I got this tweet the other day from a loyal tweeter. I can only conclude this guy must not know me too well.
Until I read that tweet, I was actually going to spare you folks my annual rant on competitive balance in baseball -- the one in which I give actual, undisputed facts that prove, once and for all, people who think like this tweeter thinks are just buying into the NFL propaganda machine.
But now, I've been forced to lay it all out for you one more time. So repeat after me:
MLB's competitive balance is NOT a joke.
You can believe that NFL propaganda machine if it makes you feel better. But the truth is, competitive balance in baseball is anything but a joke. The joke is that people out there still don't want to believe it, no matter how many times we lay it out for them.
It beats the NFL.
It beats the league formerly known as the NBA.
And as I mentioned a few sentences ago, I can prove it. So here goes:
• Even though the Cardinals had won the World Series as recently as 2006, baseball has still had nine different champions in the last 11 years. Nine. Had Neftali Feliz been able to get one more out in Game 6, it would have been 10 different champs in 11 years -- for just the second time in the history of the sport. The only stretch in baseball history that can top the current run of nine winners in 11 years was 1982-92, when 10 different teams won. How 'bout that?
• So where does the NFL stand? Glad you asked. The almighty NFL has had eight winners in the last 11 years. And when was the last time it had nine champs in 11 seasons? How about never. Ever. Not in the Super Bowl era. Not prior to the Super Bowl era. So the operative words there are "never" and "ever."
• What about the NBA? Would you believe this league has only had six champs in the last 11 seasons? Yeah, six. And how many times in its distinguished history has the NBA produced nine champions in 11 years? Once again, that would be never. Ever. No wonder it has a labor debacle on its hands over there.
• Once upon a time, the baseball postseason seemed as if it was all tied to which teams could flash the most dollar bills. Well, not anymore. This World Series featured two teams that had payrolls outside the top 10 in the sport. The Cardinals ranked 11th. The Rangers ranked 13th. That makes two straight years, three times in the last four years and four times in the last six years that the World Series was a duel between teams that ranked no higher than 10th on the payroll charts. That's a good thing, right?
• Two teams ranked in the bottom 10 in payroll -- the Rays (29th) and Diamondbacks (25th) -- made it to the postseason. That equals the number of clubs in the top 10 that made it -- namely, the Yankees (No. 1) and Phillies (No. 2). But you know what happened to the Yankees and Phillies this October. So that means no team ranked in the top 10 in payroll won a postseason series. Last time that happened: 1991.
I know the NFL apologists hate hearing these facts. I'm sure several trillion of them are about to start furiously pounding out emails about how there's no equivalent of the Packers in baseball. Or something to that effect.
But the facts are the facts. And here are some more facts: The team that comes from the smallest media market in the entire sport -- the Brewers -- just finished in first place, won a postseason series and got within two games of the World Series. Got that?
So you can believe that NFL propaganda machine if it makes you feel better. But the truth is, competitive balance in baseball is anything but a joke. The joke is that people out there still don't want to believe it, no matter how many times we lay it out for them.
No wonder I have to write this same rant every year.