Saturday, December 27, 2008

More Of My Usual

I've added a clue to Kwiz Nein. (in the comments)

Now, I want to talk about an article I read. My Orioles fan friend who lives in or near Philly sent me this from a Philly paper. It started by saying how the Yankees aren't good for sports. I thought, That's cool, but still, I knew the inevitable was coming. Much like in Scent of a Woman when the other guilty kids are laughing while Slade is making fun of George and the school, only to have him turn to them and say "fuck you, too," I knew this writer was gonna give the tiresome "the Red Sox are the same as the Yankees" routine. And he did.

My theory on why this became common has to do with the media. I'm not saying "the media is pro-Yankees." But the side of the media who are pro-Yankees obviously wasn't going to stand for the Red Sox being "America's Team." In their little world, they always had the Red Sox to pick on and the Yanks to look up to. For decades. They're the same people that told us in the late-90s that "you can't hate THESE Yankees." and in 2001 that "if you're rooting against the Yankees, you hate America." So of course when the Red Sox finally won, they had to do something. The "Red Sox fans have turned into Yankee fans" articles were written long before 2004. They were stored away in the sports media basement along with all the baby heads and puppy dog hearts. Same with the "the Red Sox are just as 'evil' as the Yankees" articles. So we finally were bought by multi-millionaires, finally won the World Series, and out came the crap. America had seen a lot of us on their TVs (were they going to ignore a team winning after 86 years?), a lot of our fans in their stands (so sorry we care about our team) and, boom, tell everyone they hate the Red Sox, and some people believe it. I still say that A. most people you read online talking that crap are just bitter Yankee fans and B. most true baseball fans, even if they don't particularly like the Red Sox, couldn't possibly feel the same about both teams, if they remember or have studied the history of the game at all. The hate the average baseball fan has for the Yankees I've said before, saying that Sox fans are just as bad as Yankee fans is like saying ex-slaves are just as bad as their former owners.

So back to this article I read. The guy talks about the Yanks' spending looking bad in these tough economic times, and then starts in with the brainwashed anti-Sox talk:

we are not here to commiserate with the Bostonians, who have celebrated two World Series titles, three Super Bowl victories and an NBA championship in this decade alone.

First of all, stop with the stuff from the other sports. It has nothing to do with this. You're basing whether to commiserate with us based on what different teams in different sports have done? Are you kidding me? So, are Bruins fans "spoiled"? Hey, if you're gonna give me as a Sox fan credit for having won all these non-baseball titles (which I don't want since I am not a fan of any of the other Boston-area teams), then why didn't you give me credit for them during that 86-year drought? "You Red Sox fans were spoiled from 1959-1972. You won twelve championships in fourteen years! No commiseration!" It just doesn't work that way. I can't take NBA, NFL, and NHL championships into my Red Sox trophy case, and you can't hate me when they happen. Because they have nothing to do with what we're talking about. When you start to go down that road, you have to take into consideration some cities don't have a team in each sport. Some have multiple teams in each sport. And some fans like teams from all different cities.

The guy continues:

Especially since their beloved Red Sox are a shark only slightly smaller and less voracious than the Great Blue monster from New York when it comes to preying in the free-agent waters.

Okay, so he didn't say we're the exact same, but he does say we're "only slightly smaller." (In weird, mismatched sea creature language.) Wrong! The Red Sox' bite radius doesn't match the one found on the victim. I still don't see how people are fooled into thinking the payrolls are anywhere near each other. First of all, last year, there were two teams between the Yankees and Red Sox in payroll. Second, the Yanks are WAY ahead of everybody else. 209 million to our 133. Our payroll was 63 per cent of theirs. By comparison, this guy's city's team, the Phillies, had a payroll 73 per cent of that of the Red Sox'. So by his logic, he should be commiserating with himself even less than he is with the Red Sox compared to the Yanks. (You know what I mean--that was a hard sentence to word.) Almost half the teams in baseball have a payroll at least 65 per cent of that of the Red Sox, whereas NO team comes that close to the Yankees.

I realize that we're in the top three non-Yankee teams (again, why include them when they're so far above everyone else?) in payroll--I'm not trying to pretend we're not. But as I always say, we're doing it with the smallest, oldest park in the Majors, which we pack every single night, despite that it's got high-priced tickets.

there is no pity for the Sox or their spoiled fans.

The Red Sox, like the Phillies, have won exactly two World Series titles in the last 90 years. Is this guy crazy? And, note, he specifically mentions Sox fans here, not incorrectly including other Boston teams' championships.

In fairness, MLB did create a luxury tax system that punishes overspenders such as the Yankees and Red Sox

The Red Sox did NOT have to pay the luxury tax last season. And we're not "overspending" anyway, we're just forced, like everybody else, to try and keep up with the one team who blatantly overspends.

But the Sox and Yankees do spend their way to the postseason virtually every year, which means each always has a chance to win it all.

I agree with him in that a lot of people talk about how lower-payroll teams have won it all lately, yet the reality is only the high-payroll teams have a chance EVERY year, not just in that one year before they have to have a firesale. But to not mention the solid farm system the Red Sox have built? I wouldn't call the championship team led by Youkilis, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Papelbon a "bought team."

The guy does talk about how the Phils' payroll ain't tiny either. So that's good. I just wish he'd separate the evil with the regular.

