Wooden's World of Baseball

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities, Offseason Edition

Probably the most amusing thing I've noticed throughout my travels through the blogosphere is the presumed correlation between a team's spending or the moves made thus far and its commitment to winning. Put more simply, if you're not signing expensive free agents or making trades for big-name players, you (the team) aren't trying.

What's a little surprising is that, as a fan of both a big-time contender (Boston) and a fan of the worst team in the majors (Washington) at least as viewed through the simple lens of wins and losses, is that the whining is remarkably similar.

Of course, it's bullshit.

How much a team spends has nothing to do with its commitment. Sure, the Yankees have a near-unlimited budget, though they intend to spend less in 2010, but they've always spent the most — even when they were a losing ballclub in the early 1990s. The difference now is they're spending smarter.

Of course, as a parent, this mindset is all-too-familiar: A child suddenly thinks you hate him because you won't buy him something when he demands it.

With Boston, it annoys the crap out of me because of two things: (1) the complainers are invariably under 30 (2) they have no idea that they're becoming what they hate. Okay, maybe there's a third thing: They sound like those college football boosters that boast "We don't rebuild, we reload," with a drawl that makes you think two words: sidewalk alumni.

With Washington, it's that the people bitching the most complain about "waiting for a winner."

Really. I'm not making that up.

I've tried reasoning with them, explaining that the team is, in essence, an expansion team without the advantages as the team was treated like the Pennsylvania Road Warriors by MLB, dealing away good players without regard to the long term and drafting with a short-term focus for five years (2002-2006) before new ownership was fully in place.

Nope. It's been an entire five years without a .500+ team. Don't bother pointing out that Pittsburgh hasn't had one in 17 years. Or Baltimore in 12. Or Kansas City in six. Oh no, we're Washington — we're special, we deserve a winner (OK, that one I'm kind of making up, but it sure as hell is implied).

But, as I've posted elsewhere: Well, if that's how you feel, then you have exactly the team you've earned.


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