Thursday, October 20, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:50 AM
And so does Toronto's time at the top come to an end. This winter - this cold, cold winter - they must either shell out massive bucks for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion - or they'll go back into hibernation in the depths of the AL East. They had two shots at the post-season, and both fell short. One hit here or there... so close, and yet... so far away.
Lo, the cruel vagaries of professional sports! Once, the Yankees were the one team in America that you could always count on. Folks either loved them or hated them. They bought pennants, and it was wonderful. I personally never felt guilt about rooting for the Yankees, because I figured everything else in the the world was rigged against me - (Trump, Trump, Trump) - but at least on the baseball diamond, I was a billionaire. There's something to be said for joyous escapism. The Yankees were my Cuervo Gold.
No more. Today, they feel more like a pack of cigarettes, when you're trying to quit. There seem to be three ways to build a successful pro team.
1. Be terrible for three to five years. Eventually, you'll draft a star, or in the case of Washington, maybe two. By losing, and losing, and losing, you never forfeit top draft picks, and come July, you can regularly trade bloated veterans for a prospect or two. Of course, you can screw up the draft picks and blow the trades, and it might take five to seven years - but if you stick to losing, losing, losing... eventually, you'll win.
This year, the Yankees finally adapted to this reality.
2. Get the taxpayers to build you a breathtaking new stadium. The infusion of public money is God's gift to the billionaires who own pro sports franchises. Usually, it guilts the owner into digging deep for a few free agents.
The Yankees did this in 2009, when the new stadium - buttressed with tax breaks - opened, and we signed CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira.
By the way, the U.S. Constitution originally argued for something called "separation of church and state." Well, that ship has sailed. How about a separation of sports and state? How about a Constitutional amendment that forbids taxpayer money to go to any privately owned sports franchise? Ahh, dream on.
3. Cheat, in some nefarious and covert way. Only God and a few trainers know if the great Yankees-Redsocks rivalry of the early 2000s was a product of drug-fortified steroidal rages. The Cardinals hacked opposing teams' computers. Boston was recently caught bundling huge bonuses to sign 16-year-old Latinos. Today, when a pro team constantly wins - see New England Patriots - odds are they're getting away with something. Wait... is there a Boston component to all this?
So happy winter, Canada! See you back in the playoffs - oh, I'd say - around 2022. And find that roof rake. You'll soon need it.