So, tonight is Game 1 of the World Series. Two excellent teams facing each other. Who am I rooting for? The Phillies (which is not easy for a DC sports fan to say since the Eagles, Phils, 76ers and Flyers are enemies of our local teams). So, if I’m not a Philly fan, why am I rooting for them? Here’s why …
First, I think the Yankees have a team full of quality players, such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettite, etc — who play the game the right way and seem to be good citizens. And, their manager, Joe Girardi is cut from the same cloth. It’s nothing against the players. And, the team has not broken any rules in assembling the team.
But, I strongly dislike the fact that a team can go out and spend that kind of money to try to win a world championship. The MLB system is broken … it’s simply not fair that a team in the largest market and with the largest local TV contract … can go out and spend that type of money. They spent over $440 million in acquiring free agents this year. That’s over $440 million!!! They signed the two best free agent pitchers available and the best hitter available.
Fortunately, the other leagues — NFL, NBA and NHL — have a salary cap in place — so this injustice doesn’t happen in the other leagues. Could you imagine if the Lakers in the summer of 2010 signed LeBron James and Dwayne Wade to free agent deals so they could play alongside Kobe and Lamar. Well, if the NBA had no cap system in place, that’s what could happen.
I do enjoy the fact that the Yanks have spent this kind of absurd money in the past decade yet they haven’t won a World Series since 2000. It shows that money can’t necessarily buy world championships. And, I’ve enjoyed seeing the mid-market teams, with much, much smaller payrolls win the championships this decade.
So, what’s my prediction? I’m going to say the Phillies will win in 7 games (originally, I thought they’d win in 6 games but I’m going to stretch it to 7 games). I think they have an outstanding manager in Charlie Manuel — who’ll steal a game or two with his old-school experience. And, they’re offensive line-up is terrific up and down the order … J-Roll to Chase Utley to Ibanez to Ryan Howard to Victorino to Werth … an outstanding mix of power, hitting and speed. And, they have a strong starting rotation. Of course, the key will be the bullpen. Plus, the guys have experience from winning it all last year … and the team is full of players who play the game the right way. My prediction for MVP? Jayson Werth.
I hope everyone enjoys the Fall Classic.
October 28, 2009 at 11:30 pm
I love the fact that you’re going with my Phillies, but they’ll win it in 5. I feel confident about this.
October 29, 2009 at 1:33 pm
And you probably believe a cheesesteak is a healthful meal.
October 29, 2009 at 10:03 am
Jimmy, you socialist. Why shouldn’t New York, which has the biggest market and hence the most revenue, be able to acquire the players it wants? You also ignore the MLB tax on teams that spend above a certain limit. So the Yankees’ largesse actually funds other teams. Do you prefer the Marlins method? Dismantle a team after winning the WS to save money? Seems a terrible way to treat your fans, and a sure way to lose the fan base. Not good for baseball. You also ignore that some of the Yankees’ best players, who really define the character of this team, are homegrown — Rivera, Jeter, Pettite, Posada, Cano. Also Chamberlain, Hughes. Probably others as well. AND you ignore that the Phillies have gone out and acquired some of their own best players, too. Hello, Cliff Lee? I rest my case.
October 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm
Judge, for the record, the Yankees have more homegrown players than the Phillies. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/sports/baseball/29rosters.html?_r=1&ref=sports
Yes, they have also paid more for free agents, but they were not the first team to pay A-Rod a ridiculous salary. So the truth is a bit more complicated than the cliche you have bought into.
October 29, 2009 at 1:39 pm
Vatman, you make some decent points, but from the perspective of the old-fashioned, true way to build a team, you can’t argue against the fact that the Phillies have done it more than the Yankees. The Phillies are fortunate to have a large payroll, but that money is primarily spent on keeping their own homegrown players happy: Utley, Howard, Hamels, Rollins, etc. Victorino was a 2-time Rule 5 pick that nobody else wanted, Werth was non-tendered by the Dodgers, Feliz was a low-cost FA pick-up, Lidge was traded for because Houston gave up on him, and Lee was a big acquisition, but it was a fair trade for 4 good prospects, not a $160 million dollar free agent deal. Every other core guy on this team (with the exception of Pedro, another guy nobody wanted) is homegrown through the farm system.
I’m not saying the Yankees shouldn’t be able to spend money if they have it, because they certainly should, and if they didn’t spend it, that would be wrong. However, you should be able to understand how someone who isn’t particularly invested in either team would find the Phillies more likable and more worthy of praise than the Yankees. Cliff Lee just may be the best pitcher in this series. His 2009 salary: $4 million. Not exactly a Sabathia or Burnett contract. Even Andy Pettite is making $5.5 million guaranteed with a chance for up to $12 million based on bonuses.
So, to respond: the Yankees are perfectly within their right to spend away, but they can’t expect people to like them for it. And either way, money can buy them rings, just not championship rings.