Monday, October 09, 2006

Damn Yankees

After writing that I didn't think the Tigers had a chance against the Yankees on Wednesday, they went on to win the next three games and take the series. Perhaps Jim Leyland found my blog post on the Internet and posted a copy of it in the Tigers' clubhouse to inspire the team. Perhaps I should go on record saying I don't think the Tigers have a chance against Oakland right now for good luck.

In retrospect, it seems that Detroit sports fans should have been able to predict the Yankees' early exit from the postseason. The Yankees are similar to the pre-lockout Red Wings in a lot of ways. They both had streaks in the mid-late 1990s when they were the dominant teams in their respective sports. They then used their deep pockets and championship pedigree to bring in hired guns each season in order to keep the dynasty rolling. In both cases, a fat payroll full of all-stars failed to pay the kind of dividends that management and fans had hoped for. You may be able to buy your way to a championship in professional sports, but you have to build a dynasty. I don't think the Yankees are going to start playing moneyball anytime soon, however. Being able to outspend all other teams is a huge advantage and chances are that it will eventually pay off again sometime in the near future.

Whenever a big-name free agent signs with the Yankees, I tend to see it as almost a sign of failure on the part of the signee. For the most part, the guys they have picked up over the past few years have been great players who were never able to win with their previous team. Baseball is a team sport, but all great players are judged by whether or not they were able to win the big game. In a way, when a guy with great stats but no postseason heroics signs with the Yankees, he's saying that he's not good enough to lead a franchise to glory and is therefore casting his lot with the team that, statistically speaking, has the best chance of winning it all. I can't really begrudge someone like Johnny Damon for wanting to get out of Kansas City (plus his path to the Bronx went through Oakland and Boston), but guys like A-Rod and Giambi were part of some pretty good teams in Seattle and Oakland and Randy Johnson won a World Series with his previous club. A-Rod's move to the Yankees looked even more desperate, since he was even willing to give up the most glamorous infield position for a chance to play in New York. Perhaps that's part of the reason he's so reviled right now.

No comments: