams and see if low payroll teams have fared any better. Previously, I looked at the numbers from 2002-2008. The top ten teams in payroll were compared to the bottom ten in payroll to see if there was any parity in playoff appearances. There wasn't any. Thirty five top ten teams made the playoffs in that period. Whereas, only ten of the bottom ten teams in payroll made the playoffs in the same period. The percentages are as follows: 62 percent for the top payroll teams versus 18 percent of the low payroll teams.

Of the eight playoff teams, five of them are in the top ten in payroll. They are the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Phillies and Dodgers. The Cardinals and Rockies are seventeen and eighteen in payroll though it's likely with the trades that the Cardinals made during the season, their payroll is higher. Only one team made the playoffs from the bottom ten and that was the Twins. Again, the percentage for this year is 62 percent whereas the Twins represent 13 percent.

So when Commissioner Bud Selig or anyone makes the argument that there is more baseball parity than other sports based only upon World Series Champions, you tell them that is nonsense. You must use statistics of the teams that make the playoffs. Why? You cannot win the World Series without making the playoffs. I will concede that in short series, small payroll teams have a chance to win. See the 2003 Marlins World Series victory over the Yankees. But the measure of parity is the equality of whether smaller payroll teams can make the playoffs and advance to the World Series with big payroll teams. And the numbers overwhelmingly favor the big spenders.

A Yankee buddy of mine, says they are the best team that money can buy. No doubt. That is also why they suck. It's unfortunate that the owners and Selig refuse to do anything about this. It is also why the NFL has now surpassed baseball as the national pastime. (Team payrolls from 2002-2008; 2009 payrolls)

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