Well, this is certainly dramatic.
Later today, the Red Sox will take on the Orioles and the Rays will play the Yankees and hopefully, they’ll both win or lose so we can get a one game playoff and settle it the manly way.
The Boston Red Sox, they of the $160 million dollar payroll, and the Tampa Bay Rays, spenders of approximately 1/4 that figure. Big market vs small market. Buy the talent vs develop the talent. Insufferably entitled fans vs laughably indifferent ones.
Damn, it should be fun.
Baseball is still a great game, but it’s hopelessly compromised, long after the steroid scandal has come and gone. The lack of any real salary cap or sense of competitive balance has produced a sport where about a third of the teams are non-contenders the day the season starts, most of them lacking the resources to compete.
Neat little coincidence that Moneyball just hit theaters in the past week. The story of Billy Beane’s ability to use a statistical philosophy to help him build a winning team on a shoestring budget fits nicely here, especially since Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman is widely considered to be the current innovator in that regard. The Rays weren’t supposed to be here after having their team pillaged by free-agent banditos this winter.
Here they are though, after the mighty BoSox blew a nine game lead thanks mostly to the total implosion of their starting pitching. The fact that the 5 Boston starting pitchers make more than the Rays’ entire 25 man roster only serves to reinforce not only the systemic failures of the game of baseball, but also to make it plain just who the good and bad guys are in this yarn. Fact is, nobody but the Red Sox fans could be rooting against Tampa Bay here, and it’s hardly a mystery why.
Of course, all of it could be for naught if this thing gets settled tonight, and it won’t be terribly surprising if the Red Sox somehow find a way to escape. After all, their team is loaded with superstars, and all they have to do is beat the lowly Orioles, whereas Tampa faces the mighty Yankees.
Still, I’ll be root for the Rays. Not just because I want to see the little guys win, or because I want to see the spoiled Boston fans whine and cry like the delusional, entitled, worse-than-Yankee fan monsters they’ve become.
Oh, who am I kidding? That’s exactly why.
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