Not So Fast, Tiger
Gee, Al, why don’t we just crown the Tigers right now and forget about the 162 game season. Don’t get me wrong, you have plenty to be excited about in Hockeytown (does anyone watch hockey anymore?) but let me remind everyone that since the new millennium, with the exception of the Boston Red Sox, bigger spending does NOT translate into a World Title.
Exhibit A. The top ten highest payrolls of 2007:
1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox (This position seems to be the exception to the rule. Note to GMs: Be the second-highest spender and win two titles in four years)
3. New York Mets
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (of Chavez Ravine)
7. Seattle Mariners
8. Chicago Cubs
9. Detroit Tigers
10. Baltimore Orioles
Six of these teams failed to make it into the post-season all together, two of them ended the season with absolutely embarrassing records and one is cursed by a goat.
Exhibit B. The other side and their payroll rankings among 30 MLB teams.
14. Philadelphia Phillies
23. Cleveland Indians
25. Colorado Rockies
26. Arizona Diamondbacks
And let us not forget that since the Evil Empire went on a spending rampage in 2001 they have not won a title; and among the teams that have won (again, with the exception of the Red Sox), the ’01 D’Backs, ’02 Angels, ’03 Marlins, ’05 White Sox, ’06 Cardinals have all had moderate middle-of-the-pack and/or bottom-of-the-barrel payroll numbers. And don’t get me started on Billy Beane and what he manages to produce.
So, what does this all mean, Al? It means it takes a lot more than a lineup of overpaid superstars to bring home the ring. It requires heart, passion, fire. It requires players who were nobodies. Players who rise to the occasion. It requires a Tulowitski, a Valverde, a Carmona, a Wainright, a Crede, a Cabrera, an Eckstein. For some reason when these teams load up on superstars, they lose this edge, they lose that essence of team and just become selfish numbers-driven Scott Boras drones with dollar signs for eyeballs. And even with the aforementioned-exception Red Sox, guys like Lester and a cast of idiots seem to light the proverbial fire that gets everyone going, that gets them to overcome an 0-3 ALCS deficit and an ever-rising Yankee payroll.
So let’s not give Dombrowski a key to the city (does anyone live there anymore?) quite yet, Al. No. He is by no means a Theo Epstein. He is by no means a Walt Jocketty. He is by no means a Bill Stoneman. What he is is a Brian Cashman. He’s pulling a page out of the Evil Empire book, going to Daddy, asking for more money and getting it only to disappoint a mob of rich white people from Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills. He might do better by taking Matt Millen’s job.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Allen admires himself in the mirror while talking on his cell to Dombrowski, desperately trying to score a FastPass to the amusement park that is Comerica. Click on image for a better look.)
Peace, love and baseball,