You Really Should Hate the Boston Red Sox as Much as the New York Yankees

Even if you are a casual fan of baseball, you know who the big bad enemy is. The Evil Empire. The Bronx Bombers. The Pinstripers. The New York Yankees. You probably hate most of the teams in your division, simply because they are the rivals of your favorite team. But those Yankees, every fan of the 31 other teams have it inbred in them to hate the NYY. From their entitled fans, to their jerk players, to the capitalistic way they run their team, ask any baseball fan to give you a reason to hate the Yanks and they’ll give you five.

But, I’m here to tell you, that your hate should be directed at another team that likes to market itself as the anti-Yankees. The Boston Red Sox. This anti-NYY sentiment is all a facade, because beneath it all, the Sox and their fans are just as bad as those in the Yankee ballpark. Below, is why.

1. Even their own good players do not return after a successful season

Perhaps you’ve seen the news. Talented BoSox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has recently signed with the New York Yankees. Which, is quite frankly, embarrassing. Ellsbury was a huge part of the 2013 Boston World Series run and victory. When healthy, he’s one of the best all around players in baseball. According to his contract, he would become a free agent after the 2013 season. Naturally, what a team does after having a World Series winning year is to retain the key players, and attempt to build their success from the past year in an attempt to repeat that success the next year. Now, nobody has been able to win back-to-back World Series since the 1999 and 2000 Yankees (the team to come closest was my Philadelphia Phillies in 08-09), but it is the idea that since you (should) have had the best team in baseball, that you want to keep that team at the same level of play to earn another title.

At least that is the general sentiment for teams outside of Miami. However, for some reason Jacoby thought his chances at winning would be best served in New York, rather than resigning with Boston. Which means, one of three things. Either A) Ellsbury thought the team was not good enough to keep winning, or B) Ellsbury simply wanted out of Boston, or C) Ellsbury only cared about money. Because he is not an old outfielder (still in his baseball prime at 30), and has two World Series rings, a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Comeback Player of the year,  and 3 time stolen base titles to his name, we can safely assume that not only is he a more than an above-average player, but he is going to get a large contract. Which, the Red Sox with their deep pockets, should be willing to pony up for especially with a classy player like Ellsbury who consistently brings home the bacon.

So is it the money that purely motivates Jacoby? I highly doubt it. A player of his caliber is going to demand a high salary no matter what team he is on, and well, he is a Mormon (insert stereotype here). Could it be option A? Maybe, I never thought this year’s BoSox team was actually very good in the first place, they simply got lucky. But to be honest, I am leaning toward option B, because this is very reminiscent of another Sox outfielder who left the team for the hated Evil Empire. Remember Johnny Damon? Back in 2005, following a playoff run that year and the miraculous 2004 WS the year before, Damon was one of the biggest fan favorites with his Christ-like beard and scrappy play. However, Boston refused to negotiate a deal with Damon that extended beyond three years, so he abandoned ship for a team that actually wanted him, in New York. In this case, Boston should have paid Damon what he wanted, to keep their team in contention and their fan base happy. Instead, their arbitrary front office decided to be stubborn and not negotiate, and thus JD ended up in the Big Apple. I can easily see the same thing happening with Ellsbury this time around.

If a player wants to stick with a team, they will stay with them even if it means taking a pay cut. Look at Cliff Lee when he resigned with the Phillies. He could have signed with the Yankees for more money, yet he wished to return to Philadelphia instead. I can tell you first hand that Philly is not exactly the best place to live or raise a family, nor the most friendly atmosphere to play in. But, he saw something there that was what he wanted, and chose to return. Ellsbury or Damon could have done the same thing, but either Boston was not hospitable enough, or the Sox did not try hard enough to retain them.

2. Their Organizational Crux is a Roider

It was revealed four years ago that David Ortiz tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, in a governmental report on an investigation of the sport of baseball. He cheated, plain and simple. You want to know who never tested positive on a drug test? Barry Bonds. Sure, he was embroiled in a scandal involving his personal trainer, but there’s no solid evidence that Bonds was a steroid user, just speculation. Yet, there’s solid evidence that Ortiz cheated, and he is somehow a hero, whereas Bonds is a villain. The truth is though, we probably would not be talking about this if Torii Hunter were two years younger and would have (should have) caught the grand slam ball that Ortiz hit in the ALCS.

