>> Thursday, November 05, 2009
Spencer "It's a good thing I'm a damn fine reporter or people might hate me for writing stuff like this" Ackerman:
Thank you merciless, remorseless, unforgiving, unblinking wealth. Thank you Evil. Thank you New York Fucking City.To which I think there are two appropriate responses. The first, as epitomized by Joe Posnanski, is to lament the fact that the Yankees play with cheat mode enabled and still can't win all the time:
Baseball happens to be a sport where dominance can be obscured. It doesn’t look like dominance. What I mean is this: Baseball, for many reasons, is built in such a way that the best teams win less often than in other sports. A 13-win NFL team wins 81% of the time. A national championship contending football team might lose once or twice—or not at all. A 60-win NBA team wins 75% of the time, and a big time college basketball team will win closer to 90%. A 100-win baseball team wins 62% of the time . . .The other, as embodied by my friend Andrew Seal, is to claim this victory a cosmic mistake unlikely to be repeated:
And in that way the expanded playoffs have been genius for baseball—not only because they are milking television for every dime but because the short series have been baseball’s one Yankee-proofing defense against the ludicrous unfairness of the New York Yankees. Hey, if the game is rigged, rig the game. The Yankees spend a lot more money than any other team. As a direct result, they had the best record in the American League in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009. They made the playoffs every single year but one this decade (and going back to 1995). They are the best team with the best players every year—that sort of big money virtually guarantees it.So, you create a system where the best team doesn’t always win.
For awhile there (ca. Oct. 20, 2004 - Nov. 1, 2009), I honestly thought that the New York Yankees might never win another World Series in my lifetime. It was irrational and fairly dumb, but something during that time about how the internal logic of baseball seemed to be working allowed me to believe that the Yankees simply could not win a World Series under contemporary conditions . . .
[T]he Yankees assumed a position of not just villainy but almost blasphemy, of satanism: this was an organization that, no matter whether it ever adopted sabermetrics and other related studies, did so still under the banner of the image, of fluidity (capital and labor moving in and out lubriciously), of what they looked like in the camera's eye or underneath the headline. Victories on the field were to be produced by victories in the press—boffo free agent signings, prima donna players, inter-family power struggles—in short, by dominating the attention of the media. It is of absolutely no relevance if the Yankees only differ in degree from the Red Sox or other big spenders in terms of how they ran their club; they always seem to wish to differ in kind, as if being a baseball team in a baseball league isn't all they are, as if what happens in the media has a reality beyond what happens on the field.
This strategy isn't supposed to win. Not now, not knowing what we know about how much of what defines and produces success isn't what the headlines cover. Baseball is a game about solid, unassuming middle relief, and the Yankees are Joba fucking Chamberlain. How can that possibly work out?
There are terabytes worth of reasons for hating the New York Yankees—historical, personal, ethical, spiritual, aesthetic, maybe sexual—but now there's one more: the metaphysical. Winning the World Series is a gash in the fabric of both justice and reality. This simply shouldn't have happened.