If there has been a single prevailing theme to this blog over the years it is clearly that the Red Sox are evil.
I get the feeling that more and more people are coming around to my way of thinking. I'm glad folks are starting to see the light on this issue because the bottom line remains: The Red Sox are evil.
For starters, they buy their way into the playoffs almost every year. They've got the second largest budget in baseball, and along with the Yankees they spend way more than other teams. In so doing, they take away any chance other teams have to compete for free agents. Even worse, they over-pay to make sure they get the free agents they want. This jacks up prices around the league, and makes it even harder for small-market teams to retain the players that have grown up in their systems. The Red Sox (along with the Yankees) treat the rest of the league as their own personal farm system, and they're happy to do it. This decreases player loyalty and affects every other team out there.
Second, given their enormous payroll, they're able to make bad baseball decisions and not suffer the consequences. The Red Sox signed players like Gagne and Drew who are, by all accounts, enormous disappointments. These were bad baseball decisions. And yet, despite the bad contracts, the Red Sox are still in the playoffs. Why? Because when they make bad decisions they can just loosen the purse strings and buy their way out of trouble. They're the Paris Hiltons of the baseball world, living a life so far removed from reality that they have no consequences to their obviously terrible decisions.
Third, the Red Sox - more than any other team (including the Yankees) - are first a corporate conglomerate, and second a baseball team. I mean they cross-promote with NASCAR for crying out loud! If there's one thing that should drive a baseball fan into an apoplectic rage it's the thinking man's sport being sold to people who think left turns qualify as strategy.
The group that owns and runs the Sox care only about money, not about the experience of baseball. How else do you explain that the average ticket price for a Red Sox game is $18.70 higher than the average price for the next-highest team. That's not a typo. Almost $20 more per ticket to see the Red Sox. This isn't a team the whole family can enjoy. It's an exclusive club only the wealthy can afford to buy their way into. And yet, the Red Sox constantly market themselves as a team of "regular guys", a team that's built for the blue-collar every-man. An absolute lie. But that's what we'd expect from a team that cares more about it's marketing than it does about winning.
In fact, the Red Sox' recent popularity can be directly traced to their marketing. They sold themselves as the anti-Yankees. They branded the Yankees the "evil empire" and played themselves in the role of good-guy. Only it was all a great fiction. The Yankees are evil, yes, for some of the same reasons that the Red Sox are. But the Red Sox were doing all of the same evil things as the Yankees. Of course that didn't bother them. They were perfectly happy to be the pot calling the kettle black. And unfortunately, people bought it. They were duped by the Red Sox. And not by the product on the field, but by the product coming out of the PR office.
But now it seems people are noticing. They're not falling for the same old lines any more. They've come to realize that the Red Sox are the new Yankees. Just like the Yankees, the Red Sox now consider anything less than a pennant to be an unsuccessful season. As Dan Shanoff wrote on his blog, "The fact is, a loss [in the ALCS] and the Red Sox have underachieved based on the expectations for the season."
Even Bill Simmons, the consummate blindly-loyal Red Sox fan seems to realize that something is up. As he wrote in his game-4 post, "What happened to this team? Why aren't they loose anymore?"
The answer is of course obvious. Before they won the World Series, the Red Sox were expected to lose. There was no pressure, and they could afford to be loose. Now that they've won, they're just another team. When they were losers they were special because they were losers. They weren't lovable losers, but at least they were special. Now they don't even have that.
They just have the terrible burdens that come with being evil.
I said heaven ain't close in a place like this