Thursday, February 19, 2004

Baseball is War: I don't know if you have been following the Red Sox/Yankees off-season war but it has made the baseball off-season more interesting than the football on-season.

Sadly, what will be remembered from the previous football season are the controversies over Rush Limbaugh and Gregg Easterbrook and cell phones under the goalposts. Even the exceptional Super Bowl -- one of the best ever -- will live forever in the shadow of Janet Jackson's right jubbly.

(BTW -- I never commented on the Super Bowl game itself. Let me just say it was the second Super Bowl in a row where the game was undeniably decided by the offensive line. Oakland's lost it for them last year and New England's won it for them this year.)

More compelling than any football news all season has been the on-going battle between the Bosox and the Yankees. All summer, the Bosox seemed to have the upper hand; they fired Grady Little, they snagged Curt Schilling, arguably the top pitcher in baseball, and were actively pursuing Alex Rodriguez, the reigning American League MVP (from Texas). Meanwhile Roger Clemens retires from the Yankees, then unretires and joins Houston. Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' ace free agent pitcher, also ditches the Yankees for Houston. Steinbrenner was looking a little ragged at that point.

But then the Bosox attempt at snaring Alex Rodriguez breaks down and, secretly, the Yankees move in and snag him for themselves. You can bet Steinbrenner was chuckling to himself about getting the last laugh over the sentimental favorites.

Just recently John Henry, owner of the Bosox, suggested the Yankees/A-Rod deal was evidence of the need for a salary cap in baseball, to which Steinbrenner replied, "Quit yer sniveling," (more or less). This is going to get really nasty over the course of the season. I wouldn't be surprised to see fans attacking each other or attacking umps or attacking players at Red Sox/Yankee games. Seriously. Ramp up security and hope they're unarmed.

More quietly, in the National League both the Astros and the Cubs have shored up their pitching staffs. Especially the Cubs who, with the signing of Greg Maddux, now almost certainly have one of the top five starting rotations in the game. With Bartman afraid to show his face at Wrigley, there may be no stopping them now.

Definitely shaping up to be one of the most drama filled seasons ever.