Well, we called it correctly, based on a number of factors: The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in six games, as we predicted last week. But what stands out about this year’s MLB playoffs is the fact the small-payroll Tampa Bay Rays even made it in the first place.
The Rays posted the best record in the American League, but that hasn’t always helped small-market teams in the postseason, where flaws can be more exposed in individual moments that matter more. What you need to succeed in the MLB playoffs is money: We have made this clear for awhile now.
In the end, the small-market teams have to innovate to be relevant and successful: Think Moneyball. But like the Oakland Athletics—a small-payroll team that has made the playoffs a whopping 11 times (!) this century alone, without ever reaching the Series—the Rays fell victim to the challenges small-payroll teams face regardless of their innovative ideas.
What we found particularly annoying is that all the media experts—in print, online, or in broadcast media—were praising the Rays for their smarts last week, but now those same experts are criticizing Tampa Bay for losing Game 6 last night … while sticking to the same analytics that got them there in the first place.
All this noise without nary a mention of payroll disparity that both forces organizations like Oakland and Tampa Bay to innovate while also holding them back from actually reaching the pinnacle of MLB success. As the fictionalized Billy Beane says in the Moneyball film, it’s an unfair game—and few, if any, in the media want to talk about that, do they?
We wonder why.