MLB First Quarter Report: An Illusion Of Parity

May 18, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The big story of the start of the baseball season would be the great starts by Tampa Bay, San Diego, Cincinnati and Washington.

The other big stories are off the field tales of Hall of Fame players napping and teens getting tasered.

The big debate is about parity. As of right now, there are fifteen teams that are .500 or better. That is great news for those who argue that parity does exist.

I hope that the Tampa Bay Rays cool off and are not in contention for the World Series.

MLB looks terrible when the team that wins it all has to dismantle due to their revenue shortcomings. The end is already on the horizon for Tampa Bay as Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena will be leaving next year for the big free agent money.

The Rays are a nice story, but they are also a sign of what is wrong with baseball. Parity does not exist because small market teams have to win in certain windows and then return to the pack.

A salary cap and salary floor would give this TampaBay team a shot at running off a few titles but they will soon be like the Florida Marlins of 1997 and 2003.

That is if they win the World Series. If they don’t win it all then they will be like the Cleveland Indians from 1995-1999 and 2007.

The Yankees might be trailing the Rays but they are a playoff team. Whether they win the division or take the wild card, does anyone want to face their three man rotation Of CC Sababthia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Petitte or Phil Hughes?

It took three last year to get them the title, they might go to a four man rotation for the 2010 playoffs.

The Red Sox Nation is wondering if it is too early to panic. The two best teams in the American League are in your division in the Rays and Yankees. The shift from offense to pitching and defense has been a slow transformation.

Their offense is still solid and the pitching and defense should come around. Having a healthy center-fielder would help too.

After one quarter of the season, panic should not happen. There is room for improvement though, that is fair to say.

The Twins are a tough minded, competitive team and the loss of Joe Nathan didn’t worry me. Joe Mauer got hurt too and they just plugged in another prospect who played well.

They are the team to beat in the AL Central.

The White Sox, like the Red Sox, wanted to shift to a more pitching and defense approach. It has not translated to a good first quarter of the season.

The White Sox have a good offense and solid pitching. They should be able to catch the Tigers in the AL Central. The Twins might be able to runaway and hide though.

The Seattle Mariners were thought to be a dark horse team this year but they turned out to be a horse apple team.

They will have two stories this summer:

Ken Griffey possibly napping through a pinch-hitting appearance and that story is already winding down.

Which contender will trade for Cliff Lee.

And now onto the National League.

It is very hard to watch a baseball player of Hanley Ramirez’s stature dog it like he did against Arizona.

If you are too hurt to play then sit but if you are out there then please give more than token effort.

And for him to take a stand on an apology is absurd. Say you are sorry and play the game right from this point on.

The Marlins and Mets are close to Philly but does anyone really think that the Phillies will stay close to the other NL East teams?

The Nationals are above .500 and they also have their phenom pitcher on the way. For an obscure franchise like Washington, they could not have had a better first quarter of the season.

The Reds didn’t come out great at the start but they have weathered an average start to rise to first place in the NL Central.

Another nice small-market story where the team has drafted well and their young players are producing. Can they compete with the mighty Cardinals all season long?

Now in the NL West, the Padres don’t have a big team on the block to contend with so they might have a shot to stay in this race all year long.

All in all, this has been a very nice baseball season so far. This is the high point of parity though as the number of teams playing out the string already, like Cleveland, Kansas City, Baltimore, Houston and Arizona, will only increase.

Is it really parity when a small market team like Cincinnati competes for a few years then has to rebuild for a decade? I don’t think so when a team like Boston can struggle mightily then add pieces in the off-season while Tampa Bay will have to draft their replacement for Carl Crawford.

It is not true parity rather the illusion of parity. Illusions can come to be but it takes more than a quarter of an MLB season for that to happen.

I am pulling for the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish at .500 or better for the first time since 1992. They peaked at 7-7 but are six games under .500 right now so they are going to earn it if it happens for them this year.

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