Here they come, the non-stop flow of condescending and ill-informed New York media types, saying everything from how this trade indicates the magnetic allure of NYC to how it indicates a running curse on the Red Sox. This trade indicates many things, but not either of those two.
First: A-Rod wanted out of Texas, and he didn’t have a first choice. He would have gone to Boston (hell, he agreed to cut his own pay to get there), and the only other team that could really put together a realistic deal and assume his salary was the Yankees. So any columnist who makes this about the mystique of the Yankees is not living in the current MLB economic world. In fact, there are a few towns he would have waived his no-trader for in order to have a taste of the post-season. Where was Jack Curry when A-Rod decided on Texas? Did he write about the lure of Arlington? Or, what about the lure of 85 years without a World Championship? If he had gone to Boston would there have been a column about the mystique of playing for a perennial loser? That is an easy story to write, so predictable from the hacks in this town.
Second: Curse? This was about money. The Red Sox had an internal cap on what they would pay for A-Rod, and they certainly made vast efforts to close a deal based on their financial criteria but couldn’t. Whether it was because any more than that number rendered them unprofitable (highly unlikely), less profitable (somewhat likely), and inflexible with regards to next year’s free agent signings (very likely, as Tek, Lowe, Pedro, Mueller, Ortiz, and of course the floating Nomar are all up), this party can only speculate. The Yankees, on the other hand, will never have such issues – their local cable money and licensing take makes the cashflow problem moot, and the Owner’s dementia renders even lesser profitability a non-issue (to his credit). There’s no curse involved here – to me any invocation of that is a writer’s crutch, the lowest common denominator of Red Sox/Yankees storylines. The Yankees move doesn’t alter the Red Sox’ lineup, it doesn’t control who gets injured, it doesn’t cause managerial brainfarts at crucial times. As a Sox fan, it gets tiresome to hear everything ascribed to a “curse”, particularly when it’s clear that money is the issue here, and not some supernatural mumbojumbo. It’s frankly condescending.
And, in Boston, the media isn’t exempt either. Today Dan Shaughnessy calls this a “crushing blow” to the psyche of Boston fans, which it certainly isn’t. To this poster, it’s not a surprise at all, a big move that could have been predicted (actually, was predicted) and that fully articulates the economic divide that the Yankees have between them and the rest of the league (Boston, LA, Mets all included in the “rest of the league”). Sox fans posting at SoSH seem to be of a totally mixed, non-uniform mindset (wow, how surprising!). Some seem to be lamenting this move as further proof that the Yankees are “evil” (not sure how this proves evilness more than any other talent-grab they have perpetrated), some think that the Red Sox should not be surprised about this counter-offensive (after all, the Sox had a HELL of an offseason, to this point the Yankees had had some embarrassments and it seems logical that this would be an answer), and some, like Gehrig38, who think this is a good move for the Yankees but no nail in the Red Sox coffin (right on, G38!).
So who is going to write the great story about this whole A-Rod saga? I am pretty sure who it won’t be (Chass, Curry, Shaughnessy). Here’s hoping Gordon Edes can follow his great summary on the Boston/Texas dealings (available at the Boston Globe archive, and a journalistic classic) with a similarly objective piece of documentation, and put all the bozos in NY (and a few others in Boston) to shame.