Forget the actual scores of last weekend's ALDS playoff games between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees -- especially since we lost -- and consider instead the cost-effectiveness competition. That contest is over, actually, and the Yankees will never catch our Minnesota Twins.
Comparing wins against total team payroll, our beloved and humble, self-effacing, team-oriented, egalitarian Twins are first among teams that made it to the playoffs. And those dang-blasted, individualistic, egotistical, rich and overbearing Yankees are dead last.
The Twins rank slightly ahead of the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Cardinals as the most cost-effective of the eight teams in the playoffs this year, not counting playoff wins and losses. Let's doff our caps to owner Jim Pohlad and manager Ron Gardenhire for getting the biggest baseball bang for the buck.
Last by a long, long ways, and in a league by themselves for extravagance, are the arrogant and presumptuous Yankees, who stand for the economic aristocracy and much of what is wrong in America.
Remember, all that Wall Street greed that wrecked our economy occurred just a few miles from their brand new billion-dollar ballpark in the Bronx. (Next spring we'll have a new park too, much more reasonable in total cost, and publicly owned.)
Look at the stats for the playoff teams, drawn from Massachusetts blogger Matt Sly's up-to-date analysis of Major League Baseball statistics.
I personally have been a Yankees hater since about 1958, when the overpaid overlords of baseball beat my Milwaukee Braves in the World Series, but I have not been lonely during that time.
Thousands of us progressive, egalitarian Minnesotans have resented the elitist Yankees for decades. We've always been rankled by their hollow claim to dominance. They thrive in a phony meritocracy where the field really is not level at all. They hit all those home runs, but as the numbers show, they were born on third base.
Whether baseball fans or not, fans of politics will find echoes of some of their favorite themes here.
On the one hand, the Yankees achieve a measure of success by investing huge amounts of money toward their goal, which undercuts the classic conservative view that we can't solve every problem by throwing money at it.
On the other hand, progressives are often skeptical of those who insist on looking for efficiencies and accountability to avoid any increase in spending. There is no denying that the Twins have found ways to deliver wins for less money.
In the end, baseball, like politics, is the art of the possible. The Yankees' success would be impossible -- it's absurd to contemplate, really -- without all the other teams. Let them play by themselves and let's see how much money they end up with.
Dane Smith is the president of Growth & Justice, a self-described progressive think tank that focuses on state and local tax and budget issues.