Unlike the other major North American sports, there is a distinct class system in Major League Baseball. On the one hand, there were six clubs this season with a payroll north of $125 million. And at the other end, there were five teams with payrolls below $50 million.
10 years ago, that dichotomy was much less pronounced. The average payroll in baseball was just $67.5 million and the average payroll of playoff teams was a nearly identical $68.8 million.
But then the upper class and lower class moved apart very quickly. Just two years later, the average payroll in baseball was still just $69.0 million. But the average payroll of playoff teams had grown 46.4 per cent to more than $100 million.
However, since 2004, the gap between the Haves and Have-Nots has slowly diminished. In the last seven years, the average payroll of payroll teams has gone up just 6.4 per cent to $107.4 million this season. Meanwhile, the average payroll of all teams has jumped 34.6 per cent.
The Yankees are still safe. They have made the playoffs in 16 of the last 17 years. But parity has grown among the other 29 ballclubs.
All data via ESPN.com
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