Back in 1997, the Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs for the second straight season, winning 98 games and the AL East title. They led the American League in attendance and outdrew the Yankees -- who were coming off their first World Series title since 1978 -- by more than 1.1 million fans.
It was an old team. But they re-signed Brady Anderson and Harold Baines as free agents. They signed Joe Carter and Doug Drabek. The '98 Orioles had the highest payroll in the majors, the last team before the Yankees to hold that honor. Every regular in the starting nine was 30 or older. Predictably, things fell apart. Anderson hit .236. Carter was awful. Cal Ripken was old. Drabek went 6-11 with a 7.29 ERA. The Orioles plunged to 79-83, the farm system was essentially in shambles and they haven't been over .500 since.