You have lost your God damn mind if you think I want to talk about the spanking the Blue Jays received at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. Toronto's one naughty baseball team, and Boston let them have it. It might have been the most difficult series to watch all season. When Roy Halladay looks as mortal as the rest of his teammates, you know it's bad. The Tao of Stieb is right; something's changed with Doc. It doesn't feel the same.
Suddenly the locals are nine games below .500. What hurts more is their 31-29 record in the friendly confines of dome. My heart weeps.
There's nothing left to do but look forward and, after the draft snafu, the thought of another season with an $80 million payroll in the AL East makes me sick to my stomach. The uncertainty surrounding the 2010 budget eats at my soul.
Here's a list of the 10 clubs who spend the most ducats in Major League Baseball, along with their record and where they stand on this glorious Friday morning, the 21st day of August:
- New York Yankees $201,449,189 76-45 (.628) 1st place AL East
- New York Mets $147,417,987 56-65 (.463) 4th place NL East
- Chicago Cubs $134,809,000 61-58 (.513) 2nd place NL Central
- Boston Red Sox* $121,745,999 69-51 (.575) 2nd place AL East
- Detroit Tigers $115,085,145 64-56 (.533) 1st place AL Central
- LA Angels $113,709,000 73-46 (.613) 1st place AL West
- Philadelphia Phillies $113,309,000 69-49 (.585) 1st place NL East
- Houston Astros $102,996,414 59-62 (.488) 3rd place NL Central
- LA Dodgers $100,008,592 72-50 (.590) 1st place NL West
- Seattle Mariners $98,904,166 62-59 (.512) 3rd place AL West
The Red Sox receive an asterisk because they employ a bunch of steroid using douchebags. And because if the playoffs (!!1) began today, they'd go to the dance as the Wild Card.
What does that list tell you? The New York Yankees are the best team in baseball. When you spend everyone into the mother fucking ground, and play home games in an amusement park, you should be. Their counterparts, the Metropolitans? Pray for them. They've been ravaged by injury. The Cubs are a mess. The BoSox should be able to hold off the $68,178,798 Texas Rangers for the Wild Card. (Although I certainly wouldn't mind if they don't.) The Tigers look like a playoff team; $115 million should be able to get it done in the AL Central. If you're a baseball fan in the greater Los Angeles area, life is grand. The Phillies are set to defend their title, while Houston and Seattle are spending too much money to be playing near .500 baseball.
The bottom line: five of baseball's six division leaders reside in the top 10 in payroll. The St. Louis Cardinals are the only exception, leading the NL Central by a whopping seven games with a payroll of $88,528,409. (The Cubs really are cursed.) Give the Red Sox the Wild Card, and six out of eight playoff teams are MLB's biggest spenders. The Colorado Rockies, playing .562 baseball, are your other exception, leading the NL Wild Card standings by two games while spending $74,800,000.
$80 million won't cut it. No way; not in the AL East. Until the Tampa Bay Rays can do it consistently, they're nothing but a one-hit wonder. While I'd love for the Jays to spend $120 million, as much as the Red Sox, I know it won't happen. So I'm willing to settle, and slot eighth on that list; $110 million. For the love of God, Rogers, make it happen.
(Payroll numbers courtesy of Report on Business Magazine)