The Yankees are back in the World Series.
Thereís a surprise.
What took them so long?
After all, the Yankees are the ones with the $201 million payroll.
This is the team where $40 million dollar right-hander Carl Pavano was an injury bust.
The Yankees just threw plenty of dollar bills around and brought in former Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.
The Yankees needed more hitting this year.
They quickly signed slugger Mark Teixeira, who also is a Gold Glove first baseman.
The Yankees arenít everything thatís evil in the world. They are just everything that is wrong about baseball.
They are the reason many people feel there is no use putting their heart down with a team for six months of the year. Only a select group of teams have a legitimate chance at a pennant.
In the last 13 World Series, nine were won by the big-money guys. Somehow, St. Louis, Florida (twice) and Arizona broke through against the big-city guys New York, Boston, Chicago, Anaheim and Philadelphia.
This year the final four of the Phillies, Dodgers, Angels and Yankees are all in the top nine of MLB salaries. The Yankees are first with $201.4 million, the Angels are sixth at $113.7 million, the Phillies are seventh at $113 million and the Dodgers rank ninth at $100 million.
By the way, the Mets rank second at $149 million, a whopping $52 million behind the Evil Empire in New York.
Teams like the Reds, Indians, Padres, Nationals, Pirates and Royals enter the season with little chance of competing for a World Series championship. If they are able to cash in with a list of prospects, like Tampa Bay did last year, then the following year they have to unload their talent because they canít afford it.
Thatís how former Rays ace Scott Kazmir ended up with the Angels this year.
Baseball fans are growing fewer by the day. Thatís just not in Ohio, itís everywhere.
In 2008, there were six teams averaging under 25,000 fans in attendance. This year there were 11, including the Reds, who went from 25,000 to 22,000 this year.
It isnít a level playing field.
Baseball has no salary cap and no revenue sharing, like the NFL.
It probably wonít have those any time soon.
Letís quickly look at the matchups.
Breaking it down by positions, I favor the Yankees at shortstop (Derek Jeter), third base (Alex Rodriguez), catcher (Jorge Posada) and left field (Johnny Damon).
I favor the Phillies at second base (Chase Utley), center field (Shane Victorino), right field (Jayson Werth) and designated hitter (Raul Ibanez), the teamís regular left fielder.
First base is a draw between the Philliesí Ryan Howard and the Yankeesí Teixeira.
Starting pitching, I give the nod to the Phillies with Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ.
The Yankeeís bullpen gets the edge with Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and all-everything closer Mariano Rivera.
Add it all up and itíll be the Phillies in seven games.
At least thatís what the majority of baseball fans outside of New York are hoping for.