For most teams, canada medicine the loss for up to 14 weeks of a player like Andre Ethier would be a serious setback. For the Dodgers, the wealthiest MLB club by far, Ethier’s absence will hardly be missed. The Dodgers seem to represent a return to the unbalanced days when the Yankees dominated through their financial clout. A look (thanks to Tracker) at current 2016 team payrolls, however, demonstrate that the wealth lineup isn’t nearly as top-heavy as it was when the Yanks were the game’s well-heeled kings. The Yankees are still among the rich, with a $222 million payroll, $26 million below the $248 million Dodgers. The Red Sox and Tigers, $198 and 192 million, complete the cash-laden top four. Seventeen of the game’s 30 teams have payrolls above $100 million. Only the Rays ($60 mil) and Brewers ($50 mil) are on strikingly short rations.
Clearly, although it has a ways to go, Baseball is moving toward greater parity. In the other ballpark, it’s possible that the back-to-back pitches of Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Sanders have given the U.S. at least a start toward evening its economic playing field. New Yorker mag birddog Nicholas Lemann describes why progress, real as it might be, has been slow.
“Our campaign-finance laws allow big businesses to buy a great deal of influence in Washington. The sociology of the American élite means that the people at the higher rungs of government and the people at the higher rungs of business often went to school together, live in the same neighborhoods, and move back and forth between the two sides during their careers. That dulls the edge of their putative opposition… The odds are that, a year from now, Bernie Sanders won’t be in the White House pushing the Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act. Still, the 2016 Presidential campaign has demonstrated that many Americans don’t feel that the system—the dominant institutions in government and in business—is working for them… At times, (the feeling) seems dormant; at times, it comes heatedly to the fore. But the conflict is as elemental as anything can be in American political culture; it isn’t ever going away.”
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Fret-Time: Sure, the games don’t count, but fans of the Orioles (7-14), Pirates (7-15) and Mets (7-13) should begin to worry about how badly their teams are doing in exhibition games. The results may not say much about team regulars, but they do suggest all three will be going into the season 10 days from now with weak benches, including shaky bottom-of-staff relievers. Look for them to seek help as better-stocked teams make late cuts.
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)