My anger and disappointment over the Yankees winning the Fall Classic isn't directed at the Yankees, it's directed at the sport of baseball, the players union, the commissioner, greedy players, agents like Scott Boras, and anyone else who is responsible for the lack of a salary cap and floor in baseball. While I firmly believe that the sport will be somewhat tainted and unfair until a cap and floor system is put in place, it's not the Yankees' fault that it isn't. In fact, I'll go one step further and say that the Steinbrenner's would be bad owners if they didn't use their extra capital to their advantage year in and year out. Any good owner, general manager, or coach will use absolutely everything at their disposal to put themselves in a position to win, and large bundles of cash are certainly no exception. In fact, I would argue that owners of teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates are as much a problem for the sport. If you don't know why, read this. On the other hand, you'll see why the sport needs a cap when you look at the Yankees' numbers.
I know it's not all about money, but to me it's like a poker game where one player starts with $1,000 in chips, another starts with $500, and a third starts with $100. Sure, it's not completely inconceivable that the guy with $100 could win, but the odds sure as hell aren't in his favor. Teams like the Royals and the Marlins are the guy with $100. Anyway, enough is enough, this is supposed to be a positive post and the point is the Yankees are actually a pretty great franchise. When you think about the history of the team, the records, the World Series titles, the Hall of Fame greats, and even the heartache they've caused so many other teams (Bucky F'ing Dent), it's hard to argue that any other franchise holds a more important place in baseball history. Isn't a large part of what we love about baseball its history, maybe more so than any other sport? Imagine baseball history without the Yankees. That being said, here's November's card of the month, from a time before inflated salaries, instant replay debates, and steroids...
1952 Bowman - Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel is without a doubt one of the past Yankees who is most entwined in baseball's great history. Stengel devoted his life to the sport, from his playing days in the early part of the 20th century, to his 7 World Championships with the New York Yankees, to his stint as manager of the "Amazin" Mets teams of the early 60's. I mean this guy had to be told to step down as Yankees manager at age 70, that's a love for the game!
When I was watching those final outs last night I wasn't happy for Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez. I was thinking about Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Casey Stengel. If baseball is America's pastime, then the Yankees must be one of America's greatest teams. If you're not sick of this debate yet, I'd love to hear any comments, especially from Yankees and Pirates fans (are there any?)...
At least you were smart and didn't try to do a "Card of the Week" like I did. So far, I've done 49 cards in 108 weeks. You do the math :)
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