A few years ago, that master of anti-marketing his own product, Bud Selig, made the absurd statement that in any given year, fans of more than half of the teams in MLB don’t have any “hope and faith” due to the imbalanced market.
The statement was false on its face. In all of baseball history, no era has come close to matching the competitive balance that has existed in baseball since the free agent era began. Facile evidence supporting Selig’s claim at the time was available in the Yankees’ string of world championships from 1996-2000 (like that hadn’t happened before), missing a beat only in 1997. But since the Yankee run ended, only one team has more than one world championship and they hadn’t won since 1918. Plenty of teams on tight budgets have won and made the playoffs in the past 20 years.
That said, there is some serious bifurcation in MLB on 2008. The disparity between the vastly superior American League and the weaker Senior Circuit remains very pronounced. And while the NL, in part due to its overall mediocrity, is a pretty wide open affair, the AL has five teams who seem likely to contend for the four playoff spots, and really only two or three others who could possibly edge into the race with big years and some help from injuries or surprising collapses from the Big Five. Those five would be the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Tigers and Angels. Continue reading “Interesting Teams: 2008 AL”