Note to reader: I am not a Red Sox fan. So after I finish ripping at the core of the New York Yankees, please understand that I am not on a mission to raise Boston back to the glory days of 1918.
In one day the National Pastime has moved light years ahead of its time.
As if the Yankees, 26 World Championships strong, needed any more incentive to be hated, they just acquired the best player in baseball - again.
Eighty-five years ago New York paid $100,000 cash for the rights to Babe Ruth from Boston. At the time it was the largest cash purchase in sports history.
Sunday the Evil Empire took Alex Rodriguez and $111 million of unpaid salary from the Texas Rangers - now the highest sports transaction ever.
But paying A-Rod isn't the crime. The Rangers letting him go certainly isn't unreasonable. After all, the move finally allowed Ranger owner Tom Hicks some payroll flexibility.
But how on God's green earth could the commissioner's office let the Yankees come away with the spoils? The trade went through approval with Bud Selig - how?
Yankee owner George Steinbrenner has turned what was once a game of pure competition into a contest of corporate accumulation. And like him or not, Steinbrenner does it better than anyone else.
A friend of mine said, "George Steinbrenner, the cosmic Pac-Man of baseball that he is, has taken a little part of baseball on his way to consuming all of baseball.
"It is not based on talent and reaction, but on accumulation."
And while the Yankees have been taking their pick from the top of the free agent market for nearly a decade now, the A-Rod deal has topped them all.
Clemens, Mussina, Giambi, Sheffield, Matsui, Wells, Kevin Brown - some of the biggest names in baseball have been plucked by Steinbrenner and his GM puppet, Brian Cashman.
But Alex Rodriguez puts all of the above, with the exception of Clemens, to shame. He may be the best shortstop in the history of baseball, but now he's not good enough to be the starting shortstop on his own team (see Derek Jeter).
What is so wrong is that the parity of other professional sports (the NFL, for instance) is paled by the disparity one team - correction, one man can place on an entire league.
Steinbrenner takes who he wants, when he wants, no matter the price tag.
So who are the losers here? (Shall I state the winner?)
What about the small-market teams of Major League Baseball? Essentially 15 teams are eliminated from the playoff contention before the season begins, and the gap has just gotten bigger.
Sen. John Edwards has accused President Bush of creating two Americas, an upper and lower class. The Yankees, however, are the true root of the problem.
New York's 2004 payroll is expected to exceed $200 million. The Devil Rays don't even pay their team a tenth (really) of that.
I like to think of myself as a baseball purist. The sacrifice bunt, pitching and stolen bases excite me. A-Rod, Jeter and Sheffield don't. So imagine what the Red Sox nation is feeling.
My friend Knox, who lives and dies (mostly dies) with Beantown, is fed up. His feeling on the move?
"George is to the sports world as Donald Trump is to the business world. Both are saturated with arrogance, oozing with money, and for some reason or another can't fix their hair."
So, anyone know what ring size A-Rod wears?
- Scott Simmons is a junior in finance and the sports copy editor of The Daily Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Parts of this story were contributed by Knox McCoy)
The rich get richer: Yankees acquire baseball's best player
Published: Tue Feb 17, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 05:50 p.m.