The Diary of a Small Market Team: The True Underdog Story

Justin LorenzCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2008

The old saying goes "money can't buy you happiness," if you are a Yankees or Red Sox fan this is the opposite for you.

I was born in the Steel City, Pittsburgh, where only two things are important... Steel and the Steelers. Being from this town we are used to watching the Steelers make the playoffs every year, if they don't that is both disgusting and disappointing.

We watch baseball, however, in ugly shades of grey. The Pirates have found a way to lose for the past 15 (going on 16) years.

When we come close to that .500 win percentage mark, last reached in 1992, we choke and ship out our crop of athletes. Pittsburgh has seen some of the best baseball players of the last several decades, (Barry Bonds, Jason Schmidt, Aramis Ramirez, Moises Alou and Brian Giles) but our low money supply can never afford to keep these players here.

This is true for many of the other struggling ball club of the MLB.

Places like New York, Boston, and Chicago are located in very dense cities where TV revenue for the club is booming. At the bottom of the list are unfortunate clubs that have to deal with what the have.

Baseball has gone from a game of great competition, to wondering who is going to win the World Series between the Red Sox or the Yankees. Places like Pittsburgh have no interest of watching their team lose on a constant basis.

Many people hate the idea of TV revenue sharing, myself included, but sometimes the game gets out of hand. The New York Yankees have a $180,239,296 advantage on the Florida Marlins ($159,109,346 for Pirates fans).

How is this fair?

I have seen packed crowds gather at Fenway and Yankee Stadium. I have also seen crowds of less than 10,000 at PNC Park (the Pirates have 1/4 the attendance of Yankee Stadium). This lack of enthusiasm has pushed the Pirate owners to buy ski resorts instead of ball players.

I am not pushing the idea of Revenue sharing on anyone but something needs to be done, such as a salary cap. This cap would bring a huge competitive boost to the game.  A boost big enough to finally bring in a lot more fans. If every team is a contender then the games would be fun to watch. I have no interest in watching a small team get beat by 10 runs by the Yankees.

America's favorite pastime is suffering in the hands of the big market team's wallets.

I am more proud then ever this year because of teams like the Rays. I am a Red Sox fan (because the pirates weren't doing it for me) and I still find myself cheering for the Rays, the true underdog, to finally bring small market clubs back on the map.