Saturday, October 07, 2006

Schadenfreude: Tigers Win! Tigers Win!

The Red Sox and the Yankees share a cosmic connection, one often affirming the Universal Law of the Conservation of Happiness - boon for the Red Sox is anathema for the Yankees. And the Curse of He Who Must Never Be Named lives on.

I traveled to a conference in August and met a former Yankee employee at the most unlikely of places, the Lazy J Ranch not far from Vail. He explained how the Yankees would not win the World Series this year, just as they had failed the past five seasons. George Steinbrenner had fired him not long before the 2001 World Series. He didn't sulk, whine, or complain. His wife cursed the Yankees.

We all realize the futility in curse belief, especially in a game where dollars, not sense rules team composition. The Benjamins flow freely in their beloved Bronx, to the point that acquiring more than 20 million dollars in payroll in late July becomes not the norm but the expectation. The Connecticut Yankee Carl Pavano has turned out to be the biggest bust of the Tampa connection, and in the definition of irony, former Yankee Kenny Rogers did in the Bombers last night, and Jeremy Bonderman, another component in a Yankee trade finished the job tonight.

Yankee fans rightly ask, what joy do Red Sox fans derive from the Tigers victory tonight? Sox fans understand that our team not only underachieved but collapsed down the stretch, and had no claim on the brass ring. But many had proclaimed this the Yankees' year, one in which the stars aligned, and the 'greatest lineup of modern times' would carry the legendary franchise to Nirvana.

Yankee fans might argue that the best team didn't win. Baseball purists surely respond that the better lineup didn't win, but the superior team did. Jim Leyland's career sub .500 managerial record doesn't seem to matter much when it comes to slaying the Yankee dragon. History didn't matter, or the frustrations of a city that has endured economic travails from declining industry and an abysmal housing market. For one day at least, Detroit basks in the sweet sunshine of victory and wallowing in the darkness of defeat, the mighty Yankees have struck out.

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