Monday, December 29, 2008

Two Sides of a Stupid Story

Being Great Americans, most of us like to argue about sports with our friends. Usually, sports stories have two sides to them. Usually, they are formed something like this:

Point: Notre Dame sucks! They haven't won anything in a million years!
Counter-point: Notre Dame rules! They've got a lot of national titles they won in football games!

or

Point: Statistics are stupid; the best way to know sports is to watch the players play the sports game!
Counter-point: Statistics are really useful; they let you measure how a player performs when you can't watch all the games even with the TiVo.

Something like that. Frequently, arguments are resolved through one side's careful use of logic and sports arguments frequently end in amiable agreement about the most sensible point of view. And this blog is designed to facilitate that process.

POINT: The Yankees are ruining baseball.

[Note: this article, though written by Phil Sheridan from the Philly Inquirer, is also published on BostonHerald.com. The best part about Yankee news? Insecure Boston fans show their true bitchy natures]

The New York Yankees represent the very worst of America.

Surely, I am no Yankees fan, but I think O.J. Simpson's lawyers represent the very worst of America.

Overstatement? Consider the times. Cornerstone industries are faltering,

I blame the Yankees.

taxpayers are being asked to bail out mismanaged financial institutions and their overpaid CEOs,

I blame the Yankees.

and decent, hard-working men and women are being laid off or worrying that they could be next.

Fuck you, Yankees! Stop firing all those overpaid auto-workers whose own inflexible labor contracts have hurt them; stop firing all the excess middle management that isn't needed; stop firing all the hedge fund managers whose wealth-juggling games have finally hit the wall! Damn it, Cashman! Stop being such an asshole and actively hurting decent, hard-working men and women by trying to make your baseball team better!

Now consider the eight-year, $180 million contract the Yankees reportedly handed first baseman Mark Teixeira Tuesday. Stack it on top of the $161 million deal signed by pitcher CC Sabathia and the (relatively) modest $82.5 million promised to A.J. Burnett and you have the most egregious display of financial irresponsibility in the history of sports.

No, no, no. If you can PAY for it, and you MAKE billions of dollars, re-investing in your product is not a stupid or irresponsible at all. These decisions are much more egregious.

The Yanks’ insane overspending would be bad for baseball in the best of times. These are not the best of times.

As I've written before, the last few years have actually been some of the best times in baseball history, whether you consider attendance, profits, competitiveness for all teams not based in Pittsburgh. Mr. Sheridan, you can't just spout this with no basis and expect teh_blogorz not to call you on it!

If Major League Baseball had a commissioner — that is, an independent and strong-willed leader unafraid to do the right thing — the Teixeira and Sabathia deals would be nullified based on the commissioner’s sweeping "best interest of the game" powers.

What an awful idea. Is Mr. Sheridan really suggesting that anytime someone gets signed to a big contract, the commissioner should step in? Is Bud Selig's job to be a one-man salary cap, based on nullifying contracts approximately whenever he feels like it?

Up in Boston, where the Red Sox made a serious run at signing Teixeira, this deal is being rationally and calmly analyzed by baseball fans as if actual, flaming chunks of blue sky were crashing through the roofs of their homes.

Ah! I thought he was being serious! This was a joke! Whew. I thought for a minute there he was going to argue that Red Sox fans calmly and rationally analyzed something.

As one commenter on boston.com reasoned, "Dear God, please kill me now . . . " Another reflected, "OMG — I want to jump off a bridge . . . ! Yankees are instantly the favorites in the AL East for 2009 . . . ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Using comments from boston.com in your article: instant comedy.

Using comments from boston.com in your article: you're a doing a shit job of being a real journalist, and your whole argument is stupid.

COUNTER-POINT: The Yankees' spending is great for baseball! [Note: it is never a good thing for your side of an argument if you take a look around and notice that Richard Justice defends your viewpoint]

The Yankees are the gift that keeps on giving. We've just been guaranteed a great season no matter how it plays out.

No, real baseball fans have been guaranteed a season full of Yankee highlights every goddamn night - and Yankee subplots and sidebars all season long. Even Yankees fans aren't "guaranteed" a great season; the only people who are truly guaranteed a great season now are lazy, shitty sportswriters who will have tons of material.

Besides, if the Yankees win, how will their fans feel?

Pretty fucking good.

Will this be the kind of championship they're proud of?

Yes.

Will it reflect the greatness of the Yankees, or the fact that the Yankees did it with a sledgehammer?

Sledgehammers are not allowed on the baseball field, Richard.

In some ways, the Yankees can't win no matter how much they win.

What?

Isn't that a beautiful thing? And if they don't win, there'll be a firestorm to end all firestorms.

I, too, look forward to that. Residents of mountainous resort communities will be happy to know that all fire-storms will be ended if this takes place.

Regarding comments by the Brewers' owner:

This guy doesn't get it. If he owns the Brewers long enough, he'll understand that when the Yankees are really good, every other team benefits.

An implausible argument to say the least. But let's see how little Richard handles it:

What have the Yankees won anyway? How good are they? Have you checked out their outfield? Want to compare rotations? Which rotation do you like most? Which group has done more in October? Have they forgotten what a choking dog Alex Rodriguez is in the playoffs?

