One squad includes the last team to win back-to-back pennants, as well as two other teams that made the playoffs last year. That should translate into a pretty competitive squad, perhaps some of the best in all of baseball.
The other group, however, have only seen one of their clubs reach the playoffs in the past four years, including three that have failed to win a pennant in eighty-six years combined. A reasonable guess would be that this quintet of teams would rank among the worst in Major League Baseball, possibly with an embarrassing overall win percentage.
Both groups, the American League Central Division and its National League counterpart, indeed exhibit extremes. If you relied on the previous paragraphs, however, you would be far from your guess.
With a combined record of 99-143 so far in 2018, the A.L. Central bear little resemblance to the group that boasted of boasting two of the last three pennant winners as well as two playoff clubs as recently as last season. In fact, he risks being represented in the playoffs by a team that has lost more than it won, as the Cleveland 24-25 Indians currently sit atop the division.
Directly across the page, the situation in the N.L. Central is almost the opposite. The five clubs there boast a combined record of 127 wins and 120 losses, the best overall record among baseball’s six divisions. Take out the Cincinnati bottom loader, and that mark becomes 109-87.
Front office staff, especially those on losing teams, are always quick to blame the size of their market for its lack of success. They claim their small fan base prevents them from suing big-name independent agents, but this excuse clearly cannot be validated.
If a Midwestern city like Milwaukee can claim, as the Brewers have done for the past two seasons, then a much bigger city like Detroit has little excuse for finishing near the bottom over the past three years. . The same can be said for both Ohio teams, the Reds and the Indians. Cleveland won a pennant in 2016, and he’s been among the favorites to capture another in each of the past two seasons. Cincinnati, on the other hand, posted baseball’s worst overall record since 2015.
Again, you cannot blame the failure on the size of the market, as the two cities are of comparable size and share the same state. Two other clubs at opposite ends not only share the same state, but also the same city.
The Cubs have reached the N.L. Championship Series for each of the past three seasons, and they’re currently near the top of the Central Division in 2018. Conversely, their neighbors on the south side of Chicago haven’t even smelled of the playoffs in a decade, and the White Sox so far this season have the worst record in baseball.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and other MLB officials must address the drastic gap in the game as this situation between the center divisions is a symptom of a lack of competitive balance that will only get worse if it continues to grow. to be ignored. Allowing owners to dump their teams in what is euphemistically called a rebuild alienates fans of the American hobby, as does the tired excuse of market size.
When clubs fail to compete in successive seasons, the commissioner’s office must punish the owners. For every season a team finishes under .500, the owner should be fined by the MLB. Underperforming owners should therefore either improve their teams or sell them.
For example, Cincinnati owner Bob Castellini would be more likely to pursue a better pitcher if he knew that another losing season would result in another fine from MLB officials. The same could be said of new Miami owner Derek Jeter, whose first decision was to trade National League most valuable player Giancarlo Stanton and two other All-Stars in less than a month at the front office. .
There are two concepts of baseball that most fans have lamented over the past few seasons, namely homers and strikeouts. However, the two concepts that further hurt the future of baseball are the terms “market size” and “rebuild”.