Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Jets, Giants, Yankees and Tankies: When losing becomes the objective, the professional sports model has failed

As a fan, here's how I view pro sports in America:

Ah, yet another existential crisis! What brings this one on, you ask? 

Well, Sunday, the lowly, miserable Jets might have blown their one shot at perfection. They won a meaningless game. It could cost them next year's top draft pick, Trevor Lawrence. For Jets fans, watching Sunday's event  was a horrible, ridiculous conundrum - they even tank when trying to tank - and one that Giants' fans know well. 

As the "G-Men" lumber towards the end of another losing season, their fans have no recourse but to root for losses. Last year, right around now, the Giants beat the then-Redskins in a wretched, meaningless game that cost them the draft rights to one of the game's best young players, Chase Young. And now the Washington Football Team looks headed to the playoffs. 

Okay, so, the Yankees... Obviously, it's far too early to give up on the 2021 baseball season. (There will be plenty of time for that, later.) But who can ignore the lingering sense that the Death Barge - with a clearly inadequate pitching staff - is headed towards the precipice? 

Last year, the Redsocks chose to tank. This winter, they have money. In this millennium, they have orchestrated three tankings. Each one eventually resulted in a ring. They are playing the game, according to a successful strategy. And they are outsmarting us. 

Professional sports in America is broken. Each season, two races emerge - to the top and to the bottom. Whatever you do, don't get Malcom'ed in the middle. In fact, the Yankees' failure over the last 11 years stems from their insistence on challenging every season, while their rivals systematically rise, fall and rise again. 

How did this come to be? Billionaire owners want their industry run according to the purest ideals of capitalism: No regulations, the ability to relocate franchises, and absolute power over the hired help. But when it comes to actually running their business, they prefer socialism: Oppressive regulations (down to the shoes that players wear), massive luxury taxes (since when do billionaires like taxes?) and full-scale salary caps. Moreover, they reward the worst-run teams - (often the cheapest run, as well) - for their incompetence.

The media seems to accept the notion that Hal Steinbrenner lost a lot of money last year - (which would make him almost unique among billionaires) - thus, the 2021 Yankee payroll must shrink. The team cannot afford a huge luxury tax bill. Money doesn't grow on trees! If the Yanks are hamstrung among free agents this winter, well, we should blame D.J. LeMahieu! Why didn't he accept less money? 

I donno what'll happen with D.J. But if he does re-sign with us - probably for less money - the Yankees apparently won't have any coins left over for pitching. Thus, Brian Cashman will remake the roster... with, gulp, trades. If D.J. signs, he might be signing the papers for Luke Voit's move to Kansas City. Yeesh. 

Something tells me, around July 30, Yankee fans might find ourselves feeling the urge to destroy. So, on that note, merry fucking Christmas, everybody. 


JM said...

Everything is lost and we're all doomed.

Aside from that, have a nice Christmas. And remember what Christmas is really all about: going into debt to buy presents and hoping everyone else has done the same so you get something good.

I saw that on the Peanuts Christmas special when I was a kid and it just kind of stuck with me.

TheWinWarblist said...

What JM said. And have a jolly libation, you crotchety curmudgeonly old Building and Loans!

Anonymous said...

Hey, we have the Bills

Anonymous said...

In short, we Yankees fans are being asked not to root for the team as much as to root for the team's owner to save money. WTF. I've just about had it.

Alphonso said...

Brilliant work there, Duque.......

But unnecessary.

The Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton for seven more years.

If we tank, or rise, or tank and rise, the outcome will always be the same.

We have Giancarlo stanton for seven more years.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I agree: brilliant work, Peerless Leader. And the whole idea of "Socialism for me but not for thee" has long been the motto of America's owning class.

One small caveat: the Yankees do NOT go ALL out to win—not usually. This is the trouble.

As Steeler's Wheel once put it, we are stuck in the middle with you, Brain Cashman.

The Yankees don't tank, but they also don't go all out to win. This is the worst of all possible worlds in modern sports. To take another musical cue, don't mess with Mr. In-Between.

But we always do.


I suspect that this, too, is quite calculated. HAL and Brain have figured out the sweet spot, the perpetual race for the last wild card spot that will maximize net profits. Most years, they catch the car, or even come in first, and everybody's happy. For a while. Who knows, with a some luck, they might even grab the ring someday, which will keep most of us satisfied for another decade.

But even the stablest orbits have a tendency to decay. I think we're about to see that.

Anonymous said...

The franchise has gangrene
The Archangel

TheWinWarblist said...

Archangel, far be it for me to be argumentative or repine, but more specifically, the Franchise has Fournier's gangrene.

Die Hal!! Die of Fournier's gangrene! Die! Die!

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