Mariners Analysis

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The myth of the small budget team

Cleveland and Colorado- raise your hand if you saw this match-up before the season started. (and tell me you went to Vegas first)

We knew Cleveland might be good, but the Rockies really came out of no where. (Obviously Boston is still fighting, but is on life support.)

So of course this World Series outcome has some fans ready to proclaim money doesn't matter. That Bud Selig was wrong 6 years ago when he was railing about financial disparity in the game.

And this argument is absolutely foolish.

The reality is 4 teams made the playoffs in the AL. The top three spenders made it, and the obligatory AL Central representative. Of course there is no big spender in the AL Central so there HAS to be a "small market" team in the playoffs. The fact the Indians are about to reach the Series is great, but hardly reason to proclaim money doesn't matter. Talk about small sample size!

In the NL, the only really big money team is the Mets. We all know about their collapse, and the Cubs certainly threw some money around. But the Rockies play in a division where only the Dodgers have money, and we all know how that went. It's great to see the Rockies compete, but don't think they wouldn't take a bump in payroll just the same. Money matters more often than not- the Cubs and Mets can afford to make mistakes the smaller teams can't. If the Rockies make the post season the next 5 seasons you might be on to something, but you can't make sweeping conclusions based on a single season.

The obvious story in baseball right now is clearly the youth movement. Teams like the Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox are seeing the trend in rebuilding has to be largely done internally. They are outspending their opponents both in 40-man payroll as well as scouting and signing bonuses.

If you think money doesn't matter in baseball, that all teams are competing on a level playing field.... well, you're an idiot or you're not paying attention.

Take your pick.