There are two commonly accepted ideas about baseball regarding payroll and the playoffs... and both have become conventional wisdom:
1. Only the teams with the biggest payrolls can have any success
2. It's the same teams year in and year out.
Let's look at #1.
In 2007, yes the team with the second highest payroll, the Red Sox, won the World Series.
But the other three teams that advanced to the League Championship Series were all in the bottom third of payrolls.
Cleveland - 23 out of 30
Colorado - 25 out of 30
Arizona - 26 out of 30
The NLCS was between the 4th and 5th lowest payrolls in the National League.
Meanwhile the 3rd, 4th and 6th highest payrolls all were on the golf course when the playoffs began.
And it gets even more pronounced this year.
Which team has the highest payroll? The New York Yankees... playing golf.
Which team has the second highest payroll? The Detroit Tigers... FORE!
Which team has the third highest payroll? The New York Mets... no doubt stuck in a sand trap.
Meanwhile the second lowest payroll in all of baseball... the Tampa Bay Rays... won their division.
For $6.6 million less than what the Yankees paid for only Carl Pavano, Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu... Tampa Bay has home field advantage in the first round.
Meanwhile the Florida Marlins, with a $22 million payroll (again, less than Jason Giambi's salary) finished with a better record than the NL West Champion Dodgers.
Let's look at #2.
Do you know how many teams played in the post season in 2006, 2007 AND 2008?
You can write it on an atom.
Not the Yankees... not the Red Sox... not the Dodgers... not the Mets... not the Cardinals.
Can you imagine the NFL or NBA playoffs without some of the constants making the playoffs?
And take it back a year... since 2005... the League Championship Series seen 11 out of a possible 12 different teams play.
The only team in that span to play in more than one LCS?
The Yankees? The Red Sox?
Nope... the Cardinals, who lost in 2005 and won in 2006.
I know I made a lot of these points last year... but you people are NOT LISTENING TO ME!!!!
In this case, conventional wisdom is wrong.
16 games in, what have we learned?
9 hours ago