- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 8, 2001

It would be a shame to let all of the work that Cadillac Bud Selig and his minions did go to waste. They compiled financial information to make their case of poverty before the House Judiciary Committee for Thursday's hearing on a bill to roll back Major Bankrupt Baseball's antitrust exemption.
So let's analyze some of the data to give it just due.
From 1995 to 2001, teams with the highest payroll (they are divided into four classes of payroll, with Class I being the highest) have won 184 of the 224 postseason games played (82.1 percent).
So we can safely say that the teams with the most money have had the best chance of winning. Cadillac Bud calls this baseball's competitive balance problem.
Let's go back to the good old days, then, before there was the evil and powerful players union that, according to the owners, has been the driving force behind the destruction of the game.
Let's take, for example, the period from 1950 to 1960. I don't have payroll figures available, but it is reasonable to conclude that teams in large markets spent more than teams in small markets. And it is reasonable to conclude that New York is a large market, as well as Chicago and Los Angeles.
From 1950 to 1960, five small-market teams made it to the World Series out of 22 opportunities pretty much the same as the last six years that Cadillac Bud claims has resulted in a competitive imbalance. There was a New York club in most of the World Series during that decade, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox played each other in 1959. The only clubs that might have been considered small market to make it to the World Series then were the Philadelphia Phillies (1950), Cleveland Indians (1954) Milwaukee Braves (1957 and 1958) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1960).
That left a lot of fans without the faith and hope that Cadillac Bud says is so important to the game.
The fact that those with the most money win is hardly a novel concept. But it is not a formula for success. Small-market teams with much less revenue can win. It isn't easy, but it can be done. Oakland is a prime example of that recently, making it to the postseason twice while spending half the amount of the New York Yankees. It could have easily been the A's in the World Series instead of the Yankees the past two seasons. The difference between winning and losing those postseason games had nothing to do with money.
And the Minnesota Twins were a competitive team this year, and might have won the American League Central championship if they had not miscalculated by trading away Matt Lawton in the middle of the season.
Granted it's harder, and the bigger problem lies in the ability to keep the young players these teams develop. But again, this is not a new concept. There were certain teams, like the Kansas City Athletics, that used to be looked upon as player development teams for the bigger teams.
Money does not necessarily mean winning. Look at the Orioles, whose payroll for players who don't play for them might be more than what the Twins spent this season on their 25-man roster. If competitive balance was a reason for contraction, Camden Yards would be vacant next year.
The Yankees didn't get good just because they had money. They had money and stunk before this latest run of success. They got good because they had money and made the right decisions. Teams with less money have to be smarter and more creative. Is there an industry in America that doesn't operate that way? How many privileges does baseball want? What it needs is an immunity to stupidity, and the drug companies haven't developed a vaccine for that one yet.
The Detroit Tigers moved into a new ballpark and still stunk because they made stupid decisions. The Pittsburgh Pirates moved into a new ballpark and still stunk because they made stupid decisions. The Milwaukee Brewers moved into a new ballpark and still stunk because they made stupid decisions.
If you are one of the have-nots, the margin for failure is slim. But there is still room for success. It just requires creativity and intelligence. It appears the powers that run Major Bankrupt Baseball have been vaccinated against both.

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