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Money Doesn't Count for Much in Baseball

Maybe this has been an atypical period. After all, in the 90s the big-spending Yankees dominated the titles.

But you'd think things would be getting more professional as time went on, and spending on players would become more efficient. It is, after all, four years since the publication of Michael Lewis' seminal Moneyball, which touched on this very subject.

The reality is that a small number of franchises typically dominate the money in baseball. And over the past seven years, only once -- in 2004 -- has a member of that plutocracy happened to carry home the prize. Usually it has been a team in the financial second tier.

In 2006 five teams spent more than $100 million each. But the champions weren't the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Angels, the White Sox or the Mets, but the $89 million Cardinals. In 2005, the victorious White Sox had a payroll smaller than 12 other teams. For the Angels in 2002, it was 14 other teams. Seven teams paid more than the 2001 Diamondbacks. As for the 2003 Marlins -- 24 teams earned more.

We live in an era so dominated by money that even the phrase "there are some things in life that money can't buy" has become the multibillion dollar advertising slogan of a credit card company. So it is good to know it has its limits. Money will go a long way to get you to the postseason -- but after that, you're pretty much on your own.
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