I totally think people should just like their own team. I'm not begging people to like my team. And if you want to hate them, fine--but for god's sake, can't I at least get a "well, yeah, I hate them lately, but of course--OF COURSE--it's not on the level I hate the Yankees on. What do you think, I'm fucking crazy?"

I am a first time commenter here and I have to disagree with your sentiments expressed in this post. As a long time Cardinals fan, (I was 10 during the epic 75 World Series) let me educate on another fan's perspective of the whole Yankees/Red Sox comparison. Before 2004, I was content as was most other Cardinals fans to hate the Yankees (and their fans) for their arrogance and superiority. However, once 2004 came around, the Red Sox and their fans became unbearable. It probably all started with ESPN deciding it had to prop up all things Boston related (and I know you arent a fan of the other Boston teams but it bears mentioning) and then it became insufferable to hear about the long time pain Red Sox fans "endured" waiting for their long deserved championship. Perhaps I am a little bitter that a 104 win Cardinal team lost so easily to what appeared to me to be a mediocre at best team with an injured ace and a caveman leader. But that is besides the point. The fact is since 2004, the Red Sox have carried themselves as if they are the Yankees with one clear difference. Everyone knows, including Yankee fans, that the Yankees are bullies. Their fans come to your stadia and take over, they buy your best free agents and they dominate the national TV markets. Most Yankee fans bask in the glow of being a bully and all the fans of other teams have accepted this. However, the Red Sox have become bullies just like the Yankees, with the same type of fans and similar actions within the baseball world. However, the Red Sox are the worst kind of bully, the one that not only beats the crap out of you and takes your lunch money but they want to still be liked while doing so. The whole facade of "At least we are not as bad as the Yankees is absurd. Whether your payroll is 80million dollars less than theirs is irrelevant, the fact is the Red Sox have the two highest payrolls ever to win a World Series. When the Red Sox missed the playoffs in 06, they bid 50 mill on Daisuke and spent another 50 on a contract, spent 70 mill on Drew and another 40 on Lugo. After the 04 World Series, they bought Renteria and when they decided they didnt want him anymore, they picked up most of his contract and shipped him out of town. When they needed a new ace, they agreed to take on the albatross contract of Mike Lowell of the Marlins just to get Josh Beckett. And cherry picking players that are home grown that were on teams that won a World Series doesnt work well either. While Youkilis, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Papelbon were your players, you forgot to mention the Manny's, Drew's and Matsuzaka's who were FA's and the other trade acquisitions such as Schilling, Beckett, Varitek and Lowell that would not have been possible without the immense resources they have. I also notice you made no mention of that 2004 team that may not have had a single home grown player (although I would have to do some research to verify this claim). At the end of the day, both the Yankees and Red Sox are bullies, but the Red Sox try to convince themselves and everyone else that their form of bulliness isnt as bad as the Yankees simply because they arent the Yankees. And for fans of other teams, that just isnt enough. The Red Sox should stop trying to be America's team (which they arent) just because they are the rivals of the most hated team in America and should embrace themselves as Yankees-lite. At least then, when they wanted a first baseman like Texeira, they wont let a few million dollars keep him from them. And, in a few years when Albert becomes a free agent, and the Red Sox come calling for him, I dont want to hear anything from Red Sox fans about how they arent as bad as the Yankees.
I still say it's preposterous to say we're the "same types of fans" as Yankee fans. It's a completely different experience.

And I'm not saying "we're not as bad as the Yankees," I'm saying we're not bad at all.

You clearly are bitter about 2004--you're basically saying you were the better team. But we won, just like you guys beat that Tiger team that year when everyone got mad that a team with a not-so-great record won it all. (For the record, I didn't give a crap.) So, you're not just the average fan in this discussion since you were pissed at the very team that ended the drought.
"I also notice you made no mention of that 2004 team that may not have had a single home grown player (although I would have to do some research to verify this claim)."

That's because I forgot about 2004. WTF? I'm a Red Sox fan, remember. My point was that people said we "bought" a championship in '04, but act like 2007 was the same thing when we did it with homegrown guys. And we are continuing along that line--that's what we're doing. We're trying to stay competitive by building a farm system so we don't have to depend on other teams' free agents, while still using the money we do have to try for those guys like everybody else does. And while staying smart about it, not just willy-nilly style like the Yanks.

By the way, Trot Nixon was drafted by the Red Sox. And some guys that weren't home grown were still acquired when young, or for not a lot of money. Papi, Wake, Lowe and Tek in that Slocumb trade, the Nomar-trade guys, etc.
Just checked the 2006 Cardinals roster. What, like, two home grown starters?
"Whether your payroll is 80million dollars less than theirs is irrelevant, the fact is the Red Sox have the two highest payrolls ever to win a World Series"

80 MILLION dollars is never irrelevant. And the "two highest WS-winning payrolls" stat: what a misleading Rush Limbaugh-style fact that is. We've never won while having the highest payroll. When looking at that, look at teams that have won and compare their payrolls to the rest of the teams of THAT YEAR. If your team wins next year with a 100 million dollar payroll, but every other team drops to 20 million, yes, you could still say "the Red Sox have the two highest WS-winning payrolls," but you can see how that would be misleading.

By the way, I'll add that the Yanks have had the highest payroll every year since '94, except for '97 when they were a third of a million bucks behind the Orioles. There is no comparison between us (or any other team) and the Yanks.

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