Thursday, September 27, 2007

Yankees apologist

I always feel I am defending the Yankees, maybe because I have a guilty consious, or maybe just because people around here seem to hate them. At least the Indians have a better record than the New York-based Evil Empire this year, so that has kept their fans mostly quiet. Although with a New York-Cleveland first-round playoff series looming, it could get ugly if the Yankees win. (I might want to take down that flag I put up last week.) Anyhow, I still here it from Pirate fans how the Yankees are ruining baseball by buying their way into the playoffs every year.

However, this theory would seem to be in contrast with this article that appeared in today's paper, saying that the game is healthier than ever, and in fact, there is more parity than ever.

My basic Yankees aplogogist tenent has been that the Yankees have always bought their way to the top, so they're not ruining anything, rather they are just continuing the tradition of how the professional version of the National Pastime has always been played out. Granted, making the playoffs 13 years in a row is a team records, but it's not that far of a cry from the period of 1949-1964 when the Yankees made the playoffs 14 out of 16 years, and finished second and third the other two years... mearning under today's expanded playoff structure, they likely would have made the playoffs 16 years in a row, and maybe 18 or 19 if you go back to 1947 and/or 1946, because they finished third in 1948, first in '47 and third in '46. If you're really liberal and let a fourth place finish in 1945 slide in, you could say, that if the top four teams in each league always make the playoffs (as conceivably they could today), the Yankees could have conceivably made the playoffs everty year from 1926 to 1964, which is almost 40 straight years.

Just something to think about.




DrD said...

Hopefully, parity will come to baseball, but I'm not yet convinced.

If the playing field were really level, the Pirates would have as much chance as any other team. As it stands now, they clearly don't.

In other words, I hope you are right. I hope that parity in MLB increases...but shouldn't they add some of the same protocols that the NFL uses? Salary caps? Revenue sharing? Naming someone other than an OWNER as comissioner of the league?

Actually, I once read that the Pirates (probably because of their great history) have traditionally been a huge draw on the road, but the way the revenue is set up, they don't see much (any?) of that money.

As you know, I don't follow baseball, so I really can't address such matters in detail. That's just something I read a few years ago.

I do know that, when I was a kid, the Pirates had a chance every spring. Today, that chance has been completely eliminated and the Pirates now function as a farm team for the wealthier franchises.

Something just doesn't seem right about that...


Ralph said...

It seems to be the the Pirates should have as much a chance of winning as Cleveland does. And when you were a kid didn't the Indians stink every year, while the Pirates contended? I'm not sure what to attribtute the Pirates' current string of stinkiness to, and the Royals as well, while teams like the Twins, Indians, A's, and now the Brewers seem to be doing okay. Plus, I think the Pirates are making more money than ever. How's this for a stat? In 1971, a year the Pirates won the World Series, they drew 1.5 million fans. This year, when they are on target for like the worst record in the N.L, they are on target for close to 1.7 million fans.

I'm not even going to get into (well, maybe not too much) the fact that even when the Buccos were winning, only twice in the past 45 years have they been in the top half of the league in attendance, and then just barely (5th and 6th out of 12). Pittsburgh is a football town, and you got lucky with some solid baseball teams in the '70s whose foundation was built by Branch Rickey, a baseball genius who spent his last days with the Bucs pushing them to sign Latin players. I'm not sure who built those '90s teams, but they also did a good job, because the Yankees were outspending everyone then, but losing while the Bucs were winning. Your current management team has basically sucked. That's about it for now. Maybe you can look into the Phillies. They seem to at least be trying to be competitive (instead of just pocketing the luxury payments from teams like the Yanks and Mets.)
Sorry if I came off a little harsh.


DrD said...

Not harsh at all. I haven't thought about it in those terms, so I need to learn about that stuff.

I see your points, particularly about sucky management. Detroit set records for losing during the 80s and 90s. I didn't follow them, but my Dad is a long-time fan. He used to talk about terrible management.

Then they turned it around, with help from the Seawolves and Jim Leland, and won a championship.

It would be fun to watch the Pirates do that. However, despite sucky management, it always seems like the playing field in MLB is uneven, with the big-money teams able to steal the talent of the less-wealthy teams.

And, despite sucky management, it is a fact that I used to watch the Pirates lose player after player to wealthier teams.

Of course, there are trade-offs to football's salary cap: There are no more dynasties. Once upon a time, teams would hold on to players for (more or less) their entire careers, bringing continuity to the fans.

You don't see that very often these days. So, I guess there are always trade-offs.

I don't know a thing about the Phillies, but they seem to be on the verge of making the playoffs.

Maybe they'll do well.


Ralph said...

Interesting note about player turnover: Joey and his mates play some pick-up football at school during recess. He was giving me accounts of the games and the scores seemed pretty lobsided. I asked him how they picked teams. He said, we have captains, but that some players refuse to play on one kid's team because they don't like him, and that another kid always declares himself a free agent and signs on with whatever team he wants after the draft is over.
Now, it certainly didn't work that way when we were kids. You played on team that picked you and were happy you had the chance.... etc.