Wednesday, October 13, 2021

And now, it's the ALCS: American League Cheater Series

Congrats to the Redsocks and Astros as they face-off to become the greatest cheaters in modern sports. 

It's a clash of hidden cameras and loaded dice, of dueling trash can lids and code-breaking software, of yearlong suspensions and buzzers taped to man-boobs. It's the ALCS - seven games to decide who can out-scam the other. But wait, there's more! 

It's about franchises who gloriously tanked on their fans, so they could draft first and jettison star players on the cusps of their first big contracts.

It's about billionaire owners who demand - and get - a brand new stadium, or who jack-up ticket prices until only the morbidly rich can attend.

Is this about the American League... or just America? 

Either way, it's about teams who are simply better at deception than the bland and bloated Yankees, who have faced their own cheating accusations. Whether it was signal-stealing or slathering the ball with stick-um, the one difference here was that the Yankees couldn't execute as well. As a result, they've won nothing since 2009, when a drug-enhanced Alex Rodriguez propelled them to success. 

Which brings us to the sad state of the Yankees...

Nine months ago, this was supposed to be our year - a season when the Yankees avenged Houston's wiping the bathroom floor with us in the now-tainted 2019 playoffs. Now, it's becoming clear that no meaningful revenge will ever take place.  The Astros remain a longtime power in the AL West, and the Yankees - for all their braying and bleating - are mired in a slow-motion collapse. 

Meanwhile, the change in polarity between Boston and New York since 2004 - the year when everything switched - remains one of the most frightening reversals in modern history. Suddenly, in the span of a weekend, the Yankees were transformed from the premier franchise in American sports into a turtle that cannot get off its back. We have now gone through three generations of failure - from Carl Pavano to Kei Igawa to Deivi Garcia - with no end in sight.

A long time ago - back in the 1980s - old George Steinbrenner built what came to be known as "the worst team money can buy." He did it by constantly meddling with managers and players. It took George decades to learn how not to destroy teams, how to simply sit back and let solid baseball executives build a franchise. As a result, fans now remember the obese ogre more fondly than he deserves. 

Today, how ironic is it that Hal Steinbrenner has ruined the Yankees through a completely different manner - a self-imposed austerity budget coupled with a "win-now" demand, which has drained the team of not only its future... but its soul. The 2021 Yankees - a lineup of homers, strikeouts and walks - have been one of the hardest teams in history to root for. 

Never have Yankee fans been so glad to see the premature end of a season.  

So, congrats to Houston and Boston. They figured out advantages and exploited them. Kudos to the greatest cheats in recent history. And count the silverware after they're gone. 


Celerino Sanchez said...

I'm amazed watching teams that do anything to try and win, it's such a foreign concept.

JM said...

It's easy to keeping hating Houston because Altuve is still there. Boston just gets guys with ridiculous beards, which helps me despise them.

Maybe both sides will throw at their opponents' heads. Or beards. Or something. That's the only reason I'd watch.

Ironbow said...

Baseball is in a disaster zone right now. Cheaters get a slap on the wrist, starting pitchers many times don't even last five innings, analytics are overused, too many hitters who are strikeout machines, player salaries and ticket prices are out of control ...

Piiax said...

Been a Yankee fan since the early 1950's courtesy of my father's growing up near the Stadium. And in NYC one has had to be philosophic about sports winning and losing these last too many years. But when sadness turns to disgust, it's the worst for a fan. Living with George was bad, saved only by his suspension. And maybe Hal has seen to many bloated contracts turning bad on the Yankees and other teams. But his being wed to Cashman's regime is the real cause of this mess.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Hear, hear, Peerless Leader! And it IS America, which is the terrifying thing.

And hear, head, Ironbow. I've been expecting "MLB" and pro sports in general to crash for years now. Amazingly, it has not happened—but I can't see how baseball, at least, can keep going indefinitely like this.

The pitcher is the hero of the game, much as the quarterback is in football. Making him interchangeable makes the game anonymous. The number of strikeouts is crazy. The prices, as you write, are out of control.

And's boring. These playoff games are interminable. Even the ones that are close are unwatchable if it's not your team. I had the Brewers-Braves game on in the background yesterday while I was working. One of the better games of the postseason, 4-4 going into the late innings.

I had to shut it off, just because I was doing something else. Sure enough, it went nearly 4 hours. And the trouble is that, play-by-play, it's boring. The pitcher takes as long as possible on every pitch, trying to freeze the batter. The batter calls time, steps out of the box and strolls around, trying to break the pitcher's rhythm.

There are chess matches that are more riveting. And now with commercials even while play is continuing!

Celerino Sanchez said...

The whole pitching dynamics make the game unwatchable now.

Doug K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug K. said...

Hoss - "The pitcher is the hero of the game, much as the quarterback is in football. Making him interchangeable makes the game anonymous."

One of the more profound statements I've read here and that's saying something.

Here's another one. Not as profound but undeniably true...

"The 2021 Yankees - a lineup of homers, strikeouts and walks - have been one of the hardest teams in history to root for. Never have Yankee fans been so glad to see the premature end of a season."

This is the first time in decades that my B-SAD (Baseball Seasonal Affective Disorder) has not kicked in after the Yankees lost because, (SEE ABOVE QUOTE).

I cared so little that I mistimed my Marie Kondo for GM post. It was too soon. But it wasn't too soon for me because I had no mourning period.

I think Duque is right. I think the bad guys have won and not just in baseball. because I accept things as "the way it is" about pretty much everything now. Gas $4.65 a gallon? I know another station where it's cheaper... $4.28.

Maybe I'm old. Well, yes I'm old, I get that.

But Red Sox v. Astros? Well at least one of them will lose.

The Archangel said...

Some day in the not too distant future, there will be business courses taught on how baseball corroded itself to death .
Or they will simply revive the old fable about killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.

It's like let's think of things that will turn off the fans.
How about every batter stepping out of the box for twenty seconds after every pitch; or let's charge 30 bucks for a beer and a hotdog.

It's not just Yankee fans either. I spoke to my brother -in-law who is a diehard Reds fan. this was the first year that he had not taken wither his sons or his grandchildren to at least one Red's game since 1976. He said that the games last too long with all the pitching changes and batters stalling with long commercial breaks between every half inning and the costs for decent tickets and snacks are too steep.
MLB has lost him, his sons and his grandkids.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, Doug! I AM missing the game, regardless, because it's just so much of a regular rhythm of my life now—and I ESPECIALLY will miss chatting with you moaxes so often.

But yeah, this Yankees team itself just felt exhausting after awhile.

And you're right, Archie—it's like they went about it systematically. And don't forget how, in the overlong times between innings, you're now bombarded with ads and headbanger music at record decibel levels, so there's no chance of talking with the kids and grandkids!

HoraceClarke66 said...

What we Americans now think of as change—good change—is making everything into everything else.

A baseball game has to be a rock concert. And an ad pitch. And a business school experiment on maximizing production while minimizing payroll. Etc. Like much of American life, it has become simultaneously dull and exhausting.

Baseball parks now come with built-in amusement parks. And swimming pools. And fancy restaurants, and hard-liquor bars, and all those other things that say, "We don't believe that the game itself will really entertain you."

Not to mention: "We want you to fork over even MORE money."

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