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October 8, 2011 - Al Stephenson
I am about to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the Texas Rangers in the second round of playoffs for major league baseball. I was still excited from the last day of the regular season, where four teams sought the last two births in the postseason, when the first round of games began. Those games didn't disappoint this lifelong baseball fan as three of the four series went the full five games. Each of those win-or-go-home games were decided by one run with one going extra innings.
What more can baseball give me?
Actually if the rest of the postseason turns out to be less than competitive, I won't be totally bummed. Part of the reason for that is the fact that some teams are no longer playing. There is not a team left that I would hate to see win the World Series. Why is that, you ask. Well let me tell you.
I have a difficult time rooting for a team that has an exorbitant payroll. I also find it tough to root for a team whose fans were, well let's say obnoxious, when I visited their stadium. Let's start with payroll.
The team with baseball's highest payroll will come as no surprise to you. The New York Yankees 2011 payroll was in excess of $196,00,000. The Philadelphia Phillies were second with more than $172,000,000. Both those teams are gone, losing to Detroit and St. Louis respectively. Few people like the big money teams and when they get knocked out we rejoice.
If you are interested the third highest payroll would belong to the Boston Red Sox, whose "biggest of all time" September collapse left them one game from getting into the postseason. Shelling out over $160,000,000 was apparently not enough and the typical baseball fan was seen to be snickering.
So where do the other playoff teams rank in the salary structure. Detroit is 10th ($105,000,000), St. Louis 12th, ($98,000,000), Texas 13th ($91,000,000), Milwaukee 16th ($85,000,000), Arizona 25th ($53,000,000) and Tampa Bay 29th ($41,000,000).
If you are a fan of the small market teams such as Cleveland (26th), Pittsburgh (27th), San Diego (28th) or Kansas City (30th) you are not unhappy to see the big bucks teams fall by the wayside.
As far as fan behavior is concerned, it would appear that there is a connection between a teams salary structure and boorish fan behavior. My experience is that it would be tough to pick between the Red Sox and Yankee fans as the worst. Both are demanding of their teams and not particularly tolerant of opposing fans. I didn't get that same feeling when I was in Philadelphia, (Connie Mack Stadium, Veteran's Stadium or Citizen's Bank Ballpark), but one must remember that Philadelphia fans once booed Santa Claus!
The view from my seat suggests that the big spending teams and the whining fans are gone. Now we can watch the action on the field and glory in the game itself.
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