Greetings and salutations to all Major League Baseball fans residing in our beloved cyber-home known as JetNation.com. The 2005 season is upon us and it is shaping up to be another track meet between the Mighty Red Sox Nation and the Bronx Bombers. Brace yourselves for seven grueling months of speculation as to which MLB juggernaut will win the title.
And the 2005 title will undoubtedly be awarded to the New York Yankeesâ€¦the title of â€œBiggest, Most Expensive Choke-Artists Everâ€¿ of course! Expect this $200+ million bunch of hired mercenaries to outdo the cataclysmic 2004 Yankee product ($185 million) that came unraveled at the seams as the world watched intently. There are several factors that will contribute to this inevitable occurrence:
1. The Curse of A-Rod:
While Alex Rodriguez is a five tool player with the richest contract in the history of sports, he still brings more baggage to the table than even he is worth. Letâ€™s begin the A-Rod drama as a Seattle Mariner. While a key member of a relative fantasy team (Unit/Griffey/Martinez/A-Rod) from 1995-2000 that never quite won anything of substance, A-Rod became a free agent after the 2000 season. On his way out the door, he tells the Seattle fans â€œI wonâ€™t go to the place that throws the most money at me.â€¿ Famous last words! His agent $cott Bora$ brokers a 10 year-$250 million deal with Texas and A-Rodâ€™s once pristine image is tarnished. Still, he has never really accomplished anything. But now, it is PERCEIVED that he is the best player in baseball because he is the highest paid. So now Texas will be vastly improved right? They have Michael Jordan & Wayne Gretzky combined into one glorious package right? Wrong! Texas finishes the 2001 season with a pathetic record of 73-89 (2 whole games higher than the previous season with no A-Rod.) But in their first A-Rod-less season, Seattle finishes with a record of 116-46, the best in the Majors by far.
So, A-Rod stays in Texas for three years, and they finish in last place for all three of those years managing 73, 72, and 71 wins respectively in A-Rodâ€™s three seasons. He is traded to the Yankees in the offseason of 2004 for Alphonso Soriano minus a bunch of cash after an â€œunsuccessfulâ€¿ attempt by the Red Sox to acquire him for Manny Ramirez plus cash. He needlessly blasts Buck Showalter on his way out saying he prefers to play for â€œA manager who has played the game before.â€¿ Texas, now sans A-Rod, competes for a playoff spot until late September and finishes with 89 wins.
And now A-Rod is a Yankee. It seemed almost as if it was an order of the universe. Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Gehrig, Ford, Jacksonâ€¦and Rodriguez. He belongs with the legends of Yankee lore, right? Wrong again! He became an immediate black eye to the legacy of the Yankees. From the awkward press conference featuring A-Rod and Derek Jeter obviously pretending to like each other after a history of A-Rod cutting down DJâ€¦to A-Rod being loudly booed in just about every stadium the Yankees played last year including Yankee Stadiumâ€¦to Jeter himself being booed going 0-for-April due to the distraction of his new 3Bâ€¦to A-Rod being criticized by the NY media in his first season under the microscope for leaving a small village worth of Yankees in scoring positionâ€¦to the A-Rod getting a face full of Jason Varitekâ€™s mitt after being told by the badass catcher â€œWe donâ€™t throw at .260 hittersâ€¿ on July 24, an event that sparked the historic drive into the history booksâ€¦to A-Rod going 3-17 in games 5, 6, and 7 of the ALCSâ€¦to the un-Yankeelike bush league â€œslapâ€¿ play of game 6 that cost NYY the game and irked even ardent Yankee homers leading an anonymous teammate to suggest â€œAlex wouldnâ€™t risk his pretty body to take out the pitcher in that spotâ€¿â€¦to the offseason verbal barrage he has been subjected to by damn near every member of Red Sox Nationâ€¦to the conspicuous silence heard by his teammates (a perfect opportunity for Jeter to rescue the heavily tarnished image of his â€œbest friendâ€¿…Ponderous, man!
If Babe Ruth-to-NY was the worst trade ever made by the Red Sox, NOT trading World Series MVP Manny Ramirez for A-Rod was the best move ever made. Alex Rodriguez will desecrate the Yankee image worse than any damage done by the BALCO boys before itâ€™s all said and done. Clearly, A-Rod and his unfortunate number 13 have upset the Babe and the rest of the baseball gods. Tony Clarkâ€™s ground rule double in Game 5 anyone? Take it from me Yankee fans, itâ€™s gonna be a rough century!
The man whose pocketbook is SOLELY to credit for the run of 4 titles from 1996-2000 is also to blame for the severe drought of underachieving that has been plaguing the New York Yankees for four years and counting. Thatâ€™s right folks, George has taken the ship and he has sunk it! The dynasty that was built by Gene â€œStickâ€¿ Michael and Buck Showalter in the early 90â€™s (while the most despised figure in sports was in exile) has been dismantled piece by piece by the maniacal old man himself. He has replaced nearly all the ingredients of the World Series winning formula (Pettite/Oâ€™Neil/Brosius/Tino) with big name, high-priced free agents from other teams (Mussina/Giambi/Contreras/A-Rod/Gordon/Sheffield) causing his payroll, already the highest in baseball for a decade to catapult well beyond the stratosphere. *It should be noted that George has re-signed the corpse that is Tino Martinez.
