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On Baseball America: Is There Competitive Balance in MLB? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 02:27

Baseball America Cover

If there's a hot-button topic in baseball, it probably revolves around competitive balance in Major League Baseball. Is the Yankees buying their way into the postseason? Do clubs that get revenue-sharing pocket it? Does the Luxury Tax work, or is it a farce?

To that end, I was pleased to be approached by Baseball America for the MLB Preview edition to look into these issues (see Revenue Sharing Is Making An Impact). The article explains how revenue-sharing and the Competitive Balance Tax (Luxury Tax) functions, as well as look at the last decade of postseason appearances to see if there was, in fact, parity in MLB.

From the article:

Eight different clubs won the 10 World Series in the 2000s, which is the most of any major American professional sport. In that same period, the NBA saw five different champions, the NFL and NHL saw seven, though the NHL did not have a season in 2004-05. Eight different clubs have won the last nine World Series, dating back to the 2001 Fall Classic, and the Yankees (2000-01) and Phillies (2008-09) are the only clubs in the last decade to go to the World Series in consecutive years. No club has won back-to-back titles.

In that same time period, MLB can boast that 23 of its teams have reached the playoffs. Only the Expos/Nationals, Royals, Pirates, Orioles, Blue Jays, Rangers and Reds missed out. If you tie team payroll ranking to the equation, looking at who is making the postseason and how often, you see that clubs at the low end of the revenue spectrum can make the postseason, just not as often. With the exception of Oakland and Minnesota, low-revenue clubs see an exceptionally small window. Consider this: of the 23 clubs that made the playoffs, the top nine in payroll made 58 percent of the postseason appearances. That makes sense: If you invest wisely in player payroll, you increase your chances of making the postseason. From there, the dynamics can change. Just ask the Marlins, Rays, Rockies, and Diamondbacks.

The article ends with a table showing the 23 clubs that made the playoffs from 2000-'09, broken down the number of times they made the postseason, and their average payroll rankings based upon those total appearances, based upon end-of-year payroll.

The table really outlines that while no matter the revenues, a club could make the playoffs, but going there often required high levels of player payroll. How was that table created?

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE SUPER DETAILED BREAKDOWN OF EACH OF THE 23 CLUBS THAT MADE THE POSTSEASON OVER THE LAST DECADE, INCLUDES:

  • REGULAR SEASON RECORD
  • END-OF-YEAR PAYROLL FIGURE
  • PAYROLL FIGURE RANKING
  • HOW DEEP THEY WENT IN THE POSTSEASON
  • WHETHER THEY MADE THE WORLD SERIES
  • WHETHER THEY WON OR LOST THE WORLD SERIES
  • WHETHER THEY WENT IN AS A WILD CARD
Postseason Appearance
Select the image above to see a detailed break down
of postseason appearance by payroll overĀ  the last
decade, as part of research for the Baseball America
article, Revenue Sharing is Making an Impact


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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