Monday, October 18, 2004

High Risk, High Reward 

The D-Backs' season was one of high risk and (we hoped) high reward. Take a chance on trading some pitching (Schilling) for some hitting (Sexson). And maybe, just maybe, if everything went right and nobody got injured, and our Baby Backs followed through on their next season, then maybe we'd make the playoffs.

It's the implicit bargain we all make whenever we follow a sports team. Chances are very high that in the end our team will fail, nothwithstanding hundreds of hours of TV-watching, radio-listening, newspaper-reading, and blog-writing on our part.

Unless, of course, you're a Yankees fan. You're not guaranteed a victory, but your chances of "being at the table" are pretty good. Which explains why:
1) the thought of Carlos Beltran joining the Yankees in the off-season ticks me off so, and
2) I turned off the TV after the 8th inning of last night's Red Sox-Yankees classic.

The Yankees signing A-Rod last winter didn't bug me so much because the Red Sox had a good chance at him first; it seemed that Boston ended up being pennywise and pound foolish. But Beltran? It's one thing to sign the best player in the league; it's another thing entirely to do it two years in a row. Should it happen, I wonder whether the fan reaction will reach a point at which baseball is forced to do something.

As for turning off the TV, I did it with the full realization that I might be turning off an all-time classic comeback. But I was tired, it'd been a long weekend, and the possible outcomes were:
a) Rivera shuts the Red Sox down in the 8th. Series over, Yankees win.
b) The Red Sox come back in the 9th, but the Yankees win in extra innings. Series over, Yankees win.
c) The Red Sox pull out a comeback. Red Sox now down 3-1.

I decided that the possible benefits of sticking around were outweighed by the possible negatives. (Who wants to see the Yankees celebrate at Fenway? Who wants to see the crowd reaction?)

So here's hoping that the Red Sox make a game of it again today. Here's hoping the still relatively-ignored but entertaining Astros-Cardinals series stays that way (at least the "entertaining" part.) And here's hoping some team besides the Yankees decides to make a play for Beltran.

Will Carroll has Beltran going to the Cubs, which would be a nice use of Alou's contract money. However, I do not really see any team actually paying Beltran the $17 M/yr he will likely demand other than the Yankees. An outfield of Matsui, Beltran and Sheffield is obnoxiously good, but they will still have starting pitching problems. Of course, if they somehow blow this 3-0 lead, now 3-2, expect Mad King George to sign Beltran, Pedro and Pavano, just for good measure. And hey, I think Troy Percival is a free agent as well!
Yeah, there are a few teams that probably could afford Beltran. But in the end, it's up to George, and if George decides he wants Beltran, he'll get him. There's no pesky crappy farm system standing in the way of his desired player this time.
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