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Damn Yankees

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As it stands right now, the New York Yankees are 11 feet deep in a 15 foot hole with no ladder. Currently 11 games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East division, the Yankees, at 37-41, are poised to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993 (in 1994, a strike siphoned off the remainder of the season).

The Yankees are still a juggernaut. At $198.6 million, they have baseball’s highest salary, forcing them to shell out $26 million in luxury taxes. They account for 27 percent of Major League Baseball’s merchandise, the profits of which are then evenly distributed to all 30 teams at a clip of about $3 million for each squad.

Additionally, the traveling constellation of New York stars increase attendance at most stadiums they visit. During a recent three-game stint against the Colorado Rockies, attendance increased by about 25,000 per game and per-game revenue at Coors field increased $1.495 million.

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All of this begs the question: When the Yankees don’t make the playoffs this year, will baseball suffer? Will the baseball world implode because they can’t ride the coat tails of a team that Curt Shilling once compared to a gaggle of strippers?

Though it is too early to answer, a look at the competitiveness around baseball is a telling sign that there is more equity in a league often dominated by east coast teams. Take the National League West, for example. Long the whipping boy of baseball elitists, the West is now, arguably, the most competitive division in MLB. The top three teams-The San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Arizona Diamondbacks-have better records than all other teams in baseball that place 1-2-3 in their division. Want more? The NL West is a combined 32 games over .500, by far the best in the National League and trailing just the AL Central and AL West.

How does that compare to the AL East, a division analysts trip over themselves to talk about? The second place Toronto Blue Jays are three games under .500 and are 10.5 games behind the Red Sox, the only team with a winning record in the division. The Yanks are four games under .500. Even the Cubs, a team that seems it would rather play some games in a ring than on a diamond, are holding strong in the NL Central at .500.

And speaking of the NL Central: the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that hasn't finished with a winning record since 1991, currently own the best record in the National League. Moreover, the Cleveland Indians of the AL Central are in first place and 1.5 games ahead of the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers.

In terms of attendance, the Dodgers and that other team from not-Los Angeles are on pace to get three million asses in their seats this year, something the Dodger's have done for 10 of the past 11 years.

Perhaps the time has come to rock the east coast-centric baseball world (That means you, ESPN and Fox) and let them know that there is more going on in baseball than the Yankees losing. Between the competitive NL West, the blazin' Brewers, and the surging Indians, there are more compelling stories out there than what A-Rod's bitter wife wore to a game and what the Bronx Bums aren't doing.

(AP Photo/Adrian Wyld,CP)