Peter Gammons is a very good baseball analyst and in a B/R article today, his comments were apparently combined with some other thoughts concerning a need for change in baseball.
Apparently, one thread in this article was that owners of the poorer teams are weeping because they are certain the Yankees are trying to buy the World Series in 2009.
And Gammons was talking about parity in baseball. Gammons is right. There is great parity.
A little historical perspective is always a good idea. Let’s look at the last 20 years of World Series History.
2008 – Philadelphia Phillies defeated Tampa Bay Rays
2007 - Boston Red Sox defeated Colorado Rockies
2006 – St. Louis Cardinals defeated Detroit Tigers
2005 – Chicago White Sox defeated Houston Astros
2004 – Boston Red Sox defeated St. Louis Cardinals
2003 – Florida Marlins defeated New York Yankees
2002 – California Angels defeated San Francisco Giants
2001 – Arizona Diamondbacks defeated New York Yankees
2000 – New York Yankees defeated New York Mets
1999 – New York Yankees defeated Atlanta Braves
1998 – New York Yankees defeated San Diego Padres
1997 – Florida Marlins defeated Cleveland Indians
1996 – New York Yankees defeated Atlanta Braves
1995 – Atlanta Braves defeated Cleveland Indians
1994 – No World Series
1993 – Toronto Blue Jays defeated Philadelphia Phillies
1992 – Toronto Blue Jays defeated Atlanta Braves
1991 – Minnesota Twins defeated Atlanta Braves
1990 – Cincinnati Reds defeated Oakland Athletics
1989 – Oakland Athletics defeated San Francisco Giants
1988 – Los Angeles Dodgers defeated Oakland Athletics
So in the past 20 years, 14 different teams have won the World Series. In the past six years alone, 10 different teams have played in the Fall Classic with only the Red Sox and Cardinals being repeat performers.
During those same 20 years, 23 different teams have played in the World Series.
If you include all postseason play from Division Series through League Championship Series to the World Series since 1995 (when Division Series began) a total of 26 teams have played in the post season.
That only leaves three teams that have not made the playoffs during that 14-year period: Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals (formerly Montreal Expos), and Kansas City Royals.
Admittedly, fans of the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, or Oakland A’s may argue that it has been much longer since their teams have been truly competitive.
The major league players union probably will never agree to salary-cap proposals.
When a team such as the New York Yankees pays salaries as it is now paying they are forced to pay a luxury tax that is spread among the teams with lower total incomes.
The teams that sign the free agents also have to give up draft picks which is designed to equalize the playing field.
And finally, as can clearly be shown by the information listed above, having the highest payroll in no way guarantees success.
Injuries cannot be avoided by paying more money to a player.
A player’s batting average or ERA is not set according to the number of zeroes on his contract. He still has to step into the batter’s box or toe the rubber and perform.
Some of the Yankees’ disasters in trying to sign free agents such as Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Kei Igawa, etc., etc., etc. are proof of these facts.
Those who think that something is wrong with baseball or that the owners of the poorer clubs simply will not stand for this much longer should take a second look at the history of this great game and stop shedding crocodile tears.
It must also be remembered that some of the owners who are going to cry the loudest are those who are quickest to sell off their best players and pocket the proceeds.