Watching the two ALDS unfold last night, I was hoping against hope that at least one of the non-AL East teams would extend the series to a decisive fifth game. After Reggie Willits (VP of the Bubba Crosby Society) got busted on the now infamous failed suicide squeeze, Yanks fans had to come to terms with this horrific scenario. One of our division rivals is going to the World Series where they'll take on a weaker National League opponent with home field advantage (won at Yankee Stadium). The question is, since you have to see one of them win, which would you rather it was?
If the Rays make it to, and win the World Series, it will legitimize them as a franchise. They inevitably will draw more fans and come closer to a new greater-revenue-generating ballpark. Unless they go the way of the Marlins and firebomb their franchise immediately after winning a championship (which they won’t) they will be, at the very least, a thorn in the Yankees side for years to come. They have a solid core of young players, and more developing in their farm system. Nothing breeds winning like winning, and the confidence of hoisting that World Series Trophy would ripple down throughout a franchise that has typically been an embarrassment ever since its inception.
The Red Sox:
If the Red Sox win another World Series, it would be the 3rd in 5 years, beginning to challenge the Yankees dynastic run of the late 1990's and 2000. Could you stomach seeing Jonathan Pappelsmear, Varitek, Kevin "Fack" Youkilis, Ellsbury, Pedroia and all the other fucktastic prickfaces on the Red Sox in another champagne soaked celebration? With every success, 2004 hurts more and more, wondering where these two franchises would be if the Yanks could have closed the door on one of those 4 games.
Emotionally, the Rays victory would be easier to swallow. They are slightly more likeable and it would give me perverse pleasure to see The Trop’ filled with the opposing team’s fans in the World Series and read articles about how it was the lowest rated World Series of all time. I can’t root for the Red Sox, regardless of the situation.
However, thinking about the big picture, the Red Sox would be the better representative of the AL East in the Yankees eyes. Let’s face it., the Red Sox aren’t going anywhere. They are an excellent team with a solid farm system. They have a great mix of veterans and youngsters, solid pitching and a great front office. The Rays could be a fluke.
The Yankees have become comfortable with the power structure that has existed in the AL East for the past decade or so. The Yanks and Sox are king, while some other team puts up a half-assed effort and never really challenges for the Division Title. This leaves the weaker of the Big Two to back into the Wild Card and take a crack at a Postseason run. If the Rays win, this dynamic could be in serious jeopardy, with three teams having a great shot to make the Postseason. I’d bet Brain Cashman is rooting for the Red Sox.