Photo of empty seats at Kauffman Stadium. Home of the Kansas City Royals.

Image Credit: Kelly - Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Major League Baseball fans are familiar with the never ending debate on bringing a salary cap into Major League Baseball. Luxury taxes and salary caps are aimed at curing payroll inflation, leveling the playing field and combating high ticket prices. Fans outside of the Los Angeles DodgersNew York Yankees and Boston Red Sox organizations are almost always in favor of introducing a salary cap. 

In Major League Baseball, payroll is often tied directly to stadium attendance. Larger cities often boast larger attendances. There are plenty of fans out there who are fans of small market teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics. However, these fans may not regularly watch or attend games during their losing seasons. They're just waiting for them to have a breakout season. They'll also ask "why won't my team spend any money on big-time free agents"? When those small market ball clubs do begin to succeed, the fans start attending games. Why are sports fans like this? The atmosphere at Major League Baseball games is one of the purest American experiences imaginable. The smell of the concessions, the warm weather, the smell of the grass, the fanfare, the exciting plays, the classic venues; there is nothing like Major League Baseball.

Many Major League Baseball fans complain that they cannot afford to regularly attend games. If you are arguing on those grounds, chances are, you're likely rooting for a team like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs. These are teams that are in high demand because of the excessive amount of fans they have. Thus, tickets are almost always expensive. Small market teams, on the other hand, are always looking for fan promotions and ways to get more fans into their ballpark. So what if your team is lousy? Is that an excuse to stay in the house and do nothing? It's a Major League Baseball game! If anything, go see the visiting team while rooting for your team when they do well. Granted, attendance at some markets will always be larger than others, based purely on the city's population. Cities like New York and Los Angeles dwarf cities like Cincinnati, Baltimore and Tampa.

Since 1984, only six teams with the year's highest payroll have won the World Series. You shouldn't look at that stat on the account of World Series championships, but instead by how consistent a team makes the playoffs. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have are consistently in the playoff picture, while it may be some time before fans in small market cities will have something to cheer about.


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