The Misery Olympics

When I was in college my friends and I played a game in which we would each get a turn coming up with a question for the group along the lines of “would you rather _____ or _____?”.   Depending on sobriety levels, the general depravity-levels of the participants on any given evening, and the level of trust in the group, the kinds of actions that would fill those blanks would range from the near-unimaginable to the stomach-turningly grotesque.  We’d informally grade each other on the imagination reflected in the question and in the justifications each responder gave for why he chose one disgusting act over another.

It’s with this in mind that I ask: Would you – standing here on September 4, 2012 looking forward to both one more month of the 2012 regular season as well as to the 2013 season and beyond – rather be a Yankee fan or a Red Sox fan?

Let’s dispense with one thing right away: we know nobody here is about to switch loyalties – no need for chest-thumping about how dedicated you are to your team vs. the hated rival.

But which team do you think is better positioned looking forward?

I have to say – and it gives me no pleasure to do so – that I envy the position the Sox are in right now and would actually happily trade their prospective fortunes for those of the Yankees right now.  In fact, I don’t think it’s even close.  Not so much in terms of the recent past or present – after all, the end of 2011 and the entire 2012 season for the Red Sox has been much more fun for YFs to follow than for SFs to be sure.  And while the Sox have no chance to make the playoffs this year, the Yanks still hold the second-best record in the AL and should still be playing meaningful games in October, though there is certainly no guarantee of that.

But once this season ends, the Yankees will still own arguably the worst contract in baseball (the only one that could have competed for that title was just off-loaded by Boston to the Dodgers) which will only get more and more exposed each year, a very old and defensively-creaky left-infield, a starting rotation in which the two most exciting young members have proven again and again that they are no better than #4/5 starters at best, and an outfield of defensive and offensive mediocrity.

I would still take the Yankee ownership and management over the Sox, though depending on what the Sox do with all that cash weighing them down right now, that could change as well.  And I wouldn’t trade anything for the thrill of watching Jeter and Mariano play out the careers that I’ve followed every step of the way.  But these are two players, not a team.

At the end of the day, the Sox ripped the band-aid off about as quickly as it can be done, even if there are some holdovers (John Lackey and Bobby Valentine are still wearing Sox uniforms).  And they did it while holding onto a lot of exciting young talent (Buccholz, Lester, Ellsbury, Ciriaco, Middlebrooks) in addition to their core (Pedroia).  Unless you feel that the Yankees have a solid foundation upon which to rebuild – and I don’t see how you can feel that way given the advanced age of  that foundation and the resulting cracks that are becoming apparent – you’d have to concede that the Sox are in an enviable position going forward.

5 comments… add one
  • ok, i’ll play…

    “…But which team do you think is better positioned looking forward?…”

    glad you clarified that, because if you asked me how i feel right here and now, i’d rather be a yankee fan far and away…sure they’re on the brink of a historic collapse, with a pitching staff that has more questions than answers, and a group of everyday and bench players that are really showing their age…but nothing the yanks do the rest of the way, including missing the playoffs can come close to comparing to the embarrassing state of affairs with the entire red sox organization, top to bottom…we don’t need to detail each misstep going back to early sept ’11 because that’s all well documented…a few words come to mind: unprofessional, petulant, selfish, dysfunctional, and embarrassing…these words, or similar ones were used by folks here to describe the yankees just a few years ago, when they were fumbling around, hank running amok and saying not so smart things, arod saying and doing off the wall things, crazy contracts, and so on…there are other more choice words, but i can’t use them here…i actually feel sorry for my red sox fan friends…i know what it felt like to see your team rightly ridiculed day after day, and wondering if your they can ever settle into some semblance of normalcy and stability and get back to the business of winning baseball games…

    now as far as who’s better positioned going forward, i’d say that’s a tossup…i don’t share your same level of pessimism about the yankees future, or your optimism about the red sox future…both will be fine…working in the sox favor is this opportunity to start over with players and a manager that can work together better, some good veteran players the dodgers didn’t take with them, some promising young talent, and an organization still willing to spend a lot of money, no matter how prudent they want us to believe they’ve become suddenly with their salary dump…working against the sox is a disillusioned fan base that has a sense of having been betrayed, an out of touch front office/ownership that puts more energy and thought into preserving the fraudulent sell-out streak illusion than searching for the right manager and fielding a cohesive team…the only thing sold out at fenway are the fans [stole that line from someone]…they still have a lot of work to do with their starting pitching…jettisoning beckett and his bad attitude is a good start, but who’s the ace of this staff?…and they need to find a closer…the other thing missing from this team is leadership…for all the talk about ortiz and pedroia, neither of them can be considered leaders…whether it’s ortiz’ incessant bitching about his contract, or pedroia undermining his manager, they’ve both gone down a notch or 2 on my respect-meter

    as for the yankees, they still have girardi, and yes we can debate til the cows come home about his style, but having been on the job a few years, he at least brings stability…jeter’s not a colorful quote and i’m not in that dugout or clubhouse, but my gut tells me that he is a leader, and although they’re not playing right now, so are mo and pettitte…the yankees have a front office that is engaged, and isn’t afraid to throw money at problems, although that has at times created more problems *arod, burnett*…working against the yankees are high expectations…i already have people busting my chops about the yanks blowing a 10 game lead, even though i said all along they weren’t THAT good, and would come back to the pack…age is a concern, but they still have some good players that aren’t 40 yet :)…you would hope arod’s contract will make them think twice about more long term big $ contracts, but then they go and give cc that big extension…the lack of pitching depth is an issue…for me to be sitting here counting the days til andy pettitte can make a start is absurd considering it’s the yankees we’re talking about…is there no one in this organization capable of properly assessing pitching talent and carrying that forward to the development of young arms/…it’s ridiculous that the last 2 decent pitchers to come out of the system are andy and mo…and that was over 15 years ago…

    perhaps the scariest things working against both teams:
    joe maddon and his rays
    buck showalter and his o’s

    dc September 4, 2012, 1:08 pm
  • It doesn’t sound dc like we’re all that far apart at all in terms of our analysis – moreso just in terms of what we each see as the implications.

