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With the recent baseball trade frenzy, the rich teams get richer and stronger – gearing up for a playoff run.  Those of us who cheer for second or third tier teams are left in the dust.

The baseball industry is consolidating into more than one league.  There are the haves, the sort-of-haves, and the have-nots.

The Oakland Athletics, as chronicled in the past by Moneyball, and still today, manage to be competitive with one of the lowest salary totals, one third of Boston’s.  But they are an exception.

The problem is that, unlike European leagues, there is no delegation into tier two.  Everyone has to stay put and compete with the monoliths.

Basketball, with only five players on the floor at a time is perfect for picking up a couple top players.  In the past four years it has been LeBron James against the Golden State Warriors.

It is harder in games with more players, which makes the New England Patriots achievements very impressive.  But it also shows in the variety of teams that have won and lost in the U.S. football championships.

Players salaries have exploded in the past twenty years.  Crowds have increased as have ratings.  All the more money to apportion to players, coaches and owners.

Like the economy, the top 1% get waaaaay more than the other players on their teams.  So while LaBron James earned $32 million, his teammate Kevin Love made only $22 million and then down in the teens for Tristan Thompson and George Hill.  Still a lot of money, but the distribution is revealing.

What we usually forget when we are looking at the massive amount of money the players are making are the workers who didn’t make the cut and are slugging it out just playing for the sake of the game.  The NBA has a minor league where players earn $about $20,000.  A far cry from the million plus for the bench players in the big league.

In the economy, the number of billionaires is growing and they are gaining much more than the average citizen.  Just like the star sports players.

The CEOs of large corporations like McDonalds earn $20+ Million a year.  Workers in McDonald’s stores certainly don’t earn anything like that.  They are the players in the minor leagues.

Is this type of distribution correct?  It certainly seems to have become more and more skewed in the past 20 years.  I first heard about the increasing income disparity in a lecture from a NY Times journalist a dozen years ago.  He warned measures should be taken to control it.  They weren’t.  Even salary caps in sports hasn’t changed things.

Income tax structures more and more favour those with resources to structure around the tax laws.  The US has recently rewarded that upper tier even more which should create even more disparity.

The bad news is that these disparities can correct themselves with a massive hurt for everyone.  When the peasants overthrow the nobility, chaos ensues.

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