3. The Red Sox are Hypocrites

The biggest critique and ammo that Boston had in their arsenal with their 2004 World Series win was that they beat the big bad Yankees, who spent like a liberal who just hiked taxes. This small Boston team embarrassed the giant Yanks, and it was awesome. And yet, between 2006 and 2011, the Red Sox had the second biggest payroll in the Majors, buying several players at high prices. Those players would be Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Josh Beckett, Bobby Jenks, Erik Bedard, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Adrian Beltre. Granted, they won the Series again in 2007 (without most of the players I just listed), but it doesn’t change the simple fact that the Sox contradicted themselves and became the team they hated the most.

4. Red Sox fans are also Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins fans

Do I really need to explain this?

5. Nobody outside of Boston wanted them to win the 2013 World Series, which they didn’t deserve anyway

I have family in Colorado that are Rockies fans. As such, you would think that they would harbor an apathetic sentiment toward an American League East Coast team, and a little bit more of a negative sentiment toward the midwest NL team in St Louis. However, for obvious reasons they were all extremely disappointed when Boston won the Series. Why? Because their team was ridiculously obnoxious, and won because the Cardinals lost the series, not because Boston won it. St Louis gave away Game 1 with their ace Adam Wainwright on the mound, with defensive and mental miscues all over. If the Cards could have taken just that one game, it would have forced at the very least a Game 7. Not to mention the fact that the Cardinals got more hits than the Red Sox overall, and despite the Game 1 debacle, made three fewer errors in the entire series than the Sox. And, take away the performance that Senor Steroid had, and Boston is dead in the water to ANY playoff National League team, even the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates. Their annoying team of beards, bellies, and crappy castoffs, was not loveable like they tried to advertise. It was exactly like the first adjective I used to describe their team. Annoying.

6. History aside, Fenway Park sucks

Remember our Ballpark Reviews from the summer? Those are based on ESPN’s ballpark tour in the Summer of ’06. In which, they reviewed Fenway Park where the Red Sox play. They gave it a decent review because of the atmosphere (not because of the merits of the stadium), but let us remember one thing about that atmosphere and how it’s changed. You are going to be surrounded by fans from Bah-stan who think the Red Sax are Gad’s Greatest Gift to Hamanity. And then, if it is September, there is sure to be someone wearing a Brady jersey just saying how the Greatriots are the best football team in the Unated States. When at Fenway, I just find the cheapest beer and pray that whoever is playing against the Sox slaughters them.

Are the Red Sox worse than the Yankees? Depends on the season, honestly. This year, because they were/are in the spotlight, they’re pretty much the worst. The year before, they stank, and it was awesome. The good thing about the Yankees is that they are consistently good and consistently stick to the same routine of creating funds and spending them on large profile players. It’s what they do. They don’t pretend to be anything else, and that’s why you hate them. What makes the Sox so bad is that they do pretend to be something else, when in reality they are not any better. That, and of course the five other reasons that I have listed above.

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2013 MLB NLDS and NLCS Playoff Predictions and Analysis

In my vaunted opinion, the MLB playoffs start this afternoon with Pittsburgh visiting St. Louis at 5:07 PM. Of course, with last year’s addition to the wild card round and a one game playoff, the postseason technically began several days ago. Below, you’ll find my predictions for the NLDS of the major league baseball playoffs, with some expert analysis sprinkled in.

NLDS

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Cardinals are the #1 seed in the National League, and for pretty good reason. They are probably the best team in baseball over the past ten years, with a squad that consistently plays at a higher level. Although they’re missing the big names of Pujols and Berkman, this team plays such solid ball that those big names don’t terribly matter. With four starters batting .300 or over, and seven of the starting nine hitting over .275, this team gets hits and spreads them around. Although the non-avilability of Allen Craig will inevitably hurt, the offense should be fine without him. As far as pitching goes, when you have Adam Wainwright available to pitch at two games of a division series, finding the third game to win to close it out shouldn’t be all that hard. Both Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller are solid, if playoff untested, second and third options to take the mound, with Edward Mujica anchoring the bullpen with a solid 2.78 ERA as a closer.

