Thursday, November 05, 2009

That Old Familiar Feeling

If you're at least a semi-regular reader of this blog, you probably know that I'm a New York Yankees fan, but that I write more about baseball in general than I do about the Yankees. So, I'm not going to turn into a cheerleader now and talk about how psyched I am that they finished their run to the World Series yesterday, ending a "drought" of eight seasons without winning one. But, the title of this post seems appropriate, this being their 27th championship overall and seventh during my lifetime.

I will say, though, that it didn't really feel all that special, other than the fact that KJ put aside her Red Sox loyalties and watched several of the games with me. It did feel a little more exciting than 1999, when the Yankees completed their second consecutive sweep of the World Series and it seemed they would never lose again. Of course, we know that they did—lose again, that is—and that they are far from achieving the status of dynasty again. But, they were expected to win, and when you're expected to win, it's just not as fun as when you're not. As far as I'm concerned, there probably will never be another 1996.

Then, there's the backlash I'm hearing and reading about, mostly from bitter fans of other teams who just can't seem to put the return of the World Series championship trophy to Yankee Stadium in perspective. I have no problem with Yankee haters. I've said before that I almost always root for the underdog, unless of course, the favorite is my team. So, I expect the rest of the country to root for the Yankees to lose. But, there are a lot of people out there who seem to be mad at the Yankees, as if they consider it their responsibility to make sure the playing field is level. I've got news for you, folks. If the Yankees limitless budget is ruining baseball—which it's not—then it's Major League Baseball's responsibility to do something about it.

Besides, if the past eight years have proven anything, it's that you can't buy a championship. You can buy a contender, and I won't try to dispute that's what the Yankees have been doing, but throwing money at players doesn't guarantee anything beyond that. I've also said this before, but I'm all for a salary cap in baseball. There are a lot of constraints making it difficult to imagine that it will ever happen, though. I'm not going to get into a discussion of the economics of baseball, but there will still be the "haves" and the "have-nots." There's no getting around that fact, and it shouldn't be news to Red Sox and Phillies fans that they're in the haves category, whether they want to cling to their idealized self-images as underdogs or not.

I'm not sure if I have a real point to make here. These are just my thoughts following the completion of a really interesting 2009 baseball season. It's hard to believe this was the outcome of the same season that I was writing things like this about superstitions. Let's also not forget that it was only April of 2008 that I was warning Red Sox loyalists against messing with a good thing. Maybe I was right about that.


  1. Costas' "Fair Ball" is nearly 10 years old now. Does he still have a point?

  2. I was just thinking about that book, Joey. At the time I thought it made a lot of sense, but I don't remember it well enough to know if it's still relevant. I'll be at my dad's this weekend. Maybe I'll borrow his copy and re-read it.

  3. The Yankees make October more interesting. I hate them, and you know that. But last October just wasn't the same without them. I guess it is that I like seeing the Yanks lose on the big stage.

    Congrats to the Yanks.

  4. Interesting perspective, Casey. I have heard that before, especially from Red Sox fans. I also wonder if it would have been more interesting for me--and don't get me wrong it was exciting and far from a cakewalk--if the Yanks had beaten the Red Sox in the process.