Soapbox Time: Red Sox

13 Jul

As promised in the first entry, sometimes we like to climb up on our soapbox and talk much about nothing. Much to Intern Derrick’s chagrin, it is time I shared one of my foremost loves with Constitutional Pheasant’s loyal imaginary readership: baseball.

I played for a long time, and it was awesome, and I was pretty good in high school but I got hurt in college, blah blah blah. It’s the same old story so I won’t bore you with that. Now that I’m “out” of the game, it is MLBaseball that gets my attention and affection. Worst of all, I am a Boston Red Sox fan.

I am a closet Red Sox fan. I really like the team, and I really pulling for the team, but I don’t like to tell people about it. Now, many people (bystanders and innocents) would say to me: “Joe, why are you ashamed of your Red Sox fandom? The Red Sox are a good team, and you are a reasonable and handsome guy!”

This is the part of the article where the true-blue baseball fans can be separated from the rest of the pack. Intern Derrick didn’t get past the byline, but if he did, he wouldn’t pass this point with much comprehension. And that’s okay, I’m just saying, baseball people cringe when they hear of a Boston fan outside of Boston or a Yankees fan outside of New York. It simply smells of bandwagon jumping, a phenomenon which is abhorred by real fans.

(For the record, I am not a bandwagon jumper. I have traced my Red Sox fandom back to 1999. That was the year Pedro Martinez won 23 games and the Red Sox lost to the Yankees in the ALCS. Why did I become a Red Sox fan? Well, when I was young I liked the Orioles, but more than anything, I hated the Yankees and the dynasty which they represent[ed?]. So I rooted for a team which had a shot at beating the Yankees. Plus, I thought Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra were pretty cool dudes. I lived in North Carolina, and there is no close baseball team, so that was where I went. Get off my back!)

Bandwagoning aside, the red sox are no longer viewed as a middle-of-the-pack team. Before 2004, they were a good but not great team every year, and people generally felt positively towards the team and the fans. Today, living in Georgia, it has come to my attention that the Red Sox, and Red Sox fans, have reached a hated status close to that of the Yankees. Why? A lot of different reasons, but generally speaking, people from Boston are not so different from people residing in New York. Big city, big market, big stars, big media, big douchebaggery. And now that the Red Sox are good again, all of that regional baggery is coming out of the woodwork.

As a result I suffer, because I am associated with these people. And I can’t switch teams because then I am definitely a bandwagon jumper. Plus, I like the Red Sox, I think they have a great coach, a great GM, and a great core set of young players. So now I am going to suffer with a decision I made ten years ago when I was eleven years old and hated the yankees.

And that really does suck.

But what we are really talking about here is a much bigger problem for baseball, and that is big market teams dominating via free agency and the absent salary cap. Let’s keep it real here, imaginary people, I am no fan of economic constraints, and I’m about as right as you can get when it comes to economics. But the problem is different here in baseball, there is too much money, and there is too much of an advantage to be gained by teams operating in large markets competing directly against teams operating in small markets. The Tampa Bay Rays really don’t have much of a chance against the Yankees/RedSox in the long run. Sure, they can draft well and develop players well for a six year period, but after six years, all players are eligible for free agency. That means, the rays probably have a two-three year horizon for using those high round draft picks effectively. Then, right back to the bottom of the heap.

There is a decent arguement for the long-term demise of competitiveness in MLBaseball, unless Bud Selig gets down off his retarded horse and does something other than revenue-sharing.

Red Sox

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