Saturday, January 17, 2009

Salary Caps

Bleeaaaarrffff! That's the sound of me barfing all over people's justifications of a completely unfair professional sports league.

The "buzz" stat now is to talk about how 20 teams in baseball have won a World Series in the last 30 years. First of all, I figured out this was wrong by doing the math IN MY HEAD. I thought of the number of teams who either haven't won ever, or who haven't won in over 30 years (which should be said as 31 years if you want to include the last 30 winners, since there was no World Series in 1994--but that doesn't affect the stat), and I came up with 11 teams. And you have to go back to 1954 to find the last time one of them won, so you could also change that stat to say "the last fifty years." But the point is, 30 teams total, minus those 11 who haven't won in at least 30 (or any number up to 54) years, equals 19.

So, the correct number of teams who have won the World Series in the last 30 years is 19. Not 20. Count for yourself below.* The incorrect stat even made a Wikipedia article, which I've left alone for now....

That's only off by one, but, come on, paid newspaper people who have the nerve to call yourselves "bloggers" because you know you have to to stay relevant, get your stupid facts straight.

The point is, over one third of all baseball teams haven't won the World Series in over 50 years. Eight of those have NEVER won--though many haven't been around that long, obviously. The total number of World Series' gone by for each of the 11 unluckiest, added together is...well, over 400 years by my quick in-head estimate.

And it hardly makes sense to take the teams that won a few decades ago and act like they're part of a current trend of parity. "The Pirates won in 1979, things are way more even than they are in the NFL!" Yes, a team in a 30-team league should win about once every 30 years, but winning one and then spitting the shit-bit for the next 29 doesn't scream "parity" to me.

How many titles will that bottom third win in the next ten years combined? Maybe two? Then your stat becomes 21 in 40 years--which would also be 21 in 64 years. And if you wanted to take the last 30 years (in 2019), you'd lose one team off your 19 for all the teams whose only win in the span came in the '80s--meaning that it's almost a guarantee that this "last 30 years" stat will have less than 19 teams, and probably way less, 10 years from now, bringing MLB closer to the other sports. (Disregard that last sentence if you're one of those "scared of math" people.)

These people think they're so smart. And then I have to see the links: "This smarty-pants Yankee blog agrees that salary caps won't work, click here...." Great.

* Never won: Washington (formerly Montreal), Tampa Bay, Seattle, Colorado, Milwaukee, Houston, Texas (formerly Washington), San Diego. Haven't won since 1954 or earlier: Cleveland, SF, Chi Cubs. Total: 11. Therefore, 19 have won in the last 30 "years." (And this isn't like that trick where you convince someone you have 11 fingers.)


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Location: Rhode Island, United States