But there is a problemâ€¦none of these guys he brought in have won ANYTHING and none of them have even played well in big games. Simply put, Fat George wrecked his own â€œPremium on pitchingâ€¿ dynasty because he cannot contain his gluttonous desire to steal the offensive mantelpiece of another team. He, in essence, pushed Andy Pettite out the door because he was too busy courting Gary Sheffield. This forced perennial Cy Young winner Roger Clemens to follow Andy P. to Houston. David Wells has taken the Babeâ€™s number 3 and an incentive-laden contract to the Fenway mound. Joe Torre is left praying his geriatric pitching staff can throw 6 respectable innings so Mariano (personal of the Boston Red Sox) can close out the game until his right arm falls off.
Now the $200 million Yanks are left with a ton of offense and a bunch of question marks on the pitching staff. It is the mid-80â€™s all over again in the Bronx. Don Mattingly is already thereâ€¦I heard Rickey Henderson, Jack Clark, and Steve Kemp are vying for roster spots before Spring Training is over. And this current motley crew George has pieced together is as unYankeelike as it gets.
A-Rod, Giam-boo, Sheffield, Johnson, Kevin Brownâ€¦each one is more detestable than the next. Diehard Yankee fans have to chug fifths of Kaopectate before each game in an effort to cheer these guys on. We already know the pitching staff is a major question mark. But the bullpen certainly leaves nothing to the imagination. Torre is praying Marianoâ€™s bursitis is never heard from again because he knows he canâ€™t trust anyone else in ANYTHING CLOSE to a big spot. We know Flash Gordon (who finally helped the Red Sox win a postseason game last fall) is garbageâ€¦but rest assured the likes of Paul Quantrill, Steve Karsay, 50 year-old Mike Stanton, and Felix Rodriguez wonâ€™t see the light of day. So that leaves the Great Mariano, Derek â€œCaptain Overratedâ€¿ Jeter, Jorge Posada, and whatâ€™s left of Bernie Williams to hold down the fort for the 2005 New York Yankees. Not bloody likely.
So, weâ€™ve established that the accursed Yankees are sure to be no match for the Mighty Red Sox Nation. While one team is preoccupied with overspending, under-performing, and shooting steroidsâ€¦the other is busy exercising 86 year-old demons and pounding shots of Jack Daniels before rewriting history books!
Oh, and the world champs have even gotten better using the old addition by subtraction formula. No more puke-inducing Dominican Diva performances against the Yankees, No more watching D-Lowe implode with his sinkerball that resembles my little brother (Always high and never works,) no more Nomahhh sitting out of a game while Jetes dives into the stands (by the way, get used to this one: Ed-garâ€™s bet-ter,) no more awful at-bats by Gabe Kapler thanks to the addition of proâ€™s pro Jay Payton, no more undercover Yankees in our camp like Ramiro Mendoza who was obviously paid off by George to murder us for 2 yearsâ€¦oh, and no more Curse of the Bambino!!!
Hereâ€™s what the Olde Towne Team is left with:
1. The most feared 1-9 lineup in the non-segregated history of baseball (CF Johnny, RF Trot, LF SuperManny, DH Big Papi, SS Renteria, 1B â€œCowboy Upâ€¿, C V-Tek the Beast, 3B Mueller, 2B Bellhornâ€¦or as Yankee fans now refer to him: Mark â€œBleepinâ€¿ Bellhorn.
2. Curt â€œJohn Wayne Re-incarnatedâ€¿ Schilling anchoring a rotation of savvy, big game battle tested vets Wells/Wale and impressive young guns Arroyo/Clement not to mention one of the deepest bullpens in team history
3. The best GM in all of sportsâ€¦big market money ball at itâ€™s finest! After picking Big Schill for a few AA scrubs and a bag of Wilson baseballs, is there any doubt that Theo isnâ€™t the best in the game? David Ortiz for $1.3 million anyone? Plus, he had the STONES to blow Nomah out of town in the middle of a freakinâ€™ pennant race. OC, my man, youâ€™ll be missed
Bottom line: Both teams will contend for most of the season. Both teams will spend as much as humanly possible to gain leverage on the other. Boston will undoubtedly prevail for the aforementioned reasons! Expect eternal strife and unrest to plague the 2005 Yankees. Do not expect chemical enhancement to help them as Sheffield and Juicinâ€™ Jason are sure to watch more than their share of moonshots die on the warning track. And expect the Bleacher Creaturesâ€™ â€œWhoâ€™s your daddyâ€¿ chants directed at the Red Sox in April, May, and June to morph into â€œWhoâ€™s your caddy?â€¿ chants directed at A-Rod and the Yanks by September after the mega-chokejob has come to fruition!