I want my three months back

March 1, 2004, midnight | By Nick Falgout | 16 years, 10 months ago

Or, how A-Rod ruined the off-season

The story of a one Alex Rodriguez is a story filled with heartbreak, and with triumph. It is a story of pain and immeasurable suffering; of conquest, and of… who am I trying to kid? It's a story of greed. And whining. And corruption, and wearing white after labor day. And now, it's the latest chapter in the bitter Bible of baseball history. This is David and Goliath stuff. Except with two Goliaths.

For the uninformed masses, that was a veiled reference to the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, heated rivals that they are. But their latest chapter of infamy doesn't even start with them. It starts at the beginning of this off-season. The mighty Yankees had fallen, in a very Goliath-esque manner, to the Florida Marlins. But even that fact was long-forgotten at the beginning of our tale. It was the off-season, it was the proverbial spring of baseball: the season of rebirth and regrowth and all that goodness. The pie of potential free agents was huge, and many teams wanted a sizable slice, and suddenly found themselves with the finances to acquire such a morsel. Ailing franchises such as our very own Orioles, the Phillies, the Royals, and even the lowly Tigers were wheelin' and dealin'. Solid, on the cusp of greatness franchises from last year, like the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs, re-solidified, looking to make a playoff run. Players from the Evil Empire started to defect, like Andy Pettite and the suddenly un-retired Roger Clemens. To further heighten this excitement, Boston picked up Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke, shoring up most of their weaknesses from the past year. All was well. All was good.

Enter A-Rod.

Arguably the best shortstop of all time, Alex Rodriguez had spent the last three-odd years languishing on a Texas Rangers team doomed by ineffective pitching and a tough division. Despite the destitute condition of his team he had prospered, putting up all-star and even MVP numbers. How did this happen? It's simple, really: Rodriguez is greedy. He's the guy in cartoons with the dollar sign eyes. His contract, which spans ten years, is worth approximately 250 million dollars.

So, naturally, the only thing Alex wants more than the money is to be off the Rangers. He wants the thrill of winning. He wants a championship ring. And money. But of course he already has that.

So at the beginning of said off-season, his people talked to some people, who found him a prospective home: Boston, who definitely lacked an all-star shortstop. The ominous music starts. I could spend an entire column just analyzing why the proposed A-Rod to Boston trade was a bad idea for everyone, but luckily those negotiations fell through. Ka-boom. Turn off the oven; this one's done. Cut the ominous music. End of story.


Turns out the Yankees' evil is more potent than we all thought, or even imagined possible. We've moved way past white after labor day here.

Yes, the Yankees traded for Rodriguez, and gave up a lot, too; Alfonso Soriano is an all-star in his own right, and Texas could end up with a decent pitcher as their "player to be named." But the Yankees couldn't just leave well enough alone. As part of the deal, Texas will ship 67 million dollars to help pay for Rodriguez's contract. Despite initially balking, commissioner Bud Selig approved the deal, and now the news carriers have set upon the issue like so many buzzards descending on a carcass. The deal has been hailed as the "best trade ever," as "baseball's savior," and a large number of other truly bad clichés. But what it truly boils down to is that the Yankees, like the Microsoft, or the Viacom, or, dare I say, the America, of baseball, has moved a step closer to total domination. The Yankees have a 200 million dollar infield, and high-paid players the whole lineup through.

But that's not even where it ends. What the Red Sox were doing with A-Rod was just as morally reprehensible, slimy, dirty and altogether greedy as their evil counterparts. Boston tried to sell their soul to the devil, but the Yankees overbid. If trends continue, no other team will soon need apply. We'll just take the richest team's money and hand them the crown. Greed runs the world, and now it runs baseball. Every good story needs a (super)villain, but what happens when there's no hero?

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Nick Falgout. Nick Falgout was bored one day and decided to change his Chips staff information. And now, for a touching song lyric: "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case Get off my case, get off my case." ~ Radiohead, "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd … More »

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