Monday, April 02, 2007

Every once in a great while, there is a coincidence so perfect that it reaffirms my faith in a higher power. Today, as the mighty Boston Red Sox sent the best team $145.7 million dollars could scrape together against the lowly Kansas City Royals in Kaufman Stadium, Turner Classic Movies showed Cromwell.

Since today's educated American seems to possess a knowledge of history gleaned from the drivel passed off as fact by the competing political and intellectual factions and very little genuine learning, I feel compelled to point out that Oliver Cromwell led the English common people to victory over Charles I in the English Civil War. I am aware that as an American of Irish descent and a Roman Catholic, I have two reasons to despise Cromwell, since he was virulently anti-Catholic and committed vicious atrocities against the Irish in repressing their rebellion, but it's difficult not to admire a man with this type of curriculum vitae.

It is only one game, and the start of a very long season. But a tyrant took the field in Kansas City this afternoon. A tyrant compared to the Beatles (fittingly) and to Elvis (blasphemously) by the region's chief sportswriter fell to the Royals. At the end of the day, Daisuke Matsuzaka couldn't save them, and it didn't matter that Jonathan Papelbon returned to close games. Even if it were only for three hours and a bit on April 2, 2007, a team led by Mark Grudzelanik and Tony Pena Jr. was better than the team with Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling and David Ortiz.

There is no need to point out that the Yankees have a considerably larger payroll than the Red Sox. I will concede that point, but can you defend the team that spent this season attempting to out-Herod Herod? It was the Red Sox, after all, who who outbid their nearest competitor in the Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes by more than ten million dollars. Furthermore, they entered into a corrupt bargain with Scott Boras to sign Matsuzaka. They didn't sign JD Drew for any other reason than he was part of the price to land Daisuke.

Maybe it is unfair for the Yankees to bestride the narrow world like a Colossus, in the words of Shakespeare from Julius Caesar. And Henry and his cohorts may raise prices and squeeze more money out of Red Sox Nation to compete with the influx of capital that will come from a new Yankee Stadium. It is their right as businessmen and, as no one can force the fans to pay it, no authority but the fans can stop them.

My sympathies in this matter lie with the Yankees because whatever else they may be, the Yankees aren't hypocrites. They spend monstrous sums of money, they choke small market teams and in the long run they are probably bad for the overall health of the sport. But they have the good manners to go about their business without trying to make themselves out to be victims.

The Red Sox are a papier-mache version of the Yankees. They spend every nickel they can to compete with the Yankees. In the long run, the Red Sox are as bad for the health of the sport as the Yankees. And they're worse for the overall well being of sports, since they spend what they can and expect pity because they won't build a new stadium. It's not Steinbrenner's fault that Boston is smaller than New York geographically and demographically. It's not his fault that he had a network making more money than NESN. It's life.

Charles I was executed on film, and the tyrant Red Sox fell on the field in Kansas City today. With any luck, they tyrant Gators will fall in Atlanta tonight. I will have a comment on that game and on Noah's future tomorrow.

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