Does MLB Parity Exist?

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Does MLB Parity Exist?
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

At first glance, it looks like baseball and competitive balance run on parallel lines. There are the Yankees with their 27 World Championships and the Pittsburgh Pirates who have not had a winning season since 1992.

Those two franchises met in the epic 1960 World Series when Bill Mazeroski won it with a Game Seven ninth-inning home run. 1960 was during a run where the Yankees played in 14 out of 16 World Series.

The league championship series did not come into being until 1969, so that meant that in a 16-year span, the Yankees had the American League's best record 14 times.

Although that is proof that there is more parity today than 50 years ago, that does not mean that parity exists in Major League Baseball.

There is more proof that parity does exist. In 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, and in the following 30 years there have been 18 different teams that have won the World Series.

Of course, the Yankees do have five titles in that span.

Still, with 30 teams in the league, 18 different champs is over half of the league. That is double the number of NBA champions. There have been four different champs in the NBA in the last four years. MLB has had five different champs in the last five years.

There is no salary cap in pro baseball and there is a soft cap in pro basketball. When this NBA season started, five teams (the Cavs, Lakers, Celtics, Magic and Nuggets) had a real chance of winning the title. 70 games into the season you can replace the Celtics with the Mavericks.

At the start of this MLB season, I only see four legitimate contenders for a World Series Championship: the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Cardinals.

The Cubs winning it all would be a nice story but after over 100 years, they will have to have a 3-0 lead in the World Series for me to say they have a legitimate shot at winning it all.

You can spin the numbers to give the appearance of parity but in the end, there is not parity in Major League Baseball. The lack of a salary cap is one reason for this.

The New York Yankees have an infield of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira. CC Sabathia is their ace pitcher. When Teixeira was a free agent, the only two bidders were the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Yankees basically bid against themselves for the services of Sabathia.

The New York Mets spend money like the Yankees, they just have not spent it as wisely. The Royals have scouted and drafted well, but they have not spent the money like the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Creating a salary cap will not create parity in MLB.

And is it so bad not to have parity in your league? Has parity helped the NHL? It has not as the NHL is now the fifth pro league behind NASCAR, and NASCAR has had the same champion for four straight years.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament gives the illusion of parity but don't the power conferences usually produce the champs?

The simple fact is that when teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can always be competitive, while teams like Cleveland and Florida can be competitive until they can't afford their stars, then there is not parity.

The Twins are an example of a competitive small market team, and they finally gave out a big contract to local hero Joe Mauer. The Twins lost their closer, Joe Nathan, for the year and they will be hard-pressed to replace him.

When only a few teams have the ability to reload while most of the league has to rebuild, then you have to say that parity just does not exist. 

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