Major League Baseball is king. Parity king, that is.
On Tuesday night, when the San Francisco Giants were officially eliminated from the postseason, it was assured that baseball wouldn’t have a repeat World Series champion for the 15th straight year.
It broke the record of 14 straight years, dating back to 1979-1992. The Blue Jays ended the streak when they repeated as champs in 1993.
It’s an incredible testament to the game, it’s parity and balance.
The wealth of winning is spread all over MLB America and it’s no wonder the game has never been healthier, both attendance-wise (MLB expects growth again when final ’15 numbers are added) and financially (the sport is approaching $9 billion in revenue).
It’s why baseball fans continue to buy tickets and actually still go to games. NBA and NFL fans cry about steep ticket prices and many NFL fans would rather stay home and watch games on their 60-inch HD TVs than venture out to a nearby stadium.
Baseball is simply a better product at a reasonable price. Fans also feel better that their home team has a chance to compete. In the NFL, and especially in the NBA, some fans feel like their team is just there for fodder so LeBron James can secure another chance to win a title. He’s been to the Finals five straight years.
For sure, MLB takes the notion that professional sports leagues need a salary cap to maintain parity and blows it out out of the water.
It’s a myth. A hoax. A lie.
Owners have been spewing this nonsense since the 1980s. Sadly, fans have bought it hook, line and sinker.
The only reason for a salary cap is to stop owners from outbidding themselves and driving up the cost of labor. Players should be paid their worth without a earnings-ceiling. Baseball is proof positive. There is no salary cap, yet the sport is more competitive than both the NFL and NBA.
In the last 14 championship seasons, MLB has had nine different teams win it all. In the same span, the NFL has had eight and the NBA six.
That wasn’t supposed to be as many claimed MLB would kill itself because all the players would only go to big markets and teams from smaller markets wouldn’t be able to compete.
Hit the buzzer as that’s false.
It’s never been about money. Plenty of big-market teams with a lot of money to spend haven’t won the World Series in many years, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs.
It has been, and always will be, about who is spending the money and picking the players. If all teams have the same amount of money to spend as the other teams in the league and a team has a bad general manager, your team will still be bad because of the bad decisions.
The NFL has a salary cap yet the Detroit Lions have won just one playoff game since 1957.
When Matt Millen was the general manager, the Lions were historically bad, even though they had the same amount of money to spend as the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.
Yet a Millen-produced team went 0-16 in 2008, the first time in NFL history. Terrible decisions and poor draft selections sunk the Lions, not equal money.
The Yankees have a ton of cash. Yet, if they land a postseason spot – and they are in line to so – it will be their first trip back to the playoffs since 2012. And to top it off, the Bronx Bombers haven’t won a title since 2009.
“It’s difficult (to repeat) because there are really smart people who are running the game,” former pitcher Ron Darling, a TBS MLB analyst, said to MLB.com. “They’re identifying what their weaknesses are straightaway.
“So a team that is not a very good team seems to get better the year or two years after that.”
Indeed. General managers are simply doing more to fix their flawed teams. Plus, there are no more five-year plans. Teams are trying to get better and win every year.
“They are all doing a good job, preparing a winning team obviously,” said St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina to MLB.com. “It’s good for baseball.”
And good for parity.
And great for fans.