Is this really true? Does every city have a chance to win it all? I think not. With the ever growing spending of major markets such as the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Redsox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago Cubs, and the Philadelphia Phillies; baseball is becoming a sport that favors the richest franchises. Excluding the Angels in 2002 Marlins in 2003, in the past decade the winners of the world series have been in the top ten (or very near) highest payrolls in the league. This upper echelon of teams have been consistent with their playoff appearances.
Lets take a look at the World Series Winners since 2001 and their opening day salaries
2001- Arizona Diamondbacks 81 million (8th)
2002- Anaheim Angels 61.7 million (14th)
2003- Florida Marlins 49 million (25th)
2004- Boston Red Sox 125.2 million (2nd)
2005- Chicago White Sox 75.2 million (12th)
2006- St. Louis Cardinals 88.9 million (9th)
2007- Boston Red Sox 143 million (2nd)
2008- Philadelphia Phillies 98 million (10th)
2009- New York Yankees 201.5 million (1st)
2010- San Francisco Giants 98 million (10th)
2011- TBA- >100 million
Aside from the Dbacks, Marlins, and White Sox, the trend is a 100 million dollar payroll and above will give you much better chances of playing in, and winning the World Series. I do not want to make the more successful franchises seem like they are evil for blowing so much money on key players, but more so to criticize the luxury tax system. Yes, it does add money to the sport, and makes teams such as NYY, NYM, and BOS pay a large fine for going over the salary cap (which is set annually); however, having no concrete salary cap in baseball is making it closer to impossible for the small city franchises to break through, and make a run for the championship.
If baseball were to adopt a soft salary cap, it would allow the smaller franchises to be more competitive once again For one of the greatest things about sports is its ability to always stay unpredictable. In the 2010 season, of the eight teams in the post season, four had a team salary in the top ten. Then in the championship series three of the four were in the top ten. Then finally in the world series, the team with the higher payroll was victorious. This year appears no different then the current trend in the MLB, a team in the top ten will be the winner of the world series this year.
As a sports fan, I'd rather see a close game then a blow-out; it's how some of the greatest moments in sports are made. Yes, the games between these top tier teams are always entertaining, and do draw some of the best t.v ratings for the sport, sports should be about the love of the game, and not how much one person can invest into a team. With that being said, here are my predictions for this season.
Red Sox vs Tigers
Yankees vs Rangers
Phillies vs Rockies
Cardinals vs Giants
Red Sox vs Yankees
Phillies vs Giants
Red Sox vs Phillies
Red Sox win in 7
Finally, the Red Sox and Phillies will both win 100 or more games this year, with both teams having three pitchers with 18 wins