Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Is There Parity in Baseball?

On Sportscenter the other day, the parity question was posed to Jason Stark, and he actually considered the possibility. What a stupid question to even ask. This isn't the NFL where the Orioles 4 game lead would actually be impossible to counterattack. There are still 4 months left in the season and over 100 games. Granted, the Orioles, Whitesox, and Rangers having the division leads is part of what is making this year so exciting. But, seriously, the Orioles could still finish fourth in this division when all is said and done. The Twins and Angels are by no means out of the damn race. So, why even bring parity into the equation?

On a positive note, this year has been exciting so far. The NL East and AL East are looking for the first time to be competitive divisions. The Cardinals seemed to be running away with the NL Central, and then here come my Cubbies with a five game winning streak, and they're finally hitting the ball all through the line-up to match up with their outstanding pitching. The NL West has the Padres and Diamondbacks on top with the Dodgers not too far behind. Hell, there are some teams already out of the picture (Rockies, Royals, Devil Rays), but no one expected any different.

And to me, parity means huge surprises. With the exception of the Diamondbacks and Nationals, no one is really playing above expectations. Is anyone really surprised that the Orioles, with that potent line-up has had such a hot start? Is anyone taken aback by the Whitesox, who's exact pitching staff was one of the best a couple of years ago? Everyone has been touting the Padres and Rangers improvements over the last couple of seasons, so where's the big shock there? And as far as the D'Backs and Nationals go. The D'Backs have a solid built team that is finally coming together, and the Nationals have a solid team that is getting new life in a new city. Yes, the Phillies, Giants, and A's are made out to be huge dissapointments. But why? This is the same Phillies team that has played poorly the last three seasons; the Giants are without Bonds; and the A's are down to absolutely nothing.

All this season will amount to if it plays out the way it has started is a case of payrolls. Some of the teams with smaller payrolls are having their young talent finally prove themselves, or are suffering the losses of former hot young talent they couldn't afford to keep. As far as the high payroll teams, they're performing either above or below expectations. That sure as hell doesn't sound like parity to me. Jesus, is there really nothing else to talk about in sports, so we have to start coming up with crackpot theories to fill a few minutes of T.V. time?

The funny thing is, with the supposedly hot NBA playoffs going on, unless you're watching a NBA centered show, you might get five minutes of talk about it. And that five minutes of talk is usually about where Larry Brown might end up next season. That says a lot for the NBA now doesn't it.


At 6/01/2005 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

There's certainly no financial parity, and that's the big sticking point. There is, however, no great end-all system to the lack of parity. The NFL is a watered-down product since getting a salary cap--and there are STILL teams, just like any league, every year, you can count on to suck.

As far as playing field parity, like you were saying, it's too early in the season. Media types always want to jump on a story as soon as possible, even though it lacks merit. Probably, 60-70 games from now, we'll see 1-2 surprise teams make the playoffs and then 6-7 others who are usually there.


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