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Friday, October 01, 2021

Why Are MLB’s Worst Teams Getting Worse?

They have plenty of miserable company. Pittsburgh was the fourth team this year to lose 100 or more games. The D-backs sit at 109 losses with three games to play. The Orioles have 107 defeats and the Rangers have 100.

This is not normal. This is only the third time in MLB history that four teams have lost 100 or more games in the same season.

But maybe this is the new normal. It also happened in 2019 (with a 60-game 2020 season in between). We are in the age of utter futility when it comes to bad teams. In 2019, there were also four 100-loss teams. In 2018 there were three.

There have been as many 100-loss teams in the past three full seasons (2018, 2019 and 2021) as there were from 2007-2017 combined.

Looked at from a slightly different angle the numbers don’t change. From 1966-2018, that 2002 season was the only one where more than two teams reached 100 losses. Now that number has been topped in each of the last three full seasons.

We are right now in an era where the best teams are better and the worst teams are worse than they have been in more than a half century. With more utterly futile teams, there are also more dominant ones. From 2005-2016 there were six 100-win teams in that 12-season stretch. From 2017-2021 (four full seasons) there have been 12, and the Rays could make it 13 if they win two of their final three games this weekend.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 01, 2021 at 11:38 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: tanking

Monday, September 06, 2021

Bill James Online: Tanking

      My point is, there are different ways to think about how to compete with limited resources. Some teams are well run; other teams are not as well run.  THIS IS NOT THE PROBLEM.  The problem is that the current economic structure of baseball makes it difficult for many teams to compete.

      This has been the case through most of baseball history.  How do you think the Yankees got Babe Ruth?  They bought him.  How do you think they got Joe DiMaggio?  There was a bidding war, and they won.  They had more money than the other teams.  Economic inequality leads to unequal results.  It has always been that way.

      The problem of teams having greatly unequal opportunity to win has always been there.  Sometimes it gets better; sometimes it gets worse.  Right now it is pretty bad.

      The fact that this problem is ground into the history of the game does not mean that we have to accept it.  There is a simple principle that would help greatly.  The principle is:  when two teams play a baseball game—or any sporting event.  When two teams arrange a sporting event and the rights to broadcast that event are sold, both teams share equally in the profits.

      That doesn’t mean that the Yankees and the Royals come out even.  Let us say that the broadcast rights for Team A generate $1 billion a year, and the broadcast rights for Team B generate $10 million a year, a hundred-to-one ratio. Team A keeps $500 million, and puts $500 million into a fund to be divided among the teams they have played, proportional to the games played.  Team B keeps $5 million, and puts the other $5 million into a fund to be divided among the opposition.  Team A still comes out far ahead, but the ratio changes from 100 to 1 to something more like 5 to 1.

      An inequitable allocation of resources among competing teams is not a good thing.  It is a inevitable nuisance.  It’s a problem.  Baseball should mitigate that problem to the extent that it can be done.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 06, 2021 at 12:44 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: tanking



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