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Afterword - The End of Best Teams History?

Francis Fukuyama wrote a seminal essay in 1989 in which he argued that the end of the Cold War meant "the end of history" because the classic struggle between competing historical philosophies of political power had come to an end with the uncompromising triumph of free-market democracy over all others as the accepted ideal. This was not to suggest that there would not be evil regimes like Saddam Hussein's or new insidious forms of power like the rigid theocracy embraced by the Taliban and al-Qa'ida, only that the historical paradigm had fundamentally changed. Democracy had trumped all other ideologies as the most ideal. As major league baseball has transitioned into the twenty-first century, it is fair to ask whether the same is now true for baseball. Three developments that were a long time developing—expansion, free agency, and the more pronounced dichotomy between big market and small market franchises—have had significant implications for pennant races and the business of baseball. Although the expansion era is already fifty years old (and arguably closer to sixty if we trace its beginnings to the relocation of long-established franchises in the 1950s), the free agency era began thirty-five years ago, and there has always been a rich team-poor team divide in major league baseball, it was not until towards the end of the twentieth century that they reached a critical mass sufficient to change the competitive structure of the game from what it had been for nearly all of its history..

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