So wait.. you're saying that baseball is better off since the Yankees have become really good... but then you argue that they're NOT really good?

Also: A-Rod sucks, but not as bad as Richard Justice.

THE SENSIBLE CONCLUSION:

Actually, all this signing crap doesn't really affect the baseball world much at all. The Yankees are going to be better this season, but competitive balance will still prove that baseball's system isn't broken and doesn't need fixing. Sensible viewpoints (like this one which correctly pinpoints small-market teams as whiny and profit-hungry) must prevail, no matter the economic climate of the country. For pete's sake, even Dayn Perry realizes that this isn't that big a deal, and that salary caps " do nothing to promote competitive balance, and all they do is guarantee owner profits".



12 comments:

Chris W said...

with all due respect dan-bob, the MARLINS are ruining baseball?

GMAB.

I'm not going to cry a river over the Yankees spending more on a 32 year old injury-prone pitcher than the Marlines spent on their entire team. Almost TWICE as much.

But that said, what's better for baseball--teams like the Marlins being nearly as good as the Yankees in 2008 by way of savvy scouting, smart trades, and generally fundamentally sound, team-based baseball?

Or the Yankees reaching into their ever-deep pockets, signing up whoever's got the most buzz, buzzarding for players like A-Rod and Damon and then playing them out of position because they're not real fits on the team? Inflating the FA salary-range? Whining about their overpaid (and thereby under-incentived) out-of-position, overexposed (And thereby over-hounded by the media) players underperforming?

Just saying....

JimA said...

I'm glad to learn that the only people who are out of work deserve to be. I'll sleep better now. It's interesting that all small-market teams are whiny and profit-hungry. I thought they were all in it out of the goodness of their hearts and the enjoyment of the fans, as it seems the large market teams are.
For someone who loves to complain about lazy, shitty journalists, you sure use a lot of generalities. You cannot be serious when you speak of resolving arguments through logic and ending them in amiable agreement about the most sensible point of view.

Chris W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i think you misunderstood the richard justice article

dan-bob said...

CW:

I'm not sure I made myself clear - and perhaps the link to the Marlins article wasn't the best choice. I'm saying, though, that the smaller-market teams' ability to compete is not really inhibited by the Yankees' spree if they're careful and intelligent about developing players. Perhaps it's a bit overboard to characterize small-market teams as "whiny and profit-hungry" - but the comments by the Brewers' GM seem to suggest exactly that.

In sum, nobody is really "ruining" baseball - it has a surprisingly effective system in place: where parity isn't worshipped - but teams' spending doesn't necessarily segregate small-market teams to the second division every year.


JimA:

You cannot be serious when you speak of resolving arguments through logic and ending them in amiable agreement about the most sensible point of view.

Thanks for explaining that to me. You are correct: I cannot be serious!

Jarrett said...

If you want lazy, just wait until JimA doesn't come back to this post to see if somebody commented back.

Tonus said...

I wouldn't say that the Marlins are ruining baseball, but I doubt that you'll see teams like the Marlins voting in favor of a salary cap. The only way that the Player's Association (and wealthier teams like the Yankees and Red Sox etc) would accept a cap is if (A)the cap was set astronomically high and (B)there was also a *minimum* spending level. And I doubt the minimum would be $23 million. More like $50-75 million or more.

The only way you'd get MLB to accept a cap would be to offer so many concessions to both the MLBPA and to the richer clubs, that it would force small market teams to spend much more than they do now.

cs said...

I'm not defending Yankee saturation of the media, but dude, seriously, what was the point of this post? You took all the quotes out of context in the Justice article. You might as well have just made up sentences. I could pick out random sentences from a post and make snarky comments after each one too, but that would be dumb.

pnoles said...

I'm personally tired of people blowing Teixeira out of proportion. Keith Law, who probably has the highest opinion of Teixeira of any of the intelligent sportswriter figures even admitted that it was probably just a 4 to 5 win upgrade this season, or something like that, not to mention the complete displacement of Nick Swisher. The Yankees are now pretty much forced to trade one of their corner OF/DH/1B types (unless they're planning on using Swish in center), and it's going to be near-impossible to get decent value for those guys when better options like Manny, Dunn, Burrell, and Abreu are floating around out there. Long story short, it was a move the Yankees had to make, but it's not like they just cemented themselves atop the AL East (it's questionable that they're even favorites). Also, keep in mind, that despite Sabathia and Burnett coming aboard, one of them is replacing Mike Mussina, who did wonders to keep the Yankees afloat last year.

All these mid-market teams might complain now, but there's going to be plenty of bargains to be had this winter before all is said and done.

BTW, dan-bob, check this out.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8396

Have a fun season! :p

JimA said...

Jarrett,
I don't know exactly what you're talking about but for the past couple of weeks I've been in the hospital getting part of me cut out to get rid of some cancer. If that is lazy or too inconvenient for you, go fuck yourself.

Chris W said...

Wow. Things just got....really real...on the blog

Larry B said...

I'm staying out of this one. And doesn't anyone get the joke in my post about Easterbrook? Anyone?