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No salary cap is good for baseball's competitive balance

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(AP Graphics)

DETROIT – For sure, most Detroit Tigers fans are mad that the postseason starts on Tuesday night and their team is nowhere to be found.

For the first time in five years, the Tigers didn't make the playoffs. In fact, the Tigers - who won four straight Central Division titles - finished in last place with a 74-87 record.

In the American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night, the New York Yankees host the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees are back in playoffs for first time in 2012. The Astros make it back for the first time since 2005 when they lost to the World Series to the Chicago White Sox.

In Detroit, it's a bad thing the Tigers are out. But in Baseball America, it's a good thing that the Tigers are out.

And it's even better that the San Francisco Giants are out as well.

That's because parity is good for professional sports.

Right now, Major League Baseball is the parity king.

When the Giants were officially eliminated from the postseason, it assured that baseball wouldn't have a repeat World Series champion for the 15th straight year.

It broke the record of 14 straight years, dating back to 1979-1992. The Blue Jays ended the streak when they repeated as champs in 1993.

It's an incredible testament to the game's parity and balance.

The wealth of winning is spread all over Major League Basebll. No wonder the game has never been healthier - both attendance-wise (MLB expects growth again when final '15 numbers are added) and financially (the sport is approaching $9 billion in revenue) as well.

For sure, MLB blows out the water the notion that professional sports leagues need a salary cap to maintain parity.

It's a myth. A hoax. A lie.

Owners have been spewing this nonsense since the 1980s. Sadly, fans have bought it hook, line and sinker.

The only reason for a salary cap is to stop owners from outbidding themselves and driving up the cost of labor. Players should be paid their worth without an earnings-ceiling.

Baseball is proof positive. There is no salary cap. Yet, the sport is more competitive than the NFL and NBA.

In the last 14 championship seasons, MLB has had nine different teams win it all. In the same span, the NFL has had eight and the NBA six.

Many have claimed MLB would kill itself because all the players would only go to big markets and smaller markets wouldn't be able to compete.

Not true.

It's never been about money. Plenty of big-market teams with a lot of money to spend haven't won the World Series in many years, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs.

It has been - and always will be - about who is spending the money and picking the players. If all teams have the same amount of money to spend as the other teams in the league and a team has a bad general manager, you're team will still be bad because of the bad decisions.

The NFL has a salary cap. Yet, the Detroit Lions have won just one playoff game since 1957.

When Matt Millen was the general manager, the Lions were historically bad - even though they had the same amount of money to spend as the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers.

Yet, a Millen-produced team went 0-16 in 2008, the first time in NFL history. Terrible decisions, not money, sunk the Lions.

The Yankees have a ton of cash. Yet, the Bronx Bombers haven't won a title since 2009.

"It's difficult (to repeat) because there are really smart people who are running the game," former pitcher Ron Darling, a TBS MLB analyst, said to MLB.com. "They're identifying what their weaknesses are straightaway.

"So a team that is not a very good team seems to get better the year or two years after that."

Indeed. General managers are simply doing more to fix their flawed teams. Plus, there are no more five-year plans. Teams are trying to get better and win every year.

"They are all doing a good job, preparing a winning team obviously," said St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina to MLB.com. "It's good for baseball."

And good for parity.