2.) Raise the price on Prince Fielder.
Maybe we should call it the “Rule of Cody Ross.” Postseason heroics have no relevance to future regular season performance. However, impending free agents routinely drive up their asking prices by getting hot on the national broadcast stage. Carlos Beltran roared through the 2004 playoffs (8 HR) and earned himself what was, at the time, the second-largest contract ever for an outfielder. Cliff Lee‘s postseason dominance was a big factor in his record-setting payday this past winter.
Fielder already has one postseason highlight under his belt – a two-run bomb off Ian Kennedy in Game 1 of the NLDS. With each additional hit, he could persuade another GM to get into the bidding war this offseason, driving up the price. From the perspective of the Yankees, this is a good thing. Every dollar spent on Fielder is a dollar than won’t be offered to C. C. Sabathia, C. J. Wilson, or whoever else may whet your appetite.
3.) Reign in revenues of A.L. rivals.
Each additional postseason game and, especially, each additional win provides a much-needed replenishing for the coffers in Detroit and Dallas. Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies can spend recklessly regardless of how they finish the season. But the Rangers and Tigers, while certainly not the most cash-strapped teams in baseball, do have considerable financial limitations. For each dollar they take in this October (and each future dollar assured by winning a pennant and/or a championship), you can bet a few coins will go to extending members of their impressive young cores or signing free agents, thus making the teams responsible for ending New York’s last two seasons potentially thorns in their side for several to come.
4.) The Brewers have done things right.
Your probably already aware of Doug Melvin’s impressive track record in the draft, highlighted by Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, Corey Hart, Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, etc. Six players in the starting lineup, the NLDS Game 1 starter, and the Brewers closer were all acquired in either the Rule 4 or Rule 5 draft. What’s less heralded about this Milwaukee team, however, is the extent to which Melvin has been supported by both fans and ownership. The Brewers, despite playing in one of the smallest media markets in MLB, are not, like the Marlins, living off the luxury taxes of their more fortunate neighbors. The following hyper-scientific flow chart demonstrates the ideal model for a successful franchise (regardless of market):
For franchises like the Mets, Dodgers, Rays, Cubs, and Braves, to name just a few, despite possessing one or more of the necessary pieces in this puzzle, the cycle has been broken. Not so in Milwaukee. When Melvin took over, Milwaukee’s attendence was near the bottom of the National League and they were at just 50.1% of capacity in 2003. Over the last four seasons, they’ve been in the top third in baseball every year, including 7th in 2011, at 90.5% of capacity. Brewers ownership, led by Mark Attanasio, has not merely been lining their pockets with this newfound revenue. Since 2004, they’ve nearly tripled their annual payroll expenditures, the increases responding directly to rises in attendance.
Both the franchise and the fan base have collaborated in this year’s success. Not that the Tigers, Rangers, and Cardinals aren’t also well-run teams with supportive fans, but the Brewers achievements come in the toughest market, with arguably the most tortured history. It’s easy to root for such a team.