Norman Chad's Couch Slouch: Deep Pockets Buy Yankees No Guarantees
Somewhat forgotten in the recent Alex-Rodriguez- was-just-a-young-naïve-and-stupid-kid-dipping-an- experimental-toe-into-unknown-Dominican- pharmaceutical-waters-with-his-caring-older-cousin saga is the simple fact that the New York Yankees remain, well, the easiest team to root against in all of sports.
Next month, the recession-retardant Yankees will unveil their wholly unnecessary, publicly financed $1.5 billion stadium accompanied by the largest team payroll since "Heaven's Gate."
(I suspect a family of four will be able to get in and out of the new Yankee Stadium for the approximate sum of what one hour of legal counsel currently costs Bernie Madoff.)
(Following doctor's orders, I will not comment further on the new Yankee Stadium today. I am hopeful, pending a change in medication, to be cleared for a Yankee Stadium column by Opening Day.)
The Yankees, who have not won a World Series since 2000, annually try to buy one. This offseason, they signed three mega-free agents: Mark Teixeira, eight-year, $180 million deal; CC Sabathia, seven-year, $161 million deal; and A.J. Burnett, five-year, $82.5 million deal.
That's a total of $423.5 million committed to those three players.
(I guarantee you they could've saved money at amazon.com.)
The Yankees now have the four biggest player contracts in baseball -- the hip-undone Rodriguez, 10 years, $275 million; Derek Jeter, 10 years, $189 million; Teixeira and Sabathia.
(The team bus, I believe, is a Lamborghini.)
With a big budget comes big expectations. Yankees fans harbor this insufferable, New York-centric win-it-all-or-the-season-is-a-failure mentality. They take little pleasure in 90 wins or a division championship or even a pennant; anything short of a World Series title causes year-long urban angst.
I mean, these folks are so wrapped up in Yankee misery, it actually takes their minds off their own real-life misery. They dine out in misery. They bathe in misery. They sleep in misery. They are, best I can tell, a miserable, miserable lot.
(Speaking of misery, I was trapped in a midtown Manhattan taxi late last year, in which I was force-fed 25 minutes of New York sports talk radio. Half the callers appeared to be threatening to jump off the Empire State Building unless the Yankees signed every big-name free agent, the other half were counting NBA titles for the Knicks after LeBron James joins the team in 2010.)