I e-mailed my friend who brews with me about the next beers we are going to make. “What,” he replied. “no huzzahs and hosannas for the World Champion Red Sox?!”
He’s from Connecticut. I don’t blame him for being a Red Sox fan. But I do note that he’s singing a new tune.
Pardon me if I’m less enthused. Years ago New Englanders used to complain bitterly about George Steinbrenner and free agency. Oh, those evil monstrous Yankees who bought their world championships. Well, hello current Bosox free agent signings: John Lackey (12/16/09, 82.5 million); Ryan Dempster (12/19/12, 26.5 million); Shane Victorino (12/4/12, 39 million); Stephen Drew (12/7/12, 9.5 million), Johnny Gomes (11/22/12, 10 million); Mike Napoli (1/17/13, 5 million); Koji Uehara (12/6/12, 4.25 million); David Ross (11/14/12, 6.2 million); and especially David Ortiz (signed as a free agent, 01/03, re-signed as a free agent 11/2/12, contracts totaling over 110 million).
Further, the Chisox wanted to get something for their Jake Peavey signing (10/30/12, 29 mill for two years) and dealt him to a team ready to spend: the Red $ox.
And you know that if Oakland or Florida or Pittsburgh or Milwaukee had just won the world series, the pundits would be all over it gushing about how a small market, low payroll team had just triumphed over all the free spenders. They’d be trumpeting the victory of savvy over $$$, and claiming once again that “money can’t buy championships.”
It may not buy a title every time, but well spent, it sure helps you contend. It can complete a team by turning weak spots into strengths. Missing a starter or three? Hello, Lackey, Peavey, and Dempster. Need a reliever? Maybe Uehara might help. Got a problem at short? Would Stephen Drew help? You’ve gotta have a catcher–how about David Ross? Need a leadoff hitter and outfielder? Hello, Victorino! Need a first baseman and some slugging? Welcome to Boston, Mike Napoli! Want a hall of fame slugger for DH? Do you think David Ortiz helped Boston at all this year, let alone during all three titles?
Boston’s payroll of $150.6 million this year was the fourth highest in baseball, behind the Yankees, Dodgers, and Phillies. And this is AFTER the big salary dump, getting rid of the Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett contracts.
“Hey Steinbrenner, Thanks for ruining baseball” read a placard once waved by a fan at Fenway. Yeah, right.