Wallowing In The Mud

Today the New York Times published a front page article on the A-Rod vs. MLB drama. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here is a nice synopsis of it. It is fair to say that both sides come across as absolutely awful.

MLB has clearly decided to pursue victory at all costs. It is absolutely revolting to read the depths they have sunk to in their pursuit of Alex.

But that doesn’t excuse Alex’s behavior. Put aside the tampering, the cheating and think about the $100,000 anonymous donation to a Hispanic charity with the proviso that they publicly support Alex’s side.

Whatever happens when the final judgement is handed down, there will be no winners. Both sides have sunk to depths that make rooting for either of them impossible. All we can hope for now is a quick end to this mess.

What a Thrill

I’m old enough to have experienced a Red Sox collapse.  As a Freshman in High School, the 1986 World Series was devastating.  Probably more devastating than it should have been to me, but I was young, that’s how it is suppose to work.

During my lifetime but too early in it for me to understand the magnitude of what had happened, The Red Sox lost a heart breaking World Series in 1975 and of course Bucky F’ing Dent did his thing in 1978, a truly terrible season.

What struck me Wednesday night was that there is a whole generation of fans, those born, say, after 1986, who don’t have any reason to fear a Red Sox meltdown.  All they know of the Red Sox is that they won the World Series in 2004 and 2007.  Life as a Red Sox fan is nothing but positives, peaches and cream, weeeeee!

I’m not asking for anyone to feel badly for me here but watching game 6 from Fenway was an exercise in anxiety.  In fact the 48 hours leading up the game were terrifying.  What if they blew a 3-2 series lead?  Could it be the Red Sox of old have returned?

Top of the 7th, Red Sox leading 6-1, bases loaded and Matt Holliday at the plate the worst moment in game 6.  I could see the older fans around me, pale, withdrawn, miserable.  The younger fans?  Not a worry in the world.  The Red Sox escaped the inning unharmed and went on to win the World Series.  Perhaps I need to accept the fact the Red Sox have been very successful and maybe, just maybe, are no longer tied to curses or jinxes.

I always imagined myself at Fenway watching them clinch a World Series championship, but I don’t think I really thought it would ever happen.  Alas it did and I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you David and Mr. S for the ticket, I can’t think of a way to repay you.

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One quick thing I found interesting.  My phone lost battery charge in the 7th inning, lame.  So when the final pitch was delivered, I was left clapping while the rest of Fenway was holding their smartphones, unable to clap.  Strike three resulted in much cheering and screaming, but little clapping as how does one effectively clap with a phone in his/her hands?  Just an interesting evolutionary observation.

What Just Happened?-UPDATED

The Yankees just announced that Derek Jeter has signed a $12-million contract for 2014. At first glance this looks like a terrible move. Jeter’s option in 2014 was for $9.5 million so why give him an extra $2.5 million when he is coming off a season where he played in only 17 games?

Two reasons seem likely. First, it provides cost certainty.  Jeter was going to exercise that option for $9.5 million, that is clear. If he had, he would have been eligible to earn an extra $7.5 million in bonuses. You can debate the chances that Jeter will finish in the top-6 of the MVP voting or win a gold glove, but the fact is that if he did it that would be counted as money earned in 2014 and therefore the Yankees could meet their $189-million payroll goal in March, but see it blow up in November.

Second, AAV is how salaries are computed in terms of meeting the $189-million and this deal actually helps the Yankees in that department. Jeter has earned $48-million on the first three years of his deal. If he exercised the $9.5-million option, that deal would have counted as $14.375 million ($57.5-million/4) in terms of AAV.

So, the Yankees actually lower their luxury tax calculation by $2.375 million while they end up paying Jeter an extra $2.5 million. Welcome to the strange economics of MLB.

UPDATE 3:40PM Joel Sherman says I am wrong about the AAV part. I’m not really sure where his number of $10.5 million comes from, and other columnists say I am right, but I wanted to link to it anyway.