Re: Small Market
That is because the revenue exploded with high revenue teams and the Reds didn't put good products on the field most of the time. The 2001-03 teams were downright horrible. The 2002 team was a poor mans 99 which would have been a money blackhole after "buying" upgrades like Rolen or trading Kearns for Colon wouldn't have pushed the Reds past the Cards that year. The Reds seemed talent challenged every year, only getting by on pure guts and lucky retreads. Everybody has become cynical and we are beginning another rebuilding plan. If you want to be even more dire about the Reds situation during 97-2003, we scimpped a little on Farm spending in my opinion, which would have made payrolls even lower if funded properly!!!!!
A payroll of 59.3 mill sounded good in 1997, but it didn't help as much in 2003. Reds baseball has been in a recession since the mid-90's, you could see it coming in 95 and it has never recovered. Heck, even Schott got sick of it and quit funding, pushing the team toward victory by 1996. Bad management has not given the Reds the cheap talent needed to compete on a yearly basis. The Ownership is conservative, scared if some moves come about that will cause money windfall and no payback(playoffs,WS) comes it will strangle the franchise.
You can say the Reds are a small market team by choice, but in the same, other teams(Baltimore) have had it roughly the same time period of struggle, but can still spend money on Big FA's.
The Reds then, are a Small Market team because
1)Their plan did not give the Reds a better product or increase revenue 2)They will NOT have the money of probably about 10-15 teams, a fact, the diehard Reds fan will have to accept.