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I want to preface this column by saying that I like John Henry. He brought us two World Series victories in a span of a few years when the team couldn’t get one during most of the 20th century. He helped revive an aging and decrepit Fenway Park. He even had the foresight to merge the Sox ownership group with a NASCAR racing team, an obvious slam-dunk here in the motorsport-crazed city of Boston.
OK, well maybe not the last one, but the first two are more than enough for him to earn a soft spot in all our hearts, which makes it so difficult for me to call him out on some of the comments he made this past week.
John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox, one of the most successful franchises not just in baseball, but in all of sports, was bitching about how the Yankees have an unfair advantage.
Yes, I know he made this comment in the context about how Major League Baseball unfairly taxes well-run franchises (like the Sox and Yankees) and rewards inept ones (like the Marlins or Nationals) through baseball’s revenue sharing system, a system that contradicts the capitalist principles on which this fine country was founded on.
That’s all well and good, and I have no doubt his point is valid. There’s just one problem: most of us aren’t as smart as John Henry. If we were, we’d all be running major league franchises, or at the very least subscribing to The Economist and reading the collective works of Ayn Rand. But we’re not. We’re drinking beer, eating processed food, and searching for porn.
So when addressing the general public, my advice to John Henry would be to steer clear of making deep philosophical points about capitalism or explaining the inherent flaws of revenue sharing. Look, I can barely get all the buttons on my shirt to line up the first time I put it on, so how the hell do you think I’m going to grasp that crap?
I can’t. Neither can the average baseball fan. So instead of coming across as thought provoking (which I’m sure he is), he’s the crybaby owner who said, “The World Series should be determined by fully competitive teams on the field – not by how much particular clubs can afford to spend.” …Which everyone translates as, “The New York Yankees bought their World Series.”
Great, that’s just what people want to hear, how the most successful and one of the highest spending baseball franchises this decade thinks its higher spending rival has an unfair advantage. Jesus, just when I thought everyone in this country had forgotten about Fever Pitch, here comes along a whole new reason for every baseball fan outside of New England to hate us again.
No one wants to hear how one rich kid thinks another rich kid has it better, especially when most everyone else is poor. You know those girls on My Super Sweet 16 who cry to their dad about getting a Lexus instead of a BMW? You know how much hatred you feel towards that girl, how you want her to be murdered while she lies in a tanning bed a la Final Destination 3? Thanks to Mr. Henry, we’re that girl. Awesome isn’t it?
Leave that petty crap to Kansas City Royals or Pittsburgh Pirates. They’re the equivalent of the kid driving a rusted out Chevy Blazer, and their animosity and jealousy towards the kid with the BMW is understandable. When we piss and moan about the Yankees, it makes us look like spoiled brats. On top of that, it feeds the Yankees’ ego. They think, “Here’s a franchise that has it all but still wants to be like us, that must mean we’re the best.”
Is that what we want? Why give them that satisfaction? Do we still think it’s true? After ’04 and ’07, I sure as hell hope not. If so, Mr. Henry and those Sox fans should seek professional help for some deep seeded insecurity issues.
I’m not saying we should stop bashing the Yankees. I’m still dressing up as Ratatouille in a Jorge Posada jersey next Halloween. You can continue to question A-Rod’s sexuality, or mock Jeter’s fade-top haircut that he’s had since the mid-90s, or that Melky Cabrera’s name is Melky.
I’m just saying that we need to stop being the second most popular kid in school who goes out their way to talk crap about the most popular kid. No one likes that kid. In fact, that kid is usually the most hated. And in a world where the New York Yankees exist, no one should be more hated than them.