Well, I only thought it was a throwaway comment. Keith of course hates baseball, so this led to a discussion, which led me to this thought:
How do you frame competitive balance?
What defines it?
Keith and I, two avid sports fans, two guys keenly interested in world futbol, came from this concept in totally different directions. I am going to lay both lines of thought out briefly, although I probably won't do Keith's justice.
I argue that MLB has more competitive balance than not only the EPL, but at least comparable to every other American sports league. I think this is true for these reasons:
- baseball has had many winners in the last decade - 8 in 10 seasons if my memory serves correctly (Yankees-2000, Dbacks-2001, Angels-2002, Marlins-2003, Red Sox-2004, White Sox-2005, Cardinals-2006, Red Sox-2007, Phillies-2008, Yanks-2009).
- baseball also had by my unofficial count 23 of 30 teams that made the playoffs in the first decade of the 21st century (the lone clubs to not make the postseason - Bucs, Reds, Nats, Royals, O's, Blue Jays, Rangers).
- baseball has a playoff where anything can happen
Keith's reason against baseball (again, I apologize for any overarching simplicity) was that, in any given year, there are only approximately 5 teams that can win it all. When pressed to name pre-season favorite this year, I would name the following: Yanks, Red Sox (those 2 every year), Rays, Phillies, Cardinals, Twins. I could only name 6, and that might come from having played almost two months already, and it also might come from the way I think about baseball.
In any event, this leads me to the question that I hope will solicit comments - what exactly is competitive balance? How should Keith and I frame this argument?