Phillies own ninth-highest payroll in world

Remember those days when people called Philadelphia a small-market baseball town?

You know, when we had to fight to replace the Vet and beg for marquee free agents like, say, David Bell? Well, those days are long gone. If the sight of that historic rotation — Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels — wasn’t enough to convince you, this should.

In a global survey conducted by ESPN The Magazine, the Fightin’s own the ninth-largest payroll in the world. Yes, the WORLD.

At an estimated $5.8 million, the Phils are one of just three U.S. franchises to make the list. The other two (brace yourselves): the Yankees ($6.2 million) and the Lakers ($6.3 million). All the rest are European soccer clubs, at least we think by the sounds of their names. Obviously, we don’t watch soccer.

Amazing to think how far we’ve come — or how much money Ruben Amaro Jr. has wasted, depending on your take on their anemic bats right now — in the past few seasons. Here are how the other Philly teams fared: Sixers (23), $4.8 million; Flyers (100), $2.5 million; Eagles (128), $2.2 million; Union (255), $162,232.

NOTE: You may be wondering why the Eagles are so low on this list. Remember, this is average annual payroll so it doesn’t take into account signing bonuses, which is how the NFL fights the cap. In fact, the first NFL team to appear is the Steelers at No. 75 ($2.9 million).

In summary, Phillies fans …

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