The Pirates on the other hand, came into the playoffs as the #4 seed, after losing out on winning the division to the Cardinals. In the Wild Card round, they defeated a sorely unprepared and inferior Cincinnati Reds team, using their signature long balls and solid starting pitching. Third in baseball with a 3.25 team ERA, the hodge-podge of starters that the Pirates have thrown together has worked wonders, with castoffs such as Francisco Liriano and AJ Burnett finally putting together good seasons. Their main weakness is their hitting, which only compiled a .245 team average for the year, which puts them in the lower 25% of MLB teams. They also had the third most strikeouts, compiling lots of big swings and misses. Only Andrew McCutchen hit over .300 on the year, with Pedro Alvarez, their biggest power hitter, posting a weak .233 BA. But, they have the fire and the team unity and motivation to win, and although they’re not playing ridiculously hot baseball, they may have enough moxie on their side to stage an upset.

Overall, with St Louis having home field advantage and two of those games at home probably being pitched by Adam Wainwright (if the series goes to five), the Cardinals have the advantage in this series. If Wainwright can produce those swings and misses, and St Louis can play small ball and just string together hits like they have all season, Pittsburgh doesn’t stand a chance. Even though the Pirates had the advantage over the Cards in the season series, posting a 10-9 record against them, the Cardinals swept the most recent series, a four game set in September. Pittsburgh will win one at home, but overall will fall to St Louis in four games. St. Louis Cardinals in 4

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves

This series will start tonight after the first NLDS game, at 8:07 EST. The Dodgers will send probable 2013 Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw to the mound, and it doesn’t really matter who you put up against him (as good as Kris Medlen really is). With a dominating 1.83 ERA on the season Kershaw is just part of the buzzsaw called the Dodgers pitching rotation, with Kershaw, Zack Greinke, rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Ricky Nolasco (probably the dullest blade on the saw). Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson create a duo in the bullpen that if any starter can go 7 innings (which Kershaw and Greinke should do easily), the game might as well be over. As far as offense goes, with the second highest payroll in all of baseball, one would hope that the Dodgers could at least score some runs for their potent pitchers. Even with such a slow start to the season, they managed to come in fifth in all of baseball in team batting average, although phenom Yasiel Puig has come down to the level of mere mortals as the season has progressed. Still, with Puig, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez, this playoff lineup is poised to score some runs. Unfortunately, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are both injured, with Ethier limited to pinch-hitting and Kemp completely out, hindering this offense from reaching their true potential. The Dodgers also haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009, and the majority of their team outside of reliever Brian Wilson is very green as far as postseason experience goes.

For the Braves, it’s all been about pitching (sense a trend in the NL playoff teams?). With a MLB best team 3.18 ERA, even without staff ace Tim Hudson this rotation has been dominant with Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, and Juilo Teheran. Even though their ‘pen is missing the absence of Johnny Venters, Craig Kimbrell is one of the best, if not the best fireballing closer in baseball. The one thing the Braves do not have going for them is the fact that their team is rather playoff untested, as is their franchise as a whole, since they have not won a postseason series since 2001. Their hitting, very much like the Pirates, relies rather much on home runs, generating a metric ton of swings and misses, striking out the second most in all of baseball. Dan Uggla and BJ Upton have been disasters, both supposed to be quality starting position players and producing averages under the Mendoza line, and as such are riding the bench for the playoffs. Both Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson are actually good hitters, as are Brian McCann and Jason Heyward who simply haven’t produced other than the longball this year. This Braves team can hit, let there be no doubt, but will they? They also had the benefit of playing in the softest division by far this year, as the NL East is mostly hapless and pathetic.

Just like in the other NLDS matchup, anticipate swings and misses from the Braves at the hands of Kershaw and Greinke. I don’t think the Dodgers will pile on a ton of runs, but scoring two or three off the Atlanta rotation should be good enough to win. The only way that Atlanta has a chance is if they can produce timely home runs that aren’t solo shots. The trouble with slim leads and a team like the Braves is that they can close the gap in a lead pretty darn quick. Will they though? I think not. The Dodgers will win this series once it heads back to SoCal. Los Angeles Dodgers in 4

Down the Road……….

NLCS

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

This might be the best series of the entire playoffs when it comes to fruition, as the Cardinals are the more experienced and better hitting club as well as having Wainwright, but the Dodgers have a deeper rotation and bullpen, along with the big names in the lineup. In the end, Kershaw and Greinke will be too much for St Louis…….but it’ll be close. Los Angeles Dodgers in 7