Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What does a combined $528,000,000 in payroll get you? Not the playoffs. Not the World Series. Not this year, anyway

I was super busy the past four or five days and didn't get to pay much attention to the baseball playoffs, but I was extremely happy to see that the three-highest spending baseball organizations will be watching the remainder of the playoffs on tv with the rest of us.

The team that spent $160,000,000 on salary, the Boston Red Sox, blew their huge lead in the wild card standings and didn't even make the postseason.

The team that paid their players $172,000,000 in 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies, lost the NLDS in five-games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

And, of course, every season's payroll champions, the $200,000,000 New York Yankees, lost the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers in five-games.

This brought me joy and gave me a good laugh. I mean, you spend all that money and can't even make the playoffs, Boston? The backlash was so severe in Red Sox Nation that Terry Francona, the man who helped lead the long-suffering Red Sox fans out of World Series hell with two World Championships, was fired as manager.

And, of course, the Phillies fans are probably beside themselves. After winning the World Series in 2008 and at least making it there in 2009, this will make two-straight years that their team failed to make it to the Fall Classic. Those poor babies. Well, at least they have the Dream Team Eagles.....oh right, sorry.

And, I'm glad that I'm not a radio talk show host in the Big Apple right now. There may not be a more arrogant fanbase in all of sports than New York Yankees fans. And that's saying something coming from me, I mean, I'm a Steelers fan. Anyway, Yankees fans don't care that the main reason their team has been able to sustain success for so long is because they can out-spend most of the competition. They could care less about any of that. To them, their team always wins because God said so. Or is that Cowboys fans? But the Cowboys haven't been winning, and the fans down there must have committed a huge sin because He gave them Tony Romo. But I digress.

Maybe the fanbases of the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies can form an online support group and console one another as they watch the remaining playoff teams battle it out for a title that they don't deserve because none of those teams are from New York, Boston or Philadelphia.

Man, what about the Fox network? They're in serious danger of broadcasting a World Series involving the cities of Detroit and Milwaukee. What will they do if that happens? Can they cancel it?

Do you think Fox will just try to arrange a Yankees/Red Sox seven-game series, anyway? I know the Yankees and Red Sox can never officially play in the World Series, but as everyone knows, any time those two teams get together for anything, it's the biggest thing ever and the whole world will pay attention.

Well, the sad part in all of this is I've been happy about this kind of thing before, and I'll probably have many more years to be thrilled about the BIG BOYS missing-out on a chance to win the World Series because the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies (and all the major market teams) will always have a chance to win. It's not about winning the World Series, it's about having a chance to compete every year.

And when the fans of the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies get together and console each other in that support group, they should be comforted in knowing that their teams will be back next year with another chance to win.

As for me, I'm just a Pirates fan who doesn't have a warm place to sleep at night, and I just get the occasional thrill from watching the rich boys stumble every now and then.

It might be an empty thrill, but it's all I've got.

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