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The Tampa Bay Rays celebrate after beating the Texas Rangers 5-2 at an American League wild-card tiebreaker baseball game Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. The Rays advance to face the Cleveland Indians in the American League wild-card playoff. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
MLB: Low-spending teams get their chance in playoffs
Baseball » Cincinnati, Oakland, Tampa Bay, Cleveland reach postseason with small payrolls
First Published Oct 02 2013 10:03 am • Last Updated Oct 02 2013 11:09 pm

New York • Baseball’s playoffs no longer are an exclusive club of high rollers.

At a glance

MLB Playoff schedule

Wednesday

American League

Tampa Bay (Cobb 11-3) at Cleveland (Salazar 2-3), 6:07 p.m.

Thursday

National League

Pittsburgh (Burnett 10-11) at St. Louis (Wainwright 19-9), 3:07 p.m. (TBS)

Los Angeles (Kershaw 16-9) at Atlanta (Medlen 15-12), 6:37 p.m. (TBS)

Friday

American League

Cleveland-Tampa Bay winner at Boston (Lester 15-8), 1:07 p.m. (TBS)

Detroit (Scherzer 21-3) at Oakland (Colon 18-6), 7:37 p.m. (TBS)

National League

Pittsburgh at St. Louis (Lynn 15-10), 11:07 a.m. (MLB)

Los Angeles (Greinke 15-4) at Atlanta (Minor 13-9 or Teheran 14-8), 4:07 p.m. (TBS)

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Pittsburgh, 26th among the 30 teams with a $73.6 million payroll, rolled past Cincinnati on Tuesday night and into an NL division-series matchup against St. Louis.

Oakland, 27th on the spending list at $71.1 million according to Major League Baseball’s latest figures, won the AL West and faces Detroit. And Tampa Bay, 28th at $65.6 million, plays the wild-card game on Wednesday night against Cleveland, 21st at $88.6 million.

"We’ve created things that have really helped our sport. They’ve really helped us in a myriad of ways," Commissioner Bud Selig said with pride Tuesday. "The economics — they were archaic. I used to joke that we were still in back in the Ebbets Field-Polo Grounds days. What I call the reformation of the economic system certainly created a lot of this, there is no question."

Sure, some of the big spenders found their way into October. The Los Angeles Dodgers raised their spending to $236.8 million during the season and are currently about $100,000 behind the Yankees. (Final figures may change depending on award bonuses and revisions).


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Despite a No. 1 payroll, the Yankees finished tied for third in the AL East following an injury-filled season.

Boston is third at $174.1 million, Detroit fifth at $153.4 million, St. Louis 11th at $119.3 million and Cincinnati 13th at $113.3 million.

But half the playoff teams are from the bottom 50 percent in spending, with the A’s, Rays, Pirates and Indians joined by Atlanta (16th at $95.3 million).

Increased revenue sharing has helped. But a team must make good draft picks and be prudent with contracts and clever with trades.

"I think that the playing field is not level, never will be. But we as the Pittsburgh Pirates have committed ourselves to never using that as an excuse," controlling owner Bob Nutting said just before the team’s first postseason appearance since 1992. "Is it easier to build a great club with $200 million than with $75-$80 million? Absolutely. But I believe, have always believed and will continue to believe, that we can be competitive at that level. We need to make different decisions. We need to make smart decisions."

Parity has increased markedly. No team has won consecutive World Series since the New York Yankees took three in a row from 1998-2000.

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