CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Vote in the Internet Baseball Awards for a chance at a free copy of Dollar Sign on the Muscle
Voting ends in 15 days and 21 hours

No Previous Article
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Breaking Balls: The Pr... (02/17)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Breaking Balls: Optima... (03/03)
No Next Article

February 25, 2004

Breaking Balls

The 28 Other Teams

by Derek Zumsteg

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

I was reminded of the game Go when the Red Sox and Yankees got into again over who's the worst evil.

John Henry, who made his fortune trading stocks and commodities on the free market, argued in favor of market restrictions to restrain his rival, while Steinbrenner fired back standard Boss comments. I was thinking of a shicho, where one side, trapped, continues to spend resources as they race towards the edge of the board, where they're caught and lose everything they expended, and everyone else watches them chase. Curt Schilling to Alex Rodriguez...Jose Vidro next? Then what, Alfonso Soriano to Boston? Can these two teams run up on $600 million in combined payroll before spring training's out? How would Bud Selig pocket all that revenue-sharing money? Will he have to buy a new coat?

Henry is clearly both wrong and right. Baseball does not, as he said, have an answer for the Yankees. Or, at least, not one they're willing to consider. They could allow other teams into the New York metro area to compete for media dollars, or implement a workable revenue system that compensates the other teams for the immense advantages MLB's territorial restrictions place on them compared to the Yankees, who share more than 20 million fans with the Mets.

This isn't the end of baseball, though. As much as I was looking forward to seeing the Yankees try and find a third baseman while the Boss' head scalded unfortunate bystanders with its gigantic steam emissions with every Mike Lamb error, it doesn't really mean that much if the Yankees or the Red Sox got Alex Rodriguez.

It doesn't eliminate "hope and faith" as Bud Selig was fond of saying. I get in this argument all the time, in part because I'm a sucker, but also because I think predictions are folly. They're fun folly, sometimes, and it's interesting to ask good questions, but no one thought the Marlins would be your 2003 World Series winner, or that the Angels would take it in '02. And if someone today wants to give you even money it'll be Yankees-Phillies in the 2004 matchup, take their money and try not to seem too anxious about it.

Do two-thirds of clubs really have no chance at the title? Eliminating even the candidates to be total surprises, the Marlins of 2004, we see competitiveness is as healthy as ever.

In the American League West, three teams--the A's, the Angels, and the Mariners--are all going to field teams that can compete for a division title. Even with Darin Erstad playing first, the Angels should be back. In the AL Central, the Twins, White Sox, and Royals all could play better than .500 ball and win a berth. The AL East offers the likely division-winner and Wild Card team between the Yankees and Red Sox, and it's unfortunate that looking strictly at playoff berths I'm not going to count the Blue Jays as a possible playoff team.

And in the National League it's almost as good. While Philly is a clear favorite in the East, the Braves have a chance at 85 wins, and trailing a Bowa team, you have to believe that's title contention. In the Central, there are three tightly-packed teams up for the division title in the Cubs, Astros, and Cardinals. The West is a race of badly flawed teams--Padres, Giants, Diamondbacks--and whoever gets to 85 wins may get the pennant.

That's eight teams plus eight teams...16 teams, even now with the doom predictions splashed across every local sports page, who can look at this year and think they've got a decent shot at it, because anyone--the Angels, the Marlins, the Diamondbacks--can and do beat anyone--the Yankees--in a short series. More than half the teams in baseball still looking for the ring. And then there's at least one total shocker team that'll burn brightly--maybe the DePodesta-led Dodgers find some bats to go with those arms, maybe the talented Jays find a way in, maybe the Marlins do it again. Someone's going to collapse that we wouldn't expect...

Players are reporting to spring training and I can't wait for this season to start.

0 comments have been left for this article.

No Previous Article
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Breaking Balls: The Pr... (02/17)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Breaking Balls: Optima... (03/03)
No Next Article

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Previe...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Edinson Volquez
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Are Elite Pitchers Becomi...
Premium Article Pitching Backward: In Love With Lohse
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Angels vs....
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Recap
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: ALDS Preview: Orioles vs...

MORE FROM FEBRUARY 25, 2004
Prospectus Triple Play: Atlanta Braves, Minn...
Baseball Prospectus Basics: How to Read a Bo...
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Handicapping the NL Centra...
Premium Article New Jersey and Baseball

MORE BY DEREK ZUMSTEG
2004-03-11 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: Handicapping the Yankees
2004-03-03 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: Optimal Bullpen Usage, Conti...
2004-02-26 - Baseball Prospectus Basics: How to Run a Bul...
2004-02-25 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: The 28 Other Teams
2004-02-17 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: The Price of Diplomacy
2004-02-12 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: Mailbag Fun
2004-02-03 - Breaking Balls: Mariners 1 million, Scalpers...
More...

MORE BREAKING BALLS
2004-03-18 - Breaking Balls: Scowling with Ozzeroo
2004-03-11 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: Handicapping the Yankees
2004-03-03 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: Optimal Bullpen Usage, Conti...
2004-02-25 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: The 28 Other Teams
2004-02-17 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: The Price of Diplomacy
2004-02-12 - Premium Article Breaking Balls: Mailbag Fun
2004-02-03 - Breaking Balls: Mariners 1 million, Scalpers...
More...