    I agree with you about the sorry state of the Sox franchise over the past year. When I say that the yanks are a laughingstock right now, it’s hyperbole. When I say it about the Sox, I am being literal. I don’t mean that in a mean way to Sox fans – it’s a title that the entire franchise has earned. And I actually don’t think they are likely to rid themselves of it until Bobby Valentine too is jettisoned. He is and always will be a buffoon and I don’t see him ever transforming into a guy who wins loyalty and gets the most out of his players or that manages the intense media-market in Boston particularly well (and no, managing the Mets is NOT the same thing despite the fact that NY is a major media market — there is another team in this town…one that gets more media all the time anyway).

    By comparison, the Yanks, for all their woes, are as low-drama off the field as I can remember them being for a very long time and Cashman is much less willing to panic and spend stupidly on an expensive late-career FA at every hiccup they encounter during any particular season. So we’re on the same page on the current state of the teams, and my post didn’t really address that – mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to address it without stinking a big thumb in the eye of every SF…

    As far as looking forward, I think you’re saying what I said: Yanks have a good manager (or at least, stable as you say) and they have some good senior players. You rightly mention leadership, which i did not, and I agree – they have it and the Sox’ ostensible leaders have clearly come down a notch over the past year.

    But when we come to evaluating talent, we have two teams that need some substantial rejuvenation. One of them has several exciting young players – sure they could flame out, but what young talent do the Yanks have that compares to Ciriaco, Middlebrooks, and Buccholz right now? Hughes and Nova are more worrying than exciting at this stage and even if you put Gardner (who I love but is really pretty one dimensional), Nunez, and/or Dickerson in the young-talent equation, we’re still talking about – at best – a wash on this front while the Sox have huge available resources to land top pitching (have to assume they go hard at King Felix) on top of at least 1-2 top position players. They could squander the money the way they did on Crawford or could decide they actually don’t want to spend so much. But I think they have better major-league ready young talent right now than the Yanks and plenty of money to bring in great pieces and I think the Yankees are, by comparison, heavily weighed down by some very difficult contracts to some very aging players.

    IronHorse - YF September 4, 2012, 3:40 pm
  • We’re fucked, they’re fucked…

    Our collective time has passed.

    It’s the 80’s again with Tampa and Baltimore running the East.

    I just puked in my mouth.

    krueg September 4, 2012, 4:34 pm
  • Would you rather have your toe nails ripped out with pliers or your fingernails ripped out with pliers?

    I agree that this may have been the most drama free season the Yanks have had. Perhaps the NY beat writers are giggling and pissing themselves watching “The housewives of Boston (HWOB) on ESPN.”

    Leadership and accountability on any team is difficult. The majority of people are non-confrontational in most scenarios. It is hard to say what happens in a clubhouse when people are not there. Is leadership necessary on any team when “Professionals” are being paid to do a job?

    The interesting part is that the Red Sox pitching staff started the tanking when Farrell left for Toronto. Two pitching coaches later and we have a fried chicken and icehouse buffet in the clubhouse.

    Bobby V has to go, there is no reason to have him near the team any longer than necessary. Go back to earlier posts on this web page when Bobby V was hired, I think that anyone who did not see this coming with his ego should be going to the vision center.

    I may tune back in somewhere around 2014. By then the ratings on HWOB should have slowed down.

    Best of luck Yank fans. The evil minion in me hopes for the collapse, but given the number of Yank fans I have, the hollow looks in your eyes as the Rays and O’s are bearing down on you is miserable.

    On the bright side…..when you are in the bottom there is only one place to go……..

    Rob_SF_ September 4, 2012, 4:41 pm
  • On the bright side…..when you are in the bottom there is only one place to go……..

    Or you could just stay there.

    Look, the Sox are in much, much worse shape. No question. They are totally rebuilding and are banking on a bunch of prospects in the AL East. It could work, it could not…

    We are always going to win 90+ games and now with the additional playoff spot, probably never miss the playoffs again. BUT, that’s not good enough for me.

    Girardi and Cashman have to go. They won’t, but they should. Let’s not forget that Hal is saying that we are getting below the tax threshold. These two buffoons could only win 1 WS with an unlimited payroll, how are they going to do with a ceiling? Has Cashman stacked our farm system with great prospects? Nope. Every, single fucking prospect that we have is hurt or underperforming.

    So, that being said…with no prospects and a shrinking payroll, PLUS ARod’s death contract and possibly CC’s…are any of you confident this group can put together another Champion???

    That’s all I really care about. Championships. Call me whatever you want but that’s what the Yankees say publicly, so I am on board. I root for plenty of other shit teams that don’t give a fuck about winning…I don’t need another one.

    I need a therapist. This stupid team should not make me as miserable as they do. It’s just sports.

    krueg September 4, 2012, 7:25 pm

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