Thursday, October 03, 2002

Ya know.... it's a strange thing, but for me the Yankees being in the playoffs is almost the same as if the Red Sox were there, only opposite. Let me explain.
I've always been a Sox fan for as long as I can remember. Maybe it's just something that goes along with that, but I have also always hated the Yankees. That hate has grown quite a bit over the last 5 or 6 years though. Seeing the Yankees succeed year after year while the Sox have failed has not left a good feeling. As a result, I am almost to the point where seeing the Yankees lose brings as much joy as seeing the Sox win. Probably my second favorite sports memory over the last decade or so (Last years Superbowl obviously first), was seeing the Yankees lose in the World Series last year. I can not even explain how much joy that brought me. The feeling I had was the same as if one of my favorite teams had won the championship. It was very close to, and maybe even surpassed, the feeling I had after the Pats won the SB.

I bring all this up because I was thinking about it last night while watching the Yanks/Angels game. The Yankees seem to get the breaks so often and have everything fall into place so much that I was sure that Jeter was going to get a hit in the 8th inning. I was stunned when he struck out. Then in the 9th, again I was sure that the Yanks would rally and win. 2 on, 2 out, down by 2..... isn't that where the Yankees always come up with a hit to win the game? It made sense that Mondesi was up because it also seems like a mid-season pickup of the Yankees always has a huge postseason hit. But Mondesi popped it up. Game over. Angels win. And this wave of joy came over me as if the Red Sox were the team that had just tied the series.

I don't know if any other team brings me as much when I see them lose like the Yankees. The Lakers would probably be the closest. Just another team that, and don't get me wrong because I realize that they are both good teams, but it always seems as though both of those teams get the breaks needed to win. A team could have all the talent in the world, but usually something outside of the control of either team happens that really helps decide who wins. A bad hop in baseball that allows a guy to reach. A lucky 3-pointer to beat the clock from a guy who hasn't made, nor attempted one all year. Those are the breaks that the Lakers and Yankees always seem to get that without them, despite their being good teams, they probably wouldn't win as often. And I think that's why so many people hate those teams. And part of why I love it when they lose.

Admittedly, I am not a soccer fan and don't understand why any sport needs to play on field the size of Rhode Island. Even still, when a team wins their first ever playoff series, they deserve recognition and in this case, the first link of the day. Congrats to the Revs.

Nick Cafardo gives Michael Felger a little shot in his column today by saying that it's too early to claim the Patriots defense is getting old. Felger has no point anyways. The Pats defense has not showed signs of aging in the past 2 games. They have simply shown signs of a team that was jacked and pumped for the first 2 games because they had something to prove. Well, they proved it. Everyone was saying 16-0. Number 1 in all the National power ranking polls. So it was easier for them to sit back a little and maybe not give the same type of effort. That is what happened the last 2 weeks. Now it's up to them to get that intensity back and start hitting people again. Until they do that, the defense will struggle a little bit.

Jackie MacMullan takes the opportunity to rip Paul Gaston, who deserves every bit of it. I've been asked by numerous people what I think of the Celtics sale, and I haven't had much to say up to this point. Mostly this is because I know very little about the new owners. Sure, you can look up their history and their business track records. You can see how their companies have done and how much money they have made. But owning a sports franchise is a totally different animal from anything else. You can't say how someone will do until they show you. I don't think it is something that can be gaged. But after spending some time thinking about it, I have come to at least one conclusion: They can't be any worse than Gaston.
All Gaston ever cared about was money. Some have said that he spent money at certain times (Pitino, Walker, Pierce) and so you can't say that he was cheap. I don't agree with that reasoning. I think he had thoughts of selling the team as far back as 7 or 8 years ago. But he knew that the team needed to be better for him to get a good value for it. That is why he allowed Antoine to be signed long term, and why he signed Pitino a year later. He, like everyone else, thought Pitino would lead the team to glory. He figured within a few years, the team would be a contender and he could then sell and someone else would be paying Pitino's and Walkers salaries. When the team went even further downhill under Pitino, Gaston realized that he could not sell yet. The Pierce signing was for the same reason. Gaston once again thought that Pierce was a huge key to the team's success, and ultimately, him being able to sell. Any money Gaston ever spent was only designed to benefit his own wallet in some way.
Now, as a business man, that is a smart thing to do, and usually tells how successful a business man someone is. The problem is like I said though. Owning a sports franchise is a different animal. Owners of sports teams should not be in it for the money. They should be in it to see the team win. And if that is not their concern, they need to get out.
As for the Baker signing, I think it was one last shot Gaston was giving to Larry Bird. Gaston probably thought that with him out of the picture, Larry would be back here soon. I think that Gaston wanted to tie Bird' s hands with regards to the salary cap and also the roster. He knew that bringing Baker here would really handcuff the team for four years, with no real flexibility. All in all, the new owners will have to do little to be better owners, and the Celtics are 100 times better off with Paul Gaston out of the picture.