Thursday, October 28, 2004


Small market teams like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, & Milwaukee have no chance

For many years the Red Sox were cursed. Right after giving away (not trading) Babe Ruth, they went posted several years of their losingest seasons in franchise history. Then when they were able to win several AL pennants, they found new and excruciating ways to lose.

But, the explosion of free agency and the post-1994 strike "wild-card" era ushered in a different landscape for Major League Baseball. The gap between rich teams and poor teams has grown dramatically. George Steinbrenner has always pushed for the Yankees to find the best players and win but he finally found the winning formula in the 1990's. The Red Sox pursued the Yankees in the arms (and bats) race, especially after the new ownership team arrived on the scene. The zealous pursuit of the World Series trophy, and the bottom-less bank accounts, helped propel big-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox way ahead of their lowly competitors.

PNC Park attendance for the Pirates fell from 2.4 million in 2001 to 1.6 million this year.

NYTimes: Postseasons Are Empty for Small-Market Fans

The Fenway Faithful suffered in heart-breaking fashion until the likes of megastars like Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Manny Ramirez were acquired because of a willingness and ability to pay big contracts.

But what about the Pittsburgh Pirates? They have a great history, have won the World Series over teams like the Yankees and even won it twice in the 1970's. The Pirates have a beautiful new ballpark but almost no team to sustain any fan enthusiasm. Teams like the Brewers, Tigers, & Reds play in new stadiums but have not made the playoffs nor do they have a chance of playing in the post-season any time soon.

The Red Sox proved that dollars can beat a crazy curse any day. Not that the Yankees have not bought championships before - they have. But, the 2004 Red Sox finally reached the dizzying heights of immortality by behaving in the way that they said made them hate the Yankees.

Next year, the cursed fans of Baltimore, Toronto, Detroit and Seattle will be chanting "Red Sox suck!"


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