Big rivalries often overrated

The Red Sox against the Yankees. Big rivalry. Big stars with big stats. Giant payrolls from huge revenue machines. Obnoxious fans that hurl insults at each other in funny accents. Hype, and hatred and money and ego. Everything big. B-I-G! Big – deal!

It’s all too much for me. I’m an underdog kind of guy. I want to see Screech beat the crap out of Zach on “Saved by the Bell.” I root for the Coyote to finally catch the Roadrunner and roast him up with a nice red wine sauce. I want to see Gary Coleman as an action hero romancing a swooning Angelina Jolie. But, please, no more Yankees and Red Sox. It’s like trying to pick between Oprah and Martha Stewart, or Clay Aiken and Celine Dion. Either way, I’m going to feel really bad about my choice.

You wanna watch a real rivalry develop? Check out the Pirates versus the Brewers – now that’s something special. At least their fans can yell at each other, “You suck!” “No, you suck.” And they’d both be right as rain. Both teams come into spring training with absolutely no hope of winning their division and dare not dream of the post-season. So, I dig watching them play.

Have you seen the sausage races at Miller Park? That’s just stupid enough to make me smile for the rest of the night. Throw in the Pirates meekly slugging it out with the Brew Crew to stay out of last place – now that’s an evening.

If you combine the payrolls of the two teams you would probably pay for half of the Red Sox line-up. For “The Pinetar Fly” that’s some heavy math. It shows just how screwed up baseball economics really are. With the exception of Minnesota, small market teams just can’t seem to figure out how to compete with the big boys. They get to sit around and develop good, young players that they know will eventually get snatched up by the highest bidder, losing season after losing season. For the Pirates and Brewers it’s been about a decade without a sniff of credibility. It’s not like a salary cap has helped an entire league to develop parity and unprecedented popularity. Right, NFL?

I know, I know, a small-market baseball fan whining about the inequities of salaries and an uneven playing field is kind of boring – especially to Republicans. But, I’m just an underdog rooting machine, who’s coo-coo for CoCo Puffs about baseball.

I do think Gary Coleman would make a rockin’ action hero, though. But, until that happens, I’ll have to settle for the Brewers and Pirates. Or the D-Rays and Royals. Anybody, but the Red Sox and Yankees. Please, ESPN, throw a bone to middle America, I beg you. And, long live the sausage race!