Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Ich Bin Ein Rockies Fans"

UNLIKE A CERTAIN flip-flopping fair weather ex-Mayor I could mention, I've just become the biggest Colorado Rockies fan east of the Mississippi. Even after last night's 13-1 blowout, which I bailed out of as soon as the Red Sox put up a 3-spot in the bottom of the 1st inning, turning to a repeat of "The War" on PBS, the Series is still not a fait accompli -- a fancy Latin way of saying "It Ain't Over Till It's Over." Or, to paraphrase another great statesman, Ich Bin Ein Coloradans.

Maybe this Series is fated to take after th
e dramatic 1960 Yankees-Pirates 7-game classic, where the Yankees blew out the Bucs in their 3 Series wins, while Pittsburgh squeaked by in their 3, until the famous Bill Mazeroski HR in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 to win it all. Technically that was my first World Series -- having been hatched in April of that year -- but I have no real recollection of the Yankees winning their games by margins of 16-3, 10-0 and 12-0, or the Pirates' narrow wins of 6-4, 3-2 and 5-2. If the Rockies can steal Game 2 tonight and head back west with a split, they will definitely make a good showing in their 3 home games.

Colorado is virtually unknown to most of the country, literally having not played a game on national TV in over 2 seasons, while Boston and their legions of singularly annoying fans are so popular they make up their own Red Sox Nation. And whereas perhaps they are not as universally detested outside New England as their long-time division rival Yankees are
across the country, there's still plenty to hate about this team.

This quote by David Ortiz, for instance, is enough to make me root even harder for the Rockies, if that were even possible. "We've been called favorites since Day 1, and look at us," the man known as Big Papi says. "Here we are dancing and just taking it easy. We just have the edge, the attitude to become champions." With all due respect, Mr. Papi, your team also has the biggest payroll of any ballclub outside of New York, and that's the real edge you have over the National League representatives you're facing off against. Let's keep it real here.
The Rockies' payroll is a relatively penurious $54 million this season, while the Sox had to make ends meet with a mere $143 million worth of overpaid superstars. Just this last offseason, Boston threw a
$103 million contract at a single player, Japanese League star Daisuke Matsuzaka -- $51 million just for the right to negotiate with the club who owned his rights in Japan, and another $52 million for the actual 6-year contract. It's outrageous economic discrepancies like this that go a long way toward explaining the continuing decline in popularity of baseball relative to the other major sports, especially football, where teams are forced to budget players under a league-mandated salary cap -- thus ensuring a competitive balance that the former national pastime can only dream about.
From the moment the Yankees were ignominiously eliminated from the playoffs by the Indians, it's been wall-to-wall Joe Torre coverage in the sports pages and on New York sports radio. You would think the Pope had been fired by the Vatican for major moral misconduct, such was the non-stop commentary by experts and laypersons alike.

The biggest joke was how some people spun the story so that the Yankees brass somehow insulted saintly Joe with their meager $5 million offer to manage the team for one more campaign -- as if Father Torre would have had to take a vow of poverty to accept those terms. How could the Steinbrenner family force poor Joe to take a pay cut from his 2007 salary of $7 million, the reasoning went -- conveniently neglecting to mention that contract incentives would have escalated the $5 million base by a substantial margin, or that even absent those incentives, St. Joe still would have been the sport's highest paid manager by a wide margin.
Joe Torre has come a long way financially since 1996, his first season managing the Yanks, when he made a "mere" $330,000. To put it in further bas-relief, Joe was coming off a 3-year deal that paid him more than $19 million. The new "insulting" contract would have given Torre a million-dollar bonus for making the playoffs, another million for advancing to the ACLS and, you guessed it, another mil for reaching the World Series -- hardly unreasonable management expectations for someone guiding a talent-laden team with the game's highest player payroll. Torre has been the highest-paid skipper in baseball history since 2001, and that doesn't even take into account the lucrative commercial endorsements he's accumulated throughout the last dozen years while at the helm of the Yankees successful playoff run.

So don't forget to include virtuous Joe the Martyr in your prayers tonight. As for myself, I am looking ahead and praying the Steinbrenner scions don't follow up a good business decision with a bad one -- tapping Don Mattingly as the next manager. Instead, the Yankees should bite the bullet on the PR hit they would take from fans by passing over beloved Donnie Baseball and immediately hire Genuine Joe Girardi, destined to be the game's next great manager wherever he goes next.


Serge A. Storms said...

I saw on Faux News yesterday that apparently Rudy was to be rubbed out by the mob, but the vote was turned down 3-2 against. Thus showing 2 things: The Mafia has a more effective democracy than will ever be set up in Iraq, and they should all be kicking themselves for the decision.

jimithegreek said...

darn good post

Wardens World said...

Serge: Same thoughts I had. The one good idea they had and they don't follow through. Rudy is like this Bush fellow: he is a uniter in that people who agree about nothing else agree that they hate him.

Jim: Thanks, bud. This Boston thing is killing me lately. I posted this on and the Red Sox fans attacked me. The whole city can go to hell.

Serge A. Storms said...

I'm still trying to figure out how he's #1 in the GOP polls. I can't stand Republicans, but I can spot 5 people clearly more qualified and capable of handling the position than Douchiani. And is Al Gore even running? Because he's got 17% of the Dems support, and as far as I've heard he's not even in the race. That could be the issue causing Hillary to look like such a marginal front runner. (I know this ends up falling more under what was being discussed on the Daily Rhetoric, but it's where my mind clicked to while I was typing here.)

Magnus Maximus said...

My poison of choice is English Premier League soccer, and it functions like American baseball. No salary cap. Therefore, the richest clubs dominate year after year. It's always Manchester United (now owned by the Glazers), Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea...

The relegation/promotion system they use, which allows the top-rated clubs in lower divisions to be promoted to higher flights (and vice versa) is interesting in that it allows smaller clubs to dream of competing in the premiership, but of course cold hard money always rules the day. We won't be seeing Ipswich win the league title anytime soon...