Is there really Parity in MLB?
You could make a case that there is now more parity than ever before in baseball. Lets breakdown the National league to try to either prove or disprove the notion that there is parity in baseball. Out of 15 teams, only 6 teams finished above .500. This gives a mixed message about parity. On one hand, most of the teams are equally bad. On the other hand, there are less teams than ever that are actually competitive. The only real question late in the year was who would be the home team for the Wild Card game. All the other playoff spots had for all practical purposes been determined with 2 weeks left in the season.
There is actually less parity in baseball now than in the 90's and here is the nail in the parity coffin. Counting this year, the Cardinals will have now been in the last 4 NLCS. The Giants will have been in 3 of the last 5 NLCS. That means that out of the possible 10 teams that could have played in the last 5 National League Champion Series, The Cards or Giants have accounted for 8.
Is this good for baseball? It must be or those in charge would make changes. In all sports there is often a dominant team or figure and it seems to help ratings. Take NASCAR where it has been either Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson winning 85% of all championships since the turn of the century. For myself, I tune out competitions that feature the same person or team year after year. To me, the sport loses its entertainment value when who gets into the NLCS is predictable.
I still recall the due or die WC playoff game that Atlanta lost to the Cards in part because an umpire called an infield fly on a flare that dropped uncaught in the outfield. I also note that the Cardinals take more pitches than any team in baseball and get rewarded by having borderline pitches called as balls. The umpire could shorten the games down from there current 4 hour marathons by calling pitches 1/4" off the plate as a strike. I'll leave that topic for another day.
To sum up, there is no parity in baseball and the powers that be want it that way. They want to see the Giants play the Cardinals in the NLCS for the next century. Yawn! I say, thank God for the American League and the Kansas City Royals.