Wild card still working its magic 

August, 15, 2009
Injustice remains throughout the system, which is why it is so refreshing to see the Pirates and Royals reinvest their revenue-sharing money into signing players above Bud Selig's hallowed (and irrelevant) slots. But the reality is that for all the revenue sharing, for the seeming world championship parity for the last 31 years, less than a third of the season remains, and (except for the St. Louis Cardinals) the highest payroll in four of the other five divisions sits in first place.

There were rational, well-thought-out arguments against the concept of the wild card, but without cheapening the regular season to the levels of the NBA and NHL, the wild card has -- in a diminished economy that is increasingly affecting revenues and attendance and financial planning for the 2010 season -- allowed hope.

Take what may have been this weekend's two most important series. The first, Boston at Texas, began with the Rangers fighting within a half-game of the Red Sox despite injuries and the crumbling of Tom Hicks' financial empire, which is so bad that the Arlington grounds crew can't afford to water the playing field in equator weather.