April 30, 2004

Convention wisdom holds that in baseall, the rich feast while the poor (small markets) can only hope to catch some crumbs. Maybe not. The last three champs have been Arizona, Anaheim and Florida and, according to Rob Neyer, we are in a golden age of competitive balance.

posted by dzot to baseball at 02:22 PM - 5 comments

When one team wins the whole ball of wax 26% of the time, out of all the teams that ever were or exist today, "balance" is the furthest thing from my mind.

posted by sixpacker at 02:52 PM on April 30, 2004

But using that argument, baseball has never been balanced, so you can't say that we are less balanced today than we were back before free agency. If you want to use winning the World Series as a metric you can say that since the advent of the Wild Card, the same team has won the World Series 44% of the time. Even that is not really a good measure of balance given that it was not like the Yankees were the only team with a sliver of hope during the past nine postseasons. It's not like the rest of the league played the Washington Generals to the Yankees' Globetrotters. What Neyer is arguing is that at August 1st there are more teams now that have a chance of making the playoffs now than almost ever before. Of course, because of the Wild Card, that doesn't really seem to be an interesting finding.

posted by Jugwine at 03:06 PM on April 30, 2004

I think he made the same finding excluding the wildcard, it was just more pronounced (obviously) with it. Of course, the corollary to that is that the wild card has meaningfully enhanced competitive balance without degrading the meaning of the regular season to basketball/hockey level. maybe that qualifies as a big "duh", but I bet it annoys a lot of purists

posted by dzot at 03:22 PM on April 30, 2004

Right, but even if you exclude the wildcard, there are still two more divisions than there were ten years ago. So, of course there are going to be more teams within 5 games of first place, there are two more places to be first in and fewer teams to compete with for it.

posted by Jugwine at 03:31 PM on April 30, 2004

Every team that gets rid of Alex Rodriguez gets better, and every team that gets him gets worse. Money can be spent wisely or foolishly. Lots of money spent foolishly is not better than moderate money spent wisely.

posted by vito90 at 04:14 PM on April 30, 2004

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