Thursday, June 16, 2011
Realignment is Ridiculous
I was listening to Mike & Mike on ESPN radio this morning on my drive into work and they were talking about realignment in baseball and my blood started to boil. Greeny was floating his "idea" out there and it goes something like this:
* Get rid of divisions and instead have two 15-team leagues
* Every team in League A plays every team from League B for one 3 game series every year
* The rest of a team's games are spread out evenly against teams in their own league
* Have a rolling inter-league schedule to compensate for the odd number of teams in each league
His reason for realignment? "Fairness and equality." I'm sorry, but since when is "fairness" and "equality" the standard in professional sports?? And since when do we entertain the idea of altering divisions and leagues for the sake of a couple of teams who play in the AL East (Orioles & Blue Jays)?? This is ridiculous. First of all, baseball is INHERENTLY "unfair" because of the absence of a salary cap. Every individual ball club determines how much they want to spend on payroll. Realignment would only be a band-aid solution...and a bad one at that. Second, this isn't rec. league t-ball. This is pro sports, a land where fairness and equality don't matter. If you're a GM/Team President and you want your team to be better, bring in better scouts, pursue the bigger name free-agents, find a way to put butts in the seats; that is the name of the game afterall.
The Steinbrenners don't have more money than the other owners (ok, maybe they do, but all of the owners in baseball are multi-millionaires, billionaires, whatever), they simply choose to funnel more of their money into their baseball team and it pays off with winning ball clubs and world championships. If a team wants to go about it in a cheaper manner, they have the option of adopting a strategy similar to what the Tampa Bay Rays employ...advanced stats consultants, finding cutting edge methods to identify young talent, making savvy moves to bring in talent via free-agency and trades, etc. Just because the Orioles and Jays are stuck in a division that includes the Yankees and Red Sox doesn't mean we should try and fix it by realigning both leagues.
There really aren't many excuses for a low-payroll team in MLB. 1) You've got revenue-sharing in which large-market/high-payroll teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, etc make payments to smaller market ball clubs. 2) The MLB draft favors teams who perform poorly and if you've got a team like the Royals who are near the bottom of the league every year, you can start to accumulate talent through the draft and build a ball club cheaply that way (as they have done). 3) Almost every team in baseball has some sort of TV deal these days which is another way to generate a lot of revenue. Blah, blah, blah.
I get tired of this "fairness" and "equality" BS. I remember when I was kid playing rec. league t-ball and my team would clearly lay a whupping on the other team and at the end of the game the coaches would say it was a "tie." I was beside myself, even at 6-years-old. In life as in baseball there are winners and losers...why our society feels the need the deny this reality is beyond me. If the Orioles and Jays want to compete in the AL East, I suggest they find creative ways to do so, either that or spend more money. It really is that simple. I don't care if it isn't fair, I don't care if it's not equal and I'm 100% against re-arranging the divisions in baseball so that teams like them have a better shot at making the playoffs.
/steps off soapbox