Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Rebels Are Now the Dark Empire [J. Mark English]

"The Evil Empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America to grab Jose Contreras..." - Larry Lucchino (President, Boston Red Sox)

"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows...if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in, and so its going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective." - Vice President Cheney

"You are beaten. It is useless to have only begun to discover your power...The Emperor will show you the true nature of the force. He is your master now." - Darth Vader

I wish to send out a Happy Holidays to the city of Boston, and to the loyal fans of the Boston Red Sox. For nearly a full century the only thing fans of the team from Fenway knew was misery. While the team from the Big Apple won 26 World Series, your team suffered like no other.

But now, the ultimate gift has arrived.

After years of trying to take down the Empire, your team has realized that an Empire such as the Yankees can not be crushed. So now, you have joined, and maybe even out-eviled (if that can even be considered a word) the mighty New York Yankees.

It is official, Daisuke Matsuzaka, will be hurling pitches in Bean-town over the next six years, for perhaps up to $60 million a year. With this deal the Red Sox only can win, because the team will invade the Japanese market. Matsuzaka is a national hero in his home country, and the millions of his followers in Japan will flock to any television to watch him pitch, and buy every jersey, cap, and glove that will have his name on it...which will also just happen to have a Red Sox logo.

The Sox have invested heavily into Matsuzaka. Do not forget that not only will they be paying him up to $60 million, but add to that figure the $51.1 million the spent just for the rights to negotiate with the soon to be 26 year old rookie. According to Jack Curry of the New York Times, "the most the Red Sox could end up spending on Matsuzaka is $111.1 million, a yearly average of $18.5 million."

On top of this the Red Sox have agreed to pay J.D. Drew up to $70 million for five years. They are also more then likely to be holding on to Manny Ramirez for yet another year (and his $18 million a year). Last year their payroll was second only to the Yankees. The Yankees payroll was roughly $199 million, whereas the Sox were at $120 million.

So far this off season, its the Yankees who have been cutting the trim, and the Sox have broke open the piggy bank (they even tried to add Eric Gagne to the bullpen). It would appear that the Red Sox are set to be baseball's new evil empire. They are looking to dominate a world market, and surpass the Yankees as the highest grossing team if not just in baseball, but all of sports.

The deal with 'D-Mat' could end up being a bargain, when you consider the revenue they will make from their exposure in Asia. And if the team they have assembled can win, and continue to win for the years to come, there is no reason to believe that they cannot start building on what could be the essence of a financially guaranteed dynasty.

Christopher Bettinger
from MIT writes:

"I think it’s safe to say that there is a disturbance in the force around Yawkee Way. Perhaps Lucchino is the embedded Sith Lord who is slowly but surely turning our beloved Galactic Senate into the dreaded “Evil Empire”."

And over at, Jason Carulli drives the Evil Empire theme further:

"The Boston Red Sox have finally managed to turn the tables on New York's so-called Evil Empire... The move obviously is the foundation for the construction of Boston's own Death Star as finishing in 3rd place with the second highest payrool in the Majors has left a bad taste in the mouths of New Englanders everywhere... Let them think what they want, Theo Epstein knows this movie is not pent up angst for all those years of the Yankees controlling their offseason with the almighty is a move that, when all is said and done, will only cost the Sox roughly $100 million for a future ace that will jam his "gyroball" down the throats of the New York lineup...

"...Whatever their motives, it is a gamble, you don't know if you are getting the next Hideo Nomo or Hideki Irabu. But one thing is for sure, it is a baseball business at its best, so welcome to the lonely club Boston, and enjoy the hate beacuse there is no turning back now."

And the point is, if it is all about business, then bravo Red Sox...and bravo capitalism! Now lets see if it produces a dynasty for the new empire. It sure has produced plenty for the old one.

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