Friday, April 29, 2016

The Red Sox Are the REAL "Evil Empire"

As Christmas approached in 2002, the Yankees signed 2 big foreign stars: Japanese outfielder Hideki Matsui, and Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras.

The Red Sox wanted Contreras badly, but owner George Steinbrenner told Brian Cashman to get him or else, and Cashman got him.

Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino did not take this lying down. When the New York Times reached him for comment on the signing, he said, "The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America." 

People have called the Yankees "the Evil Empire" ever since.

This is stupid.

The most obvious reason that it's stupid is that most of us first heard the expression "evil empire" on March 8, 1983, when President Ronald Reagan delivered a speech at a hotel on the grounds of Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Florida, to a bunch of evangelicals whose Jesus was the one who said to smite single mothers and gays, not the one who said to love thy neighbor as thyself and to give your possessions to the poor:

In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely, uh, declaring yourselves above it all, and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history, and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding, and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong, and good and evil.

Reagan was calling the Soviet Union an evil empire. The Soviet Union was opposed to capitalism, opposed to obscene wealth, opposed to private property.

The New York Yankees, at least since Jacob Ruppert began to build the team that would dominate baseball in the 1920s, have been the most capitalist of all teams, have been obscenely wealthy, and own the greatest private property in all of sports on this planet, Yankee Stadium. (If you're a soccer fan, don't tell me Real Madrid's Bernabeu, Barcelona's Camp Nou, or Manchester United's Old Trafford is greater. What do they host besides their home teams?)

So comparing the Yankees to the Soviet Union, "the evil empire," really is stupid. If Reagan had never made that speech, maybe it would make sense.

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But it goes beyond that. The comparison is also made to the Galactic Empire, the antagonists in the Star Wars films. Some Yankee Fans get a kick out of this, making it backfire on Sox fans, by showing Darth Vader as a representation of the Yankees, turning, "May the Force be with you" into, "May the Curse be with you" prior to the Sox cheating the Curse of the Bambino to death in 2004.

And, just before the Sox did that, Pedro Martinez made his "call the Yankees my Daddy" remark, and a banner at Yankee Stadium showed Vader saying, "Pedro: I am your father!"

But the media, particularly ESPN and Fox, the duopoly of baseball coverage on national TV, have fed the myth that the Red Sox are the Light Side of the Force, and the Yankees are the Dark Side.

Bullshit. We are the Light Side, while the Red Sox are the Dark Side.

You want to use Star Wars as the template? Okay, let's take the 1st 6 films into context. From 1921 to 2003 was the Republic, then came its downfall.

The 1999 American League Championship Series was Episode I: The Phantom Menace: The Yankees were challenged by a resurgent enemy that we thought was no longer a threat, but we got the message: Take them seriously.

The 2003 season was Episode II: Attack of the Clones: They were really gunning for us now, and we knew we had a war on our hands, but it still looked like we would prevail in the end.

2004 was Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. No explanation necessary.

Time passed. The 2009 season, when it was revealed that the Sox were steroid cheats, and we lost to them for most of the season but began pounding them in early August, and clinched the Division against them in late September, on the way to winning the World Series again, was Episode IV: A New Hope.

2013, when we missed Derek Jeter for most of the season, we said goodbye to Mariano Rivera, and the Sox won the Series for the 1st time since they were outed as cheaters, and nobody seemed to give a damn that they had cheated, was Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The movie that many Star Wars fans say is the best one, but these people need to be slapped: How can it be the best, if it ends with the bad guys winning? These people are ESPN and Fox, celebrating the Sox and David Ortiz, when they know goddamned well how evil they are.

Hopefully, 2016 will be Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

If you still doubt that it's the Red Sox who are the Dark Side, remember that their pitchers have consistently tried to injure our players with pitched balls.

Bronson Arroyo drilled Alex Rodriguez in the back, A-Rod cursed him out, and Jason Varitek, leaving his mask on like the bitch that he is, shoved his mitt in A-Rod's face. This was a far cry from 1976, when Bill Lee, after a brawl that led to his shoulder injury, "The Yankees fought like hookers swinging their purses." How would he know? And what did it say about his team that they lost the fight anyway?

Want more proof? Pedro tried to "execute Order 66" on Don Zimmer. For the last few years of his life, Zim's uniform number as a coach was the number of years he'd been in professional baseball. When he died, still on the staff of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Rays retired the last number that he wore. It was 66.

You want to say that you hate the Yankees? Go ahead. I like to use the line from ancient Rome: Oderint dum metuant. Meaning, "Let them hate, as long as they fear."

But don't insult the evidence by saying that the Yankees are evil. When the Red Sox have been war criminals at least since Pedro the Punk arrived in 1998, and still are long after he's been gone.

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