Monday, May 19, 2008

Youth Movement Backlash Backlash

From "New ideology will be on display this week" at

The four teams that have turned the baseball standings upside down economically this season showcase themselves and their new school ideology this week.

Never mind those payroll-busting New York Yankees who took a financial-blistering from senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner last week, and focus instead on those penny-pinching darlings in first or second place in four of the game's six divisions: The NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, who travel to the NL East-leading Florida Marlins for a three-game series starting Tuesday; and the AL East-challenging Tampa Bay Rays, who are at the AL West-challenging Oakland A's for a three-game set opening Monday.

Suddenly, it's not about how much money an attractive off-season veteran player commands or a team spends, but how a developing young player performs and a team schemes. The buzzword in baseball: Young players are an organization's most valuable asset.


Through the first quarter of the season, youth-dominated teams in the bottom 10 rung of the payroll ladder are outperforming the money-hoarding, veteran-laden 10 teams in the top layer.

Through Sunday's games, the bottom 10 — from the Marlins at $21 million to the Texas Rangers at $67 million — are a combined 17 games over .500. The top 10 — from the Yankees at $209 million to the Atlanta Braves at $102 million — are nine games over.

That's an eight-game gap (just a few days ago it was 18, but the wealthy teams have rallied). Even more startling, it's a $79 million gap between the average top 10 payrolls of $131 million and average bottom 10 payrolls of $52 million.