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The title says it all.
It's a question that I've been pondering quite often lately now that the Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing.
Normally, this wouldn't be a topic that's even remotely on my radar because in most seasons, there are simply not that many small market teams (if any) vying for a World Series title.
But this year is different. This year, small market teams like the Oakland Athletics (insert Moneyball reference here) and the Baltimore Orioles are the two Cinderella squads that are turning heads. Quite a surprise to see not one, but both of these clubs in the playoffs, right?
I mean, if you're like me (and the majority of baseball fandom) you didn't expect much of anything from teams like the O's and A's heading into the season.
Sure, they might go on a few winning streaks from time to time, but when the post-season rolled around, I fully expected clubs like the Athletics and Orioles to have faded back into irrelevance like they have in so many seasons prior.
After all, when was the last time any small market teams had this much success? Granted, you could say that the St. Louis Cardinals — the defending World Series champs — are a small market team, but in my definition of small market equals small payroll, the Cardinals simply don't fit that bill.
Unlike the Athletics and Orioles, who both field two of the youngest clubs in the league, the Cardinals have quite a few veterans whom they they pay handsomely. I mean, they're not going to be mistaken for the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers or Phillies anytime soon in regards to payroll, but still, you get my point — I don't consider the Cardinals to be a true small market team.
But enough rambling about what makes the A's and O's small market teams. Instead, let's answer the question posed in the title.
Is it better for baseball to have small market teams go on long playoff runs?
From a money standpoint, I'd probably say no simply because teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Dodgers, etc. bring in the most revenue as they historically represent the top tier big market teams as well as the most reputable brands and in doing so, are able to lure in the casual fan as well.
But in my opinion, the same can also be said for the small market teams as far as drawing in the casual fan.
After all, people probably get tired of seeing the same four or five teams dominating the playoffs every year, so to have a team like the Athletics, Orioles or Nationals making things interesting and competing with the 'bullies' of baseball it's good for the sport.
What do you think? Is it better for baseball that the big market teams continue their reign of dominance? Or would it be nice to see the little guy win one once in awhile?