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Center Wingers Prove Baseball’s Problems Aren’t Geographic

One group features the last team to win back-to-back pennants, as well as two other teams that made the playoffs last year. It should translate into a pretty competitive group, perhaps among the best in all of baseball.

The other group, however, has had just one of its clubs reach the postseason in the past four years, including three that haven’t won a pennant in a combined eighty-six years. A reasonable guess would be that this quintet of teams would be among the worst in Major League Baseball, probably with an embarrassing overall winning percentage.

The two groups, the American League Central Division and its counterpart in the National League, do feature wingers. However, if you were based on the previous paragraphs, you would be very wrong in your assumption.

With a combined record of 99-143 so far in 2018, the AL Central barely resembles the group that boasted two of the last three pennant winners, as well as two playoff clubs as recently. like last season. Indeed, he is in danger of being represented in the postseason by a team that has lost more than it has won, as the 24-25 Cleveland Indians currently sit atop the division.

Directly across the page, the situation in the NL Central is nearly the opposite. The five clubs boast a combined record of 127 wins and 120 losses, the best overall record among baseball’s six divisions. Take out bottom feeder Cincinnati, 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 their lack of success. They claim their small fan base prevents them from pursuing big-name free agents, but that excuse clearly can’t be validated.

If a Midwestern city like Milwaukee can compete, as the Brewers have the past two seasons, then a much larger city like Detroit has little excuse for finishing near the bottom the past three years. The same can be said for the two Ohio teams, the Reds and Indians. Cleveland won a pennant in 2016 and has been among the favorites to capture another in each of the past two seasons. Cincinnati, on the other hand, posted the worst overall record in baseball since 2015.

Again, the failure cannot be blamed on the size of the market, as the two cities are comparable in size and share the same state. Two other clubs on opposite ends share not only the same state, but also the same city.

The Cubs have reached the NL Championship Series in each of the past three seasons, and are currently near the top of the Central Division again in 2018. By contrast, their neighbors on Chicago’s South Side aren’t even they’ve smelled the postseason for a decade. , and the White Sox so far this season have the worst record in baseball.

Commissioner Rob Manfred and other MLB officials need to address the drastic discrepancy in the game, as this situation between the Central Divisions is a symptom of a lack of competitive balance that will only get worse if it continues to be ignored. Allowing owners to gut their teams in what is euphemistically called a rebuild alienates fans of the American pastime, as does the old market size excuse.

When clubs fail to compete in successive seasons, the Commissioner’s office must sanction the owners. For every season a team finishes under .500, MLB must end the owner. Underperforming owners, then, would have to upgrade their equipment or sell it.

For example, Cincinnati owner Bob Castellini would be more likely to pursue a great pitcher if he knew another losing season would result in another fine from MLB officials. The same could be said for new Miami owner Derek Jeter, whose first move was to trade reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and two other All-Stars with less than a month in the front office.

Most of the fans have complained about two concepts in baseball during the last few seasons, namely home runs and strikeouts. However, the two concepts that further damage the future of baseball are the terms “Market Size” and “Rebuild.”

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