Jack Brewer, Contributing Writer
Nov 14, 2013, 11:47am EST Updated: Nov 14, 2013, 2:51pm EST
Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg News
Because baseball doesn't have a salary cap, the New York Yankees are one of the few big-market teams that can afford Derek Jeter.
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As we reach the halfway point in the NFL season, who would have expected that the Kansas City Chiefs would be the only undefeated team left in the league?
The Chiefs are 9-0, just one season after they finished with a league-worst 2-14 record.
But Kansas City’s baseball fans haven’t been as lucky. The Royals had a winning record this past season, but it was their first in a decade. And they still haven’t made the playoffs since they won the World Series in 1985. That’s almost 30 years ago
So what’s the difference? It’s the salary cap — something the NFL has but Major League Baseball doesn’t
The NFL’s salary cap — and recently negotiated labor deal — is providing small-market teams like the Chiefs with the opportunity to win as much as teams in New York, Chicago and other big-city markets.
Meanwhile, Royals fans just keep hoping for a miracle or for a general manager who really knows how to play “Moneyball” well.
If baseball ever expects to establish the parity accomplished by the NFL (and NBA and NHL, which also have salary caps), it must have some kind of salary cap.
Baseball owners can raise payroll as they see fit. The differences in 2013 MLB salaries ranged from the Houston Astros at $26 million to the New York Yankees had more than $200 million. The payroll difference between small-market teams and large-market teams is astronomical, forcing smaller-market teams to find creative ways to compete.
But maybe bad baseball teams don’t have much of an incentive to try to win.
Despite being ranked last in the league with only 51 wins last season, the Astros were still highly profitable, thanks in large part to the team receiving $80 million a year from sports TV station CSN Houston for rights to broadcast their games. (I bet CSN wasn’t thrilled when the Astros scored a 0.0…