From Tom Verducci at SI.com:
Yo, West Coast, anybody home?
Major League Baseball and the union this week released the list of the 20 most popular jerseys, according to Majestic's 2010 sales. Only two of the top 20 replicas are for players with West Coast teams, and both of them are Giants: Tim Lincecum (ranking number 10) and Buster Posey (19).
Twelve of the top 20 jerseys, including six of the top nine, play in the center of the baseball universe: the I-95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. I'll repeat what I've been saying: baseball is a top-heavy game. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are the engine to the business of baseball, and the other 27 clubs are boxcars along for the ride.
The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies account for half of the top 18 jerseys: Derek Jeter (1), Alex Rodriguez (9) and Mark Teixiera (11) of the Yankees, Dustin Pedroia (8) and Jacoby Ellsbury (16) of the Red Sox and Roy Halladay (3), Chase Utley (4), Cliff Lee (5) and Ryan Howard (18) of the Phillies.
Actually, I can respect the West Coast vibe that wearing a jersey with someone else's name on it (adult sizes, anyway) might not be considered all that. But there are a couple of other issues the top 20 jersey list brings to mind:
• The West Coast has no sluggers. Of the top 30 players ranked by OPS last year, only one plays for a West Coast team this year: Aubrey Huff of the Giants, who was 18th.
• The NL is dead in its three largest markets. The New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs all had losing seasons last year -- the first time the three biggest NL markets had losing teams in the same season since 1992. None of the players from the NL teams in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago show up in the top 20 list -- yet there at number 16 is Ellsbury, a .291 hitter with 20 career home runs who never has been selected to an All-Star game and who played just 18 games last year.