Scott Boras and his tentacles are a large part of the greater bad. (Zac Trainor Illustration / ZacTrainor.com)
It was shortly after the 2008 ALCS ended that I fell into my Salinger seclusion. The disappointment and shock of losing Game 7 to the Rays was something I wasn’t fully prepared to cope with and endure. But as I sit here three months later, with a warm MacBook Pro urging me on, I’m ready to get back on that horse, buy the ticket, and take the ride.
And what a strange three months it’s been huh? We now sit amidst America’s second Great Depression with the bread lines of the 30’s traded in for Facebook status updates and a lifeless television roar. We’ve become a nation of greedy consumers, whom worship before the alter of drug addled millionaire athletes, and mega-hit Bollywood movies.
We finally got a Presidential election right though, yet I fear the hole has already been dug too deep, and that our guy, may indeed just be a fall guy. The Republicans were likely privy to seeing that we had already passed the event horizon, and thus decided to hang easy in 2008, and recuperate for a strong and terrifying 2012 run. The Aztecs have been correct thus far...right?
These are dark thoughts on a bright day though, and may be best presented in a different forum. But mark my words Red Sox Nation, the 2009 baseball season will be the weirdest in over a century. I mean, to ignore one’s environment is to play into the arms of fate, which is a dangerous thing to do when raging against the dying of the light. So, since we were speaking on the economy, lets take a look at how it’s affecting our great American pastime.
As our planet wallows in an epic economic doom spin, ol’ pal Hank Steinbrenner was making some back room deals with the devil, a handshake, and a smile. It’s hard not to acknowledge the gluttony of the Yankees in an offseason whose global backdrop presented a wallpaper plastered with lay-offs & banking blunders. The Yankees are so far ahead of the game dollar wise, that even their own fans are starting to cry foul. Year after year, the Yankees have continued to break their own record of being the richest team to not win a World Series, yet they continue to try and place Big League Chew over a rushing damn.
The Yankees have spent a whopping total of $423.5 million on their top three free agents (Fatty, Tex, &
AJ). This half BILLION dollar investment is nearly three times as much as the REST of baseball’s top three free agents combined at $149 million (K-Rod - NYM, Ryan Dempster - CHC, & D-Lowe - ATL). Jesus Christ man, these pig bastards aren’t messing around anymore are they? The desperate times are apparently calling for some desperate measures from the Steinbrenner Clan. And there’s nothing more depraved or heinous then a wounded werewolf whose foot happens to be caught in a bear trap.
These are scary thoughts to have on a Monday night in late February. And to not have fear creep along the brim of your hat would make me some sort of zombie, and I’m not undead just yet. This brash spending by the Gang in New York is even more mind numbing when placed in contrast to what our beloved Red Sox spent on their three, a laughable $15.5 million (Penny, Smoltz, & V-Tek).
With all my loathing and fear pushed to the side though, I truly do believe that C.C. Sabthia’s bust will be bigger then his own waistline in the Big Apple. New Yorker’s will crucify him at the first sign of weakness, and from there his decline will be faster then a speeding cannonball passing through the side of a poor merchant’s hull. This move alone keeps me believing in the rudderless power of Hank the Tank. As long as this Nazi is at the Yankee helm the Sox will always have a shot in the East. The never-ending arms race of these rivals still feels like it’s the tortoise vs the hare, and as we know now in America, ignorance is only bliss for so long, and when the legs give out, the fall is a hard one.
Out of all the free agents in the class of 2008, I only think Mark Teixeira was worth any type of commitment, and I congratulate the Yanks on signing him. He’ll be very good for a long while, but the loss of Tex approached nowhere near the speed of devastation for me, and my emotions were held to only a minor emotional skid. With Yankee blinders on or not, the Depression is still in full swing on this planet, and there’s going to be a fire sale of some very high quality ballplayers come mid-season. And the Boston Red Sox will be waiting with moist lips, a white lobster bib, and a very large bank account to gobble it’s most fancied meal up with.
Meanwhile, the Sox still managed to sign the 2008 AL MVP to a long-term deal totaling a very economical $40.5 million. Or as I like to put it, one year longer & $42 million less then AJ Burnett’s contract (The smallest of the MFY’s big three). Puts a smile right on your face doesn’t it? Oh yeah, we also signed the guy who placed third in AL MVP voting last year, the Greek Golden God of sweat himself, Kevin Youkilis. And all for a measly four years and $40 million.
Burnett = 5 total years and $82.5 Million
Pedroia & Youk = 10 total years and $80.5 Million
Or even better.
Burnett = 5 total years and $82.5 Million
Pedroia, Youk, Baldelli, Saito = 12 total years and $82.5 Million
Theo Epstein & Crew are strait-up pimps aren’t they?, Theo was certainly showing off his pimp hand when slapping around $cott Bora$ in the Jason Varitek negotiations. And how about that Manny Ramirez situation that HASN’T been going on? It’s setting up to be Scott Bora’s most epic of fails to date, and it’s nothing short of poetic justice for the disgraceful act Manny pulled in ’08. Yet Scott Boras and his slimy tentacles have spread far and wide across this beautiful game of ours, and these are some rare losses for him him and his merry band of misfit pirates.
After all, Boras is the agent of Mark Teixeira, and his sandbagging of the Red Sox made him and Tex Mex even more rich, which helped solidify what the American Dream has become. Bigger is better. More is happier. Nothing else matters, put the pedal to the medal brother, because the winner takes all and that includes the prom queen. And with royalty on your side, you can drive that H2 Hummer into some sort of smog riddled sunset with a crooked grin on your face, chuckling all along. It’s like taking a loan and buying a home that’s $150k above your budget. Or lending that loan to the buyer who’s obviously out of their monetary league. Or even better yet, injecting yourself with steroids to make the most money, I mean we are after-all, young and stupid. Cut my arm, you’ll see, I bleed American Pie.
And how could I possibly omit the Grand Poobah of all them all, the one who is slimy Scott Boras’s favorite blue lipped pirate, the great Mr. Alex Rodriguez. His stumbling act the last few weeks is a disgrace, and he’s carrying his steroid story like he’s carried himself all these years, like a giant D-Bag. His lies to 60 Minutes and continued fumbling are just as bad as Palmeiro’s finger wags, Mark McGwire’s swift case of amnesia, and Tejada’s miraculous occurrence of forgetting an entire language altogether. The steroid era is causing strange vibrations among the baseball world, and creepy things seem to be happening every other day.
I find it a little too convenient that A-Rod stopped injecting steroids cold turkey once he made it to the city that never sleeps. Didn’t he claim he was taking the steroids because of the heavy crown he had bestowed upon receiving the richest contract in the history of all sport? Wouldn’t playing in New York City only increase these feverish addictions and twisted visions? What else would draw a sane man to date with the likes of Madonna? When you’re finding yourself in punch lines right next to Dennis Rodman, you’ve fallen dangerously far off of the tracks. Enough on Alex though, we all know he’s swine, and in the end, A-Rod is still just the most recent, visible, and big tip of this American iceberg.
We still have the Owners, Media, and Bud Selig to turn the harshest of faces on. Our country turned a blind eye on the a gross amount of overspending this country was achieving for decades, and so did those three corrupt police of our great game. It is stained, and I am angry. As a whole they all basked in a new “Golden Era” of baseball, while in the end history will view them with disappointed glasses.
Everyone knows that football players, Olympians, and Cyclists take copious amounts steroids and horse tranquilizers to get ahead in the game, but baseball is a different beast. Baseball is a sport of skill and smarts, and not just a game based mainly on athleticism. This is the game of America, it is a game that is not played only once a week for a few months, but played everyday for what seems like all the good parts of a year. This is the game where your local announcer becomes your weird Uncle, and the din of the ballpark becomes a soundtrack to your summer and youth.
We need the leadership and media to address, apologize, and then just maybe we can finally properly move away from the rotten hot dog stench that’s been left around the sun-seed crusted dugout. Without complete resolve, baseball will continue to be an unbalanced 14 year old chimpanzee, and with just the right amount of lime disease and Xanax, it’ll start ripping baseball’s face off, and then crawl away back to it’s cage to die. Someday in the near future you’ll press a power button and not understand what sports you’re witnessing on your new holographic television set, while all along it’ll be the American Dream, or it’s latest Manifest Destiny, er, manifestation.
But whatever you think about all these grim thoughts and maybe memories, please understand that what we’re seeing in baseball, is just a reflection of what we’re seeing in America, and it’s gonna take both some work before they get completely better. But know that the parallels of hope cling to both with the strong will of the people. And while both baseball and America are flawed to a dangerous degree, they’re still a constant evolving beast of positive change, and with the proper consistent approach, this great game, will continue to matter.
So with Fear, Loathing, and an abundance of hope, I look forward to the 2009 season, and am honored to be taking this ride together.
100 anni